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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Bottom Line

My co-blogger is a wise man. And as a wise man, one bit of baseball wisdom he's finally gotten through my fool head is this: Style points don't matter.

From a statistical standpoint, that was a pretty unsatisfying two out of three. Ice-cold bats, poor situational hitting, runners not moved up, and the heretofore anonymous pitchers of 2007 Washington looking like Walter Johnson. We were told we were supposed to sweep; failing that, we were expected to at least dominate. There was no sweep; when there was lumber in our hands, there wasn't a lot of domination.

And yet, two out of three in the W column, and the Mets back in first place above those pesky Braves. (Which is such a nicer way of thinking of them than the old way, with palpitations and angst and finally, horror.) Two out of three, first place. That's the bottom line, and the bottom line is good.

Sure, there are things to stay up late about. Where's Wright's power? Delgado's bat? What's wrong with Aaron Heilman? Does Mike Pelfrey need more time? What will the doctors have to say about Stache and El Duque? Given all these questions, an extra-inning win and a 1-0 victory aren't nearly enough to keep the stomach from doing flip-flops.

And this is where the style points come in.

Good teams win. There's infinitely more to it than that, of course, but that's the baseline fact you can fool yourself into missing. Good teams win.

How they win, over the course of even a small part of a season, defies generalization. They win when rookie catchers are out of position and when ancient first basemen expand their position's definition. They win when the setup men can't set 'em down and when the enemy closer is due for something less than perfection. They win when an umpire suits up as the other team's 26th man. They win when three regulars are resting or injured. They win when a corner guy can't find the fences and a pinch-hitter can. If it comes to it, they win when key guys go on the DL and when kids aren't ready. When they don't win…well, then they win the series. Good teams find a way, and they don't sweat style points or fans squirming in their seats.

Monday night is my '07 Shea debut — Emily and I are going, something we haven't gotten to do in the better part of forever. I don't know who'll pitch. I don't know who'll play second. I don't know if the bats will come to life against Scott Olsen, or if he'll look like the immortal Jerome Williams and Jason Bergmann. I don't know if we'll win.

But I do know this: We're a good team. And knowing that makes not knowing the rest a lot easier to accept.

9 comments to The Bottom Line

  • Anonymous

    You're right, Good teams win. All teams go through droughts and depressions. Maybe the Mets are due for a couple of games where they don't hit, but when you're winning series while you're slumping, look out when you're not. Maybe the Mets came to Washington thinking they were a AAA team and took winning forgranted, who knows. But no one can think David Wright and Delgado are going to hit like this all season, so maybe when the pitching slumps a little, those two and the others will be around to out slug the opponent and get a win anyway.

  • Anonymous

    If you're going to not hit for a little while, far better to do it against the Nationals, who have shown little knack for capitalizing, than against, say, That Georgia Team or Dose Guys From Da Bronx.

  • Anonymous

    Arthritis. Bursitis.
    Watch out for colitis and gingivitis, Duque. The -itises are coming for you.

  • Anonymous

    Also, Plantar Fasciitis, which has that rare double 'i'.

  • Anonymous

    And for our '07 debut, my wife and I get … CHAN HO PARK!
    He of the 7.29 ERA … IN TRIPLE-A!
    Good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win good teams win ….

  • Anonymous

    Be not afraid, buddy. Good teams win.
    I'm reminded of the last week of the last co-ed recreational softball team I coached, back in ought-five. We had several regulars crap out on us one by one in the days leading up to the game. We were a good team having an abysmal season. In hindsight, it would have been easy to surmise that they didn't want to be blown out of both ends of a doubleheader by the best team in the league.
    By game day, the only option we had was to start ME, the coach, in the outfield. That's ME, “Break Glass and Remove Coach in Case of Emergency”. I'd never played outfield in my life, and had no range or depth perception to speak of. But it was either that or forfeit. I gritted my teeth, apologized in advance for all the boners I knew I'd be committing out there, and took the field.
    We lost both ends, of course, but by identical scores of 10-9. We weren't blown out; our method of swapping me and Travis, the real outfielder, a la McDowell/Orosco, depending on the hitter worked; and we even would have won the nightcap had our last batter not been called out for hitting one too many homers (three was the max in this league).
    Throw caution to the wind, Jason. A day a the park is a good day, even a day at the park with Park.
    Beware, though: don't go calling him by his middle name; you might just lose your job.

  • Anonymous

    I personally can't take one more night of wind burn in that place. Have fun, Jace and Emily…
    PS: Of course I'll be back tomorrow night, because Cold+Rain+Wind=Laurie at Shea.

  • Anonymous

    I'll be commiserating with you in the loge, Jace. My first game of the season too. I'm sure it'll be Night of the Living Bullpen.
    Maybe the ghosts of Don Larsen and Dave Mlicki will appear and inspire Chan to throw the one great game that even the mediocrest of starters can sometimes summon up without warning or explanation.

  • Anonymous

    “And for our '07 debut, my wife and I get … CHAN HO PARK! He of the 7.29 ERA … IN TRIPLE-A! Ugggghhhh.”
    – what do you expect for a $5.00 value night ticket? Enjoy.