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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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A Thought Experiment Put to a Half-Assed Test

A few years back I decided to torture Greg with a thought experiment: Would you want the Mets to win the World Series if you couldn't watch any of the season or postseason? (At least that's how I remember it. Correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Prince.)

The answer I was expecting was a flat “no,” possibly followed by calling me insane, a jerk, etc. Greg's reaction was to stop and think for a while, then start asking questions. Could he record the games and watch them later? No. Could he buy the season-to-remember DVD? No. Could he … No, no, no. He would know it was in the record books and part of Mets history, but he could never feel that rush of delight, or even its echoes reliving the moments. That was the deal.

Greg looked tormented, and I decided that he must have viewed the thought experiment as a referendum on how much he loved the Mets — if he loved them enough, shouldn't he want them to win even if he couldn't be part of it? Which was interesting, though more than a little sadistic, but not what I'd had in mind. All I was after was some half-baked philosophical point about the team's doings being inseparable from the fans' enjoyment of/torment over those doings. If a Met wins the World Series and no one cheers, does the title make a sound? Or something along those lines.

All of this is top-heavy prelude to last night's game, in which I was the worst fan ever. First I groused at length about the shortcomings of various Mets, a bitter monologue that Emily endured with eye-rolling and periodic rejoinders to the contrary. (I believe I called Valentin done, picked on Beltran for playing too conservatively, excoriated Green for his defense while he was at bat, ranted about Milledge not working counts and settled for ad hominem attacks about Heilman, who wasn't even in the game. I don't recall declaring that I didn't like Chip Ambres' face, but anything's possible.) Finally Emily grew weary of this and said she was going to sleep.

I decamped to the study to work on the computer and listen on the radio — not so much because I had work to do but because the way the Mets have been playing, I figured my full attention would just lead to further indignation and upset. (Honestly, after Beltran doubled off the bag only to have Wright fly out to the Petco equivalent of a coat closet in the attic bedroom, did any of us think we'd break through against Jake Peavy?)

Given at most fitful attention, the Mets began to blossom. I started for the upstairs TV, then reconsidered, a la Keith drinking beer in Davey's office. I paid more attention to what Howie and Tom were saying. Things went south. I paid less attention to what Howie and Tom were saying. Things perked up.

OK then. For the rest of the night I gave the Mets vague attention at best and before I knew it we were home-free.

Just don't ask me to follow this strategy the next time we have a playoff game. Or, come to think of it, five minutes from now.

4 comments to A Thought Experiment Put to a Half-Assed Test

  • Anonymous

    Of course I'd want the Mets to win, just like they won in '86 and '69 when I was too young/not born to watch.

  • Anonymous

    Milhouse: Will there be cavemen in heaven?
    Sunday School Teacher: Certainly not!
    Bart: Uh, ma'am? What if you're a really good person, but you get into a really, really bad fight and your leg gets gangrene and it has to be amputated. Will it be waiting for
    you in heaven?
    Sunday School Teacher: For the last time, Bart, yes!

    ***

    Sunday School Teacher: [very tired] The ventriloquist goes to heaven, but the dummy doesn't.
    Bart: [raises his hand] Ooh-ooh-ooh! Me!
    Sunday School Teacher: Bart?
    Bart: What about a robot with a human brain?
    Sunday School Teacher: [at the breaking point] I don't know! All these questions! Is a little blind faith too much to ask!?!

  • Anonymous

    Goddamn it. I hate baseball.

  • Anonymous

    But if you watch no games all season, even if it's to guarantee a championship, could you really still be considered a fan? You've got a paradox there.