The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

The Kindness of Relative Strangers

So it's the first day of the rest of my season, the day after the night I cleansed my soul of expectation and admitted to myself that not only am I genuinely uncertain of what the immediate future holds for the Mets but that I'm willing to live with the consequences.

1-0 thus far in this era of true feeling — which is nice. I'm not ready to 180 over it because how many times have we done that this year only to be 180'd back around, but better 1-0 than 0-1. Better than giving the Marlins a pleasant flight to Fishville. Better than yielding any additional ground to whoever's in second after the upcoming Braves-Phillies salute to dismality. Better than Saturday night.

Not incidentally, I had a terrific time at Shea despite that mind-blowing 7-5 defeat. I spent an affable evening with my favorite Met family, the Chapmans (happy belated birthday, kid in the Alps), and hooked up for commutation purposes afterwards with the legendary CharlieH (the nicest guy I've ever met in sporadic half-inning increments). Yet I left the park feeling guilty that I felt good about anything, even the company I'd kept. Isn't that silly?

No such conflicts Sunday afternoon, an unexpected and joyous addition to The Log (15-7 in '07, no complaints there) thanks to the largesse of Dan/dmg who suddenly remembered he had signed up for a pennant pack. This was his first game in his new realm and his timing couldn't have been better. Through whatever computer wizardry with which the Mets fill these orders, Dan's seats are in fair territory, right field loge. But they're the first row, so there's none of that standard loge claustrophobia. There may a little too much sun depending on what the clouds are doing, but there's also plenty of action.

The porkpie-hatted guy who holds those wide BELIEVE signs sits nearby. The Pepsi Party Patrol makes regular visits and dispenses valuable goodies. You know those autographed balls they give kids when a home team home run is hit? We sat near a recipient. Best of all, Jose Reyes' long fly actually flew slightly to the right of our section. Some kid almost had it. Went off his hand and into the pen. It's not often you can be 350 feet from home plate and sit right in the middle of the game.

If there were a theme for the activity down below, it would have to be the kindness of strangers, or at least Mets on whose behalf I haven't spent a great deal of energy rooting. Strangers Sunday afternoon had a malleable meaning for me.

There was Mike DiFelice, emergency catcher in the nearest sense that a professional catcher can be. He was in for Castro because Lo Duca couldn't be and he made what I believe was the play of the game, saving the Mets from themselves after two idiotic errors (Perez's errant pickoff attempt and Delgado's immediately dumber fling toward second) by nailing Cody Ross wandering off from third. It was 4-4, Ollie was hanging on by a thread and the entire series seemed set to unravel. But DiFelice, who has been up and down for three seasons yet remains eternally obscure, fired to Wright and erased Ross for the third out of the inning. It was one of the most clutch throws you're going to see. It ended Florida hopes almost for good and held the fort until some genuine offense materialized down the line.

Another relative unknown who came through was Moises Alou. He's not obscure, not after playing in the N.L. since 1990, but every time he plays, it feels like he just got here. We didn't have much of a chance to get to know him when he was healthy in April and early May. Then all we knew was he wasn't healthy. On a Friday night in mid-July, I sat next to what I'll affectionately refer to as four girly-girls, teenagers full of giggles and support for their Mets. Two of them wore Wright shirts. The other two wanted to. They disappeared to one of the team stores for a time and came back with ALOU 18 tops instead. A sale? A surplus? A stab at irony? I don't know for sure, but I don't think it was a surge of Moisesmania.

Total stranger at that point, he was. Or a ghost, maybe. Alou would show up in those taped messages telling you to not toss your crap on the field. They offered merchandise with his unfamiliar face on it at the concessions. He was listed in the program. You knew he was still technically affiliated with the Mets, but you couldn't quite put your finger on what he did for them. Now you can. Today reminded us why on the verge of 41 he was signed for a year and why it made perfect sense. He hits the ball hard almost every time up. Today he twice hit it hard and over the wall (once he hit it hard and just foul). If those in front of him in the order are truly regrouping their acts, you can see where Moises' April-in-August resurrection will be a deciding factor for this team's possible good fortune.

Finally, a stranger who's been here longer than anyone else. They honored Tom Glavine before the game. It was fitting, no question. A 300-game winner deserves our acknowledgement no matter how few — under 20% — of his wins came in our laundry. I've made no secret that I've never quite converted to Glavinism but I do respect the pitcher and the pitcher's feats. Still, it was difficult watching a video tribute at Shea Stadium that included nods from Leo Mazzone, John Smoltz and Bobby Cox (I understood why they were recorded, but I booed them anyway because I can't not boo them). It was galling watching young Tommy Glavine reappear on the screen, disheartening to remember the divisional dynasty he contributed to and how much of his contribution came at our expense. I got a kick out of the old-style purple L.A. Kings sweater Rod Gilbert presented him and it's always good to see the real Tom Terrific show up for any reason, but I wasn't feeling this episode of The Mets Starring Tom Glavine any more than I had any of the others since 2003.

When Glavine took to the podium, Tom expressed his gratitude to the organization and his teammates and his family. I'm sure it was meaningful to him, but it was standard yada-yada to me and to Dan and I imagine some others in the crowd. I could almost hear my eyes rolling when he said he appreciated how aggressively ownership courted him (I rubbed my thumb to my index and middle fingers) and how tough it was on him to come to New York (“poor baby!” I moaned).

But then something happened.

Glavine addressed himself directly to us, the fans. I expected nothing memorable to come out of his mouth. What I got instead was the single most honest statement I've ever heard a player make. He said — I paraphrase, but I'm fairly close — that it's been quite a five-year ride with us, that he knows it was hard for us to warm to him but, y'know what? It's been hard for him to warm to us, too.


I seriously cannot tell you how happy Glavine's public admission that this whole thing has been kind of weird from Day One, that there was something off-kilter about a Brave icon becoming a Met, that despite the t-shirt days and pocket schedule covers and whatever else they did to promote him, Tom Glavine didn't instantly become a beloved Met in December 2002, that he understood there was tangible discomfort in the mutual relationship. We didn't immediately take to him? He didn't immediately take to us.

Tom Glavine…human being.

Good lord I can't tell you how I respected that. More than his 300th win. More than his postseason work. More than the line we'll squint for on his Hall of Fame plaque. Tom Glavine, bless his hockey heart, gets it. He understands that the fans aren't just sound and scenery who pay through the nose for the privilege. He understands there's a complex and delicate symbiosis between we and the players we choose to stand with and cheer for. That there's history for fans long before a player arrives and long after he departs. I've heard players make pleasant speeches and all, but I never quite heard a player in that kind of position put a situation into perspective quite like that.

The last chunk of ice that separated me from my team's most accomplished pitcher has at last melted. I've applauded Tom Glavine before. Today, for the first time, I really meant it.

Answers to the Barry Bonds/Mets pitchers quiz will be posted by tomorrow evening.

10 comments to The Kindness of Relative Strangers

  • Anonymous

    I had the exact same reaction. I didn't bother listening to the ceremony before the game because I figured it would be paint by numbers — Howie Rose yelling too hard into the mike, perfunctory nonsense from dignitaries, some sort of vaguely embarrassing gift, awkward thanks from the man of the hour.
    Then I saw the replay after the game and almost did a double-take. Wow — did he really say that? That's honest and, um, brave.
    From now on, I'm solidly in Tom Glavine's corner.

  • Anonymous

    Stranger Mike DeFelice could hit a series-winning walkoff HR this October, and every time I hear his name, still one thing would come to mind more than anything: “What the %$#&? They're taking Piazza out?? Is Willie nuts?!”
    I'm on the same page, or at least the same chapter, as far as expectations or lack thereof. I've long wondered if maybe we used up our lifetime allotment of karma/good luck/baseball blessings on 10/26/86.

  • Anonymous

    Damn typo…. I mean 10/25.

  • Anonymous

    You're both right. The game started on 10/25, the karma embraced us after midnight 10/26.

  • Anonymous

    Greg – I watched the ceremony on TV, and I thought of you when he said that.
    Of course it took us time to warm up to him, though. Some of us never totally thawed out from the 15-2 Opening Day loss that marked his Shea debut….

  • Anonymous

    Legendary? I don't know if I'd go that far…
    Thanks for all your help in navigating the sometimes byzantine paths of the LIRR. And as always, thanks for the conversation…
    Oh, and don't forget “Tarasco 40” and the kangaroo…

  • Anonymous

    Greg, I hope there's at least one more cube left in that tray. And you know the one I mean.

  • Anonymous

    laurie, you are tough as nails.
    i have to say, yesterday left me glad all over — though maybe not glav all over. even so, i want to be able to root without restraint for the guy, if only because the braves baggage is a lot to carry when you're looking to stand up and cheer.
    he was a union rep when nobody wanted that job — it may have hurt him in atlanta, now that i think of it. and he came clean on his ambivalence and let us know he knew about ours. these are the marks of a grownup. how many of THOSE are in baseball?

  • Anonymous

    One cube always stays stuck in the tray. But that's a whole other thing of ice.

  • Anonymous

    Ditto on Glavine's startling honesty and Mike DeFelice.