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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.

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The Phillies Are Selling What Now?

When I first subscribed to MLB Extra Innings in 2003, there were four teams whose telecasts were never made available: the Expos, the Blue Jays, the Padres and the Phillies. I assumed the first two had something to do with them being from Canada while the other two were a mystery. The Expos moved to Washington and that took care of their video. The other three teams until this season had to be watched via opponent feed or not at all. Then early in '07, the occasional Jaycast popped up (with Canadian commercials and everything). A couple of months ago I saw what a Padre game looked like through the eyes of a San Diegan (about what it always looks like to me: bleary). That left only the Phillies at large.

Until Friday night, when their game with the Marlins was beamed into my living room via not a Floridian cable, but one emanating from Pennsylvania. It was my first look at Phillies TV since I peeked up at a Citizens Bank monitor in June. I could tell it wasn't the Marlins' crew calling the game by the way Miguel Olivo's fourth-inning home run was greeted with television silence.

Between innings there was a commercial urging all good Delaware Valleyans to leave a deposit on 2008 season tickets if you want a guaranteed shot at buying tickets for Phillies home playoff games in 2007.

OK, every team remotely alive in September pulls this scam every year, including us, and they're still in the Wild Card scrum, so I'm not going to snicker at the offer per se (at least not for the record), but what got me about this spot was that to cap off the montage of inspiring Phillie highlights that will have me going straight for my credit card they showed the play at the plate that ended the 11-10 game of August 30. You know, the one we lost and they won.

I had never seen any footage of it because I was en route to Milwaukee that day and, as I explained when I got home, I decided to take a vacation from my team, or at least my mania for them. Two things struck me:

1) I'm glad I didn't see it live. It was bad enough following it through the refresh button on my Sprint phone. I'm glad I didn't watch SportsCenter that night. I'm glad I didn't read more about it the next day beyond the perfunctory accounts that appeared in USA Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Except for Jason's post and what those who commented wrote in the course of that likely nonfateful day, I'm glad I did not go back and delve into my usual regimen of blogs except for the headlines that implied tragedy had transpired. I'm glad I didn't have to be immersed in my e-mail group's take of doom and gloom while the wounds were fresh. I'm glad I was nowhere near WFAN.

I wasn't kidding about taking a vacation from your team. As bizarre as it will sound come November when I'll wish I could watch Pat Burrell launch home runs for the sheer baseball entertainment of it, a day without the Mets isn't the worst thing in the world. Not a day like that anyway.

2) That 11-10 win's place in Phillies history appears destined to be obscured by their failure to follow up on it if in fact they don't straighten out over the next three weeks starting immediately. Natch, it is not in our interest for them to straighten out. But I can imagine the future Phillies blogger who has already enshrined this game as one of the greatest ever played. If the Phillies do not go to the 2007 playoffs (and depending on what they do in 2008 and beyond), that hypothetical fan will cherish what he will call “the 11-10 game” and tell every Phillies fan he meets later in life about what he was doing that great day at the end of August “when we beat the Mets.”

For a while his fellow fans will remember instantly. Then later they'll need more of a reminder. 2007? Didn't we suck in 2007? The future Phillies blogger will maintain that, no, we didn't suck. We just didn't win. We came real close. We had a great season. Don't you remember? Don't you? Then he will write heartfelt paeans to it and wonder why every other Phillies fan developed amnesia five minutes after the events of August 30, 2007 were history.

On some distant level, I feel for that future Phillies blogger. And with continued luck, I look forward to not being the Mets version of him for this particular season that ends in a 7.

PS: The Braves' pitch to have their fans buy tickets for their in-progress postseason run is, by dint of its existence, outright hilarious. The details — essentially management congratulating itself for not throwing in the towel at the trade deadline — make it even more so. Sometimes Extra Innings is a bargain.

PPS: If you're going to take at least part of a vacation with your team, you could do worse than taking it with the incomparable Metstradamus, especially if it's anything like the Cincinnati-Chicago jaunt he just tackled. (Note the unphotographed shirt sighting he mentions in the state of Ohio.)

12 comments to The Phillies Are Selling What Now?

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely ADORE the Padres' broadcasting team. They're second only to the Twins' incomparable Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven. Honest, fair, and ALWAYS entertaining. Mark Grant is a downright howl.

  • Anonymous

    I believe your melancholy, deep thinking Phillie blogger is purely a product of your imagination.
    The dyed-in-the-wool, hard core Phillies fan is only thinking about the 11-10 game in the context of how it affects his beloved Eagles this Sunday.
    That's when the games start to count in Philadelphia.

  • Anonymous

    I ran into that fan. He was in the Mets Clubhouse Store on 42nd St. yesterday afternoon, with some Italian friends of his who he was taking around town. They didn't give a crap about baseball, he just came in to talk about how they swept the Mets and how much he really likes the Yankees.
    Of course, the people that work in that store aren't Mets fans anyway. But still.

  • Anonymous

    I figure there's gotta be one of me in every market, though it's not exactly like the franchise fees are rolling in.

  • Anonymous

    That may be, but if he's in Philly, he's blogging about the Eagles.

  • Anonymous

    I'm glad that you finally got to hear Harry Kalas in action – he has one of baseball's classic voices.

  • Anonymous

    The Phillies are the oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports.
    So says, conveniently overlooking that WWII experiment with “Blue Jays” as a nickname.
    I understand the Eagles overwhelm everything that gets in their way (save for the final opponent they take on in the playoffs every year), but I gotta think there's a little more to baseball there than killing time between football seasons.
    This is not an endorsement of the Phillies or anything like that, just an acknowledgement that there have to be a few among their ranks who aren't, you know, totally that way. I'd say the same for the deepest and truest Braves fans (ack) and Devil Rays fans and every fan base except maybe one.
    Not that I much care, mind you, just giving it some thought.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, they can't all be that way. But that's a good bit away from there's a Greg Prince (or Jason Fry for that matter) in every market. If they feel it as deeply a you do, they don't have the astonishing historical recall (factual as well as emotional) and even if they did have those attributes, they certainly couldn't write it like you guys do. Shit, I bet 1% of Phillie fans know that tidbit about the war time name change of their own team.
    And true Braves fans?
    Football, NASCAR, Braves.
    In that order.
    Nobody in Atlanta still gets occasionally pissed off about a pitcher's failing to retaliate in a regular season game 11 years after the fact, ala Bobby Jones, Steve Avery, Jose Vizcaino and Mr. Fry.

  • Anonymous

    Greg, seriously… just be grateful that the baseball gods smiled upon you, and allowed you to miss that horrific spectacle. If by chance it should ever be re-run (God, noooooooo!), resist the temptation. Curiosity killed the Met fan.
    As bizarre as it will sound come November when I'll wish I could watch Pat Burrell launch home runs for the sheer baseball entertainment of it

  • Anonymous

    I didn't say I would want to see him hit those home runs.
    Burrell must send a slice of his paycheck to the descendants of Branch Rickey, Bill Shea and Joan Payson every two weeks in gratitude for helping to invent the Mets. Where would he be without us?

  • Anonymous

    On behalf of Jason and Mets bloggers everywhere, I know when to lie back and enjoy that kind of critique.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn't kidding about taking a vacation from your team.

    I was saying this very thing to your co-blogger as we celebrated St. Pedro's Day together.
    I had commented that I had missed most of the Braves series in an act of team/self-preservation: I considered myself a jinx at this point of the year. I go through 3 or 4 such cycles every year, where I'm convinced victory or defeat hinges on whether or not I'm watching or listening.
    So, you're all welcome for me staying out of Atlanta last weekend…