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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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Not Bad

Today was the day when, in Met terms, I joined the numerical ranks of Tug McGraw and Pedro Martinez and latter-day John Franco when he was at his most lovable. Today, after a lifetime of being no older than 44, I wear a 45 on my back.

I seem to recall a conversation between Lou Grant and Mary Richards in which Lou, bemoaning his suddenly landing in his late 40s, lamented that if he were in politics, they’d call him the kid.

I’d rather not think about what 45 the age actually signifies. I’d prefer to think of what 45 among Mets means. It means Tug and Pedro and some Franco. So overwhelming is the collective imagery of these three iconic pitchers in that number that it’s easy to forget others wore it completely without distinction.

Only when I scrunch my eyes closed tight do I see Brent Gaff or Paul Gibson or Jerry DiPoto in 45. And then I cringe.

Only with an old link to a great site (soon to be, no doubt, a great book) do I see the fleeting forgettableness of Goose Gozzo or the three pointless weeks of John Candelaria or the frittered-to-Montreal promise of Jeff Reardon, all of whom wore 45 as Mets. And then I cringe some more.

I do see Rick Baldwin, 45 directly after the Tugger, without the aid of any Mets By The Numbers ticklers, but that’s just the way I am after 45 years.

And then I cringe just a little more.

The point is when I think 45, I think three of the great pitchers and personalities in Mets history. I think of things not bad — not Gaff, not Gibson, not Gozzo; just good. So as I look back for a moment on my 45th year, which conveniently coincided with 2007, I also think only good.

Or at least not bad.

Not bad 2007 was, in a baseball way, Worst C-word in Baseball History notwithstanding.

I mean not bad for me as I was living most of it. I had a pretty darn not bad time, what with the sitting in plastic seats of orange, blue, green or red some three-dozen times and enjoying the company of so many of whom I think so highly.

It was not bad making true friends from screen names.

It was not bad forging ever closer bonds over baseball games.

It was not bad writing and reading back and forth from April to September…from the middle of February to the end of October…from the first of the year to last of the year, actually.

It was not bad being a Mets fan with you in 2007, even in the period best described as not all that spicy and far too brown.

It is not bad at all — win, lose or collapse — sharing this year’s worth of a lifetime of baseball with you.

May the next one turn out just a wee bit better for the lot of us.

ADDENDUM: In this afternoon’s Sun Bowl in El Paso, it was, despite a feisty first half, Oregon 56 USF 21. The Bulls finish their once-promising 2007 at 9-4. Baseball — accept no substitutes.

12 comments to Not Bad

  • Anonymous

    Happy Tug McGraw Birthday to you!

  • Anonymous

    I wore my MARTINEZ 45 shirt today, on a whim. Now I see it was purposeful. Happy Birthday, Greg. And Happy New Year to all of Faith and Fear.

  • Anonymous

    I turned 45 in '04. We re-elected an unelectable president, Ray Charles died (and so did Rick James, bitch!), and the Mets sucked in that only-Art-Howe-kinda-sucking way.
    May your wearing of the Tugonometry produce far better results for all of us. Happy birthday, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. (I refused to use that to end the countdown, but I figured you wouldn't mind it.)

  • Anonymous

    Then call me Jesse Orosco (who, by the way, had a child at the same Long Island hospital we did in the same year).
    By the way, you can also call UCF a 10-4 team. Not saying they're better than USF – far from it – but they had a better record.
    Nyah, nyah….oh, whatever…pitchers and catchers report soon…

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday, Old Friend. Looking back it seems our very geeky New Years Eve's together had a lot more going on than my current New Years Eve, meaning that at least we used to make it til midnight. I guess that's what being (almost) 45 means…
    Have a Super Day
    Joel

  • Anonymous

    Look on the bright side: You're less than a year away from Willie Blair, Jermaine Allensworth and Chris Jelic. If that isn't something to live for, I don't know what is.

  • Anonymous

    Happy birthday, buddy! I just turned Dennis Cook 2 weeks ago. I suppose that means my 2008 will have flashes of brilliance in the midst of total frustration. Typical. Maybe I'll take out my angst by poking the brim of my hat into the face of authority.

  • Anonymous

    Hunh – I never made the numerical connection. I'm Tom Seaver!

  • Anonymous

    Hey, lucky you.
    You get to retire next year.

  • Anonymous

    I imagine 9 PM counts on the West Coast.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I'll be skipping that particular reference point in 364 days.

  • Anonymous

    I'm Tom Seaver too — happy belated bday.
    Even better news, the long-delayed, “new” numerical roster web project is finally finally finally taking shape behind the scenes and will debut as soon as I can finish inputting all the data (which is considerable… I'm only up to “E” alphabetically). But how cool will that be? If you're me, very cool.