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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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Many Happy Returns

The Comeback Player of the Year ballots were due early this year. Had to have 'em in, like taxes (or extensions), by April 15. Fortunately plenty of candidates nominated themselves Tuesday night — and just in time.

Here in no particular order are who and what I filled in on my ballot:

Fun. Yes, fun. Unalloyed fun. The kind of fun I complained or at least observed had been missing from Mets baseball in 2008. This was a good game for seasons when you're 20 games up or 20 games back or only 12 games in. It doesn't need to indicate a turning point or anything. It was just a good night to be better than the visiting team.

Reyes. The hammy got a workout and it looked pretty healthy, having spent quality time at every base against the Nationals. The leadoff spot is whole again. The lineup might not be so ordinary.

Pelfrey. Back from maybe to definitely as in definitely the fourth starter in this rotation, definitely capable in the present, definitely less of a question mark for the future.

Sanchez. Who's the goggled stranger wearing No. 42 and materializing from the bullpen to pitch the ninth? Call that man some room service and give him anything he wants. It's on us.

Wright. Back from Letterman. Back over the fence. Back on fire. No contempt here.

Milledge. It was silly that he got booed on his return to Shea, but in a Nats uniform, he's not my problem. His first-inning double was predictable. So was his “eat my dust, Willie, Omar, Billy, whoever” attempt to steal third that was cut down by his trade booty Brian Schneider (who's got a gun for an arm if a doggie door for blocking balls in the dirt).

Field Level. It's been so long since I watched an entire win from the orange seats that I couldn't tell you exactly when the last one was without a late-night tour of The Log, but there I was — part of a pretty formidable foursome (your two bloggers and these two authors) — closer to grass than I've been in almost a year and etching my first W of '08 in yon trusty Steno Notebook. Now if everybody could sit down so we could see the batter…

Jack Heidemann. A utility infielder for the Mets in 1975 and 1976. A crackerjack realtor now. His name came up at some length in conversation. Of course it did. When Faith and Fear in Flushing meets Mets By The Numbers not too many rows from David Wright, would you expect anything less? Anything more?

Daruma. Great Neck's greatest export, a field level mainstay for a decade, a delicacy readily accessible when some thoughtful person arranges for orange seats. I got to Shea way early just to suckle a salmon roll in pregame bliss.

Auxiliary Clubhouse Store. I arrived so early I had time — with no line — to check out the commerce hut just west of Citi Field. Lots of stuff, lots of cost, but lots of courtesy. “Have an Amazin' day,” I was told as I left. OK, it was a night game, but points for trying.

Rachel Robinson. As perilously close to OD'd as I am on the Mets' cloaking themselves in the hand-me-downs of the Dodgers, kudos and then some for their support of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, for serving as home office for this happiest of April 15 commemorations (beats Tax Day), for making room for Mrs. Robinson every year. She is a remarkable woman, the 42s all around were a remarkable gesture and — gasp! — the Mets made a remarkable choice in tabbing Ed Charles, who grew up in segregated Florida and was literally inspired by Jackie, to reveal their countdown number du jour.

David Patterson. Here is the politician who is the exception to my rule that politicians should stick to their jobs and not bother us with first balls and such. If you saw the governor interviewed on Opening Day, you saw a lifelong Mets fan who knows his Mets and his Shea from jump street. He replaced a Yankees fan who replaced another Yankees fan who replaced another Yankees fan who was once a Pirate farmhand. After a quarter-century of Cuomo, Pataki and Spitzer doing no more than patronizing us, there's hope from Albany yet.

The Super Express. The 7 that zooms from Shea to Woodside to Queensboro Plaza to Grand Central to Times Square actually works. It works so well that I stayed on all the way into the city just because the ride was so smooth. Besides, on an Amazin' night like this, who was in a rush to get home?

13 comments to Many Happy Returns

  • Anonymous

    How about the lack of Paul “I can't wait to face the Mets” LoDuca in the Nats lineup? The guy who, in my opinion, cost us the division last year by getting thrown out of a September game against the Phillies for arguing a called third strike. We all remember his replacement Mike DeFelice came in and dropped a routine foul pop which resulted in the batter getting a hit on a subsequent pitch which started a Phillies rally, which ultimately killed the Mets. Thanks Paul.

  • Anonymous

    “the Mets made a remarkable choice in tabbing Ed Charles, who grew up in segregated Florida and was literally inspired by Jackie, to reveal their countdown number du jour.
    Hi Greg,
    Yes, that was a touch of class having the Glider remove the countdown number for last night's game. In this case, it's a shame you were in the stands because Kevin Burkhardt did a great interview with Ed from the seats and Gary and Keith a great job with Lady Robinson in the booth. Gary and Keith also had a lively discussion on why African Americans have chosen other sports and now make up just seven percent of MLB today (three percent for pitchers).
    This also means you missed a serious discussion about the fan booing, both on the pre-game show and during the game. While all the obvious factors were covered, Gary Cohen also made an interesting point about this being the age of the internet, allowing fan frustration to build up and re-inforced more than ever before by reading, voicing and sharing their anger with other Met fans through emails, chatrooms…., and blogs.
    Does that mean you and Jason are part of the blame? Players are uptight playing in front of home crowds, the team performs better on the road and Gary Cohen insinuates this was caused in part by FAFIF. Just wonder if he'll go one step further and blame you for the collapse last September.
    If you need a good lawyer, I can contact my cousin Vinny.

  • Anonymous

    I haven't seen that satisfying a ballgame since about last Memorial Day…

  • Anonymous

    What the usually astute Gary overlooks in his appraisal is that blogs might actually (and are generally meant to) have the exact opposite effect. When I read and post on this blog, for instance, I generally feel far less inclined to go out and boo my own players, not that I am ordinarily inclined to boo them at all (Glavine deserved it at the end of last season, though). We get our feelings out in blog format and we don't have to bring them, pent up, to the ball park.
    Ideally, I think blogs are part of the solution and not the problem. Or at least they should be.

  • Anonymous

    Don't forget telephone calls, conversations on subway platforms and idle thoughts in the middle of the night. This modern world is crazy.

  • Anonymous

    Apropos of nothing, besides Mrs. Robinson doing a wonderful job carrying on Jackie's legacy, she has also got to be the prettiest octagenarian ever. I mean, she is 86 (!) and is just striking. God bless her!

  • Anonymous

    Good defense arguments. You guys must have been speaking with my cousin Vinny.

  • Anonymous

    And at 86, still sharp as ever (even if it took her an extra second to remember the name of one of Jackie's team mates).

  • Anonymous

    Looks like the fun was not unalloyed for all: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3349003

  • Anonymous

    As if there's a good way to go, what a lousy way to go. I tried the standstill escalator route out a couple of times early last year but found them way too vertigo-inducing to serve as stairs, so I can believe balance could be lost. What a shame.

  • Anonymous

    Yet escalator bannisters (sorry 'bout that) have to be a certain height to meet safety regulations so for a tragic accident such as Tuesday's to occur one would would have to be doing something he or she shouldn't. If he lost his balance, he would have fallen on the steps.
    Again, it's just a tragedy but I suspect it had nothing to do with the conditions of Shea's escalators.

  • Anonymous

    You describe Spitzer as a Yankee fan — over the years, I'd seen him at Shea several times. And in Mezz boxes too, not field boxes. This, of course, does not mean I'm not proud to have voted for his opponent.

  • Anonymous

    Declared his preference in the '06 primary race, while Tom Suozzi said Mets all the way.