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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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The Kids Will Eventually Be Alright

Maybe it was just the chance to really watch a game after days of personal distractions, but somehow I wasn't that bothered by tonight's loss. Perturbed, sure. But undone? Nope.

I like the Mets' new kiddie corps. I like Daniel Murphy's ability to pull a ball when needed, the way he makes adjustments at the plate and his general air of fearlessness. I like Argenis Reyes's goofy smile and hustle. I like that Nick Evans is a remarkably patient hitter for one so young, even if he does always look like his dog just died. I'm prepared to find something to like about Jon Niese when he gets here. I like that Eddie Kunz is gigantic and induces ground balls.

Well, except when Eddie Kunz is giving up the first home run of his professional career. And that gives the Padres insurance enough to put the Mets in bloop-and-a-blast territory, from which wouldn't emerge alive.

I've always liked the kids — if anything, I'm too ready to shove aside underperforming veterans for youngsters who've yet to fail and so obviously never will. Last year Greg endured many nights of me booing Shawn Green for everything from hesitating just long enough so balls fell in front of him to, oh, standing in a way that I didn't like. Where was Carlos Gomez? I'd demand. At any point between last summer and mid-July I would have thrown Carlos Delgado over in a heartbeat for, say, Mike Carp. (And then where would we be?) I like to collect significant Met debuts, from Bobby Jones's (in Philadelphia) to David Wright's. The kids are, by their nature, new and different — they're change, and I'm usually all for change. Even when it might be change for change's sake.

In my calmer moments, I remember that young players also come with growing pains. They give up dingers that let them know they're not in Oregon anymore. They follow gusherous debuts in Colorado with long dry spells everywhere else. They muff pop-ups and double plays. I'm sure the aforementioned Mr. Murphy will screw something up one day soon. It won't really be his fault — it'll be Rookie's Law.

And even those who have bid kiddom adieu can have nights that remind them of harsh lessons learned in their younger days. When David Wright forgets how many outs there are and then gets eaten alive by a grounder at the worst possible time, you know you're going to be fighting uphill. When Brian Giles's bounder spun its way out into left field, I felt for Pedro, sitting in the dugout after a pretty encouraging outing only to watch an L get hung on him. But not as much as I did for Wright. After his error, David turned and watched Giles's ball for a moment — helplessly, for it may as well have been on the moon for all he could do about it. Then turned back toward home plate. He looked stoic, but his eyes told another story. Giles said later that he'd thought he'd fouled the ball off, that he had no idea he'd somehow hit it with the kind of wicked English that will get you thrown off the pool table if you try it in a bar. Maybe it didn't rip the felt, but David had no chance. And neither did we — youthful energy notwithstanding.

4 comments to The Kids Will Eventually Be Alright

  • Anonymous

    Forget the homer Kunz gave up. He proved himself star of the game beforehand when he walked to the bullpen with the Backpack of Shame and turned it into the Backpack of Triumph. He waved, he raised a fist, he high-fived those who would give him grief for carrying Sleeping Beauty around. Eddie Kunz may be a neophyte in New York, but he knows a little something about fan relations. That Cyclone experience shows.
    He was accompanied on his route by Ruddy Lugo, to whom I thought the backpack would be transferred given his even newer newness, but it turns out Lugo has a little time in the majors. He was drafted by the Brewers in 1999; Robinson Cancel hadn't played in the bigs since he was a 1999 Brewer; Raul Casanova, we learned yesterday, recorded the last hit in County Stadium in 2000. When did millennial Milwaukee become essential training ground for 2008 Mets? And when's the Johnny Logan Rotunda opening?
    Pedro was effective if not quite Pedro, though I suppose I just answered that question. The home run he gave up to Giles made the Budweiser ad on the scoreboard flutter. It was the Great American Dinger.
    Other highlight you may not have seen on TV was my getting to meet Loge 13 creator King Man (he doesn't want to get sued) for a few minutes in Loge 13 — as fine a fellow as his blog, which is to say very fine. He's got a great view of the field and, thanks to the partial season plan silence from management, no view of the future. Kong and his buddies have been staples in their section three times a week since the mid-'80s. The Mets are now acting as staple removers.
    Hard to believe this team is three games out of first. They were dreary Wednesday night, and they lost to a bona fide cellar dweller. Very discouraging…but not so discouraging to keep me from heading right back out there in a few hours.
    Dang, I better go get some shuteye.

  • Anonymous

    I hate it when David Wright suffers from rectal-cranial inversion…

  • Anonymous

    He caught it from Jose, Jose, Jose, who is a carrier even when he is not suffering his own outbreak of the disease

  • Anonymous

    With every AB I am struck at how to me at least Murphy looks like a real hitter up there , he just carries himself with a certain swagger , not arrogance but like he belongs.