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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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My Patriotism Is Suspect

Send me to Baseball Gitmo — because I'm not rooting for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic.

I'm not rooting for anybody else, either. I'm rooting for the whole thing to be snowed out or cancelled because of economic ruin.

Is there a worse idea than the World Baseball Classic? Let's count the ways in which it sucks.

1. It delays the arrival of real baseball.

2. It interferes with the development of team spirit and camaraderie and other things that I think are basically imaginary except when the alternative to them is the WBC.

3. It means spring-training telecasts are even more scrub-eriffic.

4. It offers random hitting and pitching coaches a chance to screw up Met swings and Met pitching motions in a flurry of shameful sports adultery. (Sure, you could claim that such a brief affair could help our players, but we're Met fans.)

5. It offers the chance for injuries, whether it's a pitcher trying to coax May stuff out of a March arm in a fit of patriotic fervor, bad luck or some Kafkaesque turn of fate — imagine (with crossed fingers) Nelson Figueroa beaning David Wright. Which would be particularly ridiculous since last time I checked Nelson Figueroa was from frigging Brooklyn.

(Sure, Mets could get injured playing the Astros or Italy or Hofstra, but don't you interrupt me when I'm ranting.)

Hell, according to Johan Santana his bout of elbow whatever (BECAUSE IT'S NOTHING SERIOUS RIGHTRIGHTRIGHTRIGHT?) is WBC-related: He was hurrying to get in shape to defend the national honor of Venezuela. Even when our players don't play in the WBC, they get screwed by it.

Enough. In the 1993 All-Star Game in Baltimore, John Kruk found himself digging in against Randy Johnson. Or, rather, not digging in — Kruk saw one laser beam above his head and saw the rest of his at-bat with his back foot somewhere in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. When chastised for not exactly offering the Unit the old college try, Kruk pointed out that he played for the Phillies, not the National League. So should it be here: Whether their passports are American, Venezuelan, Dominican, Canadian, or what have you, once the orange and blue are donned I want our guys to think of themselves as upstanding members of the Metropolitan armed forces. All other loyalties are checked at the door, lest distraction or disaster rear their ugly heads.

6. David Wright will be hanging out with Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones. I rest my case.

Loyalists of all stripes should do their patriotic duty and pre-order Greg's Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers.

5 comments to My Patriotism Is Suspect

  • Anonymous

    Here's where I disagree with you: Not at all, not one little bit.

  • Anonymous

    I commented in reply to a similar criticism over on the Mets Police, and I'll copy it here as is:

    “To say that *nobody* cares about this thing is not quite true. As a baseball fan from the UK, I find that the first thing people say when you bring up the sport is 'oh, that's an American thing. Why would you care about that?' It's as if you are betraying cricket or something!
    Matt Smith writes for the Baseball GB Blog and summarizes quite well why the WBC is important internationally:
    http://www.baseballgb.co.uk/?p=1825
    What is good for baseball around the world will in the long run be good for MLB (since all players of any quality gravitate to the States.)
    Take the two players signed by the Pirates last year from India:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090220&content_id=3854160&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb
    With over a billion people, promoting baseball in India could see more new talent make its way to the majors. I think the WBC is integral to that effort, especially now that baseball is no longer an Olympic sport.
    I agree that it could be held at a better time than during spring training, but that still wouldn't resolve the problems of franchise fans worrying about the potential injuries their players could sustain playing for their country. Nevertheless, I think the benefits of the WBC outway the disadvantages.”

    I want to see the Mets win just as much as anybody. But I also want to see baseball grow as a sport worldwide, and that means the WBC.

  • Anonymous

    1. Does not
    2. Does not
    3. Who cares
    4. Does not
    5. Does not
    6. Would never
    6.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jason,
    If the powers that be want a real WBC, then pit regular season champions against each other in late November and hold the contests in California and other warm weather spots.
    Of course, this limits the amount of countries being represented. Other than Mexico and Cuba, no teams could represent Central and South America since league play is during our winter (and with many U.S. professionals).
    But still, the U.S. champ taking on winners from Japan, Korea, Cuba, Mexico, etc. would be a real, genuine world series or world baseball classic.
    But unless the tournament is taken seriously enough where the champion is crowned the “true” world champion, it won't ever happen. Only the Mets would risk their players on games that don't mean a thing.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the players care, and when it comes down to it, I want these guys to be passionate about baseball, not 'live in a box, play for our paycheck' type guys. It's fine to deny things like motorcycles, but when what they're doing is so similar to what they'd be doing if they weren't doing what they're doing, I can't see it matters. You're right, they could hurt themselves playing, but they could hurt themselves playing the Cardinals, stretching in the outfield, walking down the stairs, or taking a taxi cab back to the airport(No problem with me if they're forbidden Florida cabs..)
    I can't find myself getting worked up about something like this. Maybe it should be in November, so MLB injuries inhibit WBC and not the other way around? maybe..
    Then again, Scruberific is part of Spring Training. This gives long shots a better chance to showcase themselves, and maybe something good can come of that. And like the commenter below says, upping baseball's presence worldwide can only be a good thing.
    Now for some housekeeping, I've updated my blog url, if you don't mind updating. (http://www.ceetar.com/optimisticmetsfan) I'll buy the book if you do! (who am I kidding, I already preordered it..)