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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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Playing Ball Like the Pros

They wear uniform tops with NEW YORK on the front and their unfamiliar last names on the back. They dress in a major league clubhouse. They test their skills against professionals. They generally don't look like they belong on the same field as the pros, yet there they are throwing and catching and running and hitting as if they do. Their families sometimes tag along and cheer relentlessly for them from mostly empty stands. And when their moment in the sun has passed, at least a couple will tell you they had the time of their lives.

It's all part of the fun now that the Mets are holding Fantasy Camp in September.

MISCH 48, VALDEZ 4, THOLE 30…you might not mistake them for actual players, but honestly, if you squinted a little, they didn't look so bad out there Thursday afternoon.

MISCH 48 took time out from what one assumes is his “real life” job to try his stuff as a starting pitcher. He impressed the coaches not only with his stamina but the way he supported his teammates by not going back into the clubhouse when he was done throwing to live batters.

VALDEZ 4, who came to one of these camps earlier in the year, is really getting the hang of baseball. Bunted his way on, scored a run, and didja see that throw he made to the plate the night before?

And THOLE 30 — great hustle, great attitude, great big smile. Two hits, including a long double! Nobody would have known who he was without the uni, but why should he be any different from his teammates?

Some woman who they said was the mother of THOLE 30 screamed her head off in support of her son. MISCH 48 posed for pictures afterwards. VALDEZ 4 and SULLIVAN 19 and HERNANDEZ 11 and even that guy who didn't get to put on a regulation batting helmet until late in camp all appeared thrilled beyond belief. For one stray afternoon in September, I'm sure they were.

The reality of being a Mets fan toes the rubber in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

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