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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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You Are Now Approaching This Season

The Florida Marlins remain no help whatsoever. By not having announced a start time for their Opening Day hosting of the New York Mets at Name Subject To Change Stadium, they did not allow us to calculate precisely when the Baseball Equinox would be upon us. That’s something we look forward to figuring out every winter, yet the Marlins’ perpetual languor robbed us of that small pleasure, much as their latent, late-September competitiveness robbed us of larger pleasures in advance of previous winters. However, because we do know the first game of 2011 will be April 1 — and because the final game of 2010 definitely took place on October 3 — we can say with authority that even though we don’t know when it occurred exactly, we have indeed drifted past the Baseball Equinox, that space on the calendar when we are closer to next season than last season. The blessed event happened sometime yesterday afternoon.

Tangibly speaking, then, Happy New Year.

Of course we’ve been alternately hurtling and schlepping toward the 2011 campaign’s gravitational pull since the morning of October 4, at whichever instant word seeped that the unfortunately linked tenures of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel belonged completely in the past tense. From there, everything became about looking ahead. Who’ll be the next general manager? Who will he choose as manager? Those overarching questions have long been answered — and, I might add, with more definitiveness than the Marlins have offered regarding the moment Josh Johnson next peers in toward the general direction of Jose Reyes’s strike zone.

Far less certain is what we can expect from the first team Sandy Alderson organizes and Terry Collins helms. Seems we’re skipping the part that includes enticing new acquisitions, which is where the hurtling slows into schlepping and I have to rub two sticks together to maintain a spark of anything more than perfunctory excitement over the emergence of the upcoming season. Yes, Alderson’s the man with a plan; and the plan, in its broadest, faintest strokes, is implicitly contingent on decrappifying the 40-man roster of its most onerous commitments; and perhaps as soon as the recording of the final out of September 28 — Closing Day 2011 — we will be hurtling in earnest toward quantifiably brighter years than the last couple we’ve lived through.

This year (like all years before they begin) is an unknown quantity, though relying on the same basic 79-83 bunch to exceed .500 seems a surefire prescription for disappointment. On January 2, disappointing baseball beats none at all, but once the euphoria attached to Opening Day on April 1 and the Home Opener on April 8 dissipates, all we can do is watch and see. We’ll watch and see if a full year of a healed Carlos Beltran compensates for the several months we’ll likely be missing Johan Santana; if Jason Bay’s clear head makes up for a bullpen quietly cleared of dependable lefthanders; if a developing Josh Thole generates more impact than a lingering Luis Castillo depletes energy; if there’s anything at all to be found within a returning Daniel Murphy or an arriving Chin-lung Hu.

St. Lucie beckons soon enough. Not that Spring Training will tell us anything provable, but at least it will distract us for a few weeks. After that, there’s the actual season, when we stand an excellent chance of being pleasantly surprised. Or dourly dismayed. Or something in between.

Which sounds not altogether unlike 2010, but we don’t know that yet. We don’t know anything at all about that which won’t do us the courtesy of transpiring before it’s damn well ready to get rolling. Perhaps the new GM really does know more about our Met future than we can possibly grasp, and if that doesn’t make 2011 a certifiably happier year in the standings, I suppose it could signal 2012 as truly worthy of our salivation. Still, I don’t want to write off the year that just got here just so we can move on to the next. Thirty-two hours into 2011 and eighty-nine days from its first pitch, it’s immensely unsatisfying to think in those terms.

I used to get psyched about the approach of a new season. Lately I just brace for it. Maybe that will change between now and April 1. Maybe the Marlins will tell us what time we need to tune in before then. Once we are so informed, I’m going to watch and see.

That much I do know.

8 comments to You Are Now Approaching This Season

  • Inside Pitcher

    Happy New Year!

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    Well this should warm everybody up and make the season seem a little closer.

    41 days till Pictchers and Catchers report.

    Going down to PSl on the 15th when tickets go on sale.

    Boy this suree seems like the longest off season yet and on top of that we have to almost feel the 2011 season is a write off!!!

  • Lenny65

    Maybe this season they’ll actually use spring training to weed out the weak links, unlike last season when they went north with a roster loaded with useless dead weight that wasn’t fully expunged until half the season was nearly gone.

  • Joe D.

    Lenny,

    If we weeded out the weak links during spring training we wouldn’t have enough players to fill the 25 man roster.

    And how can we not get excited after Sandy Alderson acquired Chin Hu (whose lifetime batting average is 14 points lower than Ruben Tejada’s) and didn’t attempt resigning Feliciano,Takahashi and Maine? By my count, we have just two quality starters for opening day in Pelfrey and Dickey and a possible third if Perez makes it back to at least the mediocrity level. Takahashi wanted to be a starter and Alderson wasn’t planning on keeping Maine….. and our bullpen wasn’t exactly stacked before Takahshi and Feliciano were told their services were no longer required…. Seems Sandy is fitting in already!

    • March'62

      Oh Joe. Don’t be so glass-half-M.Donald. Having lived thru the de-crappification of the Knicks in recent years, this effort won’t be as trying as that. Teams actually trade for expiring contracts so some improvement can happen during this season as well as afterward. And as for our potential new second baseman, how can you not love the fun we can have this season with: What is the name of our second baseman? No, Hu is the name of our second baseman. Okay, so maybe we will need a bit more than that.

      • Joe D.

        “Hu’s the name of our second baseman? No Hu’s the name of our first baseman”.

        ….. well, I don’t give a darn – oh, he’s our shortstop that sometimes plays with that same exact abandon!

        Having lived through several regimes of inept ownership, I hope I’m wrong with my trepedition, however, I honestly have little faith in the Wilpons not continuing to throwing a monkey wrench into the work performed by the rest of the front office. For example, when asked about Citi Field and how it deprives the Mets of their potential power, Alderson simply answered that his hitters had to learn how to hit home runs in their home park, which is ludicrous. And saying his hands were tied as far as spending this year, well, for the second most lucrative team to take that stand shows little interest for investment (if he said the Mets were going to be more prudent with their signings due to the free agent market being lean this off-season I would have felt differently).

        We therefore could see the resurrection of Bing Devine in one of two ways. In 1967 (his only year as G.M.) the Mets went backwards, returning to the cellar and losing 101 games while a total 54 players wore the uniform at one time or another that year (causing countless numbers of revised yearbooks to be printed). But at the same time Bing was gathering the future talent that put together the Miracle of two seasons later.

        It all depends upon Jeff trusting Alderson to spend his money wisely and not throwing any monkey wrenches into his work.

        • March'62

          Hu’s our second baseman? Naturally. Naturally’s our second baseman? No, Hu.

          I think showing prudency in a rather shallow F.A. pool will earn some Wilpon trust. So when the time comes for Sandy to say that trading for Pitcher Tomorrow or Outfielder Why will help us out, he will be free to do so.