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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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Spring It On

Fall was when the leaves fell and you had to go back to school.
Winter was when it was cold and snowy and you were still in school.
Spring was when it got warm again and you were still in school.
Summer was hot and sunny and lasted about fifteen minutes.
—Brendan C. Boyd and Fred Harris, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book

Spring began nearly a week ago. It was 26 degrees this morning anyway. We convince ourselves that Pitchers & Catchers means spring. But then it’s still as likely to be 26 degrees as it is anything else. We ratchet up our excitement incrementally when position players report; when full-squad workouts commence; when Sandy Koufax alights from the heavens and lays his immortal left paw on this year’s southpaw reclamation project; when an intrasquad scrimmage ensues; when the inevitable pros vs. college boys score filters northward; and when, at last, the Mets play another major league team in a game that counts for absolutely nothing.

And it’s still 26 degrees. The Mets play the Marlins. They play the Nationals. They play the Braves. They play the Cardinals. They mix in a few other teams just to say they have, but mostly they play the Marlins and the Nationals, the Braves and the Cardinals. The Mets who we’re sure will be Mets play for two innings, three innings, five innings at most. By the sixth inning, No. 79 is pitching and No. 97 is around in right. We sort of pay attention to what’s going on but we sort of don’t, because we know No. 79 and No. 97 will probably never have names on their backs where we can see them.

And it’s still 26 degrees. The regulars play longer. There are fewer higher numbers. There are fewer bodies in general. The feature stories about what the old vet did to get in shape over the winter and how the young phenom plans to prove he was no fluke fade. Now everything is about Getting Ready and Getting This Over and paring down the roster that once brimmed with possibilities but is now coming into focus. Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two spots are set. Now it’s just a matter of who’s that eleventh or twelfth pitcher; who’s that extra infielder who can maybe fill in in left; who’s got an option; who’s got an out; who’s fully healthy; and who, heaven forbid, needs to start the season on the DL.

And it’s still 26 degrees.

Spring Training began more than a month before spring. Spring has been actual spring for nearly a week but you couldn’t tell from stepping outside. It couldn’t be staler, the whole thing. Yet you also have this: In less than a week — six days! — the kabuki is over. The Mets will still be playing the Marlins, except there will be no Digital Domain and you won’t hear of anyone named Roger Dean. You don’t know what the stadium will be called by the time you tune in, but the Mets will be playing at the actual home of the Florida Marlins. And it will count. They’ll play on Friday night and again on Saturday night and then on Sunday afternoon. They’ll all count. Come the following Tuesday, the Mets will be in Philadelphia, which usually sounds gruesome but right now sounds glorious. Three games there and then it’s the Mets’ turn to be home, first of 81 times.

It’s coming. It really is. It’s still 26 degrees, but it won’t be forever.

13 comments to Spring It On

  • FLorida Met Fan Rich

    The question is do any of the fans know the season is ready to start?

    7,0000 season ticket and 600,000 total tickets makes for 7,407 fannies in seats for games on average. Thats before no shoews and walk ups!

    What time does the game start?…”When can you get here!”

    That is horrible! Is this true? Is there a public boycott going on?

  • srt

    It’s been a long, cold winter here in NJ, made worse by the ‘woe is the Mets’ type stories the media keeps putting out there over and over with just a new word mixed in here and there.

    New FO and manager, organizational shake-up, Perez and Castillo gone, smart off season signings, warm weather around the corner. What’s not to look forward to? Oh yeah, and did I mention the Phillies showing their age?

    Opening Day….I can’t wait.

    LGM!

  • Inside Pitcher

    I’m ready for the season – Let’s Go!

  • Will in Central NJ

    26 Degrees? All the more reason to wear the orange and blue ski cap, orange and blue Mets Starter-brand hooded parka, and royal blue gloves. That’s the way to stay warm and make a statement about loyalty.

  • FLorida Met Fan Rich

    Greg: Not really good for the long term health of the team, was what I meant.

    I really don’t think that you actually want to go to games with no crowds?…Do you?

  • Jeff from Delaware

    “Let the Mets earn back the crowds.” Et cetera… man, I like that! At least this year, there’s no sense of entitlement.

    Good, hard baseball is all I want from my Mets, whether by radio, TV or (if I hit the lottery,) a freakin’ game in person at Citi Field.

    No matter what: Let’s Go Mets!

  • Get ready for an exciting year.I’m really excited because of the youth of the team. With a new manager, and finally the release of Castillo and Perez the Mets are a new team!

  • BlackCountryMet

    Am buzzing, as I am at start of every season. Jeff from Delaware is spot on

    LETS GO METS

  • Rob D.

    Just lined up my Opening Day tix…..

  • dak442

    I’m going to 3 of the first 8 home games. An incurable optimist!

    LGM!!

  • Rodney

    To get fans back, the Mets just need to bring back Shea-like prices. I love my Mets but the tickets prices are crazy.