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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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Sick of the Braves Yet?

Every year it seems we play one team far more often than we play anybody else. Or maybe every week it seems that way. Four games in San Diego felt like an eternity, and it was long ago proven the Padres don’t actually exist. Either way, WTF’s with having to play the Braves every five minutes in 2013?

This afternoon will mark the 14th time the Mets will have thrown down against the Braves over their last 81 contests. That’s more than one of every four six games in a half-season of baseball dedicated to taking on a single opponent. That’s roughly one Braves game per week if one chose to apportion them as such.

Which I don’t. I see the Braves coming and going. Suspended games. Makeup games. Walkoff games. Games in which horrific injuries are sustained, games in which first wins are gained, games in which first hits are obtained. And all the while, Braves, Braves and more Braves.

Enough already with the Braves.

Not enough already with beating the Braves, which the Mets somehow held on to do Tuesday night behind Zack Wheeler starting; Scott Rice, Gonzalez Germen and LaTroy Hawkins relieving; Eric Young and Daniel Murphy running; Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis (!) slugging; and Travis d’Arnaud naud longer going 0-for-evah. Naud complaints there. If the Mets could be said to have some contender’s number, you might say 25 guys in Flushing are carrying around a scrap of paper that has scribbled upon it a 404 area code. While the Braves have blazed to an insurmountable first-place lead, they are saddled with a losing — 7-8 — record against our intermittently scrappy ’tropolitans. You might go as far to say that the one team Atlanta wouldn’t want any part of in October would be the Mets if the stars were to align, an apocalypse were to overcome the planet, Shawon Dunston were to be activated and Wheeler could take the ball in Games One, Four and Seven.

You might, even if it would be a stretch worthy of Willie McCovey, but I like having something to feel good about amid the Braves’ march to their first National League East title in eight years, which, incidentally, looms more like their 15th divisional crown in 23 seasons. Yeah, that sounds more accurate. Has a team that’s failed to finish first for seven consecutive seasons ever seemed less deserving of “finally” getting back on top?

If you had no dog in the fight, you could imagine generating empathetic cheers for, say, the Cubs when they made their first postseason in 39 years (though it was a disgusting episode to us, since we were the ones they leapt over to do so in 1984). You could think in 1995, hey, the Yankees haven’t been to the playoffs in 14 years, there are a lot of fans who’ve hung in there with some bad teams, good for them (I didn’t think that, mind you; those are dangerous thoughts, as 1996 would prove). Completely devoid of attachments, you could look at the 2007 Phillies, out of the money every season since 1993 and…we’re not gonna do that, but you know what I mean.

But the Braves? Let them go wander in the desert for another generation. The Braves don’t know how to suffer. Their N.L. East dynasty crumbled after 2005 and they were perfectly fine by 2010. They collapsed in a heap worthy of the 1964 Phillies (and 2007 Mets) in 2011 and were back on their feet, angst-free, in 2012. They lost the first-ever Wild Card Game amid one of the most controversial postseason calls in recent memory and they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and got on with their business. In the face of the alleged Washington Nationals behemoth, they raced out of the gate this year to a 12-1 start. Their high-priced sibling outfielders fizzled? They played indifferent ball for three months? They saw their inspirational ace go down in look-away pain? Their stone-handed second baseman used his personal days to go in for Lasik surgery? They had to replace their Hall of Fame third baseman?

It doesn’t at all matter. They’re the Borg or the Terminator or whatever science fiction thing that is grim and unrelenting, at least until the leaves start to change colors. Somebody always finds their number come October. But they sure do know how to blot out a summer.

By Friday night, the Braves will have departed Citi Field and Social Media Night will have arrived. Buy a ticket, get a Jay Horwitz bobblehead, find out if the Mets have the Tigers’ number, listen to Third Eye Blind and, mostly, lend a hand to one of the best causes imaginable: Hope Shines for Shannon, which is raising funds to help Mets communications person extraordinaire Shannon Forde in her fight against breast cancer. Please check it out here.

16 comments to Sick of the Braves Yet?

  • Art

    Greg, your math is a wee bit off. 14 of 81 is hardly 1 of 4, but I get your point.

    • Hey, you’re right. I was suckered in by multiplying 81 X 2 for a full season, thought of 28 and applied it to 100 instead of 162. I’m apparently sick of arithmetic. Will fix.

      Thanks.

  • Kevin From Flushing

    I honestly can’t imagine anyone saying “finally” to another Braves Division Title; but even if they did, that’s nothing compared to the “finally”s the baseball world suffered in 2009.

  • The Braves had a nice “wilderness” run from 1970-1990, with a brief jaunt to the oasis in 1982. Let’s hope this year is 1982…

    • Braves need to return to the geographically absurd but spiritually correct National League West. And bring back Dale Murphy.

      • Kevin From Flushing

        Remember when MLB wanted to scrap the NL and AL and switch to East vs West? Think about all the fun-filled years we could have had since then!

        • Yeah, I do remember that. Interleague was supposed to be the first step toward that. I don’t know if it was abandoned or just forgotten (or pushed onto the same committee that’s busy solving the A’s stadium problem). I shudder at the thought of what Selig wanted to do, but we seem to be heading in a lighter version of that with the daily Intermatchup and the seeping in of the DH.

          When I saw the lineup on Monday for the Twins game, I did a doubletake — “we have a DH today?” I fear it will not seem so jarring soon.

  • metsfaninparadise

    In regard to the Phillies–they are our “ancestral enemies,” division-mates since ’69 and my personal nemeses, as I spent the late 70’s smack in the middle of their territory right when they were the best they’ve ever been and the Mets were in the post-Midnight-Massacre doldrums. The Braves, on the other hand were the sacrificial lambs in the 1st-ever NLCS during our march to destiny. My attitude toward both teams is something similar to the reverse of yours-the Braves are the current bad guys but I will never, never, never, consider they Philthies anything but pure EVIL.

    • Mind you, this is a matter of my being sick of looking at the Braves in 2013, not so much abhorring them more than any other opponent. Most years it feels like we mostly play the Marlins. This year it’s the Braves.

      I’m working on something about rivalries for the near future. Stay tuned.

  • Lenny65

    Let’s hope that out future includes some fun-filled blood rivalries, like the Cubs in ’69, Cards in ’85 and Braves in ’99-’00, because blood rivalries normally indicate there’s planty at stake. Right now it seems that our biggest, most hated rivals are the detestable Marlins, only because a) we always seem to be playing them and b) they’re always beating us in unlikely ways.

  • dgw

    I’ve been sick of the Braves since that Dion James fly ball struck the pigeon…

  • Andee

    For whatever it’s worth, we have twice as many wins against them this year as any other team has against them (8, nobody else has more than 4).

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