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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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Follow the Sun

Back in the day, the Mets confined most of their April home games to afternoons. The thinking went something like this: it gets cold here at night. You might even say it gets bitter.

Thursday the Mets went back to the day, a scheduling decision we “20,561” on hand (an accurate figure if you count inner selves) couldn’t help but appreciate. The newly installed temperature readout on the scoreboard indicated we were blessed by as many as 63 degrees. Seventy-two hours after shivering my Schatzeder off, I spent several innings in shirtsleeves.

The warmth represented an outstanding antidote to what I was watching. The Mets were about as bad as they were the night before, but this presentation felt better, not bitter. You could get mad at them for losing 8-2 and starting the season 0-3…but it was sunny and 63, and the only reason you got to bask in those conditions for a few hours was the Mets were foresightful enough to plant a baseball game in the broadest of daylight.

So that part was good.

Said baseball game, however, peaked early and not very often. The friendly sun did a number on Denard Span in the first inning, serving to set up two Met runs. Zack Wheeler’s hard stuff as viewed from spectacular Delta Club seats procured by dear friend Sharon Chapman (and enhanced by her and John “Metstradamus” Coppinger’s presence) held its own against a Nationals lineup that, from a Citi Field demon perspective, seems to be constructed of nine Troy Tulowitzkis. But Zack never quite had command and Ryan Zimmerman refused to retire, which really put a crimp in the part of the day that wasn’t weather or eating or conversation. Wheeler threw 114 pitches in six innings.

The bullpen, of course, threw too many if it threw even one. Tough to pin the third act in this week’s Trilogy of Trounce squarely on our relief remainders, however, since the Mets effectively held their fire against emergency starter Tanner Roark. It was good to see Curtis Granderson’s hellacious swings convert a couple of strikes into doubles and welcome Daniel Murphy back from his unintentional inflammation of the Troglodytic set, but the club’s final eight inning-bottoms encompassed precisely four hits, three walks, no runs and zero fight.

Nothing clicked. Nothing’s clicked since Bobby Parnell didn’t get a borderline call on Monday. Nothing except for Juan Lagares is a positive revelation…Juan and the weather.

Maybe I should be as prickly about losing Thursday afternoon as I was Wednesday night. I wasn’t at the game Wednesday night but I could taste the bile through the TV. It’s hard to watch these walking-dead Mets stumble around in the dark and not generate bitterness toward them. But you get a sweet afternoon like Thursday, you don’t get that riled up over getting swept. Like the players you’re close enough to sense a vibe from (these were really good seats), you just accept it. You say, ehh, the Nationals are deeply talented, we have a bizarrely unbalanced roster, somebody goes on the DL practically every day, management never did get around to improving the bullpen, and you forget to be disgusted. One Nationals sweep blends into another. Last September becomes this April. The hapless home start of 2011 — when the incumbent brain trust was new so it was granted the first in its endless series of passes and mulligans — comes back around to be reincarnated in 2014. You are cognizant of all that won’t click but you don’t let it do an Anthony Rendon on your psyche, which is to say you don’t let it get the best of you.

Keep telling yourself it’s only three games even if you’ve been subject to hundreds and hundreds like these over the past five seasons. Keep telling yourself something special is under construction despite all the same old debris you see blowing around. Better yet, take off your jacket and feel the sun on your arms.

It’s the brightest thing going in Flushing these days.

11 comments to Follow the Sun

  • Scott M.

    It’s only three games…It’s only three games…It’s only three games…

  • Dave

    As a Mets/Jets fan, the joke in my house is how early and often I moan “at least I have football season to look forward to” or vice versa, knowing one is usually as bad as the other. This year it only took 2 games.

  • K. Lastima

    This team can’t even aspire to the set of steak knives.

  • Inside Pitcher

    It was a great day with great company, despite the suckitude on the field. Thanks for making it a brighter day!

  • March'62

    The weather IS getting better. I can’t wait for the season to start.

  • The “Family Guy” joke has come true!

    Seriously, if I get mad at anybody, it should be myself for being suckered in every year, for supporting this dreck (I DID buy a 10-pack, after all), for Believing.

    I can also get mad at some truly STOOOOOPID hitting: bottom 4th, Mets still ahead. Lagares smacks a leadoff double. d’Arnaud works out a 6-pitch walk. Tejada — the 8th place hitter, batting in front of the pitcher, mind you — swings at the FIRST FRIKKIN PITCH and skies out to right. Wheeler can’t get the bunt down and Ks. Eric Young, Jr., with some big RBI on the table, swings at the FIRST FRIKKIN PITCH and dribbles out to 2nd.

    DC took the lead in the top of the 5th. Of course.

    Bad baseball, I can take. DUMB baseball makes me insane…

  • I was glad to see Granderson hitting as well. Wheeler was a pleasant surprise, and Lagares has been unbelievable in the first three games – does he know how not to give 100%?

    Only 90 wins to go….

    • K. Lastima

      “. . . and Lagares has been unbelievable in the first three games – does he know how not to give 100%?”

      Not yet, but if he sticks with this franchise long enough, he’ll surely learn

  • Dave

    Mets should have followed the sun. It is already November football weather hours before sunset, so it’ll be absolutely freezing by the time of the 2014 debut of a pitcher who is slightly more fragile than 3000 year old Egyptian papyrus. Those of us a certain age still remember Tim Leary’s frostbitten start in Chicago.

  • Lenny65

    It’s like when you drive by some weed-covered lot that has a big “coming soon!” sign on it but there’s never any sign of actual construction going on. Yeah, we have all this pitching in the minors but when it comes to pitching you never have enough until you do and right now, we do not. “Wait til next year” is all well and good but you gotta show us SOME signs of progress in the interim and Lucas Duda being granted the 1B job for the time being isn’t “progress”. I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends.

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