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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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It Will Do For Now

I’m a strict constructionist when it comes to the two seasons: baseball and off. If it’s not baseball season, then something’s off. It’s why, when I calculate the Baseball Equinox every December, the end point I plot for our long winter’s journey across the sunless sky is the first pitch of the first game of the regular season. That’s when we’re fully ensconced where we’re supposed to be. Spring Training is part oasis, part mirage along the way. It’s a great place to visit, but it’s not where we’re meant to live.

But it will do for now.

New York and its neighboring precincts have been beaten up by the winter like Zack Wheeler was beaten up by Nationals hitters last year. Yesterday’s storm may have been the worst of the weekly punishings, but only because it was the most recent one. Who can remember anymore which batch of snow, ice, freezing rain, sleet, freezing ice snow or whatever was worst? Yet we are somehow plucky enough to have collectively decided — based partly on the calendar, partly on impatience — that this last episode was it. The weather’s not going to suck this much anymore this March.

Likewise, we as Mets fans have decided, as if the call is ours to make, that this is the year the Mets stop sucking. We may be right; we may be crazy. Doesn’t matter. The 162 games that begin a month from now will tell that tale, same as atmospheric conditions will opt to assault our roadways, windshields and sanity without our input if they feel like it.

In the meantime, this part of the journey, the Spring Training, hikes up its interest rate this afternoon. My rate of interest is way up. Howie Rose on the radio. Gary Cohen on television. Matt Harvey on the mound. None of it counts except for potentially reassuring us that Tommy John doesn’t deter a career that was previously evoking Tom Seaver. For all the sweet, sweet pitching the Mets are lining up, Harvey is Harvey and everybody else — until further notice — is everybody else.

We’ve been here before. Recently, in fact. We salivated to watch Jose Reyes get his legs going in February 2010 after 126 games of absence in 2009. Our hearts pounded to see Johan Santana reappear in March 2012 after he disappeared for the entirety of 2011. They came back, but not then. Those Grapefruit League brushes with some semblance of competition were not the real thing. It was the part that got us to the real thing. You don’t need to consult with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell to know ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby. Matt Harvey on the mound at Whatever It’s Called This Week Park in sunny Florida against the Tigers definitely isn’t that.

But it will do for now.

It was kind of a sleepy spring when the Mets assembled. Fifty-two of the 57 players in camp were on hand last year. Hard to derive novelty from so much familiarity. Then, on Tuesday, it was a can of silly spring for a couple of hours, with rookie lunches being revoked and veteran protocol being invoked. A couple of hours later, after the most pointless exercise March has to offer — the dreaded Intrasquad Game (a contest appropriately bereft of scoring) — Met spring took a vexing detour when viewed from a human standpoint. It was something to ponder and probably deserves a little more thought.

Then on Wednesday, some Mets played some Braves somewhere and Wayne Randazzo introduced himself to Josh Lewin and the rest of us over 710 WOR and it was better than Tuesday, better than all the months of nothingness that bring us to spring. Thursday, it snowed here, but the Mets and their nemeses the Nationals were somewhere else that it wasn’t snowing and old buddies Josh and Wayne were on my radio again, at least until I had to go downstairs and shovel the car out, a skill at which I have become disgustingly practiced.

Today? Port St. Lucie, the best dateline one can hope for this time of year. There’s TV and there’s radio and there’s the “A” teams behind their mics and there’s the likely Opening Day lineup in the field and there’s the pitcher who might not get the ball on April 6 but we know that’s a technicality, because he’s Matt Harvey and we’re Mets fans and this is may not be what we’ve been waiting for, but, oh yes, it will do for now.

6 comments to It Will Do For Now

  • Dave

    It won’t just do for now, it does just fine. After any long winter of discontent (which, as a Jets fan, starts even before we’re snowed in), I love this first telecast, even if filled with guys wearing #78 who might not even start 2015 in Vegas. When you go out for a late dinner, the appetizer tastes good and makes a dent in your hunger even if it’s not the entree.

    LGM and welcome back the familiar voices too.

  • Lenny65

    Man, seeing #33 again just warms my (frozen ice-encased) heart. He looks ferocious already, boy has he been missed. And is hearing GK&R again the cure for the winter blues or what? Ya gotta believe!

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    Baseball…78 degrees…cold beer…hot chicks…if this will do for now…I’ll take it!

  • Daniel Hall

    I’m from Germany, we barely had a winter here, but boy, has my baseball heart been an icy desert until it was graciously thawed today at 1pm Eastern. Harvey was no less amazin’ than hoped for. The rest of the squad … meh-eh …

  • EMW

    I was there at opening day for Spring Training yesterday. It may not count in the record books, but it does count for the fans. Seeing Matt Harvey in person as the starter was a real treat, as was seeing our starting lineup, even if only for a few innings. It is also fun seeing the new guys in action and the prospects too. The stadium was sold out (about 7500 tickets) and a good time was had by all. We still wanted our team to win (and they did), and it mattered to us. ]

    Baseball is pure entertainment, and it only has as much meaning as one chooses to give it. One can choose to enjoy Spring Training, or make the decision to miss out on a month of baseball. It may not show well on TV, but it is exciting in person, especially for those of us that cannot make it to Flushing for a “real” game.

  • […] that one was put in the books a while ago. The others, per our implicit understanding that March is fleetingly fun but increasingly pointless, go into no books unless something goes terribly wrong. You can’t […]