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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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Riding Off Into the Sunrise

Terry Collins said the other day that “fun time” is over. I hate to disagree with the manager of the defending National League champions, but I’d say fun time is just getting started.

Collins was referring to the Yoenis Cespedes Off-Hours Charismatic Carnival, which, to be fair, was loads of fun. More fun than:

• a barrel of profiles of longshot candidates to be the last man out of the bullpen;

• endless speculation over how many games the stoic, stenosisic Captain might play;

• another round of thoughts from Neil Walker regarding how different New York might be from Pittsburgh;

• and whatever else would have filled our field of vision once the adrenaline rush of confirming New York Mets baseball players were going about their business in Port St. Lucie, Florida, inevitably wore off.

Yoenis made the deadliest week on the baseball calendar come alive (save for a pig who used to be alive). There were the sweet, sweet rides that gave conspicuous consumption a good name. There was the equine entrance that proved Noah Syndergaard makes for a more comfortable sidekick than Chris Christie. There was that bit Carnac came back to deliver with Ed McMahon.

“Trains and boats and planes.”
“Trains and boats and planes.”
“Name the only three ways Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t come to camp in the last week.”
“HIYO!”

Hi Yo, indeed. He was an international man of mystery behind the wheel. He was a rootin’, tootin’ sight up on his high horse. He was a Western-style presence when he went whole hog. Oh, the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets — where did they go?

Well, we know the butcher went to meet Yoenis’s not-so-little piggy, who cost our Most Visible Player seven-grand, or what probably accumulates on the many passenger seats of the Yoenis fleet. At that rate, I was hoping Piggy would trot out alongside Ces before the Home Opener, wearing a matching No. 52 and four or five neon-green sleeves (including one for the tail). Instead, he’s slated to be the guest of honor at a future roast. Somewhere Foster Brooks is clearing his throat and, perhaps, his glass.

Will the pig become links by breakfast tomorrow? Will the player be on the links by nightfall? (He likes to golf, you know.) These were the questions that preoccupied us when there was nothing else to think about. The word spread of Yoenis the Kid, and for that we were grateful. Now it’s vaya con dios vaquero, hello five-tool superstar. You and your pals can go commit some baseball now.

Real Fun Time 1.0 commenced at 1:05 Thursday afternoon, and it will be in effect until the required system upgrade kicks in on April 3. The New York Mets were on the air on WOR, featuring some guys we’ve all heard of, some other guys we’ll hardly hear of again. The first voice of spring we actually needed to hear from was Josh Lewin’s. He welcomed us to baseball, choosing to channel word of Terry’s down-to-business declaration through Richard Jenkins’s exasperated Dr. Robert Doback in Step Brothers, because that’s how Josh rolls. “Rumpus time,” Lewin aptly quoted, “is over.”

Last week, there was so much room for activities. From this week forward, there’s only one activity worth our attention. Play ball.

7 comments to Riding Off Into the Sunrise

  • Dave

    Hopefully Yo is now prepared to start putting on even more impressive shows with his bat, arm, glove and legs than he has so far with his cars, horses and baby back ribs. He’s established himself as the Mets’ most conspicuous consumer, now it’s time to establish himself as a legitimate year long MVP candidate.

  • Gianni Privacio

    Personally finding this year’s spring antics hilarious. Let’s not underestimate the effect Cespedes and, to a smaller degree, Syndergaard choosing to create such outsized characters is having: perhaps allowing the rest of the team to maintain a lower profile and concentrate on getting ready for the season baseball-wise. In the past it was all Wright as team mouthpiece, he’s now projecting as a role player. Consider that there’s so much going on here that before the contract thingy there was no media huzzah surrounding someone like deGrom.

    Re Dave’s comment, yes hoping Yo can also find a way to lay off the curve in the dirt but even if he reverts to his mean the team is looking like a force. Bite-size review of the offseason I was hoping they would find a way to trade Duda, sign Murph and move him over to first. That idea highly debatable if you consider who Duda will be batting behind and ahead of while being able to lurk in the shadows as he prefers. Is it me or did they get just about everything else right, down to piling up a high volume of intriguing bullpen reclamation projects just in case? Of course let’s keep our fingers crossed re the usual ? but wow do they seem deep at almost every position.

    Today Olney prognosticates Los Mets will not make the postseason. Uh-huh, let the fun begin.

    • Dave

      Gianni, I share your concerns about Duda, but I’m not sure what the alternative is right now. There are better 1Bmen like Goldschmidt and Rizzo who are definitely unavailable, the rebuilding Reds would probably listen to offers for Votto, but I’m sure would expect a package in return starting with Syndergaard or Matz and not including Duda at all. You just hope that opposing pitchers make mistakes and he deposits the ball to the future site of the Wilpon Willets Point Mall often enough that it gives Cespedes some protection.

      And I doubt Olney prognosticated the Mets as the 2015 NL Champions either, so he, like everyone else, can say whatever they want.

      • Dennis

        Votto would be a nice addition, but with the amount he is owed and the length of his contract (over $190 million through 2023!) he will never come here…..even if the Mets were to give up lesser players.

  • Gianni Privacio

    Actually not all that worried about Duda. Again, with attention and pressure spread around and opposing pitchers dealing with Cespedes, Conforto, etc. he just might have a very big year. Hope so, he seems like a good guy and has a humbleness and an odd sense of humor so should fit in well in the clubhouse. I opined here last year that I thought he might get hot and carry them through the playoffs, he didn’t and so the thing that does concern me is the guy who did, the F&F portrayed “Loki”. To me might be the biggest wild card facing us during the regular season – does Murphy win a batting title playing for the competition?

  • Laura Coover

    Yeah, the car and pony show was so much fun and even more hilarious is the effect it is probably having on Royals fans. As in, don’t they know they lost to us? I love that this team is so loose and having fun this loudly. It says volumes about their confidence, without the quotes destined for rivals’ bulletin boards. I mean, when has ST ever been this glorious? When have we had a player this flashy and cool? And Noah’s sense of comedic timing is impeccable! First his tweet with a trash can as his lunchbox and now horses. Classic. Oh and I agree with Gianna, definitely takes pressure off the more worrisome aspects and allows under the radar work to evolve. However, I am worried about Murph against us, too. But let the real fun begin! Can’t wait for Opening Day. #unfinishedbusiness

    • Dennis

      While it’s a nice thought, I have a feeling that Royals fan aren’t paying attention and really don’t care about what’s going on during Mets spring training.