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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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Familia In The End

When the Mets’ lineup was first posted in the late afternoon, I stared at it blankly. It might as well have been nine total strangers. I knew they were they players on my team, I knew I had waited for my team to begin playing again, I just didn’t feel any connection to their identities.

When the Mets game got underway, I turned it on and continued to stare blankly. Had it really been so long a time? I felt traces of what I experienced after baseball attempted to emerge from six days of national mourning on September 17, 2001, or when it shook off nearly two months of labor relations rust on August 10, 1981. Who were these guys? What were they doing here? Why would I possibly be interested?

I don’t think it was the five days between the first half and the second half that sapped my sense of fandom. My All-Star break became a little unorthodox, you might say, and though I won’t pretend to have not thought about baseball since Wednesday morning (I certainly threw myself into the 30 For 30 that profiled Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, because no way that would take a horribly depressing turn), the actual baseball season in front of us, the one in which the Mets were in a playoff race, wasn’t registering with me.

The Mets are tied with who?

They’re how many games behind or ahead of what?

Jose Reyes is on the team again?

Juan Lagares is on the team still?

Neil Walker is No. 20?

Keith Hernandez said the first game after the All-Star break was always a little disorienting for him as a player. As a fan who had his head in other matters, I could identify with that sensation. It took me a few innings to feel my way back into the 2016 season. At first, Bartolo Colon was either helping or helping a little too much by plowing through the Phillies as if they were six inches of powdery snow. It was effective for the Mets, but it wasn’t letting me get my bearings. The game was a third over in about 45 minutes. It was almost as if wasn’t actually happening.

Then it became a Mets-Phillies game, which is to say it got bogged down here and there in long at-bats and pitching changes and threats not so quickly quelled. Nevertheless, the Mets never trailed, thanks to Colon (5.2 IP), Lagares (a long solo shot in the third), Walker (a huge if not long three-run job in the sixth), Reyes (surprisingly surehanded at third) and, most of all, that Amazin’ Met bullpen.

Given the mercurial natures of bullpens, I don’t know how often I’ll get to say something like that, so we’d better luxuriate in their excellence while we can.

Due respect to Hansel Robles (who rescued Colon), Jerry Blevins (who LOOGY’d for a batter) and Addison Reed (who cleaned up the seventh and inoculated the eighth), here’s to Jeurys Familia and the way he locked down the ninth inning…let’s make that the way he locks down the ninth inning, as in he does it all the time.

I wanted Familia to pitch in the All-Star Game because I wanted all of America (or the tiny sliver that tunes in to what used to be a galvanizing event) to witness Jeurys doing his thing at his peak. I wanted Joe Buck and John Smoltz to read his statistics, lavish him with praise, explain the Mets wouldn’t have gotten where they did without him in 2015 and wouldn’t have a chance to the same in 2016 without him. I wanted to hear a few notes of Don Omar’s “Danza Kuduro,” a.k.a. the song Jeurys trots in from the bullpen to before it segues into “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz.

I didn’t get to do that on Tuesday night. That was a shame in the moment, but the moment moved on to Citizens Bank Park and a game that counted and a reliever we count on for good reason: he comes through on the regular. So it was again in this Friday night 5-3 affair, where the Mets were ahead, but not out of range. Familia could have had a bad outing. It has happened, if not lately. Goodness knows closers don’t always slam doors, and the price to pay for the slightest state of ajaredness is overwhelming doubt. We doubt he can be trusted and maybe he doubts he can be trusted. Before you know it, it’s all the closer’s fault for daring to throw Ball One once in a while.

It’s all to Jeurys Familia’s credit that the ninth was never in doubt. He struck out Cody Asche. He grounded out Freddy Galvis. He struck out Cesar Hernandez. He had his trademark sinker fully functioning and he never looked anything but in total command of the situation. Fourteen pitches, ten strikes, good night, Philadelphia. Maybe America can see him do this again in a few months. Until then, we’ll keep watching.


Thank you to everyone who passed along such kind thoughts in the wake of my father’s passing. Your words of empathy and encouragement meant and continue to mean a great deal to me and my family.

8 comments to Familia In The End

  • Dennis

    A Familia save in a game that counts certainly makes me forget all abut the All Star non appearance. Nice to see them start off the 2nd half with a win.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Yeah, Reed and Familia sure got bombed because they did not get their “work in” in a blowout a day or two ago to get the rust off.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Great way to come out of the break. Reyes looking quick and athletic over at 3rd and showing he’s still got a great arm. Bullpen continuing to be just phenomenal making one wonder why there has been any griping about their handling. I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Granderson continuing his strong play since returning from injury, and a quick glance at his numbers show he’s actually not that far off last year’s heroic, All star caliber season.


  • Dave

    My goodness, he does have what they like to call “nasty” or “filthy” stuff. Or as this really smart, pithy guy said on Twitter last night, “I love facing Familia,” said no batter ever. OK, that was me who said that on Twitter last night. But still, amirite?

  • eric1973

    My GF and I were in Paris during the attacks last NOV13, and we were in Nice — and still are — during the Nice attack 2 days ago. Just 5 minutes away.

    But I still care about this!

    ‘Cause that’s how we roll!


  • Paul from Brooklyn

    We are sorry for your loss Greg.All the best to the family.

  • open the gates

    Just found out about your father’s passing. So sorry for your loss.