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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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Worse Every Time

Sometimes, to steal a line from my other dorky pursuit, you have a bad feeling about this.

I wasn’t particularly confident in the outcome of Saturday’s Mets-Brewers tilt before it started: in addition to the relentless winnowing of key pieces, the once-vaunted starting pitching has suddenly turned not just ordinary but considerably less than that.

But that bad feeling took on a more-personal dimension. I was returning a rental car to its proper abode after a day of navigating a sodden, bottom-of-the-aquarium New Jersey when I realized that the game wasn’t beginning in an hour or so, but had started half an hour earlier. MLB At Bat then decided to punish me for my negligence by refusing to let me listen, offering up AUTHORIZING instead of Howie and Josh from the Uecker seats in Milwaukee. And when I did get on station for the third inning, confronted with a Brewers catcher who’d transformed into a Hostess Sno-Ball … white catcher’s gear washed with Reds uniforms? witch’s spell? oh that’s right, Mother’s Day … I immediately realized that I was not just tired but exhausted.

Bland game, far away, exhaustion … it didn’t take a savant’s season preview to figure out what would happen next.

The first time I nodded off, the bases were loaded and Robert Gsellman was trying to keep Hernan Perez from erasing the Mets’ skinny 3-2 lead. That was an important moment, but ZZZZZZZ.

When I returned to consciousness, the Mets were batting and it was 4-2 for the Good Guys Wearing Pink.

More sanguine about things, I lowered my defenses, which was followed by lowered eyelids … and eventually by befuddled blinking at the TV and trying to process what the score had become.

Eventually I figured out it was 10-4 Brewers and Jose Reyes was in center field. That required a systems check to verify that this was real and not an odd turn in dreamland. Nope, it was all too real. Discouraged now, I dropped off again, woke up and it was 11-4.

Things were trending in an adverse direction.

I sawed logs through Rafael Montero‘s perfect inning — don’t miss those, they’re collectors’ items — and of course woke up in time for the less-than-inspiring top of the ninth.

Normally I feel cheated when I snooze through a game — baseball is the reward I look forward to while doing non-baseball things — but this was definitely a missable one.

Still, somehow the Mets’ wan performance and defeat left me philosophical.

You never know, as the philosophers say, but it’s beginning to look like it might not be our year. Which would be … OK.

For one thing, we’re not the New York franchise that treats titles as an expectation and waits impatiently to yell at management if they’re not handed out. For another, baseball is always a pleasure and there are Mets questions I’d be eager to see answered — questions that could have definite import for next season.

What can Michael Conforto do if allowed to play everyday regardless of matchups? What might Travis d’Arnaud accomplish if health and luck ever let him stay for more than a cameo? Can Matt Harvey figure out how to navigate the uncertainties of diminished velocity and earlier bedtimes? Is Amed Rosario ready to play shortstop in the big leagues? Is Dom Smith ready to do the same at first? Might it be wise to try and jump-start the future by letting both those guys start their varsity lessons now instead of later?

Prognosticators like to talk about teams’ windows for regularly racking up postseason berths, and it may look like vandals have thrown rocks through the Mets’. But while I’m regarding my October calendar as clear, I don’t see why 2018 couldn’t be a pretty interesting season. The pitching depth is still there, at least on paper: 2017’s woes may look like hiccups if lats heal, missing ribs are sorted and walks diminish. Meanwhile, the team has some actual young offensive talent to array around Yoenis Cespedes.

Should none of that pan out? Well, it’ll still be baseball and baseball’s still wonderful most of the time.

And if it’s not, you can always close your eyes.

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