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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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Back in the second game of the season, the Mets faced the Nats in D.C. behind Max Scherzer, who was making his debut in orange and blue. (Scherzer followed Tylor Megill, the obvious pick for Opening Day starter.) It didn’t go well for Nats starter Josiah Gray, who was driven from the mound in the fifth and relieved by Steve Cishek — whom I’ll always think of as a Marlin, but that’s another post.

With the Mets up 4-3, Cishek faced Francisco Lindor, who tried to bunt and took a ball to the helmet. Benches emptied, with an irate Buck Showalter front and center. Lindor was shaken but unhurt, Cishek shaken but ejected, and an inning later the Mets got loose in the Nats’ bullpen, turning a 4-3 squeaker into a some-muss, some-fuss 7-3 win.

What a relatively little difference four months makes. (OK, three months and three weeks. Basically four months, Steve.) This time it was Patrick Corbin facing Scherzer, but once again the Nats starter got racked up early, Scherzer proved an odd mix of dominant and ragged, and the game reached the point where the Mets had a 4-3 lead and Lindor was facing Cishek.

(No really, it did. I mean, of course it did. Because baseball.)

This time, Lindor didn’t get hit by Cishek– that honor went to Starling Marte, with the accompanying Showalter glower. But Cishek’s first fastball to Lindor was head high and in — a moment Lindor admitted after the game scared him, rejecting the usual dopey oorah omerta of athletes for something more true, raw and honestly brave.

And then, two pitches later, Lindor got a fastball at the knees that had way too much plate and clubbed it into the Mets’ bullpen — the best kind of revenge. That made the game 7-3 — the final score Monday as it was on April 8, because baseball.

A lot has happened to the Mets since that second game, most of it so good that you may have pinched yourself a time or two. And it’s fitting that Monday’s game should have been an odd bookend to that April one, because a lot figures to happen to the Mets on Tuesday, as the regular season begins its finishing kick.

Jacob deGrom will start at long last, of course, more than a year after last striding a mound in anger, finally going back to back with his co-ace in the rotation. DeGrom may have new teammates wearing unaccustomed uniforms, or possibly ones still elsewhere settling their affairs with the trade deadline just an hour in the rearview mirror. Or perhaps deGrom himself will be the most-ballyhooed addition — he’d be a pretty good one, you’d have to admit.

One way or another, Tuesday’s Mets will be different. But they’ll be building on what’s come before, on the successes of Scherzer and Showalter and Lindor and Marte and Pete Alonso and a happily long list of others. That story … well, it would be too pat to reduce it to getting knocked down and not putting up with it and getting up and hitting the next one out of sight. But it wouldn’t be entirely wrong, would it?

It’s been a fun story, but we’re in the middle. We can talk about what it all means later, when the book is closed. For now, well, I can’t wait for the next chapter.

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