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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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The First Cut Is Not Exactly the Deepest

Ah, the first cutdown day. Philip Humber, Yusmeiro Petit, Jose Rosado

and Grant Roberts were all sent to minor-league camp, while Todd Van

Poppel retired. Or at least the consensus is that he retired — he left

camp, at any rate. (If his hatchback's just broke down outside of

Okeechobee, he's going to be PO'ed at Omar Minaya.)

Turns out young Mr. Humber pronounces his name “Umber” — the “H” is

silent. Who knew? Perhaps one day he'll be the pitcher to finally make

the “H” column silent for us in a game. Not that I'm getting ahead of

myself or anything. No pressure, Philip. Easygoing town.

The first cutdown day is always entertaining because it tells you

nothing about the makeup of the roster; the players pack their bags to

go about 300 yards; and half of them reappear in the latter frames of

some late-March split-squad affair, though one hopes not while Piazza

is chasing Dodger relievers around Port St. Lucie.

I have to wonder about Todd Van Poppel's spring training. As far as I

know he never got the chance to throw a pitch in anger — or even in pique,

it being March and all. So what was the assessment that led to his

retirement? Did he throw BP somewhere? Could he or the brass tell

anything from his throwing BP when some guys haven't even debuted all

their pitches? Did he look sluggish in the shuttle run? I'm sure there

are at least relatively sound reasons behind his packing it in, but for

all the talk of New York's 11 million papers and relentless media

spotlight, I don't know what they are.

We got beat by the Braves, 5-0. Thirty days from now this won't be

something tossed in at the end of  ruminations about  a

potential setup guy.

Maybe Van Poppel decided he just really wanted to grow a beard and blast some Joe Cocker.

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