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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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Bad Fan, Good FAN

OK, I admit it. I bailed out when it was 10-1. To watch a TiVoed Gilmore Girls. (I should really say “to get good and drunk” or “because something needed welding,” but it would be a lie.)

Leaving aside the fact that it's fricking spring training, my only

defense is that thanks to Cablevision, I couldn't see the game, and

there's not a lot to be learned from hearing what future Binghamton Mets are doing. If I could have seen Blake McGinley, rest assured I would have stayed glued to live TV. At least until it was 14-4.

Still, it did leave me feeling somewhat better about the 112-odd games

that may be lacking visuals this year. Howie Rose and Gary Cohen were

in great form, at one point letting the scrimmage going on downstairs

share time with a lengthy, increasingly agitated review of the shameful

conduct of Richie Hebner, the world's least-happy Met. Hebner

(forever known for working as a gravedigger in the offseason) played

his one miserable campaign for the Mets 26 years ago,

but Howie sounded as outraged about his Robertoesque showing as he

must have been at the time. I'm willing to bet that most other teams'

broadcasters can barely remember briefly employed first basemen from a

quarter-century ago, let alone work themselves into a lather over their

malingering. Getting to share a game with Howie and Gary is a pleasure.

Even when it's 10-1.

Speaking of barely remembering, I confess I had completely forgotten

our loathing of Manny Aybar, though I did recall two other things:

Junior's return was one of those rare nights I guessed the next day's

tabloid headline (it was “Junior Whiffey”), and Jackie Robinson Night was its

polar opposite, as it was the lone good pitching performance I can

remember by Toby Borland.

My favorite return by a hated foe is still Bobby Bonilla as a Marlin.

(Somewhere in the bowels of Shea a machine just clunked out a check to

Bobby Bo for more than you and I will make in two months, by the way.)

I was at Shea with Chris, a.k.a. the Human Fight, and the sparse crowd

was hungrily booing Bonilla whenever it could get a fix on him during

warmups. In his first at-bat, Bonilla lashed a ball foul — one of

those drives that looks impressive but is only hit hard because it

can't possibly stay fair. The ball clanked into the seats a few sections

outside the foul pole, and there were so few people there that everyone

could watch the most-enterprising kid in the stands jog 40 feet and

start hunting for the ball. When he found it, he held it aloft for a

moment — and then hurled it onto the field. I'm sure Fran would agree

the reaction was electric.

Later in the game the crowd was too tired and dispirited to boo Bonilla

with much volume anymore, but it did find an alternative: a low,

hooting chant that spread slowly but inexorably through the park…

you suck you suck you suck you suck you suck you suck

…at which point Chris turned to me and said, “This may be the purest expression of hatred I've ever heard.”

Joey Hamilton got released after being arrested for DWI. If you're out

there, Todd Hundley, rest easy. His tower has been buzzed.

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