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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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Mi Nombre Es Glavine

Your pal Manny Aybar's arrival on the mound (God bless WPIX)

reminded me, again, of the weird feelings when former enemies big

and small join the Forces of Good.

It's easy to forget Pedro was briefly a member of the Forces of

Darkness, drilling Piazza in June 1998 and afterwards pulling out one

of his under-the-mango-tree ruminations about being a

poor boy with class while Mike was a millionaire without it. The brief

contretemps has blotted out memories of the actual game, which is too

bad: Pedro lasted just four innings, giving up 1,254 feet worth of home

runs to John Olerud, Bernard Gilkey, Luis Lopez and Alberto Castillo —

the latter two leaving me bounding around the office in astonished,

giddy delight. Some large man named Vaughn countered with two homers

for the Bosox, perhaps opening eyes that should have stayed shut. Then

Pedro was a head-hunting menace to society; now he's the genial prince

of the clubhouse. (Actually, between baseball's great mi nombre es Pedro ad and his habit of head-hunting Yankees, I forgave him long ago.)   

The elephant in the former-enemies room is, of course,

Tom Glavine. You and I are exactly like several hundred thousand

other Mets fans in remaining lukewarm at best on Glavine after

two seasons. All those years beating the tar out of us carry

a certain psychological weight — particularly that 1-0 strangulation

in Game 3 of the '99 NLCS, which we got to watch side by side

in glum misery. There's his failure to beat the tar out of

clubs in the same way wearing our uniform. There's his status

in the freelance-GM clique of the clubhouse. Geeks like us

still mutter about brother Mike's fantasy-camp tenure in

orange and blue, with the associated blather about great family

atmosphere. No, it is safe to say we have not warmed up to Tom

Glavine. And you get the feeling we're not alone: From the press

coverage this spring, you'd barely know Glavine was on the roster.

[Side note: Chris Woodward probably just made the team. Time for

the McEwings to start scouring the St. Louis real-estate listings.]

When I think of Glavine, I admit to still seeing him as an

impostor. With Atlanta he and Maddux epitomitzed the

strain of Brave arrogance I particularly loathed: disdainfully silent

and distantly supercilious toward competitors and even in their

own clubhouse when they objected to something. (Chipper and Bobby Cox

were and are different, given to shooting off their mouths in a

moustache-twisting way, but I always found that easier to take — at

least they acknowledged we were on the field with them.)

I've tried, but I still feel that way about Glavine. I'm

sure this is unfair. It's not Glavine's fault that we signed him

when he may have begun his natural descent as a pitcher. It's

not Glavine's fault that he's been backed by a

defense that might as well have been put together from the rest of

the Glavine clan. It's not Glavine's fault that he was invited

into the circle of Mets allowed to interfere with decisions better

made upstairs. Regardless, I can't shake the feeling.

Here's the thing, though: If Glavine had had a better defense and

won 15 games a year, would I feel differently? If he'd no-hit the

Rockies last year — as I, for once, firmly believed would

happen — would I feel differently? I think I would. Fandom is a fickle

thing, and mere facts need not apply: If Pedro's 3-8 at the break

and we're last in the league in hitting and defense, something

tells me we'll be grousing about him hitting Piazza back in '98.

I showed Joshua (with the benefit of pen, paper and a Met hat)

that the weird symbol on our cap is in fact two letters on top of each

other. He got it and said he wanted to watch more baseball. Attaboy!

On the other hand, he was nonplussed why a team cool

enough to be named after tigers wouldn't have tigers on their uniforms.

I had no explanation for that.

Hey, what was the first Met game you attended?

[End note: Yeah, Chris Woodward definitely just made the team. Sorry, Super Joe.] 

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