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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 Boss is Always Greener

Flushing, N.Y. (FAF) — New York Mets’ principal owner George Steinbrenner blasted his team Sunday following a 5-2 loss to the Florida Marlins.

“Enough is enough,” Steinbrenner declared in a statement delivered through publicist Howard Rubenstein. “I am bitterly disappointed, as I am sure all Met fans are, by the lack of performance by our team. It is unbelievable to me that the third-highest-paid team in baseball would start the season in such a deep funk.”

Steinbrenner’s comments came one day after the Mets had completed a six-game winning streak.

“Yesterday’s news is yesterday’s news,” Steinbrenner said in a message e-mailed to reporters by publicist Howard Rubenstein. “We had a saying when I was a football coach in the Big Ten: ‘The butt is what’s behind while the head is what’s ahead.’ And excuse me, ladies, but we didn’t say butt.”

Sunday’s loss left the Mets’ record at 6-6, tied for second with three other teams in the National League East.

“Are we tied for second or are we tied for last?” Steinbrenner asked via a rhetorical question relayed by publicist Howard Rubenstein. “We are going to be in a dogfight with Atlanta and Philadelphia and Miami from now until doomsday. This is no time to be congratulating ourselves on achieving mediocrity, not unless we want doomsday to come early, and believe me, it will.”

All four projected N.L. East contenders trail the surprising Washington Nationals who, despite being run as de facto ward of Major League Baseball, are in first place by two games, another element contributing to the Mets’ owner’s ire.

“America is a great country!” Steinbrenner exclaimed in a fax sent from the offices of publicist Howard Rubenstein. “It is a proven fact that there is no greater country. Go anywhere in this world and no nation measures up to ours. It’s only right that the capital of the world’s greatest country has baseball, but it is not right that the Washington franchise, supported by us, leads us. [Commissioner] Bud Selig will have to answer for that as will my baseball people.”

The blowup by Steinbrenner was his first as Mets’ owner since Friday night when Aaron Heilman shut out the Marlins 4-0 on a one-hitter.

“That young man was a warrior for me,” Steinbrenner asserted of Heilman in a missive Xeroxed by publicist Howard Rubenstein. “But one hit is one hit too many. Douglas MacArthur once said one hit by the Japanese was all the difference it would take to turn the war in the Pacific in favor of the Axis powers, and one hit is more than we can afford. General MacArthur is a hero of mine. Always has been. He’s a great American.”

While Heilman got off relatively easy in Steinbrenner’s barrage of criticisms, the same could not be said for front-office personnel.

“I looked at the statistical page in the newspaper,” Steinbrenner mentioned to publicist Howard Rubenstein who repeated it to members of the media, “and I couldn’t help but notice that Edgardo Alfonzo is batting .488 for San Francisco. That young man was one of my warriors. My baseball people told me his back was an issue so he was allowed to leave in favor of this young man Dave Wright. Dave Wright is a fine boy but right now he is in a deep funk, a deep funk that is unbelievable to me. The same can be said for Kazuo Matsui. He’s a fine, fine boy who came a far, far way to play for us, but he sat out three games because he said he couldn’t see and then he misplayed three balls at second base. I find it odd that someone would come such a great distance — and I have nothing but admiration for the people of Japan — to not play baseball when he’s being paid handsomely to just that. Our old second baseman [Jeff] Kent doesn’t seem to have those problems with the Dodgers. He’s driven in 13 runs for them already and is playing like a warrior. Brady Clark and Glendon Rusch are also listed in the league leaders and they used to be my warriors. I don’t see Tom Glavine listed with those leaders, and he is supposed to be one of my warriors.”

Reminded that the transactions that moved those players from the Mets to other teams took place years ago under other general managers, Steinbrenner announced that he was rehiring those executives, Steve Phillips and Joe McIlvane, as special consultants, and then promptly reassigning them to other duties within the organization.

“I have the utmost regard for Steve and Joe,” Steinbrenner explained in press release issued by publicist Howard Rubenstein. “They are like sons to me. It thrilled me to bring them back to the Mets where they belong just as it pains me to take them to the woodshed. But my father took me to the woodshed more times than my backside would care to admit, and ladies, I’m sorry, but the word ‘backside’ rarely crossed my father’s lips.”

While current general manager Omar Minaya, field manager Willie Randolph and Mets players professed little concern over what one Met called “business as usual,” Steinbrenner indicated he wouldn’t let up on his roster.

“We apparently have an outfielder named Cameron,” Steinbrenner noted in a memo tacked to the clubhouse bulletin board by publicist Howard Rubenstein. “I say ‘apparently,’ because I haven’t seen this young man since spring training. I also haven’t seen much of this young man Trachsel who my baseball people suggested would be one of our starting pitchers. The same for this young man Benson. Benson has a fine, fine family, but he’ll find it won’t be very fine if he’s not earning the money we’re paying him. He should take a lesson from his lovely wife and show the kind of go-getterism that made America great. She reminds me of a young me.”

Mike Cameron, Steve Trachsel and Kris Benson are all on the disabled list with injuries, though Steinbrenner hinted there are no excuses for the 2005 Mets.

“Hurt or not hurt, players play and winners win,” Steinbrenner elaborated on a large yellow Post-It peeled from its pack by publicist Howard Rubenstein. “I like what I’m seeing from Vic Diaz [who hit his first home run of the season Sunday], but I can’t say the same for my other players who aren’t playing and aren’t winning. They are not playing like true Mets. They have the talent to win and they are not winning. I expect Willie Randolph, his complete coaching staff and the team to turn this around.”

In one final declaration made public by publicist Howard Rubenstein, the new Mets owner expressed no regrets about the unusual arrangement he struck with Fred Wilpon to exchange ownership of New York’s baseball franchises.

“I heard the voice of the people,” Steinbrenner said. “I heard all the Mets fans calling sportstalk radio all these years insisting that they’d be better off if George Steinbrenner owned their team. I know a challenge when I hear it and I’m not one to duck a challenge. [Longtime Ohio State football coach] Woody Hayes never ducked a challenge and Woody Hayes is my idol. Fred Wilpon is a gentleman and a real sportsman to agree to this switch. I’m just sorry that his [4-8] Yankees have been such a disappointment and how they never seem to be on the back page anymore unless some awful crisis befalls them and somebody there makes a big stink about it.”

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