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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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To Infinity And Beyond!

OK, I'm officially too old for spring training.

Even though it was the first chance to see the boys in blue and orange and black and white, I got to the set late and managed to pay fitful attention at best. Couldn't even work myself into a frenzy over Steve Phillips, though I tried. (To follow up on my blog brother's outrage, it seems only fair that every team should get a certain number of dissolved relationships that come with restraining orders once the other party is out of baseball. Steve Phillips isn't permitted near the Mets for 10 years. Bobby Bonilla gets 15 years of forced separation — or as long as we're paying him, which will unfortunately be longer than that. And snipers will follow Vince Coleman around for the rest of his life, with orders to go for the head shot if he so much as mentions us.)

I walked away with exactly three impressions:

1. Lastings Milledge has extraordinarily fast hands, as he demonstrated on that double down the line. And the ball just does something different coming off his bat. My goodness, keep the kid!

2. The young shortstop we had in there from minor-league camp (I think it was Jose Coronado, but don't quote me on that) made a couple of superb plays and got a hit off at least Quadruple-A pitching. Worth watching.

3. The much-heralded Fernando Martinez may be lying about his age. He looks more 15 than 17. And in the at-bat I saw, he got gunned down on three straight pitches. Even phenoms need a little work in the before-shaving years.

Meanwhile, I was struck by the swirl of bad omens. Carlos Delgado didn't join the demolition of Us by Us because he has elbow tendinitis. He's felt it for weeks. That ragged sound is me trying to breathe again. Paul Lo Duca sat things out because of arthritis. Pedro is now demolishing the hopeful conspiracy theories by admitting that, yeah, he might not be ready for Opening Day. Even what appeared to be hopeful white puffy clouds against nice blue skies turned out to have dark linings: Juan Padilla, he of the spectacles and very decent 2005, quit Puerto Rico after the game to concentrate on his Metsian work. But he stood down because his arm doesn't feel 100%. Fantastic. (Puerto Rico then helped themselves to another of our pitchers.)

Still, consider the case of poor Jason Scobie. Last year Scobie quietly had a good season at AAA but never got a call-up and never seemed to be even an afterthought in discussions of the team's future. So today against the Dodgers (a split-squad affair in which our marquee player was Victor Diaz) Scobie faced seven batters. He walked three, gave up four hits including a home run, and walked off the mound (or more likely trudged, possibly even crawled) having given up eight runs in zero innings pitched. Zero!

Bet he's suddenly hoping the whole not-paying-attention thing has extended into 2006.

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