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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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If the Season Were to End Today…But it Won't

I don't have any of the quotes at hand because I haven't saved what I've read or transcribed what I've heard. But I'm pretty sure at various times this season, I've read or heard or both from experts and would-be experts that the Red Sox or the Tigers or the Angels are the class of baseball, never mind the American League. And that the Dodgers or Padres or Brewers or Braves are mortal locks of some sort in the N.L.

The Mets? They've been hyped up and hyped down and hyped out. I sense another hype cycle beginning. We can handle the Mets on our own without listening to outsiders.

Have you checked the standings lately for everybody else's performances? All those lock teams are pretty ordinary lately. The Red Sox are the only club that has held its own (we're all probably pretty happy about that, at least in a second-hand way) and they haven't been particularly torrid. The Tigers with all the young pitching and explosive offense? They just dipped into second behind the Indians who were recently teetering on the brink. The Angels? They're barely holding off the Mariners of whom you've barely a word since John Olerud was making Steve Phillips look dim (not that Steve needed much help). The Padres were fading until they stopped. The big bad Dodgers wouldn't be in the playoffs if the playoffs started today, the scheduling of which would be a shame since we'd have nothing to do by October.

The Brewers last night took back the lead they gave away to the Cubs. The Cubs were dead earlier. They're plenty alive now. The Diamondbacks weren't going to be that much of a factor. They're in first place. The Rockies were no factor at all. Now they're closer to first in their division than the almighty Braves are in ours. They're also a tick closer to the Wild Card — remember that? — than Atlanta, which is also behind Philadelphia, another team that wasn't going anywhere but hasn't gone down in flames as of yet.

I'm not here to offer any reliable forecast for the next two months. I wouldn't write off the Yankees, for example, because that seems like a pretty good formula for disappointment. The Cardinals don't seem likely to make much noise, but they're still within hollering distance where they sit. Do the Twins ever recede quietly? Don't take your eye off them. By next week everybody I've mentioned could all be in the thick of it or barely clinging to the thin of it, hot as coals or cold as ice. It will mean something because wins and losses add up like crazy over the big One-Six-Two, but it will also mean little when prognosticators and pontificators try to tell you this one here's the obvious favorite while that one there's doubtlessly done.

Somebody's bound to be right once the stopped-clock equation is invoked, but I won't believe a word of it until I see an “x” or “y” or whatever you choose to use to denote a clinch next to somebody's name. There is little to be gained by coronating or dismissing anyone right now, including us and our five-game lead. I'd rather have it than not, but by next week our margin could shorten, could lengthen, could stay inert.

Who knows? Nobody, that's who.

Why don't more writers and broadcasters get that? There is no great honor in circling a particular name in early August and bleating “AH HA!” just as there is no shame in not knowing until late September the outcome of an extremely long campaign. I signed up to watch all 162. I can wait 'til the end to find out what happens.

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