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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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7:20 Thunder

On a lot of nights, the New York Mets are a pretty unstoppable baseball team from about 7:20 until about 7:45.

Unfortunately, the nights drag on, and so do the Mets. The orange-and-blue hare begins to coast. To hop only now and again. Then it goes to sleep somewhere, and you feel yourself go rigid at home on the couch or out in Flushing in your new properly angled green seat. You can feel it coming. Then you watch it happening.

Tack-on runs not scoring. C'mon, Mets.

David Wright striking out AGAIN and looking perplexed. Get UP, Mets.

Starters not going deep enough. The game's not over!

A little insurrection put down and now the lead is less comfortable. METS!

Some reliever comes in and is fine. More runs, please, fellas! Please?

Another reliever comes in and is not so fine. AUUUGGHHH!!!!

Fizzled rallies and strikeouts and it's over, the tortoise has won, and you are so not surprised. You realize you felt this marching towards you since about the third inning or so, and it arrived sure as the thunder and lightning followed the racing clouds and the treetops bending and pitching. Only the Mets are the ones out there soaking wet, looking perplexed.

I really don't know what it is with this team. They look poorly constructed and rickety and mismatched, and logy and lead-assed and dull. I'll just go for the lethal comparison: They look like the plodders who bumbled along under Willie Randolph's sour glower for half of one season and then half of the next. I thought Jerry Manuel had at least exorcised that evil spirit, but here it is again spitting bile and showing off its alarmingly flexible vertebrae. I'd call it the Ghost of Shitty Baseball Past, but a 9-11 record and a run differential of zero isn't exactly past. This phantom is all too Present, and the Future scares me.

Speaking of the past, HEY, HAVE YOU BEEN TO MY WEB SITE LATELY? As if things weren't irritating enough.

* * *

A more interesting note: Over at Keith Olbermann's blog, he's discovered another Almost Met — a guy with the Only In Baseball name of Wilbur Huckle, who suited up for the Mets in September 1963 but never got into a game. Huckle becomes the ninth Almost Met — the others are Jim Bibby, Randy Bobb, Billy Cotton, Jerry Moses, Terrell Hansen, Mac Suzuki, Justin Speier and Anderson Garcia. But Huckle joins Cotton and Hansen in having tales that are not just odd but tragic, from a baseball point of view: The other six Almost Mets played at least one major-league game in another uniform, and so became Real Something Elses, but not those three. They never crossed the white lines to find a home in the eternity of the Baseball Encyclopedia. (Olbermann calls the sad ranks of such players the Bill Sharman Society, after a Brooklyn Dodger phenom who suffered the same fate. Elias, less poetically and more cruelly, calls them zombies.)

I've been obsessed with the Almost Mets for some time, and the line I always use — because I haven't been able to improve on it — is that Terrell Hansen would give his eyeteeth to be Moonlight Graham. Think about that some night when 3 a.m.'s sitting on your chest and you know it's going to be a while.

Anyway, Ken Takahashi — if you're warming up for your debut and feel a little tight, maybe you should just go on out there anyway. Trust me on this one.

You know what looks good next to the Baseball Encyclopedia? Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

Remember, at midnight you can turn to WOR 710 AM, when Greg joins Joey Reynolds to talk Faith and Fear and whatever else comes up. Besides, like you want anything to do with the FAN after this debacle.

6 comments to 7:20 Thunder

  • Anonymous

    The best word to describe the start of this season is “deflating”. I've seen this movie before & I already know how it ends. Oh what I wouldn't give for a nice torrid 11 of 12 tear with a few trademark walk-off wins & bizarre extra-inning games thrown in there, like old times. I'm a Met fan, I can handle a bad baseball team. But the sleepy-eyed, lethargic blandness, that's becoming tough(er) to stomach.
    I so much hope that they prove me wrong but it's hard not to begin to think that this team is going nowhere fast. It's even tougher to shake the sinking feeling that maybe our core group of stars isn't as good as we thought they'd be back in the magical days of 2006. Hope I'm totally wrong about that, too. So far the season has been quite the bummer.

  • Anonymous

    Neil Best said of the Jets getting their man in the draft, “the team has won many offseasons, only to see what looked good on paper crumple on the field.” Winning April is kind of like being the champion of 7:20.

  • Anonymous

    I've been saying it for far too long — actually, going back to the 2000 World Series, when there was no retaliation for Piazza/Clemens. I hate saying it, I hate thinking it, but it's the 2000 pound purple gorilla in the corner:
    This organization has no sack. Whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    as usual…dead on in capturing the all-too-familar emotions of a mets fans. quick story…and you can call me out for this move, but…took my wife to her first game at CitiField last night. we did the walk around, it was a lovely evening, and the Mets started nicely. as the night dragged on, it got less nice and i began whining to my wife. she correctly noted, as green stumbled, that “this guy stinks.” then, as if in slow motion, green went 1-0 on cantu after walking baker and i turned to her and said: “now he has to throw a strike and this guy is going to park it.” i then said…”if he does, and it's 7-4, we're out of here.”
    Next pitch? As we all know, desposited in the leftfield seats. I calmly stood. put my messenger bag on my shoulder and walked toward the aisle. wife looked at me with an incredulous look that was equal parts:
    – How did you know that was going to happen?
    – Did that really just happen?
    – Are we really leaving?
    The answer to all three was unfortunately yes. At least today they're…oh, you have GOT to be kidding me…

  • Anonymous

    Another reliever comes in and is not so fine. AUUUGGHHH!!!!
    It's not Thursday morning quarterbacking if you say it before it happens. And I did (Johnny Gunnz, back me up here). Why does Santana come out of a game in which he's sailing. Why doesn't he at least START the eighth? Another Johan quality start, by any measure of that nebulous term, gone to waste.
    I said when the Mets signed him, “Wow. Imagine how much better his record would be with the Mets' offense behind him than it was with the Twins' “. I officially proclaim myself a dumb-ass for making that smug remark.

  • Anonymous

    Anybody wanna bet me that tomorrow's Daily News/Post headlines don't start with some form of the words “What A?”