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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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No Horseplay

Jerry Manuel somehow fails to consult with me, but I could have told him taking the bus to Miller Park was an excellent idea. Stephanie and I did exactly that less than two years ago. We were staying downtown, so it was simple. The express rolled right by our Wisconsin Avenue hotel and we just hopped on — a quick ride and a boon to team spirit. Despite some later logistical missteps, I'd highly recommend the bus as transportation if you're staying in Milwaukee (provided you can live without tailgating).

Yovani Gallardo pitched for the Brewers that hot August night in 2007. Pitched well, too: seven innings, five hits, seven strikeouts, hit a homer and recorded the win. He was dynamite this fine Wednesday afternoon as well: seven innings, five hits, twelve strikeouts. But he didn't take Mike Pelfrey deep, which was an oversight on Gallardo's part, because if he wasn't going to help his own cause, none of his teammates were. The Mets, on the other hand…the team that rides the bus together encounters no fuss together.

Or something like that.

Our bending, breaking but by no means clinically dead Mets outlasted an extremely effective Gallardo for the second time this season. In April, they did it behind Johan Santana when all Johan had to do was flash his red blinkers, and traffic halted in his midst. Man, those were the days. While Johan was still sitting and wondering whether anybody here, including himself suddenly, can play this came, Big Pelf stood tall, metaphorically as well as vertically. There was a walk here, a balk there and the general sense that things were going to go to hell per usual, but Pelf stiffened and the Brewers were stymied. Yovani Gallardo has struck out 19 Mets across 13 innings in 2009 and has only a no-decision and a loss, both by 1-0 scores, to take on his bus home. Forty years ago, Steve Carlton struck out 19 Mets in 9 innings and no doubt wanted to throw Ron Swoboda under a big yellow conveyance. But let's not get ahead of our route to glory just yet.

At least once a year when I was in elementary school they showed us a safety film admonishing us to commit “no horseplay” while riding the bus. That phrase always cracked me up, but after Tuesday night, I wasn't laughing. The Mets distracted the driver with their incredibly juvenile antics and all but drove off a cliff with their latest 1962 homage in the fourth inning. It's little wonder Jerry Manuel was moved to hold a closed-door meeting afterwards — though the Mets being the Mets of late, I wouldn't assume the closed-door part was intentional. Prior to the team's very first home game ever, according to Leonard Shecter in Once Upon the Polo Grounds, “Casey Stengel slammed the door of his newly built office, and when he tried to get back into it there was no key that fitted the lock.”

Today, Pelfrey was the key. Tomorrow? One ride at a time. I could see the Mets accidentally locking themselves in visitors clubhouses around the National League before I could see the Mets riding the victory bus repeatedly based on their recent horsespit play, but with the Phillies losing Wednesday night, they're all of two games from first place, with the current first-place team the next stop on our timetable after Thursday's detour to Pittsburgh. We all have ironclad reasons not to take the Mets' chances seriously (the five-game losing streak; the 9-18 June; the prevalence of the lame and the halting; our collective experience), but y'know what? Screw it. The Mets won a 1-0 game. They're 1-0 in their last one. It's summer and, for the moment, not raining. Per Leo McGarry to Jed Bartlet when Bartlet doubted his chances of being elected president on The West Wing, “Act as if ye have faith and faith shall be given to you. Put it another way, fake it 'til you make it.”

Or, for our purposes, keep on busin'.


With Thursday's game an early afternoon affair, that leaves you plenty of time afterwards to hop the F train to JLA Studios in Brooklyn (highly convenient to Manhattanites) for an all-baseball edition of Varsity Letters, starting at 7:30. Learn more about it here. Jason and I have both read at VL and can attest to the quality of these events. Consider it highly recommended from your friends at FAFIF.

To be enjoyed via any mode of transportation unless you're steering it (in which case, pull over first): 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. Check out the latest review, from 1969: The Year Everything Changed author Rob Kirkpatrick, here.

4 comments to No Horseplay

  • Anonymous

    Per Leo McGarry to Jed Bartlet when Bartlet doubted his chances of being elected president on The West Wing, “Act as if ye have faith and faith shall be given to you. Put it another way, fake it 'til you make it.”
    Mets go 4-0 for the remainder of this road trip.

  • Anonymous

    Don't see why not. It's Pittsburgh, and then the park where even average hitters can do well.
    As bad as they've been playing, and even bad teams win games, they still have a chance to have a good weekend and find themselves in first place.

  • Anonymous

    If the Mets win the next 4 games, starting today – and Florida loses one game between now and Sunday, the Mets will find themselves in first place by Sunday night!