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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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Agnostic at Best

I was supposed to be home in time for the game.

Instead, the flight back from Boston was delayed by the Northeast's apparently daily rain showers. The plane didn't take off until 6:30 or so, and it was after 7:30 when I was able to get MLB At Bat up and running. I navigated my way to the audio with my fingers over the screen, not wanting to see the score. Heard unfamiliar voices — ack, I'd hit the feed for the Phillies broadcast. Tried again, and there was an unhappy-sounding Wayne Hagin doing his usual roundabout version of play-by-play. (Wayne. Tell. Me. What. Happened.) He didn't sound like a man who was conveying good news, and he wasn't.

Phillies 4, Mets 0.

By the time I got out of the taxi it was Phillies 7, Mets 0. When I turned the damn thing off the Phillies had the bases loaded and no one out and Livan was finally done serving up BP. (The Mets somehow got out of that one without further damage. But while the battle might have been won, the war was on its way to being lost.)

I went for a walk, got something to eat, sat on the Promenade and watched the sunset. Pretty nice night; not one that I was going to let get ruined by the inevitable. Tonight, I make no apologies for my desertion. I know fans are supposed to go down with the ship, but by then the Good Ship Mets was on the bottom of the North Atlantic, prowled by treasure hunters in submersibles. There's only so much a fan can take.

I've talked to a fair number of folks in recent weeks about the curious case of the 2009 Mets. They know everybody's hurt and the team hasn't played particularly well, to say the least. But, they point out, the Mets are right in the hunt. Had they won tonight, they would have been tied for first with the Phillies and the Marlins. Their question is generally some variant of “How can you give up on a team in that situation?”

Strictly speaking, I haven't. But I gotta believe? There's plenty of evidence that I shouldn't and not a heck of a lot of data points that are helpful for making the counterargument.

I didn't lose faith because the Mets have been reduced to Cora's Irregulars by injuries. If anything it made me cheer more enthusiastically — at first. You can't expect a ragtag team of Coras and Evanses and assorted Fernandos to replace Reyes and Delgado and Beltran, and I haven't.

But you can expect them to play sound fundamental baseball, being major-leaguers and all. Tonight they repeatedly let Phillies take extra bases because guys weren't covering bases or pursuing balls that got past them. And it's not the first time shoddy and/or dopey defense has been on display. And you can expect them to have good at-bats and do something against 33-year-old sacrificial-lamb emergency starters. But nope, they made Rodrigo Lopez look like Bob Feller.

I know, I know, the Mets have played three games against three teams in three cities in three days. They've gone from a haunted hotel to one full of Furries to a park filled with furies. I'm sure they're tired. But everybody's tired now — you think flying home after getting swept by the Braves didn't leave the Phillies a little peckish? But few other teams look as tired as the Mets, who already have a staggering number of losses that can be pinned on gag-job collapses, clinics in how not to play baseball, and nights where the whole team seems to be collectively sleepwalking. I gotta believe? Well, I'll try, but it seems increasingly clear that this season is one long bad dream, and the insanely low number in the GB column just a mean-spirited twist in the nightmare.

Happier daydreams awake in the pages of 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.

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