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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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Now Appearing on Baseball Tonight: Other Teams

One of the many things I love about the Web is it lets me get all the Mets news I can stand. Newspapers’ Web outposts, newspapers’ blogs, national Web sites, MLB, former beat writers’ sites, independent blogs of all stripes and persuasions, minor-league blogs … you name it. There is more Mets news than I can take in on a given day.

You already know this — after all, you’re reading a Mets blog, one Greg and I hope does its part to fill some of that bottomless appetite for Mets news. And we’ve all grown pretty used to this world.

But now and then I remember how different things used to be.

Emily and Joshua and I are spending our annual week on Long Beach Island, which for some reason I think of as “away from the things of man,” to steal a line from the alternately enchanting and horrible movie Joe vs. the Volcano. LBI is nothing of the sort, of course: It’s just 75 miles from New York City, SNY is a cable channel, WFAN comes in perfectly strong, and in the pancake houses and burger joints and amusement parks you’ll find plenty of Mets caps along with Yankees and Phillies headgear. I even do some fraction of my share of recaps while I’m here. Thinking I’m far away from it all is just part of the vacation mindset.

Still, thinking that lends itself to reflection, and to remembering. Which brings me back to the way things used to be.

The Mets’ game against the Braves tonight was already meaningless; it quickly became depressing. Pat Misch was pretty obviously living on borrowed time from the beginning; it’s kind to say he’s effective when he can mix up his pitches and hit his spots and less kind to note that you could say the same thing about every pitcher to face a batter since Abner Doubleday. Misch pitched bravely and well in garbage time last year; this year he’s looked decidedly ordinary, and may soon slide over to make room for Jenrry Mejia, hopefully fully recovered from the Mets’ ill-advised, self-inflicted experiment with making him a setup man.

Beyond Misch’s troubles, a cameo by a predictably awful Ollie Perez, and my first glance at Luis Hernandez (whom I doubt I could pick out of a police lineup that also included, say, Abraham Nunez and Wilson Valdez), the game was chiefly notable for the presence of various Braves. There was Jason Heyward, smashing a home run off Misch that somehow didn’t bring down a television satellite. There was Brian McCann, doing the same thing to Perez. There was Martin Prado, who’s done enough damage to us by now that we can all pronounce his name just fine. There was Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones, being sized up by anonymous, colorless ESPN drones for their potential places in history.

The Mets quietly got done losing and Baseball Tonight came on. Big show! Lots of excitement! Reds! Cardinals! Rays! Yankees! And that’s when my mind began to drift back to how things used to be.

It’s the summer of 1992, or maybe 1993 or 1994. I’m living outside Washington, D.C., and they’ve enraged me by taking WOR off the cable package. WFAN is sometimes faintly audible through hiss and static — but clear as a bell if you’re near the Potomac River, which somehow amplifies the signal. There are plain-text AP sports stories on America Online, along with some Mets chat. There’s even a really smart, well-spoken guy on the AOL boards named Greg who I’m getting to be friends with. But while nearly two decades later I see a new world coming into view, at the time this is thin gruel at best. If I want to see or hear the Mets I have to go into Georgetown and beg a sports bar with satellite TV to tune them in, or sit by the Potomac in the cramped front seat of my little Honda CRX.

And sometimes I do those things. Mostly, though, I try to catch glimpses of my team on SportsCenter, or hope for something when Headline News does its sports report every half hour. Will the Mets game be discussed before the half-hour mark on SportsCenter? Sometime between the 40-minute mark and the last commercial? Or will we get mentioned in passing as the credits roll, or not at all? Will the Mets get a highlight from CNN? Will they get mentioned in the voice-over as they show the scores? Or will there be nothing?

Oftentimes it’s nothing. Because in 1992 and 1993 and 1994 the Mets are totally irrelevant. Not to me, of course, but to everyone I have to rely on for information. These people are in a hurry and have a lot to talk about and most of it is way more important, to a general audience, than anything the New York Mets happened to do that night.

In other words, it’s a lot like what happened after the Mets lost and I goofed around on email and Facebook while half-listening to Baseball Tonight. To the outside world, for the foreseeable future, we are once again totally irrelevant.

6 comments to Now Appearing on Baseball Tonight: Other Teams

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    This was actually a decent outing for Ollie. Usually he gives up the two walks BEFORE giving up the bomb.

  • Andee

    This is why the very first question out of a prospective GM’s mouth to Jeff ‘n’ Fred is going to be, “Do I get to eat my predecessors’ mistakes first? Because if I don’t, you’re tying me to a block of cement when it comes to building a roster.” But if they won’t let Minaya or Ricco eat their own mistakes, why would they let the next guy do it? (Because they will finally reach a breaking point where they realize that bad, expensive ballplayers are seat repellents? Dare I dream?)

    No amount of prevaricating on the Wilpons’ part will ever convince me they have the same financial resources as the Yankees. Now there’s a franchise that eats mistakes; it’s not like they don’t pile up plenty of bad contracts, but because they’re a money machine, they can flush those contracts with relatively little pain. The Mets, OTOH, are all, “Well, we paid buckets for this guy, we’re going to get something out of him.” So every mistake just GLUES itself to the team.

    I don’t think they’re “cheap,” necessarily — most teams’ fans would KILL to have the Mets’ budget, and not just have to resign themselves to the fact that their stars will eventually walk into someone else’s money garden. But, at least in rich person’s terms, they may very well be broke. They didn’t seem to have nearly as much of a problem letting Steve Phillips eat his mistakes, and he made plenty.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    The Mets are going to be stuck with Oliver Perez’s salary no matter what so they should just release him this winter in order to break spring training next season with a 25 instead of 24 man roster. Let’s hope he also then signs with another national league team since if nothing else that would at least dilute the competition.

    Also, with so little games on WOR back in the mid-nineties there was little you missed once the New York superstation was dropped from your cable lineup.

  • metsadhd

    Hard to believe that we go into battle if they is actually what we do, we so little affect.
    Why should any of us care if they don,t.
    For the ten thousandth time what pictures of jeffie HOJO owns?
    Please o please Franz Kafka, return to this mortal coil and explain this to us.
    I t has reached a point that my checks will no longer have the logo on it
    or maybe i should keep it, as we both manage funds so poorly and pisss it away.