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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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Never Say Die, Always Say Hope

The Mets never say die, but sometimes they die anyway. They won’t say die for the next 45 games but I suspect what remains unspoken will occur more or less half the time no matter their best intentions.

Of the choice between “more or less,” more would certainly be preferable. When a team that isn’t supposed to be very good flirts with a winning record, you hate to see that marker fall away. Play like they did for most of this homestand (save for about five innings when their reluctance to die meshed with a refusal to lose), and we’ll have a hard time remembering the Mets were several games over .500 at one point relatively late in 2011.

Hopefully it won’t come to that. Hopefully the Mets who made us hopeful will give us a statistically substantive souvenir to take into that gaping maw that opens wide when the next 45 games are over. Hopefully this team that is currently one game under .500 for the year can go three games over .500 for the remainder of the season and finish with more than 81 wins. Hopefully those of us with notoriously sticky memories won’t be trying to convince the rest of you that those 2011 Mets played better than their record for the ages indicates.

The Mets never say die, but I say hopefully quite a bit.

Hopefulness is a preoccupational hazard of being a Mets fan, given all the hope you allow to fill you in your ruminatory interludes. Even when the Mets are hopeless, you are hopeful. Or you hope to be hopeful. That’s about all we had in 2009, where there wasn’t anything in front of us to make us hopeful after 117 games. That’s probably also about all we had in 2010, when our legitimate modicum of hope (we were eleven games over. 500 once; you could look it up) had turned to tatters after 117 games.

This here, after 117 games of 2011, permits greater, deeper hope. Sure, we’ve dropped eight of eleven, and yeah, an offense- and defense-challenged matinee is not much of an advertisement for short-term enthusiasm as the Mets wing their way west, but you can’t deny the hopefulness the Mets have brought us. Maybe it won’t yield the most pleasing of results over the course of the remainder of 2011, but at some indeterminate date to be named…you’ll be able to hope and not feel like a dope.

Are the Mets building a surefire contender for 2012? Many roster machinations await before one can dare to formulate any kind of remotely accurate answer, so I’ll pass on predicting. Yet if playing the game admirably counts for anything, they’re going in the right direction. Granted, a close contest decided on a pickoff attempt that didn’t become a pickoff and an E-6 that should have been a third out isn’t the best symbol for Baseball Like It Oughta Be, but I am…yes…hopeful that type of stuff, as shepherded by a diligent manager and monitored by a sensible front office, will work itself out.

Despite intermittent bouts of frustration that come from rooting for  a .500-ish team, I try to remember that all I asked out of this bunch when the season was young was that they keep hustling, keep charging, keep trying. They’ve been pretty good about keeping their end of the bargain. The bottom-line satisfaction’s been sporadic — and it shouldn’t utterly demoralize us if their final record lands north of 2009’s 70-92 but south of 2010’s 79-83 — but you can’t help but appreciate the overall effort. If you can’t revel in a team in contention, the next best thing if relishing a team that almost always plays like it thinks it is.

The Mets never say die. Someday they won’t die nearly as often, either. Maybe some of these Mets will still be some of those Mets when that day comes.

Of that, too, I am hopeful.

4 comments to Never Say Die, Always Say Hope

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Plenty to look forward to with these guys, considering they consist mostly of young players gaining experience on the major league level. They were also without each of their four top hitters, all who were productive, for months at a time (just felt the need to add they were productive since that last Met club to consecutively come back from last inning three run deficits hit just .221 which doesn’t say much about their top four hitters). Wright, Davis and Murphy were out due to injury and Beltran was shipped out due to money.

    Yes, there are holes Sandy must fill (mainly the bullpen) and it seems we have more injuries than the rest of the league combined. And if this team finishes a few games below .500 it would be a disappointment. However, 78 or 79 wins from this club would be different from last year’s group for that was a team going down and this is one on the rise that hustles and is also experiencing growing pains.

  • When the season began, I predicted an 81-80 season with one rainout not made up. I’m still sticking with that prediction (which would give us the closest-to-.500 end-of-season record in franchise history, after 1975 and 2001’s 82-80 record).

    Hopefully, now that the Mets are going on the road, they’ll win a few games (something I never thought I’d say after last year’s horrid performance away from Citi Field). The Mets have gone from road worriers in 2010 to road warriors in 2011. If they can come back to Citi Field with a winning record, perhaps they can stay above .500 for good.

    Ya Gotta Believe (that we’re better than a .500 team)

  • Lenny65

    Ralph Kiner was in the booth today, so it wasn’t a total loss. I love when Ralph shows up, I could listen to him all day.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Spot on Lenny, I love Ralph too. Bee said before, but when i listen to other broadcast teams, man I’m so thankful for ours!!!