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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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You'll Root for Nothing & You'll Like It

A public service announcement from your vaguely killjoy pal here: Please keep in mind as you tune in to comforting video (if strange audio) on SNY/PIX 11, that four things can happen this time of year and three of them aren’t particularly beneficial to the greater good.

1) Stupid Stuff. This encompasses every off-field Spring Training development that wasn’t widely anticipated and garners more than passing attention, usually because it’s of the Met Bites Dog variety. Somebody expressed an opinion. Somebody was quoted at length. Somebody gave somebody else the stink eye. We could label such unscripted activity “controversies,” but that’s giving this kind of business more credit than it deserves.

Some developments in this realm are clearly more stupid than others. Some of them aren’t stupid at all, actually. Much of it is innocuous, simply the byproduct of an entity we care about generating an occasional hiccup of news. You concentrate the Mets and those who cover their every moment in one place for seven or so weeks, stuff will happen and word will filter north. For our fan purposes, if it can’t be filed under Preparing The Team To Win, then how brilliant can it be?

CAVEAT: Now and then stupid stuff will appear pivotal in a confetti-coated rearview mirror, as in, “The moment Parnell removed the fork from Syndergaard’s hand was the moment the 2015 Mets took their first step toward a championship.” If we’re in a position to rewrite what we can barely remember seven-and-half months from now — especially if we’re intoxicated by success — we’ll gleefully buy any retrofitted storyline.

2) Injuries. There are the obvious dings that a professional athlete risks in the course of competition (though you’d rather have those transpire in the course of actual competition rather than glorified scrimmages if they’re going to transpire at all), but far more insidious is the pain that unfolds in slow motion.

He’s not going to throw today as scheduled.

He’s fine, just a little dead-arm period.

They’re taking precautions, just a little stiffness.

He’ll be throwing again in a day or two.

He’s not making the trip to Viera, but it’s no big deal.

He says he feels “100%,” but they’re going to wait.

It might be nothing more than he slept on it wrong.

He may have experienced a slight setback.

Just to be careful, they’re going to send him for an MRI.

They’re going to have him consult with Dr. Andrews, but that’s fairly standard procedure.

He’s going to try rehab.

The way the schedule is set up, they can go without an extra arm until late April.

Surgery was successful.

He should be ready to resume baseball activities before the All-Star break.

He’ll be reporting to Port St. Lucie before August 1.

There’s a chance we’ll see him when the rosters expand in September.

The Mets haven’t yet announced whether they will wear a patch in his memory in 2016.

CAVEAT: The worst-case scenario is never as bad as you imagine, even though the best-case scenario never occurs. Josh, Vic, Zack…we’ll see ya when we see ya.

3) Totally Meaningless Results. Have you noticed how the Mets have been whacking the ball around lately? You know what it means? Not a blessed thing. If the Mets weren’t whacking the ball around, it would mean just as much. They’re 0-0. They’ll be 0-0 until April 6. Hitters hot now will grow cold and heat up again before Opening Day, at which point none of what they’ve done in St. Lucie and environs will matter a whit.

CAVEAT: Maybe somebody will scorch his way onto the club, though on a roster like this, which was supposed to dry like paint, that probably means an injury or extremely stupid stuff arose and ruffled plans. We won’t deprive the next Darren Reed of his moment in the sun, but we’ll take with a pretzel’s worth of salt what it likely means.

4) Nothing. You want nothing out of Spring Training, especially by now. You’ve had the jolt of electricity from baseball’s return. You’ve seen it televised. You’ve heard it broadcast. Perhaps you’ve visited. You’ve got it in your head that winter really does eventually end. You know the season is almost at hand. All you want between this juncture of the calendar and real New Year’s Day is to be bored out of your mind. You don’t want stupid stuff. You don’t want injuries. You don’t need totally meaningless results. You need and want nothing to happen, because when nothing happens, nothing has gone wrong. When something happens, it’s almost impossible to imagine something has gone right. It’s like what football coaches believe in their gut about passing the ball — three things can happen and two of them are bad.

CAVEAT: Nothing happening in Spring Training beats pretty much anything happening anywhere else in the middle of March, so enjoy!

Turn the sound down on those strange voices who aren’t GKR and listen instead to this edition of the Rising Apple Report, where without notes I riff for a quarter-hour on the 1995 Mets. I think 2015 comes up in there, too.

19 comments to You’ll Root for Nothing & You’ll Like It

  • SkillSets

    CAVEAT? Didn’t he have a late-night talk show with people like Groucho Marx and Woody Allen?

  • Lou from Brazil

    ‘The Mets haven’t yet announced whether they will wear a patch in his memory in 2016.’ Brilliant. Sounds like they’re already designing this year’s ‘RIP Lefty Reliever’ patch. Might be a little long to fit on a sleeve though. Let’s go with ‘JE66’ perhaps superimposed over the silhouette of a dollar sign (Mets don’t have any, get it?) instead.

    • Daniel Hall

      “The Mets haven’t yet announced whether they will wear a patch in his memory in 2016.”

      1. Awesome.
      2. Knowing the Mets, they won’t.

  • Dave

    “You don’t need totally meaningless results.” Yeah, but at least we’ll be able to point to March 14 as a day we clobbered the Nationals while we’re going something like 3-16 against them in games that count. The fact that the Nationals lineup consisted of mostly 30 year olds with 16 major league at-bats in their career can be disregarded if you wish.

  • Parth

    One more addition that usually makes me feel better: “If it was a regular season game, he’d be out there!”

  • dmg

    while the clock is ticking down to opening day, yes, am headed for a couple spirng training games next week. any advice on places to stay, meals to sample, people to meet? want to get my fan-travel game into midseason form. haven’t been to fla since 2006, and we know how that turned out.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Greg, this article jogged my memory back to the spring of 1998. 1997 was our first winning season since 1991, and we were looking for big things from our team. Unfortunately, our stud catcher, Mr. Hundley, had undergone surgery late in the 1997 season and wouldn’t be back for at least a couple of months. The plan was to go with Todd Pratt and Alberto Castillo and anyone else they could find off the scrap heap. One of these was Tim Spehr, who, at the time, had a total of 9 career homers. As I recall, he hit nearly that many in Florida, made the team and didn’t hit a single official Mets home run. I also recall that early in that season, Pratt had some kind of illness and had to go on the DL. This, along with Spehr being a dud, prompted the Mets to go out and get Mike Piazza. So we thank Tim Spehr for his March heroics which played a part in bringing Mike into our world.

    Despite the fact that Spring Training games mean nothing, Wright’s home run yesterday was impressive. Deepest part of the field, off a major league pitcher who won 15 games last year. I don’t think David could have done that last summer.

  • open the gates

    Under the rubric of “no news is good news” in Spring Training, looks like we won’t be seeing Zack Wheeler for a while. Damn shame.

  • JackH

    Well, the weather’s awful nice and the traffic on St. Lucie West Blvd and Peacock makes for good anger management training for NYC traffic.
    We could use better restaurants though.

  • […] implicit understanding that March is fleetingly fun but increasingly pointless, go into no books unless something goes terribly wrong. You can’t even call it trivial, because where would you look up the answers to the trivia if […]