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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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Embracing That Which Annoys

In case you don’t remember, baseball is back. A week ago at this time, you could barely sit still in anticipation of its annual arrival. Now it’s part of the woodwork.

I like the woodwork this way. I like baseball this way. I like when it keeps us company this way, embedded so smoothly into the everyday life. Opening Day and its Home Opener cousin are dandy, but anything that MLB Inc. crafts a logo for and hits you over the head with loses its innocence after a few decades.

This first road trip, the inherent ebbs and flows of 3-3 notwithstanding, made for an enormously satisfying week. I didn’t hang on every pitch. I couldn’t. Nobody can. But the pitches were there to return to and take as seriously as I wanted. Miss an inning?

Don’t worry. They’ll make more.

This is baseball in April, hold the pomp, circumstances to be determined. When the Mets win as they did Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, all is right with the world again, no explanations necessary. When the Mets lose in April, as they had Friday and Saturday nights, all could be better, but a Mets loss in April beats a Mets nothing in winter.

Before Michael Cuddyer introduced himself to the ranks of Met power hitters (he and John Mayberry are currently tied for last on the list of most home runs hit for the franchise alongside 72 one-dinger wonders who span Gus Bell, Hobie Landrith and John DeMerit from 1962 to Bobby Abreu and Taylor Teagarden in 2014); before the Mets made the most they could possibly make from a walk, a steal, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a sacrifice fly (Terryball in action!); and before two-tool player Bartolo Colon (three-tool, counting the vault of savvy he no doubt stores upstairs) put his bat in the way of a ball and accidentally authored his first RBI in ten years, the Mets were having a below-average weekend.

Niese Night was a comedown from Harvey Day and the Gee interregnum guaranteed the first losing streak of 2015. The closer had tested positive for some banned substance that had somehow infiltrated his system (he “honestly” has no idea how it got there). The captain felt compelled to tongue-lash his teammate in the third-person to the media. The shortstop was inspiring several nicknames, none of them flattering.

• Wilmer Porous
• Non-drelton Simmons
• Wilmer T. Flores (as in “WTF — he’s at short?”)

Yeah, bad Met times in a bad news ballpark. And it was still better than blank Met times in winter. I’ve realized this week, during the three Met losses I’ve seen most if not all of, that I rather don’t mind being annoyed by the Mets losing when I haven’t been annoyed by them for real for six months. I’d prefer being spiritually enriched by their endless excellence and their six straight wins to start the season, but deprived of that option…WTF, y’know?

It’s not about “panicking”. The silliest thing that can be said to a fan who is unhappy with an early-season slump is “it’s too early to panic” unless you’re talking NFL. Personally, I wasn’t panicking when the Mets were 2-3, and not because the 1986 Mets started 2-3 and rallied to win 106 of their next 157. I was simply fleetingly miffed — and damn glad to be so. Guy on third doesn’t get driven in? That doesn’t call for a state of Zen. It calls for geez, get the runner home, OK? Likewise the flat fastball that’s spanked into center when the other team has the bases loaded or whatever else doesn’t constitute the teamwork to make the dream work.

It isn’t fatal, it’s just not ideal. And it’s perfectly within the bounds of civil behavior to point it out, if just to oneself. Give yourself and your fellow fan credit for perspective. The next day, it can be all good. The next day after the two-game losing streak, Sunday, it all was. More good days than bad days will keep the annoyance in check. But when the bad days come around again, as they inevitably will, there’s no sense denying how much you don’t care for them.

If I have to be dealt a loss, allow me to enjoy despising it. It helps remind me how much I enjoy the wins.

3 comments to Embracing That Which Annoys

  • JerseyJack

    I assume you’re going tomorrow, Greg . Where u sitting ?

  • Scott M.

    “or whatever else doesn’t constitute the teamwork to make the dream work.”
    Nice, Greg. That’s why I read FAFIF.

    Seeya at Opening Day today!

  • Daniel Hall

    Apparently, our shorthanded hotstop (or something like that) is named WAFG – Wilmer Alejandro Flores Garcia in full. Or: What A Frantic Glove.