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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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Don't Miss Out

An Asdrubal Cabrera three-run homer in the 11th to beat the Phillies? What Met fan would say no to that?

Sadly, though, Cabrera’s Saturday night shot will never be more than a faint echo of the one we’ll all remember. That one, off Edubray Ramos, came down the stretch last September, when the Mets were fighting furiously for a spot in the play-in game. This one came off Adam Morgan, at the end of a meaningless slog of a game amid the embers of a dead season. Later today the Mets will play their final game and disperse. Terry Collins, in all likelihood, will no longer be their manager. Some number of his coaches will also become ex-Mets. And that will be it until some new incarnation of the Mets assembles in Florida in February.

Honestly, it will be a mercy after a sour, dispiriting season in which pretty much everything went wrong, often cruelly so. I’ll miss the Mets and watching Mets games, eventually. But it’s going to take a while.

Still, don’t let a horrific season — or the embarrassing spectacle of anonymous knives in departing backs — keep you away from October baseball. Don’t cheat yourself.

In 1988, as a 19-year-old fan, I watched in agony as the Mets came apart against the Dodgers. I can close my eyes and still see awful images. Keith Hernandez fumbling in the mud, unable to reach third base. David Cone and his stupid newspaper column. Mike Scioscia unloading off Dwight Gooden before a stunned Shea. Darryl Strawberry failing to hit a simple fly ball when it was desperately needed. Orel Hershiser here, there and everywhere.

And worst of all, somehow, Gary Carter grimly packing up his catching gear in the visitors’ dugout, even though the Mets had a couple of innings left in Game 7. I screamed at the TV and at him that he couldn’t do that, that the Mets weren’t dead. But I was young and Gary wasn’t. He knew they weren’t coming back against Hershiser. I knew it too but couldn’t bring myself to admit it.

I was crushed. And so I sulked. I told everyone who’d listen as well as everyone who didn’t want to that I had had my fill of Tommy Lasorda and Jay Howell and Hershiser and Scioscia and Kirk Gibson — oh, I had most definitely had my fill of Kirk Gibson — and didn’t need to see the Dodgers play the A’s. I’d sit this one out and watch the Mets take gleeful revenge on their tormentors in 1989.

And so I missed Gibson’s home run off Dennis Eckersley — only one of the most famous homers in the history of the game. I mean sure, I’ve seen it a couple of hundred times. I know Jack Buck’s call by heart and Vin Scully’s summing up, just like you do. But I didn’t see it live, as the culmination of three hours of tension and unscripted drama. I missed that because I was mad at the Mets. And I’ve regretted it ever since.

Baseball’s the greatest artistic achievement yet devised by our species, and every October it brings us an amazing story that seems impossible until it’s written and then feels foreordained. I’ve got my bandwagon teams — I’ll happily root for the Indians, the Twins and the Astros. Or, if it comes to it, I’ll cheer passionately for those perennial October heroes, Not the Yankees. (Not the Yankees are a freaking dynasty, by the way — they’re an impressive 85-27 in World Series history. You could look it up.) There are matchups that make me think, “Oh wow, that would be fun,” from Astros/Dodgers to Cubs/Indians II. There’s the madness of the play-in games, and rooting against the Nationals. There’s the chance to watch Jose Altuve and Clayton Kershaw and Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor and Aaron Judge in prime time. There’s the bittersweet promise of checking in with old friends Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce and Bartolo Colon. There will be heroes nobody sees coming, and goats who deserve far better, and bathing in beer and Champagne, and scoffing at shivering stars of soon-to-be-cancelled FOX sitcoms, and a bizarre controversy or two, and so much more besides.

I don’t know how any of it will turn out. That’s the fun of it. The Mets will be back and maybe they’ll be a little older, wiser and healthier. Until then, though, the big stage belongs to others. And that’s all right — because I still want to know how this story ends.

14 comments to Don’t Miss Out

  • 9th string C/OF

    Especially with so much of our 2017 playing in October. Go Bruce, Rivera, Grandy and Addison!

  • eric1973

    I love it when we get down to the last day of the season and everyone has played the same amount of games, so that the standings have no 1/2 games in the GB column. And then no rainouts on the final day, and so it ends that way.

    Then all seems right with the world.

  • Mike s

    I’ve probably watched less baseball this season than any in my life. And I’ve really missed it. I will definitely try to catch as much post-season as I can.

    Don’t get too down on yourself, though, for not seeing Gibson’s Shot Heard Round L.A. I saw it. And I hated it. I still hate it. Every time I have to relive that crap, I let out some odd combination of a moan, curse, and the Lord’s name in vain.

  • LeClerc

    Game 161 had a great deal to be both cheerful and hopeful about.

    With the exception of Sewald falling asleep at the switch, Mets’ pitching was autumn crisp.

    Aoki and Nimmo performed some warning track heroics.

    And the once disgruntled Cabrera is now very gruntled. He’s made an excellent case for picking up his option.

    Looking forward to hot stove happenings and healing shoulders and hamstrings

  • eric1973

    Keeping the medical and conditioning staff, while at the same time not keeping the manager and coaches, is akin to keeping Ted Baxter, while letting go Lou Grant and the rest of the staff.

  • mikeski

    Indians, I think.

    Cubs got the monkey off their back, now time for the next biggest monkey to go.

    I’m willing to settle for Not The Yankees v. Not The Nats.

  • Eric

    I missed the 1st 4 innings and missed Lugo’s start. How’d he look?

    WC is a play-in game. Hurts to lose it, like last season, but I wouldn’t go back to the automatic play-off bid nor have a 3 or 5-game WC series. Win your division. Three rounds of post-season series are enough.

    Too bad Aoki isn’t 5 years younger. He hits and doesn’t K like Daniel Murphy, Mets version, and mixes in some speed, both stand-out skills on this team. Aoki’s an over-all solid 4th outfielder who can fill in comfortably as a starter. Then again, if he were 5 years younger, he wouldn’t have been bounced around for his Mets cameo. I’ll understand if Aoki isn’t brought back, but I’d be pleased to see him back.

    In a small September sample, Evans has looked like a TJ Rivera type hitter, and more mature at bat than Rosario and Smith. I hope Evans gets a longer look next season.

    Bad Mets baseball is still better than no Mets baseball. I’ll miss it. I’m chalking up the extraordinary happenings of this season, like Conforto somehow tearing out his shoulder on an ordinary swing, as the karmic payment for the reward of the 2 prior seasons.

    Play-off baseball is a different kind of game than regular-season baseball. It’s intense with elite players hyper-focused. Tactics change and normally routine managerial choices become game-changers. There are some attractive match-ups. I’ll watch.

  • Joe41

    This is shaping up as a memorable post-season, with plenty of Mets contributing. How is it that so many of our players made the post with other teams? What went wrong when they were together in New York? Pity that we depend on sports writers for information they routinely withhold to ensure continued access. The recent Collins drama aside – that was no scoop, gang – the most interesting and unexpected thing we’ve learned since 2015 is Curtis doubts the moon landing.

  • mikeL

    Well, syndergaard looked good and arm did not fall off. Had game on but only checked in every so often. The blowout score-against confirmed my choice of limited involvement.

    Glad it’s over. looking forward to some crisp, high-stakes baseball, even if i’ll be rooting for others – and a few former mets – especially reed and bruce.

    Yes, any matchup excluding nats and yanks will be ok.
    Go twins!

  • Daniel Hall

    For a start, I will be rooting for the Twins very hard in their next game.

  • Xtian

    Oddity about the Grandy Rhame trade. On Curtis’ 12th birthday, Rhame was birthed.

  • Paul Terreri

    After all we went thru in 2017, did you really have to bring up the ’88 Scioscia HR again ?