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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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Here They Come Again

You know it, I know it, we all know it. Pitchers have reported to 525 NW Peacock Blvd. in beautiful Port St. Lucie, Fla. People equipped to catch them are there to meet them. Also in attendance: hopes, dreams, a sense of renewal and blessed repetition.

Every February I grow weary of Spring Training. It used to be March, but the cycle speeds up these days. Pitchers & Catchers (the process, not the individuals) expends my goodwill not long after the sports cars and SUVs find their specially marked parking spaces. In the world in which we as fans have constructed for ourselves, it seems these fellows and their position-playing teammates are never really gone. They breeze through the same social media as the rest of us, except we pay attention to their comings, goings, doings and quotings. Our representatives among the unsocial media — what we used to call the working press — are dutifully taking it all down and spewing it back for our consumption. And we consume, because it’s there. We could pay less attention, but we don’t. Of course we don’t. We are conditioned to gobble up every iota of offseason detail to combat our natural winter state of deprivation.

We’d miss baseball more if baseball fully went away. It rarely does. It’s on our minds. It’s on our feeds. It’s just not on TV and radio at 7:10 basically every night, which is the real problem and one that won’t be fixed because there’s stretching and quoting and documenting to the extreme. The Eagles hadn’t put the Patriots away one second the Sunday night before last when it was willfully declared that hurrah, baseball season had begun. Unless somebody had scheduled a midnight first pitch in Flushing, it hadn’t. Same for the impact of Pitchers & Catchers, let alone infielders and outfielders. Same for the first intrasquad game, split squad game, exhibition game, minor league game on the back fields where somebody’s sent to get his work in and every other euphemism for getting ready. March 29 remains the target. March 29 is where we need to arrive.

The arrival is still up ahead. The road rolls on. All we did today was get on the Florida Turnpike. Ah, but at least we’re getting somewhere.

No doubt you are already doing so, but think good thoughts for Buddy Harrelson, whose battle with Alzheimer’s is sadly in progress. Usually I hesitate before invoking the word “battle” when it’s applied to someone coping with an illness, because illness is a bully who doesn’t fight fair. Yet those of us whose Mets fandom was built on the indefatigable nature of Buddy Harrelson can’t escape the sense that it ain’t over until it’s over. Buddy doesn’t give in so easily. We won’t, either.

Here’s Bob Klapisch’s story on Buddy’s battle.

6 comments to Here They Come Again

  • Bill Slocum

    Amen on Buddy. Amazing is on his resume.

  • open the gates

    Sad to hear about Buddy. He’s in my prayers.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Best wishes and prayers to Buddy and his family.
    His unique connection to both championship squads makes him a true Mets icon. Certainly not the best player to grace Shea, but he most definitely has his place in the hearts of all Met fans.
    Hang in there Buddy. Just as we did decades ago, we’re pulling for you!

  • metsfaninparadise

    Did not expect such a curmudgeonly reaction to pitchers and catchers reporting. For me, it’s glorious! It’s sort of like midnight on Jan 1. A threshold to cross, not the first “day.” The first day of January comes after you’ve finally gone to bed, awakened, dealt with whatever aftermath you must (e.g., hangover) opened the door and picked up the first newspaper (do people do that anymore?) or taken the dog out for his first piss of the year. We’re not seeing baseball but it’s as surely baseball season as it was 2018 at 12:00:01 on Jan 1, even if it doesn’t feel any different

  • Dave

    One thing we all have in common with Pete Rose is that we know Buddy is a fighter.

  • open the gates

    Here comes Jason Vargas again!