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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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Get the Feb Outta Here

Thinking along the lines of “fewer clients, less money” got Jerry Maguire booted from Sports Management International, but I’ll dare to express one of The Things We Think And Do Not Say:

Spring Training shouldn’t have started so soon. Too many Spring Training baseball games in February are unnatural. Too many Spring Training baseball games in February are just wrong.

February is no longer day to day. It is outta here, like a lamb with a quad muscle that bears watching. The Mets have been playing baseball games that don’t count since Friday, February 23, preparation for their playing baseball games that will count on Thursday, March 29. The hubris of too-soonishness is splattered all over the calendar.

Oh, I’ll take it if they’re giving it to me. I’ll take it on March 29 as I’ve taken it since February 23, tuning in wherever the Mets have wandered as they’ve attempted to find themselves. SNY…Channel 11…WOR…the Braves radio feed, even. The Atlanta radio guys aren’t bad, although one sounds like a sober Jim Brockmire and both talk way too much about the Braves. I’m a Mets fan, and if it has something to do with Mets baseball, I’m digging in. Yet I know what I’ve been digging into is half-baked and consumed at one’s own risk, like some ill-advised chicken tenders I dug into at Shea one long-ago August night.

But at least it was in August. That’s one of the baseball months for real. February has its place. February prepares us for March. March prepares us for April through October, maybe November if we’ve been good. February is not traditionally part of the recommended yearly allowance of baseball games. Another example of the FDA falling down on the job.

There was a February baseball game this week interrupted by an hour of rain and eventually given over to hours of No. 96es meandering through the motions, as if it was already March 10 or thereabouts, meaning our meaninglessness clocks are all off-kilter. Keith Hernandez was so antsy to leave, he was publicly swearing off cocktails. Gary Cohen had his bags packed for college basketball duty. Hardly anybody was in the stands. No manager or coach was making a personnel decision based on anything transpiring in their midst. They could have run instructional league footage and we wouldn’t have known the difference.

Running instructional league footage in December, on the other hand, is a capital programming idea.

I get the feeling the baseball gods are offended by our accelerated pace of play and, as punishment, have inflicted a slew of early injuries on one Met after another. An outbreak of everything wasn’t supposed to happen this year, what with all our new trainers and protocols and fresh supplies of gauze. Nothing serious. It never is in February. A shoulder here, a lower back there, pulls and pains from the tops of legs to the bottom of feet. And those are just the nicks the Mets have reported. Noah Syndergaard clearly had a shirtectomy. Steven Matz is afflicted by a lingering case of Setauket. Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki have been diagnosed as ragingly adequate. Hansel Robles reportedly can still point skyward. The spirit of Ray Ramirez lingers in the St. Lucie atmosphere.

An optimist would say it was a good idea getting the Mets into baseball shape early because Mets baseball shape inevitably involves injuries. An optimist would discern recovery time has started ahead of schedule. An optimist would declare DeGrom, Cespedes, Bruce, Smith, Lagares, Swarzak and Tebow (sure, why not?) will all be fine sooner because they’re not so fine now. That, I’m optimistically telling myself, is the utility of baseball in February, though I won’t be telling it for too many more hours, because March is lion in wait.

And March, when spring traditionally becomes Spring, is the first month of the rest of our year.

8 comments to Get the Feb Outta Here

  • eric1973

    Hold on there, Greg, as one would have logically believed that all the injury optimism would have been used up by now, as we were all giddy that they had the whole off-season to recover. Guess we need to now dip into our reserve.

    The Cubs had the Curse of the Billy Goat. We have the curse of Ray Ramirez.

  • open the gates

    I’m thinking that Hansel Robles is an early favorite to win the “Why the Heck Is That Guy Still a Met” award this year, an award that appeared to be owned by Rafael Montero the last few years.

    • BlackCountryMet

      My thought exactly OTG. He elicited my 1st angry Mets Tweet of the season when I saw him still in our uniform

      I know ST doesn’t matter but one plus point for UK Mets is games are nearly always 13 10ET which translates to 18 10 GMT. I’ll take live Mets baseball at that time whenever I can

  • Gil

    If Cespy goes down with the shoulder we have Berrios. Nobody panic.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    It may have been Februrary for too long, but on the radio side Howie and Josh are in mid season form. During the most recent interminable game with the Braves, some Met number 88 or other (I forget who) hit a fly ball out to Right Field and the Braves Right Fielder made a nice running catch. Except neither Howie or Josh could figure out who he was. So Josh says, “C’mon Bub, turn around so we can see your number”.

  • Brian H

    I’m down here now and everything is great, except the prices at Disney! Tebow is a joke, the other #83 is half his size and twice as talented. Here’s a list of the guys wearing 80’s on their backs. The two guys at the bottom only played once so far and I neglected to record their numbers. Biondi is the best looking player but ‘Jay Jabs’ has to be the best name :)

    Jay Jabs-86
    McNeil-88 (81?)
    Tyler Moore-?
    Scott Manea-?

  • Lenny65

    Hey all, let’s keep the legendary Rusty Staub in our thoughts going forward, I read today that Le Grande Orange isn’t doing very well at the moment. Rusty was IMO always one of the more fascinating Mets of all time. Rusty 1.0 was a (relatively) sleek professional hitting machine, then Rusty 2.0 was our somewhat portly pinch-hitting god who never failed to poke a two-out base hit with the tying run on third. Best wishes Rusty, we’re all pulling form you.