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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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Spiritually Eliminated

You can still do the math, but at this point of this season, a Mets fan doesn’t need to be Yakov Smirnoff to understand the math does YOU. However many games behind the Cardinals for the Second Wild Card. However many-and-a-half games behind the Braves in the NL East. The numbers are conceivably small enough to not totally and completely give up, at least over at the Supreme Optimists Club. The Regular Optimists Club is poring over draft position.

Wednesday night the 2021 Mets gave all but the hardiest diehards permission to throw in the towel — hurl it into Flushing Bay at as high a trajectory as possible, lest the likes of Lars Nootbaar leap at a nearby wall and grab it. Nootbaar, if you weren’t watching the game closely (and I admittedly wasn’t, opting instead to linger inside 1986 for one more blissful evening), indeed leapt at the right field fence and robbed Pete Alonso of a three-run seventh-inning homer that, had it eluded the grasp of heretofore unfamiliar Redbird, would have cut the Cardinals’ lead from 8-4 to 8-7. St. Louis went on to win, 11-4, finishing off a series sweep and rendering the Mets’ playoff chances barely visible. Without that catch, St. Louis would have gone on to win, 11-7, also finishing off a series sweep and also rendering the Mets’ playoff chances barely visible. I can’t prove the Mets would have lost regardless of the exploits of Lars Nootbaar. I just know it’s true.

The Four Horsemen of the Metspocalyspe — pessimism, skepticism, cynicism and fatalism — had been held in abeyance for as long as they could be this summer. Through the injuries. Through the one-run losses. Through the runners stranded. Through the manager who managed in order to win some game other than the game directly in front of him. Through every glaringly obvious sign that this had slowly but certainly stopped being our year. Not beating the Pirates. Not beating the Braves. Not beating the Phillies. Not beating the Dodgers. Not beating the Giants. Not beating the Marlins. Not beating the Cardinals. That’s a pretty convincing spate of signs. Together they spell out S-T-O-P at the intersection of You Gotta and Believe.

We hold out hope because it’s how we’re wired. We hold off hopelessness because a state of hope is a far more preferable place to reside. We indulge in mathematical reality only when we must. Alas, reality refuses to any longer indulge us.

20 comments to Spiritually Eliminated

  • Dave

    I don’t know. The past two nights I’ve been watching the Mets broadcasts on ESPN and they look real damn good. I think they have the teamwork to make the dream work.

  • Seth

    Well, you gotta bereave.

    Particularly painful timing in airing Once Upon a Time in Queens during a September to Not Remember. :-( But it’s a well-done show, with spot-on interviews and footage I’d never seen before. We are lucky, those of us who lived through and enjoyed that season.

  • Bob

    Congrats on your part in the Once Upon a Time in Queens!
    Was much better watching you for my BP and mental health than watching this clusterf&%k of Mets season come crashing to an end…..
    Those of us who are old enough also recall the other season where Queens was the Emerald City of the story.
    Thanks again for your writing–along with Jason– that gave me a chuckle and sometimes a groan or 2 every morning this season!

  • mikeL

    yup, yup, yup, yup…and yup.
    the tea leaves have grown into hay bales but it had been fun to see that the second *wild card* was suddenly within closer reach than the braves…and the team we were playing next was ahead of us.

    and then the games were played.

    the time for plausible denial-ability is indeed over
    it hasn’t been much fun but what’s a fan to do?

    (i’ll likely root for wilmer…can’t stand the dodgers…maybe the brewers…just like most octobers. 86 was all-time if only for the marathon in the astrodome. jeez, just 5years til the 40th anniversary!)

  • Kevin from Flushing

    I believe pessimism, skepticism, cynicism and fatalism were the names of the four vocal gentlemen sitting behind me in 311. There isn’t enough Hornitos in the tri-state area to drown out that misery. ::eye roll::

    • SeasonedFan

      I hard those same leather-lunged gentlemen as I watched the Mets season circling the drain from a seat in section 312.

  • dmg

    in its way, 2020 was a preview of this horrible finish.

    going into the final weekend of that stump of a season, the mets — managed by the very same luis rojas — had a puncher’s chance of sneaking into the playoffs. long shot? absolutely, they needed four things to happen.

    the giants had to lose twice, the phils had to lose twice, and the brewers had to lose at least once. incredibly, ALL THESE THINGS HAPPENED.

    oh, the fourth element? the mets had to win 3 times, and they lost all 3 games. and tied for last.

  • Seth

    It’s been a rough month for the fans, eh? First we get booed and yelled at by Lindaez, then trolled by Adam Wainwright. What did we do to deserve this? Sheesh…

  • Eric

    The Cardinals shoved the Mets out of their way to the 2nd wildcard. That’s an interesting race.

    I’m not ready to give up on the division because the Braves and Phillies aren’t pulling away. The Mets just aren’t catching up.

    The Mets need to catch up 2.5 games in the standings and 4 in the loss column over the next 12 games to be minimally alive for the season ender against the Braves.

    If the Mets slice 2-3 games off the deficit this weekend while they play the Phillies and the Braves play the Giants, I’ll keep hoping. Slice 1 game off, I can still talk myself into it.

  • eric1973

    Hey Eric, your plan reminds me a lot of our plans to try and lose weight. If we just take off 3 pounds every 2 weeks, we can meet our goal. What we didn’t consider was gaining that 1 pound a week in the meantime.

    As for being trolled, I recall Bauer trolling us at the beginning of the season.
    Who’s the troll now, asshole?

    Thanks to Rojas’ main goal of extending players careers, Wheeler sends you his thanks. “Thanks, Luis!”

  • open the gates

    Any game that results in a Yakov Smirnoff reference is not a total loss. Thanks for that.

    One of my favorite Smirnoff lines: “I passing store with sign that say, BIG SALE – LAST WEEK! So why tell me now?”

    I have a feeling that the Mets’ last week will be a little sooner than we wanted it. And that’s when the big sale will begin.

  • Nick D

    Any game with a name like Lars Nootbaar can’t be all bad.

    On second thought, this one looked pretty all bad.

    So maybe that name is actually a word scramble…


  • open the gates

    If Butterfingers had been in the outfield, Pete might have gotten his home run.

    SMIRNOFF: In American baseball, you hit home run. In Soviet baseball, you run from home. Then they hit you.

    (OK, I’ll stop now…)