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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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Brett to the Future

“With yet another New York Mets Old Timers Day ahead of us this weekend, we have a lot of the former players in the ballpark tonight, so let’s send it down to our own Eddie Kraus to hear from one of them.”

“Thanks, Steve. I have with me a guy who Mets fans will recognize instantly even if they might have a hard time thinking of him as an Old Timer. It only seems like yesterday that Brett Baty was the freshest-faced of rookies, homering in his first at-bat in Atlanta and then, in his second game at Citi Field, homering in front of Mets fans for the first time.”

“To be fair, Eddie, there were a lot of Mets fans that night in Atlanta, too. Like my whole family.”

“Of course, Brett. We don’t want to shortchange any of the Batys. Welcome back to Flushing for your first Old Timers Day. How does it feel?”

“It’s as crazy now as it was the first time I put on the Met uniform, not only the game against the Braves but that series against the Rockies where I made my home debut. If I’m not mistaken, they were having Old Timers Day that weekend, weren’t they?”

“That’s right. It’s hard to believe now, but by 2022, the Mets hadn’t had an Old Timers Day since 1994, long before either of us was born. Since 2022, of course, it’s again become the cherished annual tradition it initially was from 1962 forward.”

“Yeah, now that I’m remembering it, the one they were having when I came up was the resumption of the whole thing. You can correct me if I’m wrong, Eddie, but the franchise turned 60 that year, didn’t it?”

“You’re on top of your math and your history the way you were on top of that sinker from Chad Kuhl on your first Friday night in New York.”

“It’s like I’d tell guys like you: home runs are always awesome, no matter where I hit ’em. But to hit the first one at home, in front of the fans who I was just getting to know and they were just getting to know me, was extra special.”

“That whole game — that whole weekend — was extra special.”

“I know it was for you. That series was like your first game, wasn’t it? How long have you been broadcasting Mets baseball anyway?”

“That was just a contest. I was the Kidcaster. But it definitely paved the way for my career. But let’s talk about you and your career and, specifically, what you remember about that Old Timers weekend.”

“Well, like I said, it was a real thrill, knowing they were bringing back some of the Original Mets and members of the first two Mets world champions and so many greats, so many players I’d grown up reading about and watching. And now I was getting to meet them, which was just as cool as getting to play with the players who were already there when I was called up in ’22.”

“Are you still in touch with your old teammates?”

“You know how time flies, but I try. Once you’re out of baseball, you drift, but being here, especially in this magnificent new ballpark, it all comes back to you. From that Friday night, we’re talking about my first Citi Field home run, but every time I see the highlights, I’m reminded I was barely the tip the iceberg.”

“It was a titanic game with the whole crew contributing. Chris Bassitt, for example, had a great start, one of so many he threw that year.”

“Absolutely. I guess the bullpen didn’t hold the lead, but when you get up to this level, you see how hard it is to come through every night. We wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without all those guys setting up Edwin.”

“Brett, can you hear a trumpet without thinking of Edwin Diaz, even all these years later?”

“Eddie, I hear trumpets in my dreams and it’s like old Citi Field is still standing. I don’t wanna wake up!”

“Yeah, we all miss that place. What else do you remember about that night?”

“I remember Starling Marte tripling. That guy was a pro. Playing on a bad leg all the time but giving it his all. I remember Mark Canha getting two big hits — big surprise, right? Oh, and the Polar Bear himself. He won it for us.”

“Indeed he did, walkoff single in the ninth, Mets taking it, 7 to 6, holding off those preternaturally pesky Braves in the process. Pete Alonso did a lot of that in his day, especially 2022. Swings like those go a long way toward explaining all the records he set.”

“We were wearing black uniforms, weren’t we? We had to be if it was a Friday night.”

“Uncanny memory you have there, Brett Baty.”

“Listen, when you’re a 22-year-old kid and suddenly you’re called up to a first-place team and you’re playing next to some of the best players and pitchers in the game, you retain all sorts of details. You look back years later and you can’t believe how lucky you were.”

“I’m sure the fans look back on your career, especially how it started in 2022 and what you and your teammates did, and feel the same way.”

“Are you kidding? Every time I come back to town it’s a lovefest. I met some of the guys from ’69 and ’86 that weekend and they told me it would be like that if we won. They were right.”

“Final question, Brett. Old Timers Day is tomorrow. You’re looking pretty spry in retirement. Are you good to go for an inning at third base?”

“I’ve been working out, Eddie, and if this old Baty body holds up, I think I might be able to go two. But I don’t wanna speak too soon.”

“Thanks for speaking to us now, Met Old Timer Brett Baty. Back to you in the booth, Steve Gelbs.”

“Great conversation there from Eddie and Brett, and Eddie Kraus’s reports, as always, are brought to us by Apple Watch. Apple Watch: Just Look at the Time.”

9 comments to Brett to the Future

  • Jacobs27

    As Ronnie might say, “Niiice!”

  • eric1973

    Or, as Ronnie usually says:
    “You are 100% right, Gary.”
    “I was thinking the same thing, Gary.”
    “Let’s make fun of Keith again, Gary.”

    And let’s not forget, the riotous laughter at Gary’s unfunny jokes:

    When Gary said “Bird is the Word” for the 4th time……

  • ljcmets

    Clever as usual, Greg, what will the Citi of tomorrow be called?Are we honoring our past with Hodges—Seaver Stadium or going retro and calling it Shea, and do OldTimers walk around with shirts that say “I’m still calling it Citi” and muttering under their breath “Citi might have been a dump, but man, it was our dump! I’ll never forget what happened there. No-Han, Tears of Joy, the night David said good-bye, and 2022- it will never be like that again….oh, but hey, meet me at the deGrom statue before the game.”
    And what about the pretzels?

  • Bob

    Indeed, for decades, I told folks what we said about Shea–
    It might be a dump, but it was our dump!

    My last game @ Shea was game #3 of 2000 World Series…and for that save, I forgave Armando Benitez all the other agita-inducing/sleepless nights….
    Really looking forward to today’s Old Timers Day activities.
    Mets have not done this this since 1994?

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Greg, please tell me that at the Baty old timers day that you describe, Lastings Milledge is not invited.

  • Lenny65

    I thought Old Timers Day was just wonderful. I really hope they continue doing things like that going forward. Kudos for a job very well done. Steve Dillon becoming a Mets folk hero at age 79 was just fantastic.

  • Stan

    I don’t know why Apple has never used that tag line.

    Still waiting for the Apple Watch face where it tells the time in a series of dots. 9:36.

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    Shutout #17 -fantastic
    Mets win, Braves lose-awesome
    #24 retired PRICELESS
    Well done Mr. Cohen,well done.In Uncle Steve we trust.Thank you Mrs. Payson.
    Willie the GOAT
    Best player on the field tonight……..Mr. Wilson