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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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A Pitcher's Best Friend

“I swear I could tear your throat out right now!”

That was said by a parking-lot attendant at Citizens Bank Park after our friend Jerome pulled an admittedly unconventional U-turn in an effort to escape a tediously slow line of vehicles waiting for spaces.

Welcome to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love! And yes, sometimes the jokes do write themselves.

However, I’m obliged to report that a) this rather gruesome threat was somehow expressed in a thoroughly amiable voice; and b) the parking-lot attendant’s reason for threatening violence had nothing to do with me, Emily and Joshua in the backseat clad in Mets garb. (In fact, our friends Jerome and Val are Phillies fans.) The attendant’s objection was that there were no spots in the section to which we were headed; told that we could see several available spots, he shrugged and cheerfully let us continue on our way, throats intact.

Not long before that, it didn’t seem like this was a game we were going to get to attend. It had rained Saturday morning on Long Beach Island, culminating a beach week that was half washed out; Philadelphia’s hourly forecast was just a copy-pasted SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS 45% CHANCE OF RAIN, the meteorological equivalent of a shrug.

Not to worry — it was sunny the entire time. That only left the question of what would happen to the Mets, who based on recent evidence might not be capable of beating a squad of parking-lot attendants, homicidal or otherwise.

We were a section over from the 7 Line, first heard from when Starling Marte crashed a monstrous home run into the left-field seats and vocal for the rest of the game — to the occasional annoyance but mostly placid acceptance of the Phillies fans around us.

The Mets took a 2-0 lead and Max Scherzer looked sharp, with his off-speed stuff particularly deadly. More than that I can’t tell you, as we were in the upper deck — I could tell what was a fastball and what wasn’t, but details beyond that were fuzzy bordering on theoretical. But there was enough to see — or hear, as happened when I was getting a beer and Nick Castellanos slammed a Scherzer offering into the weird little shrubbery beyond the center-field fence, followed shortly thereafter by Trea Turner tying the game with a single.

Scherzer fanned Bryce Harper on a cutter and the Mets quickly built a new two-run lead, which the Mets protected with a pair of nifty double plays. Our vantage point high above the game was perfect for those — from up there, the geometry of the fielders tells its own story, whether its outfielders trying to close on a ball up the gap or infielders lurking where hitters would prefer they wouldn’t.

The DP David Robertson coaxed from his old teammates to end the eighth was a thing of particular beauty, with Luis Guillorme‘s catch and flip to Francisco Lindor looking like it had been doctored with a little CGI before Lindor fired the ball on to Pete Alonso. Robertson got in trouble again with one out in the ninth, surrendering a single to Brandon Marsh, whose soaked mane makes him look like Swamp Thing. That brought the tying run to the plate in the person of Josh Harrison, but it also left Guillorme and Lindor primed for action.

Harrison slapped Robertson’s second pitch on a beeline to Guillorme, with Lindor already in motion to his right. “C’MON C’MON C’MON C’MON!” I was shouting from the upper deck, and Guillorme and Lindor came on, securing both outs and the game.

It hadn’t rained. Parking-lot threats had been cheerfully empty. And most improbably, the Mets had won. Brotherly love carried the day after all.

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