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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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Leaders are Strange When They are Strangers

Whether as a season ticket perk, a stop on a tour or an element of community outreach, the Mets’ press conference space is sometimes occupied by activities other than Mets’ press conferences. Once in a while, when I’m at Citi Field with a media credential and I’m a bit early, I’ll step into the room usually used for official communications and glimpse something other than a Mets press conference in progress. The setting is familiar, the faces aren’t.

Watching on TV Tuesday, I had that same sensation. The curtain of dancing logos was hung as if to appear organic; the dais was in place (albeit in the Piazza 31 Club, because the Shannon Forde Room downstairs is ensnared in ballpark renovations); and the mics were amplifying sound. But in front of the occupied rows of chairs, there were a couple of people who, when the 2023 season ended, were essentially strangers to our baseball-consuming experience. On Tuesday, they were seated as if they belonged at the head of that room. They were talking authoritatively about the team to which we are emotionally attached. They were necessarily commanding the attention of a dutifully recording audience. I was watching because I felt I had to watch, regardless that I couldn’t shake my overriding thought of, “Who the hell are these guys and why are they talking about my Mets as if they have something to do with them?”

“Who are these guys?” is a question a Mets fan would have found challenging to answer not too many months ago.

Those strangers/these guys have a topline grip on the fate of our Mets fan happiness for the foreseeable future. Not that anybody can foresee the future.

David Stearns and Carlos Mendoza can’t be called strangers anymore. They are, respectively, the president of baseball operations and manager of the New York Mets. We made the camera-filtered acquaintance of Stearns at the outset of October, and we’ve been introduced to Mendoza in mid-November. The Met months we care most about are February and March somewhat, April through September intensely, and the parts of October and November that don’t take place in a press conference room if we’re lucky. We were a little lucky in 2022, not at all in 2023.

So we meet Stearns and we meet Mendoza, and they tell us how excited they are to be among us and that they’re going to do their best for us, and it is up to us to trust them and believe in them. Why wouldn’t we? Because we’ve had so many versions of these press conferences in recent memory? Because October and November at Citi Field being used for something other than press conferences has been a rare and fleeting experience? Because we’re practiced cynics hardened against an onslaught of platitudes, especially those extolling changes in the prevailing Mets culture?

All of the above. But let’s trust and believe in David Stearns and let’s trust and believe in Carlos Mendoza, anyway. They’re erstwhile strangers now. They’re the guys we’ll get used to seeing with the curtain behind them, the microphone in front of them, the weight of the franchise on their shoulders. It behooves us to be David Stearns fans and Carlos Mendoza fans. We’re New York Mets fans. For the unseeable, foreseeable future, they and we are in this thing together.

8 comments to Leaders are Strange When They are Strangers

  • Seth

    David Stearns needs a little more grey in his temples before I will fully trust in him. There, I said it.

  • eric1973

    Stearns and Mendoza look like they need to get back to playtime, with rattles and pacifiers.

    Show me something first, besides a guy who fired Buck, and a guy replacing Buck.

  • Dr. Lou Verardo

    Really enjoyed this, Greg; you helped me identify what I was feeling as I watched the press conference. Part of my disconnect was seeing two new guys whom I had never met in that situation, and they were talking about the team I love, but they looked like 2 guys from the accounting department at first. It got better, though, once our new manager put on his hat and jersey…

    I still miss Buck, no disrespect to Mr. Mendoza.

  • mikeski

    RIP Oakland A’s, next stop…Vegas, baby.

  • eric1973

    They had one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball until Davis blocked out the Outfield view for football.

    I will miss it.

    And the fans were the best in baseball, with all their carrying on every night.

    I hope they lose every game now.

  • eric1973

    Lose every game after they move, I mean.

  • CharlieH

    If I can be in this with Brodie & Mickey, with Sandy & Terry, with Billy & Buck – heck, with Joe & Joe, for that matter – I will certainly stand behind David & Carlos.