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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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Stupid Real Life

Being a fan is inherently ridiculous.

Two weeks ago we were collectively rending our garments because the Mets were painful to watch and we were killing time waiting to a) see what they got for every upright body at the trade deadline; and b) complain about seeing Pete Alonso in the togs of the Mariners/Cubs/Giants/What-Have-Yous.

Then came the Grimace era, which while barely a week old saw us think the Mets had figured everything out and were unbeatable — perhaps no more so when they coolly came from four runs down to shock the Rangers, perhaps by way of tribute to the now late, eternally great Willie Mays.

Wednesday night this rickety tower built from giddiness and recency bias and hubris all came crashing down, as the Mets suddenly looked very much like the Mets of two weeks ago vintage, failing to win an eighth straight and leaving Grimace with a pang in his big purple heart.

Defeat had a lot of fathers. There was Edwin Jimenez‘s improv strike zone, which was no help to a suddenly wild Sean Manaea in a profoundly irritating first inning. (While Jimenez was definitely bad, a bases-loaded HBP on an 0-2 count isn’t one you can pin on the umpire.)

The Mets fought back against Andrew Heaney, whose significant other really should tell him to lose his living-under-a-bridge beard, with Alonso’s homer to center giving them a 3-1 lead. But they gave it back in the sixth, with Sean Reid-Foley allowing the Rangers to tie it while looking out of sorts, prompting Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez to speculate if something might be physically wrong. Something definitely wrong in that inning was the defense: First Starling Marte overthrew the cutoff man and Alonso made a weak throw home, and then Mark Vientos couldn’t corral a hot grounder in the hole.

The Rangers had tied it, and Drew Smith allowed them to untie it in the seventh, serving up a two-run homer to a slumping Leody Taveras. While I’ve never dubbed Smith a Jonah, I’ve also never trusted him, unless it’s to give up dingers every time a Mets manager decides he’s worthy of moving a step up the bullpen ladder. Giving up home runs is what Smith does; I hurled poorly sourced and unfair imprecations his way and hoped the Mets would come back, though I had an uneasy feeling that particular well of luck had run dry.

As indeed it had. The Mets came up in the ninth needing a bloop and a blast and got neither: Marte grounded out, Vientos got himself out with an overly aggressive AB, and Francisco Alvarez fought through a tough AB but grounded out.

You can’t win ’em all, a wise person once said — a warning probably first heard in Mesopotamia, soon after some bunch of marvelously Guillorme-bearded Babylonians decided to venerate Ishtar with a diversion involving a ball and a stick. It’s a warning we briefly thought no longer applied to us. Now, once again, we know better. Stupid real life!

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