Spring training this year seems interminable. Fans and media members alike are itching for the games to start counting. Mets fans in particular, if we can lobby to get spring training wins to become official. The Mets right now are firing on all cylinders and if you’re reading this, you probably hope against hope that the trend continues for the next…oh…say…six months or so. When Rafael Montero can stifle the “A” lineup of the Miami Marlins – containing the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and such — for six innings and still end up relegated to the bullpen once all is said and done, you kind of get the idea that, well, you might just have something, here. But, as we all know, you can write these results on the back of a matchbook: they mean absolutely nothing. Until the night of April 6, no matter what happens in Florida or Texas, the Mets’ record is 0-0.
In our desire for some Metsian stimulation apart from the innocuous goings on down south, a group of us got together to celebrate. Now, far be it from me to promote our “competition,” but to the guys we were celebrating, this little website is no competition at all. The occasion was the tenth anniversary of the startup of the blog Faith and Fear In Flushing, founded by great friends of the Three-Six-Oh, Greg Prince and Jason Fry. These two have spent ten years reminiscing with Met fans, cheering with Met fans, cajoling Met fans, and perhaps most notably, consoling Met fans. Your intrepid columnist would not have survived the bitter autumns of 2007 or 2008 without Messers Fry and Prince to talk him off the ledge. So some of their loyalists gathered at Foley’s Saloon in mid-town Manhattan for Mets baseball on the TV, Mets talk at the table. And cake.
The conversations ranged from obscure would-be Mets of the ‘60s and ‘70s – anyone heard of Billy Cotton? Anyone remember Nelson Briles’ failure to make the 1979 team? Anyone know that Tug McGraw‘s brother Hank was in the Mets’ system, too? – to whether or not this is the most successful spring in team history. My vote went to 1984, if anyone’s keeping score. We talked about Johan Santana’s one-legged, season-saving performance. We talked about Wilmer Flores and the lack of a left-hander in the bullpen – we didn’t have any spoilers that Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins were on the horizon. We talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed. And there was cake.
By happy accident, the day of the shindig happened to be the day before my 50th birthday. It was apropos to spend it in the light of FAFIF. It was Greg and Jason’s inspiration that caused me to try out this blogging thing on my own, on some tiny, largely ignored sites with overly clever names. These attempts caught the eye of a guy named Brian Joura, who invited me to join this merry band. Thank goodness I said “yes.” I now get to bloviate twice a week – which some of you might think is twice too much, but I digress. In any case, both occasions were cause for pause and reflection. People ask all the time, “Why stick with the Mets? Haven’t they broken your heart enough? Come over to the Yankees or the Phillies.” They must be kidding. I wouldn’t trade a minute of jubilation or heartbreak, elation or despair. I’ll proudly wear my Metdom on my sleeve for the next 50. With no disrespect to Yankee or Philly fans, I politely decline. I’ve met a lot of each and I know I’ll never find as fun a group as the bunch whose hearts are in Queens among them.
So celebrate! It’s almost Opening Day!
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