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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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Coop! Coop! Coop!

You and I haven’t gone to enough games together this year. The next time we do we have to make sure we finally see him.

Win or lose, he’s the main attraction. The big draw. The reason so many people look forward to going to Mets games lately. It may be the trendy thing to do, but I’m not ashamed to say I’m one of those people, and I’ll bet you are, too.

Then it’s settled: We have to go see the next game in which Eric Cooper umpires home plate.

Man, it’s so exciting. I understand the Mets sold an extra 10,000 tickets in the last five days once the fans understood who was going to be in the middle of everything. Coop! He’s the reason to buy a ticket.

Sunday was a Gold game, which means it cost $27 to watch Eric Cooper umpire from a mezzanine reserved seat or $34 from loge. If you could get an outer field box, it was $41. But obviously everybody who ponied up thought it was worth their hard-earned cash just to watch Eric Cooper call balls and strikes and argue with players.

The Mets must be kicking themselves. Gold? They’re probably scouring the umpire rotation charts to figure out when Coop will be behind the plate again at Shea. Then they can institute a new tier. How’s Azure sound?

Obviously, it would work. Unfortunately I couldn’t watch the game but I could hear the excitement for the five or so innings I listened. Gary and Howie described the scene vividly as always: almost 44,000 on hand, who knows how many wearing those navy polo shirts with Eric’s number 56 embroidered on the sleeve, the really savvy fans coming to the park with a chest protector under their tops and a handful of truly clever ones bringing a chip on their shoulders. Just like their hero.

Eric Cooper did not disappoint. Right from the start he made himself the story of the game. Squeezing the Mets’ pitcher (I don’t remember who that was) in the first; calling borderline balls as strikes when the Mets were up and then…the big one!

The Mets’ catcher — Piazza, I think — who Coop retired on strikes (some people would say the Angels pitcher did it, but we know who the star of the game was), didn’t like it and said something from the bench. Another umpire might have let it go, but not our Coop, no sir. He turned away from the action on the field and went after the Mets’ catcher.

Ya gotta love it! Finally, somebody gets it. It’s not about going to see the Mets or the Angels and it’s certainly not about allowing either team’s interchangeable players to play. In the first inning, Coop took over the game. He threw the Mets’ catcher out.

Wow! I mean wow! There’s a guy who understands the stakes, who understands baseball and what the fans pay to see. It’s not about the catcher or the pitcher or ignoring what a frustrated player may say in the heat of the moment. It’s all about Eric Cooper and he did not let anybody who thought so down. I could tell from the way the fans were shouting “COOOOOP!”

Too bad we didn’t get a chance to see Eric Cooper umpire today. But it’s a long season. Unlike the guy he threw out, we’ll be sure to catch one of his games.

Yeah, that’s who I wanna see.

12 comments to Coop! Coop! Coop!

  • Anonymous

    I just heard about an umpire in a college game this weekend where the umpire called a balk during an INTENTIONAL WALK in the 9th, allowing the tying run to score.

  • Anonymous

    One thing Cooper does better than most umpires is that ten-step drop…straight out of his position, and towards a player he's got some problem with. I heard he drives a real nice Cadillac Escalate.

  • Anonymous

    Let me apologize for the wacky structure of that senetnce before Greg takes me to task. If anyone knows I couldn't ever make sense at like 7:30 in the morning, it's him. But hopefully you all got the drift.

  • Anonymous

    Another oops… it was the WINNING run that scored because of that call. Ouch.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the structure of the sentence in your previous post was fine; it's your spelling of the word “sentence” in the followup that I have a problem with…

  • Anonymous

    Oh, Good Lord! Greg, do me a favor and expertly edit my horrible posts and remove the oops posts. I am a moron. JM, re-read that first one and tell me if you're still OK with it. If so, you're even worse off than I am.
    PS: Greg is there an edit/delete function available for our posts, and I'm just too stupid to have noticed it?

  • Anonymous

    I'm being a little lenient (this is the internet, after all), but the sentence is fine. I mean, the only thing the reader is left unsure about is which took place over the weekend- the game, you hearing about the game, or both.
    Or, of course, whether you were actually in a college game over the weekend, at the time when you heard about the umpire. The truly curious, observant, and finicky among us are left wondering what exactly you heard about this umpire. And some may believe that it was you hearing about the umpire which allowed the tying or winning run to score. Which honestly wouldn't surprise me, L, seeing as you were in the game when you heard about it.
    But…fear not…the substance of your sentence still stands strong.

  • Anonymous

    Hey you two: Get a chatroom.

  • Anonymous

    I can see the headline now:
    F&F In Flushing becomes number one hit for google of the phrase, “Leave Comment”

  • Anonymous

    Faith and Fear in Flushing welcomes all comments, especially those related to Faith and Fear in Flushing.

  • Anonymous

    To Shea…

  • Anonymous

    I still hate Angel Hernandez.