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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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24,049 Lost Souls

Your movie this week stars nobody and features nothing.

—Pearl Forrester, Mystery Science Theater 3000

The Mets are now little more than time chasers. I got to Shea at some point Wednesday night and some three hours later I left. I returned home from whence I started when it was over. Baseball was apparently played.

But I was there. This, I told my companion, who freely admitted there was no way he'd be there without my advance ticket buy (made when we eyed this as one of dozens of potential showdowns for the…nah, don't even say it), is what we will look back on next year, or perhaps the year after that, or some distant year beyond that one, when the Mets are titlebound. “Yeah, remember that game against the Nationals in September '05, how we went and there was nobody there and the Mets lost? Yeah.”

Yeah.

Me, my buddy Dan and 24,047 other lost souls have an alibi as to where we were on September 14. If we're suspected of any crime, we can honestly plead insanity.

24,049 was the announced attendance. I'd say a good 12,025 of our fellow ducatclutchers decided to cut out the middleman in order to cash in the “Get a Sub With Your Stub” offer on the back of the ticket. Think about it: If somebody bought a $5 upper deck jobbie and, instead of using it, took it directly to Subway to buy any 6″ Sub at regular price and receive a second Sub of equal or lesser price FREE with the purchase of any 21 oz. drink, that person came out ahead.

Like the Nationals. Again.

Nobody cheered. Nobody booed. Nobody except Jose Guillen reacted to anything. Three Nationals converged on a pop fly and none bothered to catch it. They were rewarded with a double play grounder.

And a win. Again.

Even the Pepsi Picnic Area, on a “bring your empty can, get in for free” Wednesday, looked unpopulated.

“Hey, if ya finish that soda now, you can see a Mets game for free!”

“Nah, that's OK. I'm enjoying it and don't want to tarnish my memory of it with an unpleasant association. Plus I'd really like to get my nickel back. I will take one of those Subs though.”

Is this even the same season we started in April? I don't much care for 2005 Version 2.0. I liked the prototype much better.

To be fair, Dan and I had a marvelous time in very reasonable weather. Until recently he worked a night shift so this evening was three years in the making. (The Mets apparently no longer work nights.) We agreed that going to an implications-free baseball game that turned into the 14th loss in 17 games was better than staring into space come November and wishing we had such a diversion.

But of course the Mets suck, so let's not give them a free pass for providing green grass and fertile topics of conversation. Dan and I decided we could've done this in a bar, but then we'd have to keep badgering the bartender to turn the channel to the Mets game. And you know he wouldn't.

Did you know that the Mets haven't won two in a row in three weeks?

Did you know that no Mets team has ever been over .500 as late as 139 games into a season as this one was and finished under .500 as this one seems determined to do? For that matter, no Mets team has been anything like eight games over in late August only to finish — lemme check to see where they are right now — a hundred games under.

Did you know The Log hates when I inflict games like this one on it? I'm now 9-7 for the year with three more visits to the periodontist…I mean Shea scheduled. This was Lifetime Regular Season Game At Shea No. 298 for me. It was my goal to get to No. 300 in 2005 which is what I'd be collecting on Closing Day if not for my adding this one. Now The Log is angry that, barring rain, I will finish with an odd number for the season and may punish me by making me go 9-10 which would piss me off in ways that the Omaha Leon Brown card did you. Plus, at No. 301, I'll wind up commencing a whole new page at the end of a season, something The Log considers bad form. The Log can get very cranky and may force me to fit in an extra Rockies game if I'm not good to it this weekend.

Maybe the baseball gods are exacting a toll on me for getting sick twice this season when I held tickets for games that turned into wins but couldn't go. Dan, however, is probably right when he says the baseball gods aren't really paying attention to the Mets these nights.

Why should they be any different from the rest of us?

2 comments to 24,049 Lost Souls

  • Anonymous

    as always, greg, you are gracious and generous. in this case, i'm thinking you confer authorship to me of some of your own lines.
    thanks for sharing.
    i'll say this: at least WE showed up. pity the lads didn't.

  • Anonymous

    The important thing is they were said.