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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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Mets Don't Leave

I spent Tuesday evening with some tremendous New York National League baseball fans. But I wasn't at Shea. Wasn't even watching the Mets. I had to pick up our game in transit and in fragments from the eighth inning on.

This was a night for New York Giants baseball and the quarterly (more or less) meeting of the New York Giants Historical Society, which actually has dissolved of late into the Giants Fan Club. We seem to be a breakaway republic from the original organization. It's not official. Nothing about this is official. It's just a bunch of guys who were New York Giants fans getting together in a Chinese restaurant in Riverdale to talk Giants baseball, the good old days and whatever comes to mind.

I'll admit to feeling like a bit of a camp follower in this group, having missed the entire existence of the New York Giants the first time around. That's why I have to attend these meetings, to get the only taste I'll ever get of what it was like to burrow into Coogan's Bluff, to descend the Brush Staircase, to sneak into the Polo Grounds when the ticket-takers weren't looking. That's something our organizer used to do 65 or so years ago. I'm guessing the statute of limitations has run out on that particular crime.

As I've hinted, indicated and implied along the way, I'm a time-displaced Giants fan. I fell in love with the idea of the New York Giants when I was a kid and everything I've read about the life they led from 1883 through 1957 only makes me root for them in memoriam more. Not the San Francisco Giants. They're just some team that plays the Mets.

Unfortunately, most of my Tuesday night cohorts have stuck with that organization from 3,000 miles away. I can see why, I suppose. They grew up in the '30s and '40s and '50s as Giants fans. Nobody warned them that someday their team would relocate. What were they going to do, become Mets fans?

Yeah, that would be what they should've done, what lots of Giants fans did, but there's something to be said for holding out and holding on, keeping the torch burning (in case Horace Stoneham should show his face at one of our meetings) back east. Guys who maintain a connection to the San Francisco Giants are more likely to want to get together to relive the New York Giants, and that works for me.

Let me not make these fellas sound sad-sackish. They're not. They know the score. They know what's going on. They're in 2005 even if they will forever regret what happened in 1958, the year the New York Giants and their Brooklyn counterparts set up shop elsewhere. As we passed around various articles and souvenirs for mutual inspection, somebody recommended a book that chronicles the Giants' first year on the West Coast.

“I'd like to get that book,” somebody else said. “And use it to heat my house.”

While I could think of a worse future for the likes of us than gathering around a distant table and rehashing with 70% accuracy what it was like back at the turn of the millennium…

“Remember the time Valentine wore a fake mustache and glasses in the playoffs? And that game where the two outfielders played cards with the bases loaded in center? Wasn't that the game with the single that went for a grand slam? Piazza hit that. He won the series. Because Pratt couldn't play. Or was that the year Tony Perez got thrown out at home by Todd Zeile because he didn't hustle?”

…I hope it never comes to that and only that. I hope our team doesn't disappear out from under us and give us nothing more than a Chinese restaurant in Riverdale three or four times a year. It's bad enough that the tenured members of the Giants Fan Club have to live in such a world. I'm merely a visitor there. I'd hate to be a permanent resident.

5 comments to Mets Don't Leave

  • Anonymous

    Fans who stay loyal to the Giants or Dodgers after they abandoned our city are like abused spouses who stay married and keep making excuses.

  • Anonymous

    I tend to agree, but I think it's partly attributable to the timing of their departure and the four-year gap that preceded the Mets' arrival. These guys were creatures of habit and loyalty. When 1958 rolled around, they did what they always did. They rooted for their team. By 1962, for a few of them, it was too late. To the great credit of most of them, it wasn't. I've spoken to Giants fans who kept rooting for Willie Mays when he came to Shea as a Giant but otherwise became Mets fans.
    What's unforgivable is the old Giant or Dodger fan who becomes a Yankee fan. Brrrr…

  • Anonymous

    Hey Greg. A little late on this thread. Have you seen “Summer of 1957” ?
    3.5 hours of newsreels of the 1957 season.
    Consider that few former Dodger fans would come see the Mets at the Polo Grounds and more fans showed up to see the 62- 63 Mets than showed up to see the 55 – 57 Giants.
    The former Giant fan provided an immediate fan base for the Mets.

  • Anonymous

    Better late than never. Thanks for writing in and thanks for the tip about '57. I'll look into it. It's interesting that it's the Dodger fans to whom the early Mets were compared but ballpark geography tells, as you mention, a different story.

  • Anonymous

    Had to “correct” a misinformed commenter on this subject at on 9/30 here:
    down toward the end.
    I'll occasionally wear a Durocher era roady black and orange to Shea. Most people just don't know. Won't wear it when SanFran is in town.
    First time I wore it to Shea I got a big “Hey” from the ticket taker and a “Where you been ?” from a concessionaire.
    Maybe you can answer this one. No one else can. Near the top of the Brush Staircase on MacCombs Road is the “Flash Inn”, popular with the Bronx court crowd. Any connection to Frankie Frisch ?