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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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Songs of Shea

Walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge tonight, marveling that it was 58 degrees out, and had the inevitable thought.

Y'know, I've sat through three-hour games in far worse weather than this. Why the heck isn't there a game on? Slackers.

When there is (not too long from now), how about some musical changes at the old ball yard? Something to shake up the usual tired blend of screech metal, whompin' jingo-country, chugga-chugga hip-hop and hyperactive salsa, leavened with novelties and hits o' yesteryear accompanied by really easy trivia questions. (If you hear “Born in the U.S.A.,” the hint will be something like “It was the year right after 1983….”)

It's not that all the music is terrible, though most of it is, but that with the exception of the salsa none of it moves. The players' music is mostly young aggro stuff for young aggro guys, and it kind of cuffs you around, but the players get what they want, within reason. (I still wanna know why Braden Looper kept coming out to “Lightning Strikes,” an obscurity from the years in which an Aerosmith show was Steven Tyler falling down onstage while hired guns waved over the EMTs.) But you get whiplash when these various concussions are followed by lowest-common-denominator tunes that sheepishly alternate three years ago's marketing with bleached-out oldies. There have been songs I've heard at Shea and come to like, but usually only because they accompanied good things happening on the field in the late 1990s. I heard “We Like to Party” or “Let's Get Loud” or “Stop the Rock” while we were winning baseball games back then and now I'm as helpless as a dog responding to the bell that he's learned precedes chow. But that's not the same as actually liking these songs — in fact, I can only think of two songs I first heard at Shea and legitimately like in any context: “Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)” and the original, Slade version of “Cum On Feel the Noize,” which was inexplicably popular a couple of years back.

If I was musical King for a Day at Shea, things would be different. Here's a handful of songs I'd love to hear instead of the usual parade of pablum. (Links will lead you to streaming Amazon samples in WMA format. They're supposed to open in their own windows, but that's not happening for some reason that's beyond me.)

* Steve Earle, “N.Y.C.” — More a stomp than a groove, but it would kill as the soundtrack for a video montage for a new player from the sticks. Here's the chorus:

I'm going to New York City

I never really been there

Just like the way it sounds

I heard the girls are pretty

There must be something happening there

It's just too big a town

The camera operators could objectify cute women for the “girls are pretty” line (inevitably freezing their image just after some mook sticks his Yankee hat into the frame), and the song's readily adaptable to a certain gloating over one's own town, which is perfectly honorable in this context. But the clincher? It's the narrator telling the song's hero: “Billy, give 'em hell!” How can this not be Billy Wagner's song?

* The Sugarhill Gang, “Apache” — Here's an experiment. Go to a Sunday matinee at Shea, then head out to Keyspan Park for a Cyclones game. It's just sad how much cooler everything is at Keyspan, even considering there are dizzy bat races and God knows what between innings. (Unhappily, “God knows what” has sometimes included the mascot being rude to my child.) But the Cyclones have more fun, keep the crowd more entertained, have better food and better music. Much better music. Like “Apache.” Scientists have actually proven it's impossible to be completely unhappy as long as “Apache” is playing over a PA system. “Lazy Mary,” on the other hand, has never been cool. Not for a nanosecond.

* The Hives, “Hate to Say I Told You So” — I don't know how a bunch of Swedes managed to pen the perfect song for taunting the opposing team after a manager's visited the mound, left his pitcher in, then had to return to get him after he's given up the big hit, but they did, and we ought to take advantage. (The sample doesn't quite get this across, but trust me.)

* The Figgs, “The Daylight Strong” — Give me a Met highlight reel, this song and access to the Diamondvision and I will create power-pop heaven and an immediate surge in record sales for a criminally unappreciated band: Mets hitting drives on the drum parts, going deep, flexing, etc. There's even a “watch it go round and round” line that would sync perfectly with footage of an umpire signaling home run. Then pair it with the same band's “Reaction,” a song made for alternating shots of good things happening on the field with fans going nuts in the stands.

* Earth, Wind and Fire, “September” — A month of happiness packed into three minutes and 36 seconds. Play it after every September win with pennant-race implications and let karma take over.

Of course it's January, and right now I would pay an inordinately large amount of money to watch us lose 7-2 to the Brewers and wouldn't complain if the PA played a rotation of “Lazy Mary,” “The Best,” “The Final Countdown” and “New York State of Mind.” (OK, maybe not “The Best” — though losing 7-2 to the Brewers would presumably keep it from rearing its gloppy little head anyway.) But summer's coming, and while I can't wait to get back to Shea, I can definitely wait until I have to endure the Blackout Allstars yet again.

15 comments to Songs of Shea

  • Anonymous

    Where ninth innings are concerned, I'd glady settle for a reworking of Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods:
    Billy don't be a Looper
    Don't be a fool with our leads
    Billy don't be a Looper
    Rear back and throw them some seeds
    And as he started to throw
    Langerhans felt nothing but woe
    Billy don't be a Looper
    Strike out some Braves

  • Anonymous

    I love that Steve Earle song. I've been compling New York songs on my iPod, and bought that tune in a bargain bin just for the title. Worked out well!
    But I'm surprised no one has adopted Ace Frehely's “New York Groove”
    I'm back! Back in the New York groove!

  • Anonymous

    “New York Groove” has been played at Shea over the last few years, but it's never been in heavy rotation the way it should be. Or used adroitly — I know nobody listens to the words, but cripes, it's a perfect song to play after a satisfying end to a losing streak.
    There's really no excuse for not having a stable of New York-related songs booming out in relatively regular succession. Though after John Franco's late struggles, I'd suggest leaving “Boy From New York City” on the shelf for a while longer.

  • Anonymous

    I about choked on my Diet Coke seeing a Figgs reference. I am a huge fan of the band and (full disclosure) am friends with them and run their email list. Jason, are you on the email list? And have you gotten the new live album? It's rather smoking.
    Keep up the great work guys. (But how come I can't find the place to get a user name for the comments?)
    Steve from Zisk

  • Anonymous

    Looper's theme song should have been the Red Hot Chili Peppers' “Give It Away.” Just the annoying part where Anthony Kiedis repeats “give it away give it away give it away now” until you get up and hit SKIP. Which is pretty much what Looper did, and what we did.

  • Anonymous

    The coolest song I've heard in Shea in years was “Shakin'” by the Blasters one afternoon. GREAT rockabilly-stye song with a stomping beat and accompanying sax. We used to play it over and over in college, dancing around like imbeciles. I would be a fantastic song to play during a rally when the opposing mgr/pitching coach heads out to the mound… the verses are short and detail how shaky/nervous/sweaty the singer is.
    You can't play “New York Groove” enough, as far as I'm concerned.
    I s'pose Billy Wagner comes to us with his theme music already picked out, but here's my suggestion: “No Quarter” by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Better than the Zeppelin original (gasp!), it starts with a mournful, ominous acoustic guitar bit… and then how do you beat these opening lines for your closer to come striding in to: “Close the door, put out the lights / You know they won't be home tonight”.
    Speaking of Zeppelin, I remember a game a couple years ago, Mike came to the plate to a different obscure tune of theirs like “Hots on for Nowhere” or “Royal Orleans” each AB. Yet another reason to love the guy.
    'Lazy Mary' is SO cool!

  • Anonymous

    Steve, how cool! What a small, strange world we live in. Yep, have the live album — bought it at the fantastic Cake Shop shows here in NYC last month. (At which I also overliquored and bugged Pete Donnelly about the necessity of having “Jumping Around” on the next album. He was admirably patient with me.)
    Will email you about getting on the band email list and other Figgs-related bonding.
    As for how to not post anonymously, I've lost the secret, but I think Greg once said the key was the blog service asking you to “subscribe” when it really means “register.” I'll try to get on a non-cookied machine to figure it out….

  • Anonymous

    Wow, what a small world. I only could go to the Friday night Cake Shop show (which was rather great), but the whole band was really happy with both nights there. And if I had a quarter for every drunk conversation I've had with those guys (even while I was on tour with them) I'd be a very rich man.
    I think they might be playing a Brooklyn show in March, but nothing is set in stone yet. And if you want to subcribe to the email list, just email me at news@thefiggs.net and I'll put you on.
    Steve

  • Anonymous

    Best closer theme I've heard: Rush's “Roll the Bones” when KC closer Jeff Montgomery took the mound (in KC, nonetheless).

  • Anonymous

    I doubt it's ever been played on the Shea PA, but there's a wonderfully jazzy rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” which is the first track on the album Planet Gap by Gap Mangione, Chuck's older brother and the more musically talented of the two (most in Rochester will tell you, probably even Chuck).
    A website sample is here:
    http://www.gapmangione.com/audio/pgap1.mp3
    Incidentally, you guys have corrupted me back into the land of met-aphysics so badly that I've gone and created a sublog (sub-blog?) to use exclusively for writing about the team. Feel free to follow the golden rule (or the orange-and-blue rule) and sidebar it as you've been sidebarred on mine:
    http://www.livejournal.com/users/metphistopheles
    The first entry there tries to complement your recent trip to Met Hell by identifying a cadre of cellmates/Hellmates for the residents of the various circles. I've identified nine Met opponents, player and manager, who earned their tickets to fiery dirt naps, who you can read about in this entry:
    http://www.livejournal.com/community/metphistopheles/393.html

  • Anonymous

    I had this marvelous vision (well, I say it was marvelous) that “New York Groove” would be the theme song of the '96 Mets, because we were so totally going to be storming into the first division. I envisioned a cheesy '86-style video opening with the Young Guns looking around Shea in awe and the “it's many years since I've been here” blasting and…aw, forget it.
    I like “Lazy Mary” but only because I've been conditioned to.
    One vote apiece for “Shake” by Sam Cooke and “Come On Come On” by Sloan to get next year's party started. I've been lobbying (essentially to myself) for those since '98.

  • Anonymous

    Who Let the Dogs Out always brings back fond memories of the 2000 Mets.

  • Anonymous

    When Frank Cashen was first repacing the organ with peppy records 25-26 years ago, I decided Neil Allen should enter to Heart's “Magic Man”. You know, Magic Is Back, Neil Allen getting out of jams, various National League hitters knowing they were going to disappear…
    My active imagination conjured some pretty lame scenarios.

  • Anonymous

    Shortly thereafter 2000, it began showing up in lists of “worst sports anthems ever,” a totally unnecessary diss. Still in agreement with Jason & Emily that Armando should've found a different grand entrance number in 2001, but that shouldn't sully it.

  • Anonymous

    I love Lazy Mary. End of story.