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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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Jackie Mason Said (I'm In Heaven When We Alphabetize)

Not to cast aspersions or overgeneralize, but you seem to watch a significant number of Mets games in bars. To me, a significant number would be one. I don't do much of anything in bars these days, let alone watch Mets games. Part of it is my relatively advanced age, part of it my lifestyle, part of it, perhaps, a matter of culture. Jackie Mason said:

A Gentile is always drinking. Have a drink? Have another drink? A Jew never drinks but they're always eating. That's why most Gentiles are 7-foot-2 and forty pounds and most Jews are 4-foot-9 and 300 pounds. They never stop eating! At lunch they talk about dinner, after dinner they talk about where to get coffee, and after that, where to get cake. It's 4 in the morning and a Jew says let's have sex! We already had sex? OK, let's have cake then.

When our pal Lone Star Met was in town in April, he suggested we go to a Mets bar after we left Shea. I tried not to laugh, for I knew of no Mets bars, except the sainted former Bobby V's at the Ramada on the other side of the Grand Central, which I think is still in our camp under whatever name it operates, and whichever ones are mentioned in this 2005 Daily News article (handily linked on our sidebar under Frequency for your drinking and watching pleasure). For the record, Lone Star Dan and I went into the city to Rosie O'Grady's on 46th where a pleasant Irish waitress asked us, both sporting Mets caps, if the Rangers won their big game over at the Garden.

The last time I entered a bar to watch a Mets game was in the middle of one of the most fun nights I ever had with other Mets fans, the Friday before Labor Day in 2004. I hooked up with two friends, the very funny comedy writer Frank and the very musical teacher Gary (the one respectfully known as Jane for his Jarvisesque organ wizardry). The occasion was an early dinner on the Upper East Side and a chance to tear the front office to shreds. Afterwards, we went for gelato. About the time we were finishing, the Mets conversation had morphed into a Mets competition.

Seems Frank and Gary, who have known each other since junior high, had a summerlong contest going online and over the phone. One would offer up a letter of the alphabet and they'd then take turns naming Mets whose last name began with that letter. After a prescribed time limit, they would check on Ultimate Mets for what they missed. Maybe 40% of the alphabet remained with summer about to end. So they decided to continue the competition live. “Wanna play?” they asked.

Did I?

For the next — and I'm not exaggerating — five hours, from the gelato place around East 78th all the way on foot to Penn Station at 34th and Seventh, from whence Gary and I would commute back to our respective Long Island haunts, we kept this up. This included a detour to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I was determined to catch the Childe Hassam exhibit before it closed. Know what I remember most about that? Not the flags, not the impressionism, but that we were in the W's and I suddenly remembered “MATT WATSON!”

It was like that all night. We sat on the steps outside the museum (The Met!) and muddled through the H's. Somehow, Bob Hendley was easy. Todd Hundley was tough. And Keith Hernandez, only the No. 2 Greatest Met of the First Forty Years, occurred to us like thirtieth. Likewise, when we did A's, we forgot Edgardo Alfonzo for what seemed like an eternity and when I, still in active mourning over the departure of my third-favorite player of all time (I had brought it up yet again over dinner), wasn't the one to come up with him, I kicked myself in the A's for about ten blocks. See, Frank and Gary had been doing this for fun. I scrunched my face up and thought really hard and exacerbated an already simmering headache desperately trying to pluck Jerry Buchek out of the air after somebody else already grabbed Bruce Boisclair.

Except for the headache, that's my idea of fun.

Anyway, this outlasted the gelato. This outlasted the museum. We wandered down Fifth Avenue, past the K's (I was proud of myself for blurting out Ray Knight before Dave Kingman even occurred to me), through the U's (or U — Unser and out) and into a crowd of never-ending J's (you can go a long way on Joneses). We decided it would be even more fun to take this into a sports bar somewhere and watch the Mets play the Phillies. Actually, it probably wouldn't be all that much fun since the Mets were slip-sliding from sight at this late point in the Howe Debacle, but it was the Mets.

Not as easy as it sounds. There were few places on Fifth Avenue that were even open on a Friday night. And the few that were were too classy to have TVs. And any with a television on didn't seem to be carrying the Mets' ongoing battle with respectability (respectability grabbing an early lead on a Bobby Abreu double). We wound our way to Sixth, then Seventh and finally plopped ourselves inside a noisy, touristy restaurant north of Times Square. It had lots of big screens. Lots of sporting events. Exhibition football games. College sports shows from the Midwest. Yankees and Orioles (the night Kevin Brown punched a wall, tee-hee; schmuck). But there, in the heart of Manhattan, the rarest commodity of them all…a Mets game.

I'd like to tell you the game went 16 innings and the Mets used Wilson Delgado to pitch and Danny Garcia hit a grand slam and they won 19-18 and it was free drinks all around because my headache dissipated when Pat Burrell bounced into that triple play, but no, the Mets lost by a typically wide margin. The big play was Cliff Floyd losing track of outs and tossing a ball into the stands Agbayani-style except it wasn't cute because we weren't good. It also wasn't something we divined until we heard about it later. The place was noisy and we weren't paying that much attention.

Our game, however, picked up renewed steam. We ended the night at Penn focused on the ever-popular G. That's G as in Gary, G as in Greg, G as in, I smugly added, Eric Gunderson, Kenny Greer and Mauro Gozzo (I once wrote a poem involving all three in one line so they were easy for me to spit out). Having established to my satisfaction that I was the geekiest of our group, we shook hands and parted ways.

Once my train emerged from its tunnel, I turned on my phone and found a message from Gary:

“Hey, either of you morons ever heard of TOM GLAVINE?”

Oh yeah. G as in Glavine. Mike Glavine, too, come to think of it.


1 comment to Jackie Mason Said (I'm In Heaven When We Alphabetize)

  • Anonymous

    I'm rethinking it and I may have to start watching Lima's starts in bars. It's just more efficient.
    L is for Lima.
    L is for liquor.
    L is for loss.