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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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Acceptable Level of Mercury on My Head

Hot one out there. I think I need to wear a cap. Why, I'll just put on my…


For those of you who wonder how co-bloggers surprise each other after a dozen years of continual baseball contact, it's with one of these babies. My reaction upon its presentation by Jason unto me?


Surely you remember the Mercury Mets. In case seven years have erased your memory of what the future was supposed to look like (suddenly 1999 is a very long time ago), this was our marketing department's twist on turning the clock ahead. Teams were supposed to be wearing uniforms that were sneak previews of what we could look forward to in Century 21. It would have worked better if we took the field dressed in gold jackets.

It's not that the Mercury Mets unis were gruesome — they were — or that we lost in our only appearance in them — we did. It was the one step too far that made it quintessential Metsiana, certainly to Jason's way of thinking (he seems to believe knocking down Shea will wipe away all the bozoness this organization brings to the table, first place or not; I think he's delusional, but don’t tell him I said that…he just gave me a Mercury Mets cap). Although the conceit of the promotion was how “futuristic” Major League shirts and pants would look in 2021, nobody bothered to remind the Mets that 2021, even then, was only 22 years away.

The experiment got away from us when Rickey Henderson stepped into lead off and DiamondVision presented Mercury Met Henderson with three eyes. Three eyes. Twenty-two years. Fun is fun, but Rickey wasn't having any of it. Neither was starter Orel Hershiser who thought the Mercury symbol was a little demonic for the tastes of The Man Upstairs, and I don't mean David Howard. Shaken beyond his hymnal, Orel took the L in that game, bowing to Pirate rookie hurler Kris Benson, someone else who allegedly had a boffo 21st century ahead of him.

A Wild Card, a Division Series triumph and a hard-fought National League Championship Series didn't erase the stigma of the Mercury Mets in 1999. The first National League pennant of the 21st century was also caught in their orbit. A snippy letter to Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated summed up the 2000 World Series in part as “Pinstripes vs. Mercury Mets outer-space uniforms”. Given the choice, I'd take space.

But like I said, HOLY FUCK! It's scalding hot having a Mercury Mets cap, albeit in a size that requires me to wear it like a yarmulke if I'm to wear it at all, but that's just my big head talking. Now I'm two-thirds of the way to my goal of owning every Mets cap that will never be part of any retro craze or Sotheby's auction. There's this one, there's the reviled white ice cream cap of 1997 (of which I have two) and there's the 1976 Mets Bicentennial pillbox cap. It's like the one the Pirates wore for several years except this was blue with horizontal orange stripes and was absolutely abominable. I've wanted one for thirty years. Had one in my grasp in 1978 but passed on it in favor of a far more pedestrian Superstripe cap endemic to that era. Poor choice.

Same could be said of those ticket-takers who have not refused me admission to Shea of late. Monday night was a good night for headgear, but The Log endured another beating. At 1-5, I'm off to my worst six-game start since 1995's legendary 0-6 launch. I've been to 17.6% of my team's home games yet attended 35.7% of their home losses. Why does the best National League team this side of Mercury melt at the sight of me? It's not like I've got three eyes or something.

10 comments to Acceptable Level of Mercury on My Head

  • Anonymous

    So it seems I'll be bidding against you should one of those ever appear on ebay.
    In a rare showing of spendthriftiness back in '76, not only did the family make a day of it at Shea, but the folks sprung for bicentennial hats for both my sister and me. I wore it regularly for a couple of years, then it got shunted to the back of the closet. I've since gone away to college, moved back in, bought a house, sold it and bought another. Somewhere, sadly, the hat has gone missing. Now I know I wouldn't have thrown it out. Mom is a different story, though bless her heart, she boxed up all my baseball cards while I was away at college, and nonchalantly presented them to me during the early 90s card craze. “Oh, baseball cards are worth money? Yours are behind my sewing machine.” Hello Ripken, Brett and Yount rookies, dozens of Mets and other treasures.
    One of these days I have to do a thorough attic search. Those bicentennial hats were comical. I'm not so sure how comfortable a quarter-inch thick dome of foam will be, though.

  • Anonymous

    Not only do I have the Mercury Mets hat (which I wear to softball games) my good luck hat is the Japanese hat worn for the Japan series in 2000. Do you have that one??

  • Anonymous

    The Tokyo cap? Wow! You had to get up pretty early in the morning to get one of those.

  • Anonymous

    I actually saw somebody wearing the Bicentennial cap last year, from a distance. It didn't look nearly as cool as I remembered it (what does?), so should the bidding get out of hand, I'll probably relent.
    Whereas today I appreciate things that are uniquely Metsian, back then I just wanted us to seem like a “normal” franchise. That we were doing something that the Pirates were doing and that the Cardinals were doing gave me hope that we had a clue. I'm not sure we or I did.

  • Anonymous

    I know what you mean about the having a clue thing.
    Part of me expected to see a carnival in the lot not affected by the new construction last night.

  • Anonymous

    Oh lord I was at that game…and yes, I got myself one of those hats too. Didn't Al Martin hit, like, 5 home runs in that game? I think Hershiser started that game. I remember near the start of that game the P.A. announcer was all into it, talking like a robot, introducing Robin Ventura as the “third quadrant” instead of third baseman, and stuff like that…but by the sixth inning he gave up and started announcing everything normal again.

  • Anonymous

    Ya did something for me. Ya probably cost me $44, but ya earned a HOLY [BLEEP] out of me, too.
    Thanks for the tip.

  • Anonymous

    Don't you mean Al Martian?
    When they give up the gimmick after five innings, you know it's not your night.

  • Anonymous

    no problem!