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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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Careful With the Classics

As rain descended on Cincinnati, SNY switched us over to Mets Classics. Oh boy, I thought, a chance to see the '86 Mets clinch the division again.

Nope. It was the 9/21/01 game. Baseball's return to New York, with moving ceremonies before the game, Liza Minnelli's roaring take on “New York, New York,” and (oh yeah) Mike Piazza's no-doubter of a home run, a blast that not only won us a ballgame but made it OK to worry about a silly thing like baseball again. Greg and Emily and I were all there, and it stands as one of the most-emotional nights I've ever had in a baseball stadium.

We've written about this game before, and at first I was pleased to see it. (And noted with a start that the Braves' third baseman was the late Ken Caminiti.) But then I got to thinking, and I wasn't so pleased.

Even knowing things will turn out OK (on the field, at least), the 9/21/01 game isn't a happy experience to watch: The shocked crowd, the hushed announcers and the stricken-looking players all snap you back to those terrible days. That doesn't mean that game is holy or should be off-limits. But it does mean, at least to me, that it's a piece of the past that shouldn't serve as background music while the tarp's on the field in the present. You have to see the whole thing: the solemnity of the opening, the tense grind of the early innings, Liza's cynicism-defying turn in the seventh-inning stretch, and the euphoric, triumphant release of Piazza's homer. Every time I looked down at where it said RAIN DELAY on the crawl, I was reminded that we wouldn't see the whole thing, that Gary and Keith would reappear before the experience was complete.

And indeed, we didn't make the 7th. No Liza. no Piazza. Just a vaguely uneasy feeling and the dislocation of suddenly finding oneself worrying about Steve Trachsel (ironically, the only '01 Met still standing) and Adam Dunn and Carlos Delgado. Here 's hoping SNY saves this game for other occasions — but ones where the whole story can be told. It's a classic, no doubt, but a classic that needs to stand alone.

5 comments to Careful With the Classics

  • Anonymous

    Agreed on this one in particular and rain delay theater in general. If these are classics, they shouldn't be filler. On Friday afternoon, during a precipitation pause at Wrigley, the 1988 division clincer stealthily appeared. It was a pleasant surprise (I love the comeback over the Yankees from May 19, but repetition dulls the senses). But as with the Liza game, this one went away after a few retrospective innings. The Mets still haven't clinced 18 years ago on SNY.
    Suggestion (besides reairing those cleverly written “Profiles in Orange and Blue” from Mets Weekly): Show random games from random years. This is the perfect slot for them. They don't have to have any significance beyond it was the Mets from 2005 or 1998 or 1993 or 1984 or anytime. They don't have to be classics to be enchanting. And if you have to interrupt them to roll up the tarp, no problem.

  • Anonymous

    I wish we could see some really classic games: 1962 Opening Day from the Polo Grounds. Lindsey, Murph & Ralph from the 60's & 70's. Game 2 of the 1973 World Series.
    Stuff like that…

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me SNY went into the season with one “Mets Classic” in the can – the '86 clincher. They've since added a handful of others, and beat us over the head with them equally (the game in SF, the Yankee game, now this). If SNY management didn't have the foresight to edit a bunch of games, just air the raw footage of random games from Met history. The first game ever… Cub games from '84… Tom Seaver starts… '69 series games… Darryl Strawberry's first game (please!)… the first Met/Yank game.
    The 9/21 game fills me with regret unrelated to the larger context. I was offered a choice of tickets to that entire series, great box seats down the 3B line. Despite wanting to be there for the return of baseball, it was easier for the wife to go on the weekend. So, instead of being there for the most uplifting, thrilling moment of the season, I got to witness the worst: Armando f*cking Benitez blowing the game on Sunday.

  • Anonymous

    I got to witness that too. I'm going to stop thinking about it right now, so I don't spend the next two hours fuming.

  • Anonymous

    I can't watch that 9/21 game without dwelling on the mess 2 days later. I'm in the stands, we're up a couple of runs, we're gonna be a game out, and everyone starts doing the mock tomahawk chop. I'll admit, I joined in (it was funny), but all the while I was thinking, “This game isn't over yet, maybe we shouldn't be doing this”. After that it's all a blur of Brian Jordan and smirking chokey non-closers and a lot of anger in the car on the way home.