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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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Depends What the Score Is

Nothing like victory to turn Shea indignities into amusements.

Your co-bloggers and their wives, famous in these precincts for their remarkable patience, took up residence in the upper deck within high-fiving distance of planes leaving La Guardia, and immediately had to marvel at our neighbors to the immediate rear. These guys should have been the subjects of some kind of medical experiment: They combined the manic energy of puppies with the alcohol capacity of Viking war chiefs. They were plenty obnoxious (though at least they didn’t seem to have a mean bone in their bodies), and in an 11-1 loss would no doubt have become unbearable companions early. But as accompaniments to a distant 4-1 win that never seemed particularly in doubt? What the heck. They were tolerable and even fitfully amusing. Or at least ignorable.

Similarly, getting from the top of the upper deck to the 7 train was not an odyssey for the timid. It took half an hour, much of that spent in the human equivalent of stop-and-go traffic on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue, watching one particularly wasted youth climb over the fence (topped with really nasty, sharp metal twists that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your crotch or your palms) between the street and the parking lot four times, falling twice. He kept going back and forth, and I don’t have the faintest idea why. Maybe he just liked falling off fences. (In perhaps the least-surprising development in the history of Shea Stadium, he turned out not to have a Metrocard.) As before, in an 11-1 loss this confinement and nearby dipshittery would have been torture. After taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the NLDS? It was surreal and kind of fun — Would we ever reach the 7? Would Asshat Boy fall off the fence again? Would he respond to the crowd’s increasingly inventive taunts?

Then there was our 7 car — wow. A trio of Shea vendors who’d changed back into their Yankee gear and were rehearsing really lame gangsta raps. Some braying doofus complaining that the top team in each league should just go right to the World Series and suggesting that an NLCS win against the Cardinals “would exorcise the ghosts of Jack Clark and John Tudor.” (Huh?) And, interspersed with drunk staggering Met fans, the handful of outer-borough locals who’d gotten on the empty 7 at Main Street in Flushing and looked up in uncomprehending terror when 56,000 people stormed their car a stop later.

(Oh, and once the 7 finally crawled its way to Times Square, the 2 was running local. OK, that wasn’t so amusing.)

Speaking of taunts, one of our upper-deck neighbors deserved a seat upgrade for high-quality tormenting of Kenny Lofton after his demand that a bus be moved from behind the outfield fence and out of the batter’s eye. (He wasn’t wrong — what idiot thought that was a fine place for a bus? — but let’s ignore that.) After Lofton struck out, the heckler fired off a string of gems, beginning with “TURN OFF THE SCOREBOARD! I CAN’T SEE THE BALL!” and progressing to “TIME OUT — THERE’S PAINT ON THE FIELD!” Good stuff — but, alas, completely inaudible to the players a quarter-mile below. That guy should have been escorted to a spot behind the Dodger dugout at once.

And finally, the elevator at Clark Street, which was filled with Met fans and one young woman in a Yankee shirt, accompanied by her Met-affiliated boyfriend. That was fine. It was even fine when she sighed that “I’m surrounded.” But it was not fine when she began woofing that it didn’t matter, because the Yankees were going to go all the way, that they’d win the Subway Series again.

Normally I let this kind of thing ride; after an 11-1 loss I certainly would have. But after pushing the Dodgers to the brink — and on the same day the Tigers had beaten That Other Team? Nuh-uh.

“Yankees, huh — whose name do you have on the back?” I asked. (Confession: I already knew.)

“Um…A-Rod,” she said.

“Ohh,” I said. “The clutch hitter.”

The car began to snicker.

“I didn’t even buy this shirt,” she stammered. “Someone gave it to me.”

“He was great today,” I said. “And he’s like a .500 hitter — if you’re up 10 or down 10.”

Open laughter now. The Yankee girl hid her face in her boyfriend’s shoulder. And as we walked out of the station, I heard her mutter “it’s true — I hate like half my team.”

Ah, winning. It really does change everything.

46 comments to Depends What the Score Is

  • Anonymous

    Wow. This is like the most tired I've ever been….

  • Anonymous

    You forgot the guy next to me who had to high-five after every strike, and insisted that Tom Glavine knew more about pitching than anyone on the planet.
    Still, I can honestly say, every moment was a pleasure. (Well, the guy behind us — see medical experiment reference above — who kept reaching his hand out to steady himself on my head, giving me images of us plunging down 20 rows of fans, was maybe stretching it. But everything else!)

  • Anonymous

    Well done, all around.
    There was no doubt about the outcome once Mark Hendrickson came in with the bases loaded. Mark Hendrickson is not a serious major league pitcher for serious-minded people.

  • Anonymous

    yes, winning changes everything.
    the suburban report: though my nine-year-old and i got a late-ish start from westchester and traffic was predictably constipated, we got to the bottom of the northern blvd ramp more than an hour before first pitch.
    and yet the parking situation was dire. it's been noted how the construction has cut down on parking spots, but i wasn't prepared for the snaky game of conga the traffic cops put us all through, streaming us through ever narrowing lanes to final destinations not of our choosing. we entered the dreaded Lot H (by the Queens Hall of Science) at 8:05.
    but there was a bus to take us to the plaza at the l.i.r.r. station, and singing meet the mets in a busload of fans is a good way to get in the mood. by the time we ran from the plaza, past the no. 7 station over to gate d and up to the upper deck, we'd only missed the top half of the first inning. the rest of the game shifted from tense to a foregone conclusion: after the mets got their second run, there was, as cliff floyd likes to say, no doubt.
    the crowd in our patch of skyn was easy, though there was maybe more profanity than i wanted — still, it's nothing my son hasn't already heard. when an inevitable chant of yankees suck began, a guy got up and loudly yelled, WHO CARES ABOUT THEM? ROOT FOR YOUR OWN TEAM! LET'S GO METS!!
    well screamed, i murmured.
    other moments: my boy covered for me with the scorecard when i had to hit the vendors — the first time he's filled one out! — and got applause with his sign, “let's party like it's 1986!” he stayed totally in the game and looked offended when i asked if he wanted to leave a half-inning early.
    yes, leaving the stadium was a fire marshal's nightmare, and the line for a shuttle bus back to Lot H was too long to consider. so we walked. and walked. and walked. but the World's Fair Sphere looked pretty all lit up, the Hall of Science rockets were imposing, and when we finally got in the car, there was no traffic to speak of getting home.
    at 1 a.m., with a 2-0 lead, it's always mellow time.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I had this charming drunk who insisted on standing and hanging over the railing for nearly everything, hoisting either his beer or his middle finger, shouting obnoxiously at everyone and everything below. If the ump called a strike on our batters, his f'ing mother was a f'ing whore. Every Dodger (even the ones he didn't know…. which gave rise to such gems as “hey… pitcher! You f'ing suck!”) got the treatment, and when anything happened that was remotely not in the Mets' favor, he stood up and invited the culprit, with the patented guy “c'mon, you wanna piece of me?” gesture, to come up to the upper deck and take him on. And anyone who didn't stand up and shout stupidly through the entire game (including a heavily pregnant woman) was challenged head-on, and screamed at as an “ignorant motherf'er.” The decision to go shirtless in the crisp fall weather was a nice touch, too. The most vicious, violent, hateful person I've seen outside of the Bronx.
    But the coup de grace was when he and his equally charming friends decided that Kuo was an “f'ing gook!” and proceeded to shout that at him at every opportunity, along with such lovely sentiments as “you should be delivering my dinner!” And anyone who knows me knows that I was NOT silent about this hateful display of bigotry. It was stomach-turning. But did they get thrown out or warned or anything at all? Nahhhhh. They keep the place in beer money.
    When did Met fans become so much like Yankee fans?

  • Anonymous

    One thing that was funny, though, was during the bus incident… our section started chanting “MOVE THAT BUS!” like on Extreme Home Makeover. Very witty.

  • Anonymous

    Or as the guy over my left shoulder said 437 times into his blowin' up cell phone, SHORTY YO.
    I don't think he was referring to the fellow on your right either.

  • Anonymous

    I concur that some Yankees-ish fans have come out for the post-season. I was fortunate enough to score a ticket 90 minutes before the game from a friend with some MLB connections, and as soon as we sat down in our seats in left field right under the scoreboard, I could tell these two drunken idiots two rows in front of us were going to be trouble. They yelled unneccessary vulgar insults at a random Dodger fans in our section and kept spilling beer in the aisle when they went EVERY HALF-INNING to get more.
    Then things got weird, when one guy took his two shirts (and BATTING GLOVES?) off in the 7th, waving one shirt around…and then started slapping his buddy's ass.
    And then he did it over and over again.
    One of the the extremely friendly season ticket holders sitting next to me got her camera out and said to me, “I can't wait to catch them making out.” Oh I laughed.

  • Anonymous

    I'm not normally bothered by most forms of fan misbehavior, but that's ridiculously over the line. The dudes behind us would not have been my choice as close companions, but as I wrote, there was nothing mean-spirited about them.
    I think back to the Human Fight's astute observation from a while back: Every fan past the 2.5 million mark is a newcomer, and a lot of those newcomers, unfortunately, are going to be front-running boors. (Paraphrasing, but anyway.)
    Our section did MOVE THAT BUS too. Now that was entertaining.
    Since it was a non-drinking night (lines too long, game too important) for me, I confined my obnoxiousness to bellowing at Furcal and Kent, and screaming “Pedro!” whenever his likeness appeared on the videoboard. I'm sure it was very effective from the lower stratosphere, but what the heck, it amused me.

  • Anonymous

    Oops. Placement error on my MOVE THAT BUS concurrence. E-Jace. I'm tapping my chest now as the blog world's Joe Morgan says something disapproving.

  • Anonymous

    I know the tabloids usually diss the Mets but today's Daily News is a gem. If you can part with 50 cents, pick it up, remove the single front page/back page piece and hang it on your office wall in plain view of Mets and Yankees fans.

  • Anonymous

    Where were you guys? I was in 833A, around sec. 35.
    And disgusting morons like that just seem to find me. A friend of mine once remarked that I'm a “derelict magnet”… and if there's ONE drunken, smoking, shirtless, obnoxious, vulgar, boorish lout in the whole stadium, he'll be sitting next to me.

  • Anonymous

    hee hee hee

  • Anonymous

    In 1973, with bottles flying toward left field and Pete Rose being instructed en masse to “eat shit,” I don't think Mets fans were necessarily mimicking any other fans. There are dopes who root for every team and there always have been. It's just the proportion and the volume that changes when one crosses bridges.

  • Anonymous

    Given the News' completely unhidden baseball bias, I fully expected this on the front page:
    TIGER TEASE
    Yanks plan on dancin'
    in the streets of Motown
    and this on the back:
    DODGIN' DEATH
    Mets cling to life as L.A.
    preps 3-game sweep

  • Anonymous

    At least Pete Rose had actually done something specifically horrific to raise the ire of the fans in '73, if you're referring to the Bud Harrelson incident.
    Last night, when (the admittedly vile) JD Drew dared catch a fly ball, heaven forfend, the “fans” started shouting “F**K YOU!! F**K YOU!!” and then “come on, somebody throw some batteries at that guy!!”
    If this is what the playoffs are going to be like, I think I may very well pass on an opportunity to attend another game. Baseball should be fun. It shouldn't be hateful, violent gang warfare that you can't even bring your kids to. We used to have the moral high ground… YANKEE STADIUM was like this, not Shea! They were animals, not us!
    Not no mo'!

  • Anonymous

    HAHAHAHA!!! This is exactly why I refuse to even look at the News or Post unless someone specifically points me toward something in it (like JoAnn did here). They're so Yankee-centric, then they jump on our bandwagon when it suits them.

  • Anonymous

    The commentary about getting into and out of Shea has been spot on. No one has mentioned yet the lines just to get in the gates with everyone being wanded, frisked, etc. But I love the blue concrete Jersey barriers around the periphery of the stadium, especially since you can't go behind the stadium due to the construction. Truly horrendous, but hey, we're up 2-0.
    I also have to say I was at Wednesday's game but not Thursday's and I found the crowd to be remarkably civil and well behaved. Since Greg was at both games, I wonder if he found a difference in the crowd behavior, maybe Wednesday more subdued due to the earlier hour?

  • Anonymous

    Check in on Mike Vaccaro and Lisa Olson, then. Vaccaro's been chronicling us throughout the postseason, and doing a great job pretty much daily. And Olson plays right into the better prejudices of our nature with her column today.

  • Anonymous

    Getting in and out of there was atrocious. Worse than I've ever seen it.

  • Anonymous

    And I'd like to thank Julian Garcia for this:
    Endy proves to
    be right call

    “It was a very good surprise for me and it put a smile on my face,” Chavez said.
    O Endy, My Endy…

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn't say Wednesday's crowd was more subdued because it was clearly the loudest Shea crowd I've ever been a part of. I would say it was figuratively as well as literally a good bit sunnier, though I can only speak with authority to Section 4 of UD on Wednesday as compared to Section 8 of same on Thursday. (Our section could have gotten out of the army on a Section 8 last night.) I think the novelty of the Mets being in the playoffs for the first time in six years was still settling in. It was just a happier crowd. Then you factor in those who watched on TV and heard how loud it was and went Thursday and decided they wanted to take part. Some were probably better at it than others.
    Also, there was presumably less time for those who were so inclined to get tanked up on Wednesday, though I imagine if that's your inclination, you would find a tank.
    Stephanie, as she tends to, framed last evening very well. Crowds and loud noise are not her scene by any means but she came away impressed. “The fans worked very hard,” she said. Neither of us enjoyed having to stand from Row S for every third pitch simply because everybody from Row A to Row R was blocking our view. As my lovely wife noted, it wasn't working anyway.
    I tell ya what I loved last night. I loved coming in on the LIRR and seeing SO MANY Mets fans in Mets gear, all of it different, some of it new, some of it ancient. (Mine was the bicentennial cap and orange Mr. Met jacket, an anniversary present from Stephanie two years ago back when I thought I wouldn't be able to wear it to an October Mets game for another two decades.) From our station to Woodside and then on the 7 and then all the way to Gate D, I couldn't remember a greater critical mass of Mets fans who were obviously into it. That feeling, drunkenness/lewdness notwithstanding, never left. Even our own trek out and back, trudgy as it was, never felt ugly. The “Let's Go Mets!” chants were in effect on the Woodside platform at 12:15 AM, for goodness sake.
    My only complaint (besides nine innings of yahoo behavior from our Row T viking puppies being a few frames too many) was the “I'm just following orders” security guy in left who would not allow us on the Field Level during BP so we could stroll to the Daruma of Great Neck stand to purchase our sushi before hiking up, up, upstairs. I assured him that's all we wanted to do (in addition to enjoying it, it's sort of a lucky snack) and even offered to leave him our fleece blanket (we expected a much stiffer breeze) as collateral. He was very courteous but he kept insisting he had his orders, he had his orders. Yah, yah.
    My better half and her blogger half had an unpleasant experience along these lines a couple of years ago and then it royally pissed the Princes off. Last night I put it out of my mind because I wasn't at Shea to argue over California rolls, but to roll over a California team. Still, I find it odd that Mets management sees fit to sell beer to drunken idiots for nine innings but won't allow two sober customers to patronize one of their food concessions more than an hour before first pitch.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of bad behavior, a very funny/horrifying post from Deadspin. As one commentor put it, “A better summation of Philly has not occurred since Poor Richard's Almanac.”

  • Anonymous

    By the way….
    WHERE THE HELL IS MY LOVE FOR PUBLICLY SHAMING A YANKEE FAN SO SHE WILL NOT WOOF FOR DAYS IF NOT WEEKS?
    I mean, what the heck. I worked for that one. Throw me a bone here, folks.
    /begins sulking

  • Anonymous

    If only there were security guys above field level, Shea would be a much more pleasant place.
    I had the “idiots in my way” thing too. For some reason, everyone in the first row of the upper boxes (I was in the second row) thought it was their right to stand, leaning on the railing, for the whole game. They acted like people who asked them to sit down were insane, or at best, insanely petty. Meanwhile, they were completely obscuring what little view we had from the upper right-field corner to begin with. I WANTED to watch the video tributes to the Mets! I WANTED to see the scoreboard! Eighty bucks it cost me to sit up there. I WANTED TO SEE!
    Greg, you'd have to buy 12 orders of sushi in order to reach the level of importance that Shea assigns to drunken idiots. No one is treated more… royally at Shea than the drunken idiots.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds a lot like last night.

  • Anonymous

    OH NO HE DID-NT!!
    JASON!!!!! Shea might not be paradise (anymore) but it's not a dark, smelly, decrepit toilet like Stadium De Los Skanks.
    For shame, Jason. For shame. Greg, thank you for making us aware of this.

  • Anonymous

    “Subdued” was a poor choice of words on my part as I agree with you–that was the loudest Shea crowd I was ever a part of. But the behavior seemed better than normal to me. Maybe it was my own playoff euphoria induced good mood. I noticed a distinct lack of Yankees gear– two hats, one of them on a small child.
    I've also encountered the field level food concession Nazi. I once saw fellow loge dwellers eating that “Mama Corona” stuff and thought a new day had dawned. Wrong I was.
    It really is funny how and where the Mets decide that they will be organized and there will be rules.
    Greg and Stephanie Prince, modern day, sushi-seeking aspiring Bonnie & Clyde, stopped dead in their tracks.
    Well done, Shea staff.
    God bless you.

  • Anonymous

    I saw several Yankee jerseys and jackets, many of them on field level near the front, too. grrrrr
    And I saw one jersey that I TOTALLY LOVED, but would have driven you crazy, albertsonmets…
    FLYNN23!!!!!! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Good one, Laurie. But I'm all for retro.
    Doug Flynn, while not very good, actually played for the Mets for more than a month while winning a gold glove.
    Sorta makes me want to dig out my “Norman 8.”
    Though it probably won't fit anymore. :)

  • Anonymous

    Now, now. Unlike the international-food-court-defending field level kommissar in left, I'm capable of looking the other way when certain Met fan protocols are breached, no matter how those breaches sadden me.
    Baseball promiscuity would be another example.

  • Anonymous

    How do we know it wasn't Doug Flynn himself?
    Actually the worst piece of clothing I've seen to date was the (presumably) dad who took his dopey Yankee fan son on Wednesday and wore a jury-rigged Mets top to indicate he was a NEW YORK BASEBALL FAN. He had the nerve to slap that horrendous top hat and bat atop our precious skyline.
    Fashion terrorist.

  • Anonymous

    Where's Kiss Cam when you need it?

  • Anonymous

    Plus, the line:
    M. Donald Grant, the Montgomery Burns of the Met front office. (Grant would later trade Tom Seaver and is now roasting in Hell.)
    should be worth some sort of amnesty. Brilliant.

  • Anonymous

    AUGGHH!!! IN THE BACK!!!! …. (gasp) … but … who ….
    you?
    My … own … co-blogger? …
    /expires
    Yeah, I did. I calls it like I sees it. I think the sightlines are in most cases better in Yankee Stadium; the white facade (which I like to tell the credulous is made out of the bones of failed Yankees) is an icon; there are actual restaurants and bars nearby, instead of chop shops on unpaved streets; and and the place has a coherent backdrop for the oufield, instead of two wings separated by a scoreboard, apple, piles of debris and buses randomly backing up into the batter's eye. You know the joke that the problem with France is that it's full of French? So it is here.
    As for the uniforms, I notice even famously loyal Laurie didn't dispute that one….

  • Anonymous

    the place has a coherent backdrop for the oufield, instead of two wings separated by a scoreboard, apple, piles of debris
    YS does too have piles of debris. Except they cleverly market it as Monument Park.
    As for the uniforms, I notice even famously loyal Laurie didn't dispute that one….
    The Twins are on. Give her time.

  • Anonymous

    Reflecting on Jason's response, it's worth pointing out (at considerable risk of incurring Greg-wrath) that the “better stadium, better uniforms” description would be an apt one for our mortal enemy of the week.
    Oh, I freakin hate 'em.
    Lasorda, Gibson, Garvey, Cey, etc. etc.
    But damn, that red number against the white shirt, with the royal blue lettering?
    Very sharp.
    And don't get me started on the palm trees and those yellow seats.

  • Anonymous

    The terrorists have indeed won.
    As for FLYNN23, he didn't even look old enough (from my limited view) to remember Doug Flynn. And if we're going retro, I wouldn't mind sporting FITZGERALD20, myself. It's tempting…

  • Anonymous

    Agreed that the Dodger home uniforms are gorgeous. And that Dodger Stadium is a jewel.
    With any luck, the home team will look very, very sharp lying in state there very, very soon.

  • Anonymous

    The Twins are on. Give her time.
    Touche, Greg. I can only imagine what you'll be saying about me tomorrow. Nothing I haven't already heard, I'm sure.
    And Jason, I can fashion no appropriate response to your saying the vertical swastika with the pompous lack of name on the back is preferable to even the Mercury Mets uniform.
    “That saddens me.”

  • Anonymous

    For the record, it was Jace who popularized and for all I know invented the stupendously accurate phrase “vertical swastika”. I've been righteously borrowing it since 1998.
    But now I read it's BETTER than what we've got? Oh, the sartorial humanity.
    /reeling from betrayal of principle

  • Anonymous

    …and how you can begrudge me my last communion with my beloved Twins for the next 6 months is beyond me.
    /reeling from unparalleled coldness

  • Anonymous

    Commune all you want. In an hour and a half, we're changing our format.
    Welcome to your newest source for Tiger Talk, Delight and Despair in Detroit.
    GO CATS GO!
    Or whatever it is we diehard Tigers fans say.

  • Anonymous

    Either that was mine or I've forgotten from whom I stole it.
    For the record, the Nazis had great uniforms too. No decent person would be caught dead in either one, of course.
    The Dodgers' unis are great as well, though they don't have that same murk of evil.
    This would be a good prelude to a discussion of how our unis could be improved/eased/etc., but hey…that's what we have an offseason for.

  • Anonymous

    The greatest uniforms in all of baseball belong to our favorite team of right now, the Detroit Tigers.
    GO CATS GO!
    Hey, isn't it great how we pawned Mickey Lolich off on those dupes the Mets in December 1975?

  • Anonymous

    Good job, Jason. How about that A-Rod? Batting 8th and .077 as we speak, the Yankees getting one-hit 8-0 by Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers. The greatest baseball player of our time has also committed a costly throwing error…not that the Yankees would have any chance if he had made the throw. Haha, Yankees apparently really do suck. What do the Baseball Experts have to say?