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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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Seven Years to Game Seven

As we endeavor to complete our 62nd two-game winning streak — and execute our 104th one-game winning streak — of 2006, I think I’ve finally figured out the deal with this team, specifically why every win has us staking out prime viewing spots on Lower Broadway and every loss has us dissecting traffic patterns on the Whitestone Bridge (should I jump or just lie down in the center lane?).

When these Mets win, they look so damn unbeatable that you can’t imagine they’ll ever lose. And when these Mets lose, they look so hopeless, you can’t fathom that they’ll ever win.

For eight innings of Game Six, it seemed impossible that our lovable juggernaut of pitching, defense, timely hitting, crafty baserunning and leadoff homers could technically still be playing its final ball of the year. Of course we were going to win this sixth game. Of course there was going to be a seventh game. I stopped my of courses there out of respect for protocol, but I could connect the dots.

In the top of the ninth, I realized the season could very well be over in a matter of seconds — and no wonder.

We suck!

We can’t get anybody out!

Why didn’t we score more runs?

Why did we sign this guy for…how many MORE years are we STUCK with him?

COME ON BILLY!!!

I never stood eight innings at Shea Stadium only to end the ninth slumped in my seat as a Met win was secured. I couldn’t stand and I couldn’t cheer. After spending the preceding 24 hours doing my Metsian best to Believe, I couldn’t believe we actually won.

A hundred fifty dollars for that?

Good deal.

Prorated for each Cardinal out and Met run, each of our tickets cost $4.84 per definitively happy element, a bargain at any price if you consider only the contextual thrill of victory and ignore the agony of debit. I’m trying to overlook that earlier in this decade, I paid five bucks to sit in the very same upper deck for an entire game, but it’s hard to argue that that version of Met baseball and this version Met baseball are anything but distant relations.

Closer in resemblance across the pages of our family album are these Mets and my favorite Mets, those of 1999. I thought of them at Woodside around midnight as I awaited the Babylon train. The ’99 team took a more circuitous route to the postseason than this one but it got exactly as far entering last night. They fought their way to a Game Six of an NLCS, still the most incredible baseball game I ever watched, representing both the climax and denouement of the most intense month I’ve ever been a part of as a baseball fan. It took me more than five years to stop thinking about that season’s horrifyingly wonderful stretch drive and that postseason’s dips, climbs and ultimate drop, especially that Game Six, in a continually recurring loop. My life felt defined by the 1999 Mets until Omar and Willie gave me a present which to fully concern myself.

I never got over not so much Kenny Rogers and Ball Four to Andruw Jones, but the lack of a Game Seven in 1999 and what that would have wrought. Rick Reed was going to best Tom Glavine, and the Mets were going to stick it to the Yankees immediately thereafter…I can’t prove it but I know it. 2000 was finer and dandier in terms of bottom-line success, but it never eased the justmissiveness of ’99. Every grim Met thing that followed 2000 served to enlarge the shadow cast by the Game Seven that was never played.

Last night we won Game Six. It wasn’t an epic out of 1999. There was no comeback from 0-5 or 3-7 or a stunning laser to right-center by one future Hall of Famer off another future Hall of Famer (though I’m beginning to like Jose’s chances). This duel did not require a tenth or eleventh inning and it steered blessedly clear of Turner Field. It wasn’t nearly as awesome an NLCS Game Six as the last NLCS Game Six we were in. But oh boy was it better.

Seven years after we missed Game Seven, I came home after we finally made it there. The most recent message in my e-mail queue (filled otherwise with Wagnerian groans) was an invitation from an online wine seller to purchase a new release: Freemark Abbey Bosche Cabernet Sauvignon. I sent one friend one tiny bottle of champagne one time (to replace the one he had confiscated somewhere one month ago) and now I’m on their list. I delete these e-mails as a matter of course, but this time I did a double take.

The vintage they were selling was 1999.

Well, I’m not buying the wine (at $150 a playoff pop, I’m barely buying diet cola), but this morning I figuratively toast my Boys of another September and October, in many ways my Boys of Forever — my Fonzie, my Oly, my Mike, my Robin, my Melvin, my Benny, my Reeder, my stubbornly swinging Shawon, my unstoppable Tank, all of my 1999 Mets up to if not quite encompassing Mr. Rogers since I don’t want to get too cozy with him just in case we meet again in the very, very near future. I’m remembering the thrills you gave me and the Game Seven you tried so hard to include in that package but couldn’t.

We’ve got that Game Seven now. Exactly seven year later, I can finally move on. As can these Mets any hour now. And they can.

Here’s to us then. Here’s to us tonight.

As ever in Flushing, our Faith endures.

21 comments to Seven Years to Game Seven

  • Anonymous

    All I have to say is, “wow, what a ride”
    I just want to take a second to thank both of you. As great as this season has been, reading FAFIF every day has made it even better. Thanks guys!

  • Anonymous

    This is very disappointing. After yesterday's Springsteen/Bon Jovi dissertations, I was really looking forward to a detailed dissection of “The Winner Takes It All,” as Casey would say, “by the Swedish supergroup, ABBA…Now, back down the countdown…”

  • Anonymous

    You hit ht enail on the head with 1999… that was the year, that was the team , that was the excitement… the 2000 team went furtyher, but they were missing… something…
    Lets go Mets!

  • Anonymous

    You bet your sweet… bippy Rick Reed (my Reeder) would have bested their Glavo in game 7. Not sure I'll ever get over 1999. The playing of my Fonzie's music during “Carlos vs. Carlos” last night was painful. (And what was the point of the whole thing anyway? I was puzzled.)
    I just had the most awesome time last night. With a few exceptions (like chanting “Pujols sucks” so the whole country could see how “classy” we are, and obsessively heckling Braden Looper to the point of distraction when there were bigger fish to fry), the crowd was generally so supportive that I could not believe I was at Shea. The loudest crowd I've ever been a part of at any sport, even football with 80,000 people. No one was mean, people were drinking a lot, but they were merry instead of hateful, and it was just incredibly fun. It was a dream come true. The way it should be.
    And let's lay off Billy, OK? I'm sure Omar could arrange to get friggin' Looper back in his place, or maybe Armando, if that's what you'd all prefer. I know I wouldn't.
    LET'S GO METS!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    And now, a Game Seven Haiku:
    We have momentum…
    Mojo… and tons of Faith in…
    Oliver Perez
    Go Get 'Em Mets… Make Us Proud!

  • Anonymous

    For those who still object to the use of “we” to refer to the team by the fans, I draw your attention to Wagner's column in the Post today:
    “I was excited coming in from the bullpen. My heart was thumping, and so was the crowd. Just when I thought we couldn't get any louder at Shea, we did. ”
    It goes both ways. WE're all in this together. And, as was once sung about a wise woman, “we're gonna make it after all.” Doo da doo doo.

  • Anonymous

    MOJO RISIN'!!!!!! WHOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!!
    (and I wasn't worried at all last night. Until So Taguchi came up)

  • Anonymous

    Heh, when did the “and Fear” get crossed out? Cute.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg- As I keep saying on MIke's Site as well as my own- I have no regrets or complaints no matter what the outcome was yesterday or tonight. This has been a dream season soncsidering where they were in 2004.
    LETS GO METS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Anything less than a championship will be…
    a hell of a kick-ass season!
    Let's Go Mets!

  • Anonymous

    Not happy about us biting off “Sweet Caroline” from the sox. We're a unique franchise and should have our own trademark celebration song.
    Any suggestions?

  • Anonymous

    “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and EZ Rock?

  • Anonymous

    Anything can happen.
    I firmly believe that to be true of any game, in any sport, that goes double for baseball, 10 times over for postseason, and 1,000 times for a Game 7. I keep hearing about how 11 times in a row you win 6 at home you win 7. Well how many times did a team come back from 3-0 down before it was done? Anything can happen. The home crowd can be jumpstarted with a crooked first inning, or Johnny Damon can silence the crowd early or Joe Morgan late. Oliver Perez sucks? So did Derek Lowe, and he pitched with one less day of rest. Anything can happen. Anyone can homer, strike out, pitch a shutout inning, or give up a game-winning homer. And I guess what I'm trying to say is it doesn't matter if we had a far better lineup or a far more reliable pitcher going tonight; I'd still be as terrified as I am now. 8:19 is comforting and terrifying. I've never been to a Game 7. I don't know what to expect. I just can't believe I'm in a situation where I'm going to the same place I've gone to for so many years, only with the knowledge that when I leave I will be filled with either the greatest of joys or completely shattered. There is no middle ground. This is heart-stopping baseball, pulsating baseball. And we're still 5 hours from first pitch.

  • Anonymous

    Ten reasons I embrace “Sweet Caroline” at Shea Stadium.
    1) I have a clear memory of being in a bar in the West End of Long Beach on a Friday night (skipping shul again) in 1989 where every time it came on the jukebox, there was a big singalong, right through the “so good! so good!” It's been in the atmosphere for a long time.
    2) Neil Diamond is from Brooklyn, not Brookline.
    3) It was used at Jewish Heritage Day instead of “Lazy Mary” in 2004 and, I'm almost certain, 2003.
    4) It's been used at Cyclones games in Neil Diamond's home borough.
    5) Many different songs were tried as part of the XM Singalong. Nothing else, not “Livin' On a Prayer,” not “I Saw Her Standing There,” got the crowd revved up. “Sweet Caroline” has. Give the people what they want.
    6) Fenway ain't across the river. It's across state lines. If it was a Yankee thing (like the wretched roll call), I wouldn't touch it, but to be honest, I was only vaguely aware that the Red Sox laid claim to it before I saw Fever Pitch. That the Red Sox play it is irrelevant. It's enjoyed by people here who have nothing to do with people there.
    7) “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” has its most juice in Wrigley Field, but we sing that, too.
    8) Hot dogs were invented at the Polo Grounds but the Giants aren't the only team to sell them.
    9) The video that's been concocted for it is awesome.
    10) It's fun.
    I'll throw in one more reason I want to keep hearing “Sweet Caroline” at Shea. Because it will mean we have more baseball there.

  • Anonymous

    Our long-distance dedication today comes to us from a listener in Queens, BennyAyala.
    Benny writes:
    “Dear Casey, I am a fan of a baseball team that has waited a long time to be where they are. If they win tonight, wonderful things can still happen. But if they lose…well, Casey, I don't want to consider it. Could you play 'The Winner Takes It All' by ABBA to underscore how I am feeling?”
    Benny, here's your long-distance dedication, from the Swedish supergroup ABBA to that baseball team that is going to take it all tonight. Pay particular attention to these lyrics:
    I've played all my Cards
    And that's what youve done, too
    Nothing more to say
    No more ace to play

    That's “The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA.
    Now on with the countdown.
    Num-ber Seven!

  • Anonymous

    Man, I wish I had tickets for tonight.
    Not for the baseball. I just like “Sweet Caroline.”

  • Anonymous

    After reading Greg's response I've chnaged my view and don't much mind Sweet Caroline. And I've joined in during every playoff game.
    Last night the crowd was all revved up for KISS: Ace Frehley's “New York Groove” and “Rock and Roll All Night” were both well received and accompanied by fan singing. Why wouldnt' they – New York boys all. I am also a huge fan of “Time of the Season”, pregame.
    I wish they'd work in more Zeppelin. They used to play “Rock and Roll” in HR aftermaths, and there's gotta be a place for “Celebration Day” somewhere.

  • Anonymous

    I believe the aforementioned bar in Long Beach's West End would have been the Saloon, which is well known for drunken bikini-clad young ladies, shirtless men with backwards baseball caps and inebriated sing-a-longs to “Saloon Tunes”.
    Let the Sawx fans sing songs by J. Geils Band or Aerosmith or Arthur Fiedler…
    Joel

  • Anonymous

    My Faith and Fear shirt came today! What an omen! I'm wearin' it…it'll either bring us miraculous luck or it will begin a curse….FAITH and FEAR

  • Anonymous

    i wore mine last night to game 6. worked pretty well.
    (i'm wearing it tonight, too, though i'm not going to shea.)

  • Anonymous

    I love Sweet Caroline! One of the things I was so looking forward to on my one visit to Fenway last season was getting to do Sweet Caroline there, because I was well aware of it and had loved it every time I saw it (I always watched a LOT of Red Sox games). It was so much fun to do it in person. I never imagined other teams would take it on, because it was so identified with the Red Sox. But hey, I'll take it!!