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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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Met Dawn

The silver shovels have been lowered and raised, the symbolic dirt has been flung, the pols have grinned, the hands have been gripped, Mets on Apparent Permanent Retainer Reyes and Wright and Maine have smiled for the cameras (somebody let these guys go home!), and the new place has a name.

And not a bad name, to my mind.

CitiField. Well, OK, it is a field in a city. As my co-blogger notes, could have been worse. Could have been a lot worse. CitiField is far better than all the parks named after drinks and dot-coms and telephones and cellphones. Just imagine Banco Popular Stadium or Nymex Field or the Donald Field at Trump Meadows. Heck, the Arizona Cardinals had to fend off a restaurant chain that wanted to name their park Pink Taco Stadium. Yes really. How would that one have sat with us?

Should it have not had a corporate name at all? Maybe. But for better or for worse, this is the modern world: For all but a very few parks, a corporate moniker is practically the law of physics, and the parks that are exceptions have a history and character that not even Shea's most-avid partisans could claim for it. No one who hasn't been huffing paint thinner would ever call Shea a lyric little bandbox, or refer to its friendly confines. The Yankees, actually, are an exception to the exception: They play in a park made pedestrian by a bad makeover, yet still couldn't get away with a corporate name. So be it — let their mystique and aura and all that cost them a little money for a change. Besides, you just know they'll make up the difference by unveiling the Enterprise Rent-a-Car Captain Derek Jeter Intangibles Celebrity Pavilion and the Red Envelope Twenty-six Rings Baby Parking Complex, or similar atrocities that will test my co-blogger's newfound calm.

Jackie Robinson Field? It would have been disappointing if the Mets had reached back to Ebbets Field with only an architectural salute. But I think they did enough — and Rachel Robinson, hardly a shrinking violet at 84, said she was satisfied. For Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe to face off across the 7 tracks would have been satisfying, no argument there. And if the Mets played in Brooklyn (as I once dreamed they might), I'd campaign loudly for the idea. I saw 42 put on the outfield wall on a frozen night. I live just blocks from a plaque on the site of the old Dodger offices, commemorating where Branch Rickey and Robinson inked his big-league deal. It's a plaque facing a big, empty street corner that could use a statue to join the one outside Keyspan and the one that will be in the CitiField rotunda. But that's another post. For now, in my book, the Mets did enough.

As for those certain-to-heard taunts of ShitiField? Ha. I'm not worried. Because let's face it: That's where we play now.

I have many, many cherished memories of things that happened at Shea. Ordonez's debut. The Mets' last fight. Piazza's first game. The 10-run inning. Clontz's wild pitch. Pratt hitting it over the fence. The Grand Slam Single. Agbayani's dinger. Bobby Jones flirting with perfection. Timo jumping up to make the pennant arrive more quickly. Piazza's last game. The 2006 clincher. John Maine's season-extender. And those are just some of the big ones. I have many, many cherished memories of seeing these things that happened at Shea with people who are dear to me: my wife, my little boy, my good friend and co-blogger, my fellow travelers in orange and blue, my pals just along for a day's ride.

But these things, these memories, are not Shea itself.

That, sadly, is something else. It's broken seats and sticky concrete and bathroom lakes and escalators that don't work on Opening Day and a general, grinding crappiness that wears you down. ShitiField, in other words. And I'm ready for an end to it.

This new park? It may not be your thing if you think the retro ballparks with their bricks and their trusses have run their course. I harbor no fantasy that the decrepit ushers and lemon-pussed security guards and Aramark drones will show up for their first day of work with attitude transplants. Our park being our park, the contests on the videoboard will be a mix of illogical and insultingly easy, we'll be shown Rangers-Royals highlights, and several Met-related facts will be incorrect. But the park itself won't be shitty, if only because it'll be a modern ballpark, with all the seats actually facing the field and the action visible while getting concessions and a host of other little things other fans have been able to take for granted for years. I can't wait.

And that corporate moniker comes with a not-to-be-overlooked bonus. Twenty million dollars a year, every year. Money for a Carlos Beltran-level free agent, every year for a generation. That in itself is no guarantee of anything — Al Harazin and Jeff Torborg could have come in last with it — but it's awfully nice to have working in your favor when free agents come to visit and the draft pick you want has hired Scott Boras and the deadline deals come with contracts needing to be restructured. Does it risk turning us into the Yankees? We don't like to admit this, but to outsiders we already are. Closer to home, we've got a shortstop and third baseman who play this game with such joy you want to laugh out loud, and they've got a shortstop and third baseman who seethe and plot against each other like they're putting on some pinstriped version of “Heathers.” I'm not the slightest bit worried about us turning into them.

CitiField and SNY filling the coffers, Wright and Reyes wearing the colors. I've got a name for it: The Golden Age. Let's get it started.

12 comments to Met Dawn

  • Anonymous

    From your lips to God's ears, Jace…

  • Anonymous

    I like the look, and don't much care what it's called; that's a manufactured contoversy for most of us who've long since thrown up our hands at the corporate takeover of everything. Just win, baby.
    By the way, gentlemen, I'm visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner this year. They live in Marietta, Ga, just north of Atlanta. I was thinking of snapping a picture of me in my FAFIF shirt in front of that town's most famous landmark, The Big Chicken (it's a KFC housed in the base of a 56 foot tall chicken whose beak and eyes move up and down and back and forth).
    Or would you rather have your blog promoted in front of the eight-weeks-empty Ted instead? I leave this for your approval either way.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm. My first impulse is to vote Big Chicken, because that's just cool. (And because I'm hungry.) But seeing the FAFIF colors flying beneath a grin of triumph at the no-longer-scary Ted would make me cackle in a smug, extremely satisfied way. Hmmm. I think I gotta go with the Ted.
    Commenters and co-bloggers, what say you?

  • Anonymous

    Go with the chicken!

  • Anonymous

    The name is a mild annoyance. But the design is a MAJOR annoyance. And I don't mean esthetically.
    How come nobody is talking about how there are going to be just as many BAD seats in this stadium as in Shea, though they will be bad for a different reason — for my money, you can't see the game any better from beyond the outfield wall than you can from the stratosphere deck, and unlike Shea, this new barn has a huge number of seats beyond the outfield walls.
    Meanwhile, the stadium is 20 percent smaller overall, so while the good seats in it promise to be mighty good, there will be FEWER of them than in Shea! And they will all go as season tickets.
    Worst of all: By building a stadium this size, they are basically capping home attendance at around 3.5 million a year, tops. (They drew nearly that many this year.) So without more seats to sell, how do they grow revenue? By jacking prices up, of course.
    Result: You will pay an arm and a leg for poor seats, because the good seats will cost two arms and two legs. Forget about an ordinary middle-class guy giving his kids a chance to share his love of the game by taking them to a few games over the summer — they'll be boiling in the sun and stone bored because they can't see, and you'll be taking out a second mortgage for the privilege.
    Fan friendly, my eye.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody can force you to pay exorbitant prices for bad seats; if it's too much, keep your money and stay home. Of course the “fan friendly” concept is bogus. The Mets exist (and Wilpon owns them) simply to make money. This stadium is not for “us.” It's for the owner to make more money. If he could make more by staying in Shea, guess what? The Mets would be staying in Shea.
    Shea was never about altruism or affordable family entertainment. The Mets don't love you any more than the cast of “The Lion King” does when you fill the seats. The love and affinity is one way, always was.
    The Mets owe us as much as the Dodgers owed Brooklyn–nothing. Get over it and save yourself the disillusionment. You'll probably be a happier person for it.

  • Anonymous

    I leave it to Dennis' discretion, but from now on, I'm referring to Turner Field as The Big Chicken.

  • Anonymous

    Shea Stadium rules, and I'll fight anybody who says different. That means you Jace!
    More expensive tickets sucks. Yeah, Albie, I could stay home but, um, I don't want to stay home. I want to go see the Mets. And I am usually very, very poor.
    Shea Stadium is not picturesque. Screw picturesque. Shea is dramatic and gaudy. The whole freaking thing is orange and blue, for chrissakes. It's bright and colorful and undignified and in-your-face, just like the Mets. It looks like it was designed to appeal to twelve-year-olds, which is awesome. My first baseball game was at Yankee Stadium when I was five, and that was OK. My second was at Shea when I was eight. The instant I walked in, I thought: “Screw the Yankees! This is the place to be!” I was home, and I knew it. I became a Met fan that very instant. Shea is home. It's us. It's ours. It's real.
    And in two years it'll be gone forever, replaced by a falsely dignified, self-consciously old-school construction. And that makes me irredeemably sad.
    However, if we can convince them to rename the new place Big Chicken Stadium I may change my views.

  • Anonymous

    Cool idea, but I read somewhere that Big Chicken Stadium is taken.

  • Anonymous

    I'm just gonna have to do both, and let the webmasters decide when they get the download.
    Big Chicken Park at KFC Yards, brought to you by Bank One. Has a nice ring to it….

  • Anonymous

    Joshua says what I'm thinking in about 3,800 fewer words than it takes me to write.
    Except for the fighting but including the Big Chicken.

  • Anonymous

    No matter how bad Shea got, it was never as bad as RFK.