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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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Some Major Sucking Up

Edward: I think we need some major sucking up.
Hollister: Very well, sir. You’re not only handsome but a powerful man. I could see the second you walked in here you were someone to reckon with.
Edward: Hollister.
Hollister: Yes, sir?
Edward: Not me. Her!

—Richard Gere and sycophantic salesman, Pretty Woman

Peter B. Maglathlin has won me over. He knows exactly how to pluck my strings.
Peter — or Pete (he addressed me as “Dear Friend,” so I guess I can be familiar with him) — is the best kind of judgmental. He makes judgments that I like.
My man Pete works for the Danbury Mint in Norwalk. He’s the director there. No wonder. He knows quality when he sees it. When he looks at the Mets, he sees quality.

This is the very first sentence Pete wrote me a little while back, right after Dear Friend:

When the greatest sports franchises are counted, the New York Mets are always at the top of the list.
Pete, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, here is the entirety of my Greatest Sports Franchises list:
1. New York Mets

So it’s clear right off the bat that Pete and I see things eye to eye. I don’t know about his wealth, but Pete is definitely a man of taste. And judgment. Who would argue over his choice for the top of the Greatest Sports Franchises rankings? Nobody I respect.
I respect Pete because Pete obviously respects me. He doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear, he backs it up with solid factual facts:

With two World Series championships and four National League pennants, the Mets are one of the most successful teams in all of sports.

Inarguable evidence. I can think of lots of teams that don’t have a single National League pennant. For example, the Cleveland Indians are a total zero in that department. The Mets, by Pete’s calculations, have the Tribe beat on all-sport success. And the Green Bay Packers? How many World Series championships are they packing? Not a one. They, like the Boston Celtics and Manchester United and my high school swimming team, are waaaay back in the World Series pack. Losers.

If you’ve got two World Series championships and four National League pennants plastered to your right field wall (to say nothing of Wild Cards and Eastern Divisions…but why make other, less successful teams feel bad about themselves?), you are indeed emitting the sweet smell of success.

Damn, Pete. You’re making me feel good! Tell me more, tell me more…

And an integral part of the Mets success has been their home field dominance.
Pete doesn’t have to say it, but I can infer what he’s getting at. Nobody’s ever won more games on the Mets’ home field than the Mets. The Mets play 81 games a year at Shea Stadium. Opponents? They’re like “we’ll play three or four against you, but then we’ve gotta go.” Chickens! And since I’m often at Shea Stadium for Mets games, I think he’s telling me that I have a great deal to do with that home-field dominance. I’ll accept that.

To sum up Pete’s major points in the first paragraph I read in his letter to me, His Friend:

• The Mets are the greatest
• The Mets are always at the top
• The Mets are successful
• The Mets are dominant

It all checks out with me. Pete didn’t have to say anything else. He had me at “greatest”.

The beginning of the note Pete sent me was so warm and accurate that I haven’t bothered to read the rest of it. I assume it’s filled with more accolades for the Mets and a further telling of their many positive attributes. They are the mightiest of the mighty. The skillfullest of the skilled. The Metsiest in all the land!

Let’s see…

Now, you can honor this great baseball tradition by acquiring The New York Mets End Table, a handsome hardwood and glass end table that features a stunning art print of Shea Stadium.

Hmmm…that’s not another heaping helping of praise. That reads like it’s a…a…

Ohmigod! My Friend Pete didn’t write to me just to confirm how great, successful and dominant the Mets are! He’s trying to sell me something!

When you examine the brochure I’ve enclosed, you will begin to experience the elegant beauty and brilliance of this unique end table.

What? Nothing more about the Mets’ rippling muscles or classic good looks or uncommon intelligence? You’re just talking about the table?

Crafted of genuine hardwood, it features an exquisite art print of Shea Stadium set under beveled glass.

What’s this have to do with the Mets’ eternal awesomeness? Their spectacular soulfulness? Their untoppable two World Series championships?

The print shows the stadium on game day, with the packed stands dotted with orange-clad fans, and even players on the field!

I’m beginning to think that Pete doesn’t much care about the Mets or about me, His Friend, and my interest in being reminded how you can’t top the Mets. I think he’s just trying to get my money.

He is! He is!

Requiring only minimal assembly, The New York Mets End Table is attractively priced at $149, payable in four monthly installments of just $37.25 (plus $15 total shipping and service).

Attractively priced? You mean I don’t just get one of these for being an orange-clad part dotting the integral success of our home-field dominance? Not even the “sliding felt-lined drawer that opens to store everything from remote controls or coasters to an address book”? How am I supposed to contribute to that legendary home-field dominance if I’m sending $164 to Norwalk? That’s practically a full day at Shea (including shipping, service and maybe a pretzel).

Oh Pete. I’m so disappointed in you. I thought you sought me out as a Dear Friend just to share with me your well-considered opinion on the magnificence of the Mets. You said all the right things. You made perfect sense. I thought we would have a beautiful thing going. Now I just realize you’re trying to sell me a piece of…of…

You know, it is pretty attractive. And “satisfaction is completely guaranteed.” Even the greatest of sports franchises doesn’t make that claim. I mean “Your Season Has Come”? What if it hasn’t? That’s highly unlikely, given our greatness, but technically you never know.

Sadly, I think I might have to have this stupid thing, minimal assembly and all. (When it comes to me and assembly, there is no minimal.) But a hundred sixty-four smackers? What if I want a bottle of water to go with that pretzel?

Thanks a lot, Pete. Some kind of Friend you turned out to be.

While I mull over my big-ticket purchasing decisions, read what your bloggers have to say about this, that and the other thing at Gelf Magazine. And if you’re reasonably accessible to downtown Wednesday night, please stop by for Faith and Fear’s first-ever public appearance, when Varsity Letters hosts us, Dan Shanoff, Deadspin, The Dugout, With Leather and True Hoop in a discussion of all things online sports media. Unlike The Danbury Mint, Varsity Letters charges nothing, so you’re already coming out ahead. We look forward to seeing you.

25 comments to Some Major Sucking Up

  • Anonymous

    I nearly passed out when I received that missive from Pete. It ended up soaked with drool. But alas, it's a bit out of my price range at the moment.

  • Anonymous

    Those folks at the Danbury Mint. You buy ONE chihuahua Christmas ornament, and you get a dozen pieces of mail a month from them for the rest of your life.
    That end table would look nice next to my recliner, though. And there won't be a Shea Stadium in a couple of years. Hmmm…birthday's coming soon….

  • Anonymous

    I thought it might be useful to do some googling on ol' Pete. Just to get to know our friend a little better. Maybe even to see if there's a way to send similarly heartfelt mail in his direction.
    And whadya know? He's a Rotarian in Darien! (I wonder if he knows Marian the Librarian?)
    There he is, in all his preppy-sweatered glory, pointing at…. sports facilities!

    (Or if those links don't work, I've got Pete's back here:)
    Doesn't it feel better knowing there's a face behind the name?
    Oh. Well, never mind then.

  • Anonymous

    I already have the Shea replica they sold about 10 years back. And an inflatable one Greg gave me. But I'm also thinking of getting one of those Shea throw blankets. I'm SOOOOO not giving up Shea without a tantrum… er, fight.

  • Anonymous

    OK, I'm not getting paid for this endorsement, so here goes: I have the end table and I love it. Got it for, I don't know, Valentine's Day, I think. A while ago the Missus claimed I was “hard to buy for”, and I scoffedly replied “That's ridiculous, you can get me absolutely anything with the Mets or Led Zeppelin on it and you know I'll be thrilled”. As ND indicated above, you buy one thing from Danbury (in our case an Xmas tree ornament) and you'll be solicited for life. She got an email hawking this table and couldn't resist.
    It really is a handsome piece of furniture, very nice cherry finish and the print of Shea is beautiful. She applied the common thinking that “Wow, Shea'll be gone soon”, and next thing she knew she was happily performing the indeed minimal assembly.
    Incidentally, I applied that same thinking at the MTA Transit Store and Museum Annex in Grand Central last week, picking up the 7 Willets Point / Shea Stadium baseball T, coffee mug and metal sign. These items, plus my stadium replica and oversized tapestry/blanket will make up a nice little Shea shrine in a corner of our house someday.

  • Anonymous

    “I'm telling you chip, we need to make the baseball field look more like Shea. It can be an integral part of our home field dominance!”
    Nice find.

  • Anonymous

    You like it?
    You can afford it?
    You have room for it?
    You are OK with getting a baziilionzillion more emails just like it from them and all their other “associates” in the future?
    You realize that you're going to “need” to get another one alarmingly like it with a replica of the new stadium in two years and you are OK with that too?
    Me, I'd say “yes” to the first question and “no” to all the others, But of course, your mileage may vary. Especially if you can actually afford a car.

  • Anonymous

    I love that store. Bought a Shea and a Polo Grounds tin there as well as several Kranepool/Reyes-train items.
    Danbury indeed makes quality merchandise, if I overlook their tendency to get nicked when we moved. To know that another of the Metsnoscenti has made the investment (or has had the investment thoughtfully made on his behalf) is an endorsement to be valued.
    A hundred sixty-four here, a hundred sixty-four there for the limited-edition Shea ashtray, another hundred sixty-four for the memorial Shea cat food cozy…the next two years are going to add up if I'm not careful. Who am I kidding? They're gonna add up anyway.
    Maybe if I join the Rotarians there's a Danbury discount.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent questions. I won't be out on the street clutching my beveled glass as a result of such a purchase, but it seems…not so much extravagant but that I'd be affirming Pete's patronizing ways. I just know he sent the same letter to fans of 72 other teams for 72 other tables. If I didn't know better, I'd think Pete is 72-timing us.

  • Anonymous

    You couldn't be further away from your birthday if you tried. Well, except as far as your insurance company is concerned; they raised your premiums as of yesterday.

  • Anonymous

    That end table would look nice next to my recliner, though. And there won't be a Shea Stadium in a couple of years.
    You could just move your recliner next to Shea Stadium while it's still there.

  • Anonymous

    No, not at all*
    Sure, why not?
    No, I don't anticipate falling for Citi Field the same way for many a year
    *Funniest part is, we have nowhere to put it, it's just sitting in front of a couch in the basement, at least until I can clear the spare bedroom of a decade's worth of junk and set up the Mets Lounge. For now I'll start saving towards the $1200 blue-and-orange leather recliner. (–pi-2172934.html) That's not quite in the budget, but boy is it sweet!

  • Anonymous

    Me, not anonymous.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    You can probably figure out where the blanks are located within the document before the appropriate data is entered – it would make for a nice game of mad-libs.
    We never received a letter from Pete and don't know what he has against us – my wife and I have ordered from the Danbury Mint in the past. Since you two are great pals, please mention that our feelings were hurt next time you see him.

  • Anonymous

    Ray – Thanks for ratting me out. My birthday IS coming – eventually.
    Actually, I am looking to buy an actual seat from Mezzanine section 10, since that's approximately where my Saturday season tickets were from 84 thru '89.
    Anyone know if they're selling them, and if so, how much?

  • Anonymous

    1) Yes
    2) Not really
    3) I'd make room
    4) I've been getting them for years anyway
    5) No I won't, because Shea has been my second home for most of my life. I could find my way around it blindfolded. CitiField means nothing to me.

  • Anonymous

    Which is what I plan to do Saturday night.

  • Anonymous

    You know how those Darien Rotarians can be.

  • Anonymous

    Pete even finds me every time I move.

  • Anonymous

    “I am looking to buy an actual seat …. Anyone know if they're selling them, and if so, how much?”

    This is the first time I've seen this question (which has been gnawing at me for years) addressed. I've long assumed, or at least hoped, we'll be given the opportunity to cart home some memorabilia. I'm sure the wealthy will snap up all the good stuff, but I'd be happy with a couple of seats, or a sign, or a chunk of concrete, anything. My dream acquisition – a couple of the blue and orange wavy fiberglass panels from the original decor. I assume those must all be long gone, but wow, if they turned up in a warehouse somewhere, how great would that look on my backyard fence?!

  • Anonymous

    .. don't rub it in, Laurie!

  • Anonymous

    Seeing as how the apple's leaf was essentially lying on a pile of used scorecards for like five years before anybody in charge noticed it was missing from the apple, I wouldn't rule anything out.
    I heard a rumor they found Blas Minor rusting out there as well, but I can't confirm it.
    I'm guessing Shea seats will come up for bid following 2008. They have an inventory of 55,000, so hopefully they'll have enough supply for those who provide the demand (at something less than nominal egg prices). Remember, the Cardinals put everything from old Busch on sale once they were done with it, including men's room fixtures. And when you consider it was our lavatories that allegedly chased an entire football team out of the state, you know Shea's porcelain will be a hot item.
    I wonder what they did with the wooden seats when they switched over to plastic in 1980. Probably converted them into my last hundred pretzels.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone care to guess what the letters to Cubs and Indians fans about their teams' end tables look like? “Durocher. Chief Wahoo. You almost won, you really did! You might actually make the playoffs again 30 years from now! And all because YOU, their very biggest fan, were rooting so hard! Now, lemme tell you all about these gawjus tables…”

  • Anonymous

    There's a quote- I think in Breslin's book about the '62 season- about a pilgrimage over to the Shea site, where the city's contractors were waxing with utter poetry over how many terlets were going to be in the new place. The wag replied, “What is this, a ballpark or a place to go to the bathroom?”
    Forty-odd years later, little could he have known how much that was a trick question.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I was gonna answer these questions but my answers are exactly the same as Laurie's.
    Four months till my birthday. Plenty of time to drop subtle hints!