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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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Your Rollins Has Come

The wind chill was punishing. The men’s room line was eternal. The reconfigured commutation hub was a headscratcher. The manager’s decision to allow his shakiest reliever to face the opponent’s most dangerous slugger with an open base and two out was curious.

But all that goes in the “never mind that right now” file thanks to seven rousing runs and one raucous chant. And what, pray tell, did we chant?

Let’s just say that if Jimmy Rollins played in New York, they’d name a lollipop after him.

Jimmy Rollins sucks. Or hadn’t you heard?

His eighth-inning error was pivotal, both to the delightful final score — it tied the game, kept the bases loaded and applied untold pressure on Geoff Geary — and to the pro-Lion, anti-Christian (metaphorically speaking) majority whose taste for blood would not go unsated.

Go on, we said. Give us an excuse. You dared express confidence in your team which, by our mob mentality, meant you dissed us. You, therefore, suck. We just needed a little ballast for our claim.

And you gave it to us.

Rollins misses Reyes’s grounder and…ka-BOOM! We explode. First positively for the thrill of the run. But then vengefully on he who would doubt us.

Jim Mee Rahl Ins!

Not enough.

Jim Mee Rahl Ins!

YOU SUCK!

That’s the ticket. He’s no longer Jimmy Rollins at Shea Stadium or, one senses, Citi Field. He’s Jimmy Rollins You Suck.

He does more than suck.

He sucks in the second person.

He owns it.

On a team that “boasts” the evil Pat Burrell, the horrifying Chase Utley and the blood-curdling Ryan Howard (who sliced Burgos into paper-thin cold cuts), we have chosen you, Jimmy Rollins, to suck out loud in 2007, 2008, 2009, into the next decade — wake up the echoes razzing your name! As my host and companion for the day put it, he’ll be back here in 2015 and he’ll continue to suck.

Indeed, his failure to grab a grounder gurantees he’ll be forever reminded in these parts of his loose-lipped comment that the Phillies (1-6 at this writing) shaped up as the team to beat in the National League East this year.

Tsk Tsk.

You could have written that check as cashed it with your bat. Or your glove. But no. You didn’t. You couldn’t suck the way Chipper Jones and Pete Rose have here, by sucking on principle. You spoke up and then let down.

Big mistake.

Big.

Huge.

I have to go booing now.

Bless you Jimmy Rollins. You are a part of us now.

Jim Mee Rahl Ins!

YOU SUCK!

Rollins’ error opened the proverbial floodgates. Wild pitches and walks and sac flies and a couple of legitimate hits rained down and what had been a frustrating Met afternoon morphed into a New York laugher. Oh, the 11-5 final was amusing but the chant was fucking hilarious! Seriously, I’ve never laughed that hard at anything the crowd came up with probably because I never heard anything like that go on as long as this one did.

It was coarse, it was base — you wouldn’t trot it out at the Algonquin — but it wasn’t vicious. If tens of thousands could have fun at one poor soul’s expense and morally get away with it, then this was the exception that proves all the rules of good sportsmanship. You shouldn’t taunt a guy when he’s down.

Unless it’s too much fun not to.

Jim Mee Rahl Ins!

YOU SUCK!

The rest of the game is less a blur than a brrr. Jesus it was cold in the left field shadows. The presence of sunshine and the absence of snow permits teams to play in these conditions, as opposed to the perpetual cancellation that has become the Cleveland franchise, but it was awfully Jakey in the mezz. I’m told it was warmer in the sun. It couldn’t have been any colder.

Shea couldn’t have been any dumber, as is Home Opener tradition. They shifted some turnstiles around by the subway kiosk. It didn’t seem to help matters upon exit (though Mets 11 Phillies 5 forgives a lot of poor planning), especially when one of the two Roosevelt Avenue staircases was closed for…I have no idea why it was closed, but I’m sure somebody was following orders.

The pizza (authentic Sbarro!) has gotten worse, the puddles have seeped faster (the concourse behind mezzanine section 6 briefly turned into Flushing’s version of the lower ninth ward) and most of those whose jobs it is to hand you a thing you specifically ask for were befuddled no matter how decisively you pointed at said item. So it was Shea for the course, but ya know, if you wanted to be warm, use a bathroom and eat what you desired at bargain prices, you’d stay home.

Screw that. Shea is always gorgeous from the outside in on Home Opening Day. The Shea family’s floral horseshoe, Mex with the first pitch, the navy flyover (actually, with a major airport steps away, I have to wonder why that’s special) — this is the stuff I primp and preen for all morning. That and baseball, featuring not just their shortstop (who still sucks) but our shortstop (who’s still great).

Jose! times four was back in force. The Copiague High School marching band played it in pregame, so you know it’s a standard. Every Endy sighting unleashed a two-syllable call that seemed to celebrate No Decisions (ND! ND!). And to all those who whined last October that “Sweet Caroline” was thieved from Fenway, it’s ours now. Deal with it.

Citi Field, maybe 15% (?) of it, loomed in the near distance. It’s a stunner to look at. Not that you can really connect the construction to the CGI we’ve been fed, but just realizing it’s becoming real…it’s daunting. Shea is stupid, but it’s the only ballpark we have. The Citi site is practically back-to-back with its older, condemned brother. Workmen were up on its planks doing something during the early innings. Perhaps building a better tomorrow. Perhaps looking busy while they tried to sneak a peek in our direction. Wouldn’t you?

When I’m sitting in the new joint swapping stories about what used to be in that parking lot behind us, I’ll remember today, certainly the wind that froze and the shortstop who sucked and the result that didn’t, but more than all that, I’ll remember the thoughtful gesture of a very kind reader who decided to offer an extra ticket to a total stranger because she liked the way he wrote about their favorite team. My heartfelt thanks to Jodie, Adam and Zack for making today possible…or as Yogi put it so correctly in this case, necessary.

And Jimmy Rollins? You do suck.

25 comments to Your Rollins Has Come

  • Anonymous

    Man – that was COLD!!!!
    But it was a game worth freezing for :)

  • Anonymous

    It was thieved from Fenway. Sure, stolen goods are now “yours,” but they're still stolen goods. ;-)
    I have to say, today's was the least obnoxious Opening Day crowd in years. Except for some isolated stupid booing, not one particular person pissed me off at all. Besides the people next to me who got up 50 times and made me spill coffee all over myself.
    And I am still feeling the effects of the wind burn from the top row of the upper deck. It was so unbelievably cold and windy up there.
    Rollins sucks.

  • Anonymous

    Laurie – you were in Row V?
    I was in Row U. Section 9.

  • Anonymous

    Well, it seems “Sweet Caroline” was not exclusive to Fenway when they started playing it.
    My favorite part of the day was this email exchange with my junior year roommate, who took crap from me when the Phillies sucked in the late 80s, just after the 6th inning:
    Him: Howard is on his way to 60!
    Me: Um, has your bullpen thrown a pitch yet?
    17 years later, and I'm still getting his goat.

  • Anonymous

    I was in section 2… originally row U but moved up to V when we spotted sunlight on the empty seats behind us when those people left (7th inning). You take what you can get in those conditions, right? LOL

  • Anonymous

    Gotta take major exception with you on two points:
    1. The Subway situation was markedly improved. Granted, it can still be made better — but moving the actual turnstiles up to the platform — and thereby eliminating the crush outside Gate E — was a great idea and things worked MUCH better than then they did during the playoffs.
    2. Sweet Caroline is evil. Simply saying “deal with it” is totally the wrong attitude. Refusing to sing? Writing letters? At least posting on a popular internet blog about how wrong it is? That'd be productive…

  • Anonymous

    I saw nothing but chaos and a massive crush, as they eliminated the Roosevelt Ave. option to enter the subway. So everyone had to push through that one Gate E subway entrance. The crowd on the upper walkway to the subway was so stagnant that I waited half an hour before even attempting it.
    Pushing everyone through one entrance doubled the crush. It didn't reduce it. Who cares where the turnstile is when you only have one way of getting to it… where there used to be two? AND two sets of turnstiles, for that matter? I'm admittedly no good with math, but let's see… two entrances, two turnstiles is now one entrance, one turnstile. That equals, um, CHAOS. And it was.
    One of the cops tried to explain the reasoning to me, but it made about as much sense to him as it did to me, and he was livid about it. Apparently it will be changed again by Wednesday to something more logical. I hope so.

  • Anonymous

    You guys could just walk down to 111. It makes a huge difference. Either way, there isnt going to be another 50 thousand people there except for the yankee games and the playoffs

  • Anonymous

    Thought about 111th Street, but it occurred to me I'd be jamming into a car already filled up. Opted to go to Main Street and start from scratch. After an 11-5 victory, I was in too dreamy a state to be badly bothered, but it was a mess. All I wanted to do was get to the LIRR and they make it impossible to cross over. I still have no idea why they closed off one of the two staircases on Roosevelt.
    Coming in, I will say it was all smooth as silk. But coming in (save for the U.S. Open and the weirdness they implemented last fall) is never the problem. Entrance is a staggered affair (really staggered if you've been drinking…rim shot!). The mass exodous is a different matter.

  • Anonymous

    What's the deal with the LIRR? My husband and I were just talking about trying that as an alternative to the 7 (from Penn Station, the LIRR is so much quicker than taking the subway to Times Square and transferring to the 7). Are you saying that you can't get back to the LIRR after games?

  • Anonymous

    If you're trying to get to the Shea LIRR station, you're subject to the exact same pedestrian traffic snarl as if you're trying to get to the subway. Difference is if you miss one 7 train, another will be along (relatively) shortly. If you miss your 5:02 to Woodside/Penn Station, you're stuck on a crowded platform for 25 minutes. There is no feasible alternate route to the LIRR station; you could head west and trek through the park, I suppose, but then you'd miss the 5:32 as well.
    After letting the ramps breathe, I was out of Shea before 4:50 and had zero shot at the 5:02. Maybe it won't be as bad when there aren't 56,000 on hand, but with ticket sales brisk (a sign of a good team, hurrah), it's not likely to ease up significantly. If they're going to advertise that you should take the train to the game, they should make it simple for you to take the train home from the game. Shea may be a lost cause but by 2009, one hopes they build another staircase or ramp or something.

  • Anonymous

    OK – thanks.
    Waiting 25 minutes for a LIRR directly to Penn may still be a better bet for me than taking the 7 and then the 1, 2 or 3. I'll need to check it out one day.

  • Anonymous

    The LIRR trains from Shea (watch the gap!) are great if you're heading for midtown or Jersey. The 7's a fine train if a bit dodgy at times (40 lumbering minutes from Main Street to Times Square yesterday afternoon). It's the postgame logistics that need work.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I'm a veteran of the #7 from my Upper West Side days. But after spending an hour on NJ Transit, I could deal with cutting time on the trip from Manhattan to Shea.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Glad you had a good time at the horseshoe yesterday and thanks for the warning about the Pizza getting worse (MJ was saying how much she was looking forward to a slice of sicilian).
    Next best thing to being there was catching the game on a large screen HD. And the Dolby sound filling our living room when the crowd chanted “Jimmy Rollins, Jimmy Rollins”. While nothing beats being the ballpark experience, at least our living room was nicely heated (sorry 'bout that) and we had my 85 year old mom over to help cheer on her favorite team.
    It's been said over and over by now but is worth saying once again: Jimmy Rollins was right – the Phillies are the team to beat (at 1-6).

  • Anonymous

    Philly is a very tough town. I wonder if Jimmy will be the first player to have his name chanted derisively by both home and away crowds?

  • Anonymous

    It was Sicilian. Your high school cafeteria made better squares.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Unfortunately, our cafeteria at James Monroe High School did not serve pizza but am sure it can't be as bad as those made in California.
    BTW – did you notice any parking spaces still available in the Shea lot despite construction? We have a handicapped permit so assume some spots still left for this.

  • Anonymous

    Revise your uncertainty.
    Sitting where I was, I didn't get a good look at the part of the parking lot where Citi Field isn't being built.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Greg

  • Anonymous

    I did notice that this “pizza” was $5.25 a SLICE. Honestly, if you'll pay over five bucks for a slice of crappy pizza, you have too much money.LOL I'd sooner scrounge around under the seats for leftover french fries. Or better still, bring my own food if I thought I'd be hungry (rare, but it happens).
    I didn't spend a red cent above ticket and transportation yesterday. Nor will I tomorrow. Or Friday. Or Saturday (that ticket's free, though! Whoo-hoo!). The price of everything there is truly outrageous and I won't give in to it anymore. My foot is firmly DOWN.

  • Anonymous

    I brought my own sandwich but later thought it would be nice to have a handwarmer.

  • Anonymous

    You need to start drinking coffee. I brought a big thermos and it provided a day's worth of handwarming for free!! As did my gloves…
    This 8th inning is just as good the second time around. But I have a much better view.

  • Anonymous

    I am now convinced that Mr. Rollins is nothing more than a garden-variety attention slut. He said he always wanted to get booed in an opposition ballpark — not recognizing that getting booed because you're good is one thing and getting booed because you're a dweeb is another matter entirely. You'd think Ryan Howard would have filled him in on the difference; probably he did, but JRYS doesn't care. Attention's attention. Too bad his teammates have to clean up after him all season, and not in the batting sense.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, judging by what I saw, there was a line across the street funnelling up the stairs to the LIRR. Those stairs were closed for the subway, because that's now exclusively the way to get to the LIRR, and they gate e subway entrance(which was WAY WAY better than any of the 5 playoff games I was at last year)
    We parked in flushing, so by moving the turnstiles we actually avoided most of the gridlock because the cause of it was now 100 feet up a ramp we didn't have to go on. There were plenty of people that went with us that way to stay on the train and have a seat the other way too.
    What was completely ridiculous, and might've made the situation seem worse if you waited a bit before leaving was that we stood on the track 10 minutes before a (extra trains added!?!) train going in either direction showed up.