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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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We Rooted Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad

We rooted like hell. They played like crud.

We the fans may be Mets in every emotional way, but it was proven again Friday night that we the fans cannot hit, hit with power, run, throw, catch and pitch.

And…wait for it…neither can the Mets.

Either way, we're all on the outside looking in now. We are not in first place, which is in and of itself not a crime. I would contend, however, vacating first place two games before the season's end after holding it so seemingly tight for so long should be.

Then again, having to be a part of this team looks like punishment enough from here.

I've made the mistake of flipping on the Mets' flagship radio station during the day this week and being told that Mets fans weren't showing up and weren't showing support. Of course I'm only some guy who's been out there among tens of thousands of Mets fans for three consecutive nights, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but there have plenty of Mets fans at Shea this week and there has been plenty of support. Anybody who thinks this fan base hasn't gotten behind its team to the cusp of the bitter end is clearly looking or listening for a storyline that does not exist.

These fans, of which I was one of 55,298 (more or less), were great last night. With every reason in the world to turn our collective back on the Mets, we didn't. We roared from the first pitch. Even when succeeding pitches proved inadequate, we kept roaring for our team. There was no mass booing, even though there was every reason to produce it…if, in fact, you are the type who is inclined to empty corrosive fluid out of your lungs.

Perhaps it shouldn't be noteworthy that fans of the local team attended the local team's sporting event and cheered enthusiastically for the local team, particularly with the local team tied for first place and time running out. Perhaps it shouldn't be worth noting, but after so many losses in so short a span with such dreadful consequences for the local team's position in the standings, I think it is.

The Mets did not play nearly as well as we rooted. They fell behind, but we rooted for them — hard. They stayed behind, but we rooted for them — harder. I tend to forget that a lot of people who show up to Mets games are relatively uncomplicated people. They don't overthink the issue. They show up and they want their team to win. They don't come up with reasons to be down on them away from the ballpark and they find ways to encourage them once they're there. That's who was at Shea Friday night: Mets fans who wished the Mets would win. It was the best part of this game and maybe this season.

My night began as it almost always does, on the 6:11 to Woodside. As I rode and listened to my Amazin' playlist (you don't wanna know what's on there), I found myself recalibrating the default memory of my fanometer. I was no longer set on 1998, the choke. I clicked forward a notch to 1999, when the circumstances were maybe more dire (seven consecutive losses and a bigger Wild Card lead being blown) but the outcome (win, win, win, a little help) much more rewarding on the final weekend. I realized I was no longer rooting for the 2007 Mets. I was rooting for just the Mets — the institutional Mets who are capable of pulling a 1999, the Mets who give us reason to believe and hope even when they stumble, even when they fall as they did in 1998. I was rooting for the Mets who made me the fan I am today, all of them. It just happened to be 2007 while I was doing it.

I think that's what a lot of the people at Shea Stadium were doing Friday night. The names they wore and chanted and beseeched may have corresponded to those on the field, but this wasn't all about Lo Duca and Beltran and Wright and Reyes and Alou and Green. It wasn't necessarily about Piazza and Alfonzo or Knight and Backman or Agee and Koosman either. It was about being a Mets fan, being in it for better or worse, thinking that worse isn't what this has to be. Thinking that maybe if we do our best for them, they'll do their best for us. If that's a clichéd portrayal of what a Mets fan is, then just say we spent Friday night at Cliché Stadium.

If the Mets did their best, their best isn't very good. Their best hasn't been close to worthwhile for weeks. Maybe these Mets just aren't very good.

I didn't take a train home. My friend for all seasons Jim had parked in the Southfield (they named the lot across Roosevelt this year like a gated community for some reason) and offered me a ride. By the time we pulled out, we were fuming at the result as you'd expect. I'm loyal. Jim's loyal. Jim's so loyal that he eschewed his threat to drink six beers and boo everything in sight so he, too, could root like hell. But our loyalty doesn't cloud our judgment. And as Jim drove and Willie Randolph and David Wright offered their critiques and excuses on Mets Extra, we fumed more.

Jim and I were owed at least one beer for our trouble, so we stopped in a watering hole he knew not far from where he grew up. And after letting loose an ear-steaming monologue probably far more entertaining than anything I am capable of piecing together at the moment, I noticed I had become another cliché: my head was literally on the bar and I was figuratively crying in my beer.

I'm somewhere between my cliché personas now. There are two games left for the second-place Mets just as there are for the first-place Phillies. Those need to be played and I'm still capable of acknowledging that games that aren't yet won or lost are still up for grabs. The Mets could win Saturday. The Phillies could lose. For technical reasons, I will continue to root like hell when I make my fourth consecutive appearance at Shea today. But otherwise, I'm nearly as resigned to the fate of the 2007 Mets as the 2007 Mets indicated they are by their dismal actions on the field Friday night.

If they played the way we root, this thing would have been wrapped up in August.

12 comments to We Rooted Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad

  • Anonymous

    Mets will disrupt my day Saturday because they are in it. I will watch them in glorious HD. Will not make other plans. I cannot guarantee I will watch them continuously. Friday, after mid-game, I had Yahoo's simulation on the computer screen to my left. Every so often, if things looked interesting, I'd switch the tube to SNY.
    The last breath has not yet exhaled, but it's a death watch.

  • Anonymous

    Could be worse. Fifty years ago today, it was.

  • Anonymous

    From this death, if, when it comes, there will be rebirth. With or without Willie, with or without Omar, with or without Fred and Jeff.
    Cause the Mets from day one in 1962 are about rebirth – and the 40 year commitment to NYC with Citifield..

  • Anonymous

    Compelling as a train wreck! Horrible, but I just cant turn away!..You watch the life-blood run out of something and you know your just helpless to do anything about it..
    I want to see this season continue, but I know its better that it just go away quietly this Sunday afternoon..
    Rich

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Greg for so eloquently describing what so many of us are feeling.

  • Anonymous

    True Story-As I sat in my car waiting for Greg, one lone big black cloud rolled in just to rain on Shea Stadium for half an hour. The rain bounced of my Honda's roof as I watched the sun set in a clear sky. Soothsayers everywhere were offended by the ham-handed obviousness of the omen, yelling 'Oh yeah, it'll be a great night! NOT!'
    As awful as everything was the night of Black Friday, and as 'have-to-shoot-Old-Yeller-miserable' as Greg truly is right now (ain't we all)…folks, you haven't lived until you get a ringside seat for Greg getting his rant on. As measured and rationally passionate as he is in 'blog persona', when he lets loose he's goddamn Denis Leary without the smoking and a better vocabulary.
    I have a bunch of Sam Adams Octoberfest in the fridge. All FAFIFellers are welcome to come over and cry on my kitchen counter. It's granite, so it can take the pounding of our heads.
    And as for this team of ours?
    To quote my dear departed Pop…
    'You STINK, Mets! You STINK!'

  • Anonymous

    While Wake Me Up When September Ends is the obvious Green Day song for the Mets right now, I am reminded of another from that album.
    Letterbomb
    goes like this:
    'It's not over 'till your underground
    It's not over before it's too late
    This city's burnin'
    It's not my burden
    It's not over before it's too late
    There is nothing left to analyze'
    Sounds about right to me.

  • Anonymous

    Never mind everthing else.
    LET'S GO METS! LET'S GO NATS!

  • Anonymous

    As much as we've all hated this team…take 1 look at this photo, and tell me you wouldn't sell your soul to see them make the playoffs:
    http://asapblogs.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/06/26/cardinals_mets_baseba_rumb_2.jpg
    I'm hoping for the best in Phils Nats (now 4-2), but dammit, I want these Mets in the playoffs.

  • Anonymous

    Disappointment, not hatred.

  • Anonymous

    I want them to win too but y'know, right now I feel like the Mets are like an unfaithful spouse asking for forgiveness. Yeah, we'll let them back into our hearts because their our Mets but I just don't know if we can trust them to go any further in the playoffs. I feel like I'm being set up to have my heart broken again.

  • Anonymous

    You both are right, but I still bought into every last unfaithful word from John Maine and every met (aside from Jose and Lastings (still the 2 HR make it a little easier)). I agree and know where you guys are coming from. But this team means too much to me to let it go at this point. I'd never hold it against another who was too let down though.