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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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A Warning to the Good People of New England

I don’t honestly have much use for football — I generally tune in in late December, when I’m desperate for the sight of grass, and then whatever bandwagon team I pick gets bounced in the first round. But tonight was different: The Colts and the Patriots in a game that might as well be this year’s Super Bowl, a showdown made even livelier by Bill Belichick’s jihad against Roger Goodell and the entire NFL.

This battle didn’t disappoint — it was just a phenomenal game from the outset. Emily and our friend Eddie and I caught the game at Toad Hall, a Soho bar with a fondness for the Mets — and the place where 13 months ago we celebrated one of the happiest days in Met history. (Here’s to victory! And to Schadenfreude!) The crowd — big and boisterous, and given a boost in both respects by tired, celebrating marathoners and a mild night — had naturally segregated itself. The Colts rooters (more properly, the hordes on the Anti-Pats bandwagon) were in the front at one end of the bar, while the handful of Pats fans were in the back by the waitress station. So the noise level see-sawed along with the momentum of the game, with one end of the bar quiet or groaning while the other roared and vice versa.

This is a wonderful time for New England. The Red Sox are World Champs again, and this time it’s as a normal team, instead of as a collective saddled with a region’s tragedies and dreary myths. The Patriots are a juggernaut. Heck, the Celtics should be pretty good. Right now, if you want to locate the center of excellence in North American sports, it’s Boston.

I’ve got lots of Red Sox friends. I know Pats rooters who grew up in the fan equivalent of total darkness, and for whom learning to cheer was like cave fish learning to see. I’m happy for them. I really am. But here’s the thing; As the tide turned for good, with the Colts sputtering and Manning fumbling, I started hearing this sound in Toad Hall. It was an unwelcome sound, one I don’t usually hear in November. A familiar, very New York sound — a cocksure bray, the kind of self-congratulatory noise I imagine a billionaire makes checking his balance. It was the sound of smug certainty and entitlement.

Heed my warning, New England friends: I heard your brethren tonight in Toad Hall. Maybe I even heard you. And you sounded exactly like Yankee fans.

13 comments to A Warning to the Good People of New England

  • Anonymous

    I feel injured. I'm a Mets fan AND a Pats fan, and just because I yelled “Suck it, Peyton!!!” when Welker got that last first down just before the 2-minute warning doesn't mean I have become as execrably smug as the typical Yankee fan. Well, maybe, but boy that one felt good last night! On to 16-0! Woo-hoo! Ok, I'm finished. Sorry.

  • Anonymous

    And the Bruins are fiftth in their conference. While that might not be at the top of the standings, we're talking about the NHL so it really doesn't matter.

  • Anonymous

    Isn't the world difficult enough dealing with Yankee fans who root for the Yankees?
    Nowe we have smugness further north and east of the Bronx.
    I tell ya, they were more loveable when we knew that somehow, the Sawks would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I'm happy for the 25 players, but I'm growing more and more irritated by Red Sox Nation. It's disturbing.

  • Anonymous

    Being in New England as I am at the moment, I can tell you at least this much: most of these fans are still new at the juggernaut role and probably need some time to get the kinks out. Yankees fans have had ample time to see their error of their ways.

  • Anonymous

    A juggernaut they are: The Patriots' remaining schedule includes only two teams with any realistic shot at beating them, the Steelers and the Giants. Yeah, yeah, any given Sunday and all that, but the short odds are on at least 14 wins, and there's a very solid chance at 16-0. Weirdly, the Dolphins, the only franchise ever to win 'em all, may well lose 'em all this year; they are 0-8 so far.

  • Anonymous

    If the Dolphins go 0-16, will their overly smug '72 alumni spit up all the champagne with which they've toasted others' failure to go undefeated?

  • Anonymous

    What is this “Beantown Gridiron Chat with Jace and the Greg-dog” ? Where's the Faith, where's the Fear, where's the METS?
    The thing I find so obnoxious is the whole “Your Team Here NATION” concept. Red Sox Nation? Raider Nation? Trojan Nation? Give me a freakin' break. Yes, the Raiders always had an outsided, out of market following due to their rep as dirty players and bad boys which seemed to appeal to the parolees and gangbangers both in and out of the Oaktown region. And the Cowboys were beloved in the numerous markets which had no team to love since they were on TV every g-damn Sunday from 1975 until, well, ever. But I can think of no other teams that have deserved such a status. Americans, especially those from the larger, older cities move throughout the nation and bring their allegiances with them, this is true. And nowadays a kid in Duluth can be a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars thru the magic of Direct TV. But a Nation this does not make. grumble grumble…missing baseball sooo much…grumble grumble
    Joel

  • Anonymous

    Well, we had earmarked this week for reviewing our just-won third title, but something went horribly wrong. Now it's football, darkness and depression.
    Actually, will have a combination discussion of baseball cards and those Mets who made their team debuts up pretty soon.

  • Anonymous

    You used to find a proliferation of Red Sox/football Giants fans, those who came along pre-Patriots but never converted because for years, the Giants were the team they'd see up there on Sundays. I've known New Englanders' whose gridiron loyalty remained Plymouth Rock-solid in that regard. In the Giants' 1987 yearbook (celebrating the '86 season and Super Bowl XXI), it was noted how happy the previous year had made fans “from Maine to New Jersey”. I imagine nearly five decades of the Pats, particularly the last seven, have made the New England-based Giants fan a dying breed, certainly outside the western half of Connecticut.

  • Anonymous

    Joel,
    If it makes you feel any better, the Mets 27-5 in the imaginary season I've been conducting on their behalf since October 1.
    Geez, even in my imagination, they've lost five games.

  • Anonymous

    i do enjoy the post's little asterisk in the standings for the pats every friday — the one that says “caught cheating.”
    which reminds me, now that a-rod's gone, who'll do the cheating for the skanks?

  • Anonymous

    Giambi, of course…
    Mekkalekkahyemekkaheinieho!

  • Anonymous

    Don't forget that they were the New Haven Giants in all but name for two seasons, playing their 1973 and 1974 home games in the cavernous, history-soaked Yale Bowl while the JInts' usual building in Da Bronx was getting Tommy John surgery or something.