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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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Keep Your Seats, Give Me 13 2B

As you've probably heard or read, the Mets and the City of New York are teaming to give you (especially if you're a season-ticket holder) a chance to buy a pair of Shea seats for the low, low bargain price of $869. A portion of the proceeds will be directed to worthy charities, the market will bear what the market will bear and at this point nobody can feign shock that stadium relics carry a high tag. It's galling and insane and all that, but I wasn't expecting those of us who've spent the rough (and I do mean rough) equivalent of 50 full days sitting in such seats to receive a diehard discount. If you've toured what one wag referred to as the FEMA trailer they've set up between the old and new ballparks to sell Final Season merchandise, you've been reminded that you can put a price on sentiment.

I don't know that I'd dig way deep for a pair of Shea seats. My lovely wife, partly being characteristically indulgent and partly as a hedge against the inevitable psychiatric bills I'd run up when it would fully dawn on me that Shea seats were available and I didn't grab two, has encouraged us to go for it (as if we have a go-for-it fund). That's an awfully thoughtful blessing on her part but it's an awfully steep bill. I just don't know.

But I do know of an added embellishment that would make the final Shea seats that come attached to a regular-season ballgame that much more valuable.

Sign Edgardo Alfonzo in September.

We were talking a post ago about Aaron Heilman starting September 28 or Jesse Orosco finishing. Neither seems likely to happen (though if I had to bet, I'd lean toward Jesse). As I mentioned, Mike Flanagan threw the final Oriole pitch at Memorial Stadium and it was a sweet deal. On the occasion of the final Giants home game at the Polo Grounds, manager Bill Rigney fielded a lineup that included recently reacquired Bobby Thomson and Whitey Lockman, 1954 Series pinch-hitting hero Dusty Rhodes, stalwart championship catcher Wes Westrum, Willie Mays (of course) and, to pitch, '54 ace Johnny Antonelli. That, too, was sweet.

What could be sweeter on September 28, 2008 than looking up at the right side of the scoreboard and seeing this notation in the two-hole?

13 2B

Yes, Edgardo Alfonzo (Billy Wagner, grab a couple of sixes). This isn't in the fanciful realm of “wouldn't it be great if some retired Met icon could be activated for one day?” Fonzie is a Met icon who is not retired. Fonzie is playing for the Long Island Ducks. Fonzie, for that matter, is tearing it up for the Long Island Ducks.

This was in Newsday Monday:

Alfonzo returned to the Ducks for the second half and is hitting .324 with 11 runs, 12 RBIs, two doubles and three home runs. He hit .266 with five home runs and 56 RBIs in 105 games with the Ducks in 2007.

The former Met spent the first few months of 2008 with Quintana Roo of the Mexican League, hitting .280 with 12 doubles and 17 RBIs in 55 games.

This wouldn't be Minnie Minoso. This wouldn't be a gimmick. OK, it would be a gimmick, but not an implausible one. It would be an appropriate one.

Granted, if the Mets are fighting for a playoff spot in Game 162, you might take a different tack (though if Fonzie's batting .324, maybe he should be called in from Islip sooner). But if it's devoid of implications beyond the one implication we've had circled on the schedule for months, then why not? Surely the 40-man roster can stand some juggling for one September day. Surely Luis Castillo will need to keep flexing that hip to make certain it's strong for 2009. Surely the Mets organization for once in their stupid lives can do something beautiful and relatively inexpensive.

I'd make the offer to Mike Piazza, too, except Mike did retire and I can't see Mike going for it. Besides, Mike had his last day in a Mets uniform duly noted. It was beautiful, actually, more beautiful than anticipated because the scoreboard carried this notation in the cleanup slot that Sunday:

31 C

That was one of Willie Randolph's best moments, penciling in Mike Piazza to bat fourth on his final day as a Met. Removing Mike Piazza before the game was over was not his shiningest hour, but let's stay positive. If Mike called Jay Horwitz (all Hall of Fame-caliber former Mets catchers call Jay Horwitz when they want something) and said “I've been working out, I'd like to come back,” I'd say sure, make it Mike and Fonzie. I'd throw Brian Schneider, Ramon Castro and Robinson Cancel under the bus so fast, it would make Gary Carter's head spin.

But that's not gonna happen. Mike stopped playing. Fonzie, however, hasn't. Fonzie was hitting .324 through Sunday in a reasonably competitive league. Fonzie was auditioned in Norfolk in 2006 and it was only, if I followed the dots correctly, because Castro went on the DL and the Mets had to sign Kelly Stinnett out of nowhere as a precaution for October, that he didn't get a Lee Mazzilli recall that jubilant September.

Make amends Omar. Make it up to us. Make it up to me, the fan who's spent the rough equivalent of 50 days, about three hours per game over almost 400 games, sitting in a Shea Stadium seat that you're going to sell to someone more well off financially and mentally than me. Give us one fantastic Shea throwback for one fantastic final Shea experience. Give one authentic Shea icon who deserved a legitimate sendoff but never received one a last afternoon in the sun. Give us our Mike Flanagan, our Bobby Thomson.

Give us this one and make some diehards happy.

7 comments to Keep Your Seats, Give Me 13 2B

  • Anonymous

    You're right that in this day and age no one should ever have memorabilia sticker shock. But $869? What justifies that price as opposed to say 870, or 900?
    Actually, if you were going to buy a pair of seats, the one seat probably worth having, is the infamous lodge section seat, behind the right field foul pole, authenticate it with a picture and a ticket stub and it'd be worth something due to it's notoriety.
    I'd like to see, 2 outs in the top of the 9th, and an announcement for a fielding change: 18 RF

  • Anonymous

    Whatever New York City agency it is that is organizing the sale said today that the $869 price tag was set to remind fans of the '86 AND the '69 World Series.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else seriously considering a seat purchase? I really don't have anywhere to put them (and that's a LOT of money for a conversation piece), but it strikes me as the kind of thing you wish you would have bought years from now.

  • Anonymous

    During the game last night Gary plugged the seat sale , immediately I wondered if he would mention the price tag, of course he didn't but did mention that he wanted two from the last row behind home plate.
    I like the Fonzie angle and wouldn't it be great to have him there , somehow I don't think Jeff thinks about such things.

  • Anonymous

    For what it's worth, I traveled from DC to Richmond, VA in late 2006 for a Tides-Braves game for the sole purpose of seeing Fonzie play…and it was kinda sad, actually. Couldn't move much and couldn't hit much. Did seem to get along well with Anderson Hernandez.
    But I'm all for bringing him back for a send-off. If Todd Freaking Zeile could get the royal treatment, it's the least we can do for Fonzie.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but Fonzie's gotten younger since 2006. I just know he has…

  • Anonymous

    That does seem rather exhorbitant for a pair of seats (read somewhere else that 2 seats from the Vet in Philly went for $250, a few yrs ago – which seems a lot more reasonable)…. Don't know if I'll bite, but I might…