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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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Now Leaving Comeback City

According to the gentleman sitting behind me way up high in Section 3 of the Upper Deck Saturday night…

• The Mets were headed to “Comeback City”.

• There was still “plenty of time left”.

• Every ball should have been thrown “to second!” even if the play was at another base.

CLAP!

This dude — nowhere near qualifying for the League of Extraordinary Morons, mind you — did like his clapping. The Mets left little to applaud, but he urged them on without pause.

Beat booing.

When John Maine gathered two strikes: CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

When John Maine gathered two balls: CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

When John Maine gave up two more runs: not so much CLAP! but lots of exhortation delivered Bill Swerski's Super Fans style (a Chicago accent in Queens is very jarring; I fully expected a call for Manuel to be fired in favor of Ditka).

The Clapper did say please and thank you a lot — as in please get a hit and thank you for retiring an Astro — but he mostly clapped. As the game wore on, he grew rhythmic. It seemed to have no connection to the action, all of which was dismal. By the eighth, I caught his pattern.

HIS HANDS: CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

MY MIND: one…two..three…go

HIS HANDS: CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

MY MIND: one…two..three…go

HIS HANDS: CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

MY MIND: going…going…gone

HIS HANDS: CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

If I hadn't been nursing a stye above my left eye, I might not have minded The Clapper's booming palms in my left ear. And if the Mets really were headed for Comeback City instead of missing the exit ramp from Futility Freeway, he would have seemed more colorful and less cumbersome.

This was the first game I'd been to in a while where a lousy Mets performance could be sloughed off as just one of those things. Usually a resoundingly noncompetitive loss in which Brandon Backe outdoes Roy Oswalt while David Newhan makes like Lance Berkman would have me ghosting suicide notes for the entire Sterling Equities organization. But I've seen the evil and the good — doctor, my stye! — enough to give the Mets the benefit of one stinker's doubt. We never did approach Comeback City, and there really wasn't plenty of time left when were down 8-1, but it was a decent night in Dairlylea Coupon Country nonetheless. It was an evening to enjoy free sportsbags, complimentary bagpipes (to honor the Irish, the Mets wore the uniforms of the O'Hfers for four innings) and the company of my dear friend Matt from Sunnyside.

That's a name accurate in terms both geographic and disposition. Earlier this season, as I was penning concession speeches, Matt insisted Pelfrey and Delgado and everybody else would come around. The Mets played lame but Matt held firm to his optimism. Poor deluded soul, I thought then. Soon the Mets were winning, Matt's faith was validated and I was recalibrating my fearful estimations for the remainder of 2008. Who, besides The Clapper, seems clueless now?

Other than achy John Maine, I mean.

4 comments to Now Leaving Comeback City

  • Anonymous

    Oh man. Every single pop up and foul ball, too, he was like “What the!? Drop it … DROP IT!! ARRGGH NO!!” Then he had that loud spaceship noise he made to try to break up double plays. I couldn't believe he maintained the intensity for all nine innings.
    Who knows, maybe he's working on his role in “Everybody Clap Your Hands, The Movie” in which one fan changes the outcome of baseball games using only hope and volume.
    We're still 10 for our last 12, though. Let's Go Mets! Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap.

  • Anonymous

    As another deluded soul who stubbornly insists on looking at the Sunnyside of the Mets, I was (as usual) disheartened by the stupidity of my fellow fans last night. But my favorite had to be the woman behind me who loudly expressed hostile dismay at everything the Mets did that wasn't 100% perfect–standard Shea fare, unfortunately–yet didn't seem to know much about the Mets for someone so “passionate.” It was like she'd done her homework and knew what was expected of her as a butt in a Shea seat (tireless criticism, hostility, bitterness and disproportionate rage), but then would come out with “come on, number 23!” Geez, if you don't know your a$$ from your elbow, 1) shut the bleep up already, and 2) for future reference, number 23's name is conveniently displayed in several places when he's at the plate.
    However, as an aside to Matt, she still couldn't match our dear friend from the last “Mets at the Movies.” It's worth going again just to see if she's there. She was awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Laurie!
    You know, there was actually zero negativity where we were sitting on Saturday. One tool booed John Maine as he walked to the dugout after getting pulled, but other than that, it was all cheering (except for booing Backe when he hit David Wright with a pitch). Maybe The Clapper had something to do with it, or maybe we were surrounded by a crowd of people visiting from St. Louis who bought a bunch of Mets gear just to be polite, but it was a really positive crowd. Especially during a loss.
    I think that woman sitting behind us at Mets at the Movies had tourettes syndrome. She produced, like, a constant stream of under-the-breath profanity punctuated with “WHY DO I WATCH THIS *&^%#$## GAME!” until the Mets started winning. That was just crazy. Yikes!

  • Anonymous

    Maine was booed off the mound, and every hit was booed. But that didn't surprise me none. No sirrrreee. That was a given. The only thing that DID surprise me was that a drinker was actually thrown out of the no-alcohol section. Normally half the people there could be lying naked across two seats with a margarita in one hand, a crack pipe in the other and a lit pack of cigarettes in their mouths and still not be challenged by “security.”
    That Mets/Movies woman was awesome. “He SUCKS. This SUCKS. Why did we sign him, he SUCKS. It SUCKS. COME ON!!! Throw a strike! He SUCKS. Don't know why we signed him. He SUCKS. OH COME ONNNN!! What a waste of money. He SUCKS…” She never let up on Johan for one second. Then when she stood up and revealed herself to be wearing a SANTANA 57 t-shirt… that made my whole night. Utterly hilarious. It was better than both the win AND the Free Stuff. If she'd been drunk off her a$$, she could have been the official Shea Stadium poster child.