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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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Deep Inside the Feral Catacombs

So for the reasonable price of $10,000, I joined the Shea Stadium Premiere Club. Didn't think I could afford it, but it turns out if you go to a game without buying a pretzel or a soda, your savings mount up rather quickly. Thus, with the extra 10 G's I saved Sunday by buying nothing, I became a Platinum member and got first crack at the historic artifacts that will be saved from Shea before it is dismantled to make way for Citi Field.

This is not a fee, by the way, but a non-refundable deposit toward my intended purchases. Like I said, incredibly reasonable. MeiGray, the company that's handling the memorabilia sales, heard about my decision to attend every remaining home game and figured I must be their target demographic. They took my money right away and gave me the very first exclusive tour Sunday evening.

They took me through their entire inventory of what they're offering up front. Those gigantic banners of the great players and moments in Mets history are $2,000. The door from the Bob Murphy radio booth is $4,000. A letter from the main SHEA STADIUM sign goes for $5,000. The column that says Gate E is $10,000. David Wright's locker is $15,000. A foul pole is 25 large. The '69 and '86 world championship flags are 50 grand a pop.

For a big spender like me, they said, they could wrap up whatever I wanted so I could take it home on the LIRR right away.

Very nice, I said, but I wanted to see the good stuff, the exclusive stuff, the stuff nobody else knows about.

Well, they said, that would cost me an extra $10,000. If I gave them that, then they could upgrade me to Double Platinum Chrome membership in the Shea Stadium Premiere Club. It wouldn't be a fee, but a non-refundable deposit toward my intended purchases.

Since the pretzels weren't ready Saturday night, I had an extra $10,000 just taking up space in my wallet, so I said of course and gave it to them.

They pocketed my $20K and told me to follow them.

We went deep into the most feral catacombs of Shea Stadium. Very deep. You entered through Gate F, but that's all I know. This was where no one goes. In fact, they had to blindfold me so I couldn't tell anybody the way. (The blindfold was an extra $5,000 — not a fee, but a non-refundable deposit toward my intended purchases — but it was spare change to me, having brought my own beverages Sunday.) I did hear a lot of myowling.

They removed my blindfold and gave me the Double Platinum Chrome tour.

I was stunned.

“I've never seen any of this before,” I said.

“No one has,” my guide told me.

First there were the banners:

1987 National League East Champions

1998 National League Wild Card Winner

2007 World Champions

“But the Mets didn't make the playoffs those years,” I said.

“Keep looking,” said the guide.

Beyond the flags that didn't fly were other, even rarer items:

• A broken heart from the 1988 playoffs…

• A tortured soul from the 2000 Subway Series…

• A mind bent permanently out of shape, signed by Armando Benitez, John Franco and Brian Jordan…

• The swings never taken in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded on October 19, 2006…

• The Mets' intestinal fortitude from last September 30 (mint condition, not game-used).

“Whoa,” I said. “How much we talking?”

“Let's not talk price just yet,” the guide said. “There's more to see.”

A fog rolled in to the depths of Shea Stadium. Everything grew hazier and hazier until I was taken to what was called the piece d'resistance: a ghostly image — a hologram, actually.

It was Greg Norton launching a three-run bomb off Luis Ayala in the ninth inning on September 14, 2008.

“Whoa!” I said again. “This is already here? This is here with everything else that has destroyed our spirits and represents all that has gone wrong at Shea Stadium over the past twenty-plus years? You're already listing this in your catalogue of horrors?”

“If you hand us an extra $100,000,” my guide said, “we will let you know in two weeks.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Really. See, it's not a fee, but a non-refundable deposit toward your intended purchase.”

“Well, I was thinking about an Italian sausage for the last homestand, but that does sound like quite a deal…”

I'll let you know what to make of that image when I know. They promised me I'd be the first to find out.

Membership, you see, has its privileges.

14 comments to Deep Inside the Feral Catacombs

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Greg.

  • Anonymous

    Greatest post ever. Thanks Greg.
    Can someone tell Matt Cerrone to take down the fucking magic number graphic on his site. Doesn't he know it's a jinx.

  • Anonymous

    Besides, the Norton hologram you probably could get someting left over from Hurricane Ike, Goldman Saks and Lehman Brothers – three other weekend catastrophies.

  • Anonymous

    I don't think I've ever read anything that is so accurate with how I feel about this team in all of my life. Great post Greg. In a sick and twisted way, wasn't it appropriate that we should lose to that team in their final game at Shea that way?

  • Anonymous

    Great stuff, Greg. Gave me a smile after a crappy loss yesterday.
    I see the Mets are going to save the current Home Run Apple. Which is nice, but what they REALLY need to save is the skyline on top of the RF scoreboard with the ribbon over the WTC. Stick that in the new park where everyone can see it (a concourse perhaps?). You can't sell that.

  • Anonymous

    Someone better tell SNY to pull the postseason ticket ads too. I can still hear the echoing jeers from last year's “Your Postseason has Come!” ads from last year. (“…and GONE! Get it!”, snarked the Skankee fans who thankfully are not feeling nearly as snarky this year.)

  • Anonymous

    I think the lesson here is: if the Mets have a division/wild card lead in September that's not double digits, stock up on maalox and have someone hide any sharp objects in your home.
    I really don't think I can go through this again.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant. But in a way that forced me to re-live each wound afresh while conjuring up all the others (starting with the Seaver trade). I guess it takes this kind of loss to provide such inspiration–and that seems to be the one thing the Mets are really good at.

  • Anonymous

    From what I've been told that skyline will make the trip over with the original apple. I did not inquire if it will be on display in the Met muesem or if it will be placed on top of one of the new scoreboards.

  • Anonymous

    what logic went into setting the pricing for some of this stuff? Mets Dugout, $100,000.00? Dunkin' Donuts Cup in Visitors Bullpen, $3,500.00? A “No Forklifts” sign outside by Gate D, $50.00? Was there a mathematical computation? Perhaps a formula on a spreadsheet that calculates nostalgia factor multiplied by (reverse?) depreciation, rounded up to the nearest $5.00?

  • Anonymous

    I heard that there is going to be a new Home Run Apple. not taking the paper mache one.

  • Anonymous

    Fuckin' brilliant Greg. Well said!

  • Anonymous

    Come on..
    The way some of you people would have it, the Mets would wake up on October 1st, or whenever the first playoff game would be, and realize they.
    A. already send the groundscrew home for the winter, so the field isn't ready.
    b. No one's showing up, since they never printed the tickets.
    c. The vendors and ushers aren't there to escort anyone to their seats or sell them hot dogs. There aren't any hot dogs anyway, since they didn't reorder from Aramark.
    d. In fact, the wrecking ball is already dismantling Shea, because everyone told them to assume the season was over October first until told otherwise.
    e. If they did manage to play, it wouldn't be on the radio. Fox has the tv covered, but Howie Rose is already in Uniondale and Wayne Hagin went home.

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like you took a walk in a nightmare!!