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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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Brick of the Litter

I didn't buy a pair of seats from Shea Stadium. I bought a brick instead. An outfield wall brick. It's a lot less than the seats if not quite equal value. Nine bricks, once you factor in shipping and taxes, would amount to two seats. You don't need nine bricks. I didn't need two seats.

One of the great internal debates of 2008, wherein I wondered why I didn't very badly want the seats, ended as soon as I saw the bricks had gone on sale. They were overpriced (you expected different?), but I didn't let that stop me. I didn't let my lack of budgeting for such a blocky bauble stop me. Nor did I let the advice of financial experts — none of whom said “put your money in bricks” — get in my way in these uncertain times. A Shea Stadium brick and I were destined to be together. Hopefully we won't be together on a street somewhere.

The seats? You'd think I'd have done that, wouldn't you? I sat in enough of them while they were active, you'd think I'd want to give two a good home. As long as we're adding consumer debt at the behest of sentiment and poor judgment, what's another $940 or whatever it is with New York State taxes? Well, it's a lot, obviously, but beyond the bill, the seats never sat right with me. I don't think I'd turn aside a pair that magically appeared at my front door, but seeking them out felt forced. It was like when playoff tickets went on sale and I sensed it was folly but before I knew it I had bought four for NLDS Game Five (let me know when that is, would you?). To my addled mind, the eventual postseason refund more than makes up for the price of the brick.

With rationalization skills like those, surely there's a job awaiting me in Washington.

Shea Stadium seats without Shea Stadium surrounding them felt wrong to me. They may feel great to you and I hope you enjoy yours if you went for it. I'm glad my partner has a pair en route to his backyard deck and that the legendary Chapman Wiffle Ball Grounds — 69 feet to center — will have a legitimate first base cheering section, with its Veterans Stadium seats bumped to the visitors' side where they belong. Mazel tov, as Shawn Green might say to Art Shamsky.

All through September, I sat in Shea Stadium seats and wondered if I'd literally feel comfortable in them in my living room. Ah, maybe, I thought. They weren't so bad to sit in and I'd finally have a reason to have horded all those Seat Cushion Night seat cushions all these years. The utility of them, however, was secondary to the “wow!” factor. “Wow! Shea Stadium seats…here!” But once the novelty wore off, I had a hunch it would become one more place on which the Princes would inevitably pile stray pillows and catalogues. We'd clear them off when company came and we'd take plenty of pictures of Hozzie and Avery napping on them, but after a while, they would be $940 reminders that I spent a lot on something I quite obviously didn't need and probably didn't really want.

Why a brick? The bricks were always there, even if they weren't the main motif or emphasized accent of Shea Stadium. The corner outfield walls were always there. They'd been covered up since a slight altering of the dimensions from 341 feet to 338 feet circa 1979, and you couldn't make them out in recent seasons thanks to the Dream Seats and whatnot, but I knew they were there. They were low-key. They were dignified. They were the quiet reserve of which Mets fans had deeper wells than is generally acknowledged. They were the somber Giant influence as opposed to the extraversion we adopted from the daffy Dodgers. They weren't added later. They were there from the beginning. To have a brick from Shea is to honestly say I have a piece of Shea. I've had my eye on those bricks since the late '90s, since they first started talking about replacing the park for real. Prorated over a decade's worth of staring at them, that's only like ten bucks a year. Sheesh, makes a hundred-dollar brick sound like a bargain.

Besides, it makes me feel better about having accepted a very well-meaning if as-not-yet completely embraceable Citi Field brick (heartfelt inscription notwithstanding). One for everything up to now; one for the rest of the way. I rather like the bookend effect even if they aesthetically don't match at all.

Plus it comes with my very own letter of authenticity, presumably addressed “Dear Sucker”. But still, I'll take it. This little piece of Shea, I assure you, will be in good hands with me.

This purchase decision in no way indicates I disagree with anything Steve Keane of The Eddie Kranepool Society so pungently and accurately says about the way this memorabilia money grab is being conducted. Then again, look at how much I'm saving on World Series tickets!

6 comments to Brick of the Litter

  • Anonymous

    OK Greg,
    You talked me into it. Just ordered a brick (albiet the cheaper $50 one so won't know exactly where within Shea it came from) for myself so at least a part of Shea will remain with me forever.
    Only thing – I am afraid to tell Mary Jane what I did – she just might throw the brick at me once it arrives!

  • Anonymous

    I'll probably buy a non-outfield brick as well. The only thing holding me up is the 25 dollar shipping fee.
    25 dollars shipping?! For a 3 pound brick?! Really?!

  • Anonymous

    That got to me too – no wonder the price of the brick itself was relatively inexpensive. Like everyone else, they jack of the price with those extra shipping and handling charges.
    Are you sure the brick is only three pounds? If so, then when my wife throws it at me the worst I'll have is a concussion like Ryan Church!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Greg for your kind words about my rant.
    I will bring my own brick to $iti Field to throw thru the window of Jeff Wilpon's office

  • Anonymous

    I'm with Ed Kranepool here. This whole notion of destroying Shea only to sell it back to fans in pieces gives me the creeps and I want no part of it. And I hope that section of center field fence, swiped before the season was over even with the spectre of weeks of baseball remaining in the building, falls down on top of the scumbag running this ripoff scheme and traps him there for weeks while the building's suddenly homeless feral cats use his face as a litterbox.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I am pro-cat.