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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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Have a Seat — or Rather, Sit Your Ass Down

Quick take on re-inking Oliver Perez: He's the devil we know.

He's also shy of his 28th birthday and left-handed. It's far from unprecedented for guys matching that description to harness their gifts and their natural southpawness in their late twenties and become pitchers for whom you thank your lucky stars while fans of previous employers gnash their teeth. Granted, there are also plenty of flaky lefties who harness nothing and become old flaky lefties. But I'm happy to accept Oliver's not-so-bad floor and dream about his ceiling. Ben Sheets was fun to dream about too, but Sheets-related dreams tend to turn into DL-related nightmares, Randy Wolf was Randy Wolf, and Jake Peavy … well, I covered that already.

The real issue is, again, the year is shaping up to feature lots of sixth-inning appearances by Met relievers. Maine has battled physical problems and bouts of Leiteritis (defined by medical professionals as suddenly forgetting how to pitch for an inning), Pelfrey is coming off an unprecedented workload, Oliver has far too many games where he spontaneously combusts into a vaporous cloud of walks and hit batsmen, and the fifth starter is the fifth starter. Even JHN (that's the way his name is spelled by the devout) will be coming off knee surgery. The '09 bullpen looks much better, but it's going to be asked to do quite a lot.

But hey, at least we have a starting four plus one TBD to grapple with. And now Omar can get back to trying to exile Luis Castillo and/or ponder one of the mashers still available to play a corner outfield spot. Because he's still going to do that, right?

And now back to the seats. Yes, the seats ordered while I was unemployed and possibly mildly insane have arrived — actually, they showed up during President Obama's inauguration speech, along with Fresh Direct. (Why must everything of import happen at the exact same time?)

As you can see, they're mezzanine seats — that was where I usually sat at Shea, not to mention it's the only color of Shea seat generally found in nature. And I was pleased by the pairing of 16 and 17, which is pretty iconic as far as consecutive numbers go in Met lore. (OK, there's 17 and 18, but 18 tries to cheap-shot 17 when it's time to take their picture.)

Less pleasant was that the seats arrived dirty — not dirty as in warehouse dust settling in a box, but dirty as in “I ain't sitting on that until it's scrubbed.” Which was the first WTF moment to creep into the experience. I decided it was the accumulation of detritus from all the rags wielded by surly, extortionist ushers over the years, which actually made me laugh for a moment. Until unboxing the seats revealed the second WTF moment — a loose bolt, as well as long bolts sticking out from the backs of the seats instead of being sawn down, leaving passing elbows and hips at risk. The third WTF moment was that the bolts attaching the seats to their L brackets (needed so the seats can sit on the floor instead of being affixed to the concrete of the row behind them) were put on with the bolt heads to the rear of the seats. (To be fair, the L brackets are very good quality.) The fourth WTF moment? The letter included with the seats didn't say what section or row they were from. I wanted to know — just like I assume anyone who cared enough to buy two seats from a former stadium would have wanted to know.

By my count, for nearly $1,000 that's four WTF moments too many.

Anyway, they're clean now. They'll be installed in the backyard when it gets warmer and I can con my father into coming up so the job gets done competently. When we bolt them to the deck we'll saw down the bolts and reattach the L brackets. It'll be awesome. It'll be exactly what I'd hoped for. And the 16 and 17 will always make me happy.

But still.

You can go round and round over the reasons why the seats arrived dirty, not assembled the way you would have expected and missing items that would have made them a lot nicer, just as Greg and I used to go round and round over why a day at Shea was frequently so much less than it should have been. Was the problem the accumulated decrepitude of the park, the incompetence of the outside agency that was supposed to keep the place up, or disdain on the part of the Mets for their paying customers? You got me. All I know is I paid a lot of money for something that should have been very special, and instead that something wound up only mostly special because someone, somewhere did a half-assed job. But you know what? It fits. My final relic from Shea Stadium turns out to sum up the Shea experience perfectly.

10 comments to Have a Seat — or Rather, Sit Your Ass Down

  • Anonymous

    Did they at least include the seat plaque that's being auctioned on eBay with a starting bid of $10.00?

  • Anonymous

    And did a little usher pop out of the box with a schmata and a glare?

  • Anonymous

    My seats were covered with pigeon poop …….so don't complain!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Exact same experience as you. First thing I did was take my 2008 Mets Rally Washcloth Towel and wipe those bad boys down. A week later I noticed the back of the seats were even filthier.
    Actually, I had a little more fun with my seats. First, there was the typical UPS nightmare (leaving a note without ringing the bell, losing the package later that night, finding it, leaving a note without ringing the bell again–basically the seats didn't arrive until I yelled at someone. That's how UPS rolls.) Then there was the added bonus to my seats: graffiti! Poorly drawn female mammary glands interspliced with exaggeratted male genetalia, along with someone's inside jokes on a small portion of the seat. One might find such a finding to be unacceptable, but my girlfriend and I love it. It's proof that these babies are authentic.
    Despite all the flaws mentioned above, my girlfriend and I were in unshakable love with the seats at first sight. That pretty much sums up our Shea Stadium experience perfectly.

  • Anonymous

    My UPS guy (not our normal delivery person) took the box, end-over-ended it until it was a micron inside the front door (along with a great deal of dirt and slush), muttered something under his breath and skedaddled.
    Actually our normal UPS guy is awesome. Maybe it was part of the whole Shea Seats experience.

  • Anonymous

    Those seats have a 1/48th of a chance of being from Mezz 18, in which case they'd be even more special!
    I'll be in Prom Box 436, Row 1 on a 15 game Sunday Plan at ____ Field in 2009
    10 days till pitchers and catchers!

  • Anonymous

    mmph just realized it'd be a 1/31 chance… i fail

  • Anonymous

    Hey Kowalski – We'll be in the Promenade, third base side with the Sunday-ish plan. My son will be happy to know that you're sitting nearby, just like at Shea :)

  • Anonymous

    My seats were also filthy, especially the back and underside. It's amazing they went to the trouble of refurbishing all the metal seat hardware and it never occurred to them to hose off the crust on the plastic. Even stranger – there is no way my pair were contiguous seats, numbers 1 and 2 notwithstanding. One seatback is bright, vivid orange, the other faded an entirely different color. It's as if one was in the shade for 40 years, and the other in the sun.
    All that, and I couldn't care less – I love them!

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