- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Golden Now

“You’ve got your new address here. There really isn’t anything else you need.”

“Hold up. That’s it?”

“Sure. You’re golden now.”

“I don’t get it.”

“It’s not unexpected. You’re not the first one to move here and be a little frazzled from the whole experience. But honestly, you don’t need anything else.”

“How about an explanation?”

“That’s fair. I tend to forget you new guys aren’t acclimated.”

“You can say that again. The whole last few months have been a fog. Even worse than the one that used to roll in off the bay.”

“No worries.”

“What do you mean no worries? I get the feeling I’m not really myself anymore.”

Au contraire, mon frère. If anything, you’re more yourself than you’ve ever been.”

“Once again, I’m lost.”

“I told ya: You’re golden now. We all are.”

“I need more than that.”

“Not really, but I’ll try to clear it up.”


“What’s the last thing you remember?”

“I don’t know. A lot of noise. And a lot of pain. Like I was missing pieces of myself. And they kept taking more of me.”

“Yeah, that’s common. But what’s your last really strong memory?”

“It’s gotta be the cheering. Some booing. A lot of booing, actually. But the cheers eventually drowned out the boos. Some pyrotechnics, I think. Billy Joel, too. ‘New York State of Mind,’ if I’m not mistaken. Yeah, I’d know that song anywhere.”

“And before that? I don’t necessarily mean right before, but you know, in general.”

“Lots of cheering. Mixed with booing, but definitely more cheering. Real noisy, but in a good way. Not like what I’m remembering from the last few months. Sure, some of it over the years was annoying, like the canned stuff over the PA…”

“We didn’t have that in my day.”

“…and those planes.”

“I wasn’t near the planes, but I heard you had those.”

“I bet you could hear those planes all the way up here.”

“You’d be surprised at what you can hear up here. They tell me that afternoon I had in ’51 rattled all kinds of clouds, which makes sense seeing as how it was heard ’round the world — just like that Saturday night you had in ’86 that kept all of us up.”

“You could hear that here?”

“Drowned out the planes even.”


“Tell me more about what you remember.”

“Well, noise. Put aside the unnatural stuff from the PA and the planes — and the bats and balls and all that — and I mostly remember the people.”

“The people?”

“You know, the, uh…oh what were they called again? I’m still woozy from everything going on these last few months.”

“Relax, you’ll get your bearings back in no time. Are the people you’re referring to ‘the fans’?”

“Yeah! That’s it! The fans! They made all kinds of noise!”

“What kinds?”

“Cheering, like I said. And booing. You wouldn’t believe how much booing sometimes. But there was this laughter. It was always there, like a steady stream. The people — those fans — they were so happy usually. I kind of remember the team not always being so good, but it was almost…”

“Beside the point?”

“Yeah! Like whatever the team’s record, it almost didn’t matter in the long run. People, especially the young ones, came to have fun. Like it was their first time.”

“Y’know what?”


“At some point, it was their first time. You gave lots of people their first time.”

“Gee, I never thought of it that way.”

“That’s why you’re golden now. Are you getting it?”

“A little.”

“Let me help fill in the blanks. You know that laughter and the chatter and the sense of…”


“Yes, the fun. That’s what they’re gonna remember you for now.”

“They are?”


“‘Cause I gotta tell ya, I didn’t have the best reputation down there.”

“None of us did in our time.”

“You don’t understand. They called me some pretty nasty names toward the end, made it sound as if they had to play one more inning in me that the world would come to an end.”

“Listen, I heard it in my day, too.”

“You did? I find that hard to believe.”

“We all heard that stuff.”

“No way! People talk about you in such revered terms. They talk about all of you with reverence [1].”

“Yes, now they do. That’s because we’re not there anymore.”

“That makes a difference?”

“All the difference in the world. Down there, our blemishes show. Up here, the only thing people see or feel are their memories. And y’know what?”


“Their memories aren’t about the blemishes.”

“They’re not? ‘Cause, honestly, I had my share [2] of ’em.”

“Their memories are those first times they went. The first time is why they wanted to go back a second time, then a dozen times, then a dozen more times. And those made new memories, more memories, good memories. They didn’t go back to you because they didn’t like you. They may have found things to complain about, but that all paled in significance to the happiness you gave them.”

“I did that?”

“You sure did.”

“And that’s what they’ll remember? Not the nuisances or the inconveniences or whatever wasn’t working on a particular day or night?”

“They’ve already begun to forget.”


“I think you’re coming around.”

“So that’s why you keep telling me that I’m…”

“Golden now. As of today [3], you exist solely in memory like the rest of us up here do. People don’t want to remember what they didn’t like about us. They want to remember what they loved. That’s why we all look so good up here.”

“That’s why we’re golden now.”

“You’re catching on.”

“So all that hacking away [4] they were doing to me the last few months until there was nothing left of me?”

“Not an issue. Up here you’re yourself again. Better than new.”

“Do I look brand new? Or like I did later?”

“You look exactly the way the people choose to remember you. Some are going to want to see you as you were when you came to be or when you came into their lives or when you gave them their strongest memories [5] inside you. That’s how they view me now. That’s how they view all of us. And how they view us in memory is all that matters anymore. That’s why I was saying all you need to know from here on out is your new address.”

“I don’t live at 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue anymore?”

“You live here now. You’re home.”


Shea Stadium lives on in the upcoming book Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets [6], available for pre-ordering now via Amazon [7], Barnes & Noble [8] and other [9] fine retailers.