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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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This We Know How To Do

It’s the ninth inning. The Mets are losing 10-1. The Mets have been losing 10-1 essentially since the first of June. It’s been the ninth inning just about as long. This particular rendition of the same old song has featured the cream of Omar Minaya’s ambitious Fifth Starter Procurement Program on lead vocals. The GM signed Liván Hernandez, Tim Redding and Nelson Figueroa presumably to create moments like this, moments that transcend the scoreboard because the scoreboard — even at 10-1 — couldn’t begin to reflect the depths of the reality.

There’s one out. There’s no hope. But there is, if nothing else, novelty emerging from the on-deck circle.

It’s the impending New York Mets debut of Andy Green.

He’s wearing No. 29, he’s swinging righthanded and he’s heading to the plate because the rules say somebody has to bat next. Jerry Manuel could forego the ceremony of the 26th and 27th outs. The way the Mets played in this game, surely they had made 30 or 40 outs by now. If we just went ahead and forfeited, we’d lose 9-0. Tell me how that’s any different from losing 10-1.

Andy Green it is, though, so Andy Green we cheer. We cheer the cheer of the cheerless. We have had nothing to cheer from a baseball perspective all night, so we cheer what we can get. We cheer a man who is about to be a Met for the very first time. We cheer like we mean it.

We do. To those of us who will be the last to forfeit our seats in Citi Field, this is Lion King territory. Together, we the grizzled veterans of decades of ninth-inning 10-1 deficits for which we stayed when all others left hold Andy Green aloft to soak up the sunbeam of certifiabiity, for we know when we at last leave this baseball stadium tonight, we will tell one another and all in our village for years to come that we saw it — we saw the birth of a New Met.

We saw Andy Green officially join our ranks. That was us providing the welcome wagon. That was us calling out unto him. That was us theatrically, ostentatiously, you might even say obnoxiously standing and clapping and, yes, cheering Andy Green, despite our general ignorance regarding this object of our sudden affection. As he strides from the on-deck circle to home plate, we collectively know nothing of Andy Green other than Andy Green is a New York Met only because, for the next 14 days, David Wright isn’t.

We don’t know without looking it up that Andy Green was born on a July day in 1977 when the Mets were losing in Philadelphia to fall 20½ games out of first place. We don’t know that from there it took Andy Green nearly 27 years to become a major leaguer, a June day in 2004 when the Mets were losers in Kansas City. We don’t know that the last time Andy Green’s name was called in a major league ballpark, it was almost three years before this one. He was in San Diego, playing for Arizona. The score was Padres 12 Diamondbacks 2. Andy Green, pinch-hitter, led off the eighth inning. He walked.

That was late September 2006. That, as any Mets fan could confirm, was a lifetime ago.

Yet here we all were — us, the Mets and Andy Green — doing what seemed to come naturally. For us and the Mets, it surely wasn’t 2006 anymore, but in our souls, it’s never 2006; it’s almost always 2004 or 1977 or some year like that. For Andy Green…well, he was just happy to be here. Sunday he had been a Buffalo Bison. Monday, like so many in his herd, he was grazing a big league spread in a big league clubhouse. Why shouldn’t Andy Green be happy to be here? And why shouldn’t we be happy to have him? We would make the best of Andy Green because we knew how to make the most of moments exactly like this one.

Just as Andy Green knew how to enter games when they were hopeless, we understood precisely how to watch them.

So yes, we stood, and we clapped, and we cheered. We cheered the name of Andy Green when it was announced. When he took Ball One, we cheered louder. When he took his first swing, we cheered louder still, until it went foul. When Ball Two went up on the scoreboard, we were frenzied. We alternated phrases that fit a comfortable three-syllable cadence.

LET’S GO METS!

LET’S GO METS!

ANDY GREEN!

ANDY GREEN!

Ball Two begat Ball Three. Every Mets fan in Citi Field — by now we numbered in the dozens — lent his or her encouragement to what was now less a cause than a crusade.

LET’S GO METS!

ANDY GREEN!

ANDY GREEN!

LET’S GO METS!

This night had been for naught. The visiting Giants had commenced scoring in the third and crossed home plate every inning through the ninth but one. Hernandez, Redding and Figureoa each made a strong case for unconditional release. San Francisco starter Joe Sanchez — the one who isn’t Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez or Juan Marichal — can be said to have gotten his throwing in. The Giants didn’t need Kung Fu Panda Monday night. They could have beaten the Mets with Teddy Ruxpin.

But they weren’t going to deny us literally the last thing we wanted.

Ball Four.

LET’S GO METS!

ANDY GREEN!

Yeah! Andy Green’s first plate appearance as a New York Met yielded a walk! Andy Green is a high on-base percentage guy! We got a runner on first with one out! Nine to tie! Ten to win!

LET’S GO METS!

LET’S GO METS!

About two seconds later, Cory Sullivan grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

AMAZIN’ TUESDAY returns to Two Boots Tavern August 25 at 7:00 PM. Join Jason Fry, Dana Brand, Caryn Rose and me for a fun night of reading, eating, drinking and all things Mets baseball (Mets baseball optional). Full details here.

Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

17 comments to This We Know How To Do

  • Anonymous

    Interesting fact that Howie Rose noted. Andy Green's career batting average is .199, so the walk actually kept him from trying to get above .200. Howie was talking about it as his goal over the next couple of weeks like it was David Wright trying to get to 30 HR or something.
    I actually have a baseball from Spring Training signed by Andy Green (And Corey Sullivan, and Jose Valentin, Ruben Tejada, Jeremy Reed, and Bobby Kielty. And Manuel. When we were done in Spring, I said to my fiancee about the ball, “Shame none of those players will probably make the team. Maybe one.” We're halfway there and I wouldn't be surprised to see Tejada and Kielty (whose name I suspect i'm spelling wrong) in September. btw, Andy Green wore #10 in spring. He didn't look half-bad either, which is above the curve these days.

  • Anonymous

    Andy Green may not last that long on the roster (well, actually he probably will), but he will always be on the roster of our hearts.

  • Anonymous

    That is the KEY problem with the Minaya years: ” Andy Green,born in 1977-major league debut in 2004″. What we need the rest of the season of misery are 19-21 year old new Mets making their major leage debut! We need hope for the future. We need exciting, young potential Mets putting on the uniform and thrilling us with their enthusiasm. Alas this is not to be with the Minaya Mets. Just retreads and washouts.

  • Anonymous

    I tuned in at the very second that Green walked in the ninth. A couple of weeks ago, I tuned in at the very second Angel Pagan hit a game-winning grand slam. Amazing how quickly your standards go down the crapper, isn't it?
    It probably also doesn't help to know that last night, the Bisons (or rather, what few of them are still left in Buffalo) scored nine runs in the bottom of the eighth to mount an improbable game-winning comeback.
    I'm still showing up on Saturday night for the 40th anniversary thing. Lord only knows why.

  • Anonymous

    “As he strides from the on-deck circle to home plate, we collectively know nothing of Andy Green other than Andy Green is a New York Met only because, for the next 14 days, David Wright isn't.”
    Well, that's your own sad sorry faults, for not reading the Crane Pool:
    http://cranepoolforum.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=12305

  • Anonymous

    We'll be ready for Andy Meen, at any rate.

  • Anonymous

    There was a baseball game on last night?
    I was busy watching Clint Sintim terrorize the Carolina Panthers in his professional debut.
    Must've missed that dramatic walk.

  • Anonymous

    Yet only one Giant win counted.

  • Anonymous

    It was a glorious initiation. Just think, years from now, when Andy Green is our next superstar, I can say, “I saw his first game as a Met with Jason and Greg in the last row of Section 515.”
    Or, more likely, I'll smack my head as he grounds into a double play and come over here and say, “That Andy Green. That first time we saw him, when we were all in the last row of Citi Field, I knew he wouldn't amount to nothin'”

  • Anonymous

    I'm now 1 and a resounding 1 and Citi field. I was with a Yankee fan friend (a night for masochism) when Mr. Green blandly stepped to the plate.
    “Who is this guy?” he asked. I, normally prideful of knowing the obscure parts of my team, had no answer.
    None, that is, except a baleful “Not David Wright.”
    I did think it was rather considerate of the Mets to throw BP the whole game for the Giants. They least they could've done foru us would've been to keep signing autographs.

  • Anonymous

    The more Andy Green we see, the less special this moment will become.

  • Anonymous

    The last time I was completely thrown by the sudden materialization of a Quadruple-A Met was the night I saw WILSON 6 and had absolutely no idea whose back I was staring at.
    Without the uniform, I'm sure I wouldn't recognize him today. Of course he could say the same of me.

  • Anonymous

    Your comment “Hernandez, Redding and Figureoa each made a strong case for unconditional release.” is based on what? Hernandez had another bad outing. So you're probably right with that one. Redding entered a 6-1 game and gave up four singles to the first four batters he faced; it was 9-1 after his inning. He last few appearances were also less than satisfactory. You may be right on that one also. But Nelson Figueroa? True, he was annihilated in his start Aug. 3 (6 runs 1.1 innings), but came back in relief of Jon Niese on Aug. 5th with 4.2 innings shutting out the St. Louis Cardinals to get the win – at the plate, he turned a 2-0 Mets lead to 5-0 by hitting a 2-run triple and scoring a run. His next appearance was also in relief (with the bases loaded) with 1.2 innings allowing no runs (striking out four). Then came last night. One run in one inning – if a DP had been completed (if the 1st base umpire hadn't blocked the view of the relay throw) or if Schneider had blocked the plate after catching Francoeur's perfect throw), it would have been no runs. Nelson Figueroa can start and pitch in long relief or short relief. For Figueroa, it should be an unconditional 2010 contract not an unconditional release.

  • Anonymous

    You're right. Nelson Figueroa's awesome. My apologies.

  • Anonymous

    I think Howie and/or Wayne just commented on the nice ovation Green got from the remaining crowd who witnessed his debut last night

  • Anonymous

    Ack!! Snort! Teddy Ruxpin line induced dangerous fit of choking…