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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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Falling in Loathe Again

True story: I boarded the train bound for Woodside on a Friday night this past August. My ultimate destination was clear by my regalia. As I was settling in for the half-hour until I needed to switch for Mets — Willets Point, I noticed a senior citizen in a Yankees cap. I immediately bristled. That's my reflex reaction where such interlocking NYs are concerned. Then I noticed it was one of those FD NY PD caps you saw a lot after 9/11. In addition, he was wearing a t-shirt from a firehouse, so I decided not to instinctually hate on this guy. Older man, probably lost comrades in that unspeakable tragedy…let's live and let live; let's celebrate our differences and how in a free society they bring us together.

The man — in his late sixties, at least — got up to get off at the first stop. To my surprise, he paused by my seat and addressed me. I couldn't make out what he was saying because I was listening to my iPod. So I took off my earbuds and asked, “Excuse me?”

He pointed to the NY on his cap and declared, “Yankees! Goin' to the World Series!”

I wasn't expecting that. I also wasn't expecting what came out of my mouth in response — not playfully, but angrily:

“GET OUT OF HERE!”

He started walking away but repeated his mantra: “Yankees! Goin' to the World Series!”

I muttered back, “Yeah, yeah, enjoy yourself.”

He left and I stewed. I immediately thought of one of my favorite episodes of South Park, the one in which the Goth kids are frustrated by the sudden transfusion into their midst of Vamp kids. The rest of the town doesn't know there's a difference between them, so the Goths get lumped in with the Vamps, which the Goths absolutely can't stand. Hence, the Goths decide to give up their adopted identities and wear Gap clothes like they used to. This doesn't work either, because instead of being inaccurately dismissed as Vamp wanna-bes, they're now insulted for being the dorks they were underneath their purposeful black wardrobes.

“So,” the head Goth fumes, “we're back to that, are we?”

When some open-minded Mets fans contend that we're all New Yorkers and the Yankees aren't the Phillies or the Braves and as long as we're not playing them, really, they'd like to see New York win, I'm going to remember the old man on the train. He wasn't the first Yankees fan to inflict himself into my Mets zone and he won't be the last. That's what they do. Not all of them, but enough of them. Forty years of Mets fandom and I haven't bothered another New Yorker for wearing a different cap from mine. The opposite has happened to me many, many times. (I have an entire chapter devoted to that very Fun Police phenomenon in my book, FYI.)

I'm glad, in a way, that that rude gentleman reminded me his ilk exists, because truth be told, I've loathed the Yankees less in 2009 than I ever have. It's mostly a function of paying little attention their way and part of it, frankly, is respect for the job they did in winning their division. They went out and bought some big-money players and those individuals generally performed magnificently. Their old-timers continued to produce, their new-timers seemed to be having a bit of uncharacteristic fun (even if their old-timers blanched at the shaving cream pies and whatnot) and I even admired, to a degree, their new stadium. Didn't love it by any means, but I liked that they didn't make any bones about their team history (unlike some local franchises I and others could name).

The Yankees' 2009 was peripheral window dressing as long as I was immersed in the Mets. Now that the Mets have exited the stage, I will be forced, as we all will to some degree if we plan to continue following baseball for a while, the Yankees and Yankees fans in our midst. They're still playing. I do respect that. Their players are talented. I respect that as well. Their ranks produce at least one outstanding blog, which I respect a ton.

But now is the time of the guy pointing to his NY and telling me how wonderful it is and he is and they are. And I don't need that.

None of us does.

Though it's often attributed to President Nixon, it was a 1965 cover story in Time magazine that concluded, when it came to the economy, “We Are All Keynesians Now.” I imagine that sense of default conversion is fairly prevalent today among Mets fans where our new favorite team the Minnesota Twins is concerned. Indeed, congratulations to the club that didn't get eliminated on either the final day in its longtime home or the bonus final day. And condolences to the club that blew a seven-game September lead but at least hung in there for a 163rd game and several extra innings beyond that. The 2009 Tigers showed some heart. The 2009 Twins showed some guts.

The 2007 and 2008 Mets…why bring them in to this?

Now we rely on the Twins to beat the Yankees, a team they never, ever beat. I'm already looking past this Division Series to the Angels or Red Sox not beating the Yankees before the Yankees don't lose to whoever the National League produces as our champion.

Excuse the pre-emptive dread. I'm not feeling confident about anybody takin' care of business to our satisfaction in the next few weeks. I could be wrong. It wouldn't surprise me, considering how little I really know about the American League these days. For a while during Tuesday's riveting one-game playoff, I thought I was watching a Disney-style movie about two baseball teams playing a sudden-death match (though if I was, they should have cast someone better than Chip Caray as the lead announcer). I recognized the uniforms of the Twins and the Tigers, and Jim Leyland's been around so long that Stephanie knows who he is without a hint. But almost everybody else? Subtract the All-Stars and Carlos Gomez, and I was like “who the hell is that?” I guess I don't pay much heed to the junior circuit from April until early October. Well, whoever they were, they played a whale of a game, both bunches.

But to what end where our narrow interests lie? Like I said, I have no faith in these generally unfamiliar Twins to slay Goliath. The Goliaths, from my infrequent glances in their direction, look unslayable in 2009. We'll see how it plays out. But the guy on the train, with the pointing and the “Yankees! World Series!”?

Don't ever let it be said the Goliaths are unloathable.

Happy birthday to a great Friend of FAFIF, Sharon Chapman. Hope it's as good a birthday today in all ways possible as it was three years ago in baseball terms.

To whomever sent an e-mail that was titled or began, “Terrific article, Greg Prince,” your sentiment is greatly appreciated, but your note went unread as it mysteriously got trapped in our spam filter and was dopily deleted by me a nanosecond before I realized it likely wasn't spam. My apologies in advance in case you're wondering why I was so inconsiderate as not to reply.

27 comments to Falling in Loathe Again

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Greg.
    It's been as good as a birthday without Mets baseball can be….

  • Anonymous

    Hey, dogs bark, cats meow, cows moo, Yankee fans gloat. It's what they do. You did the right thing in my opinion, shooing them away like the parasites they are is all you really (legally) can do.
    After 2000 I took a personal vow that I'd never talk baseball with a Yankee fan again, ever. I've stuck to that vow. Their loss, not mine. Yankee fans crave attention, ignoring and dismissing them is the best approach to take. Twins in four.

  • Anonymous

    I had a great time watching the play-in game with several Minnesotan ex-pat friends at a Manhattan bar last night. Terrific game, and now I'm feeling some loyalty to Twins players whom I had never even heard the name of before that game. Having Ron Gardenhire and Carlos Gomez (nicknamed Go-go by the 'sotans) doesn't hurt. So I guess I'm with the Twins for as long as they survive.

  • Anonymous

    That was one of the best baseball games I've ever seen yesterday. It's unfortunate that what little chance the Twins have of beating the Yanks had to have been impacted by them wearing out their pitching staff and just being flat-out exhausted. I don't think anyone has the horses to beat the Yankee juggernaut this year, so dwelling on our own failure will be compounded by a tickertape parade and concomitant Yankee fan braying. At least the Phils look beatable this time around.
    Did you see the picture of Carlos Gomez standing on a table hollering and waving a champagne bottle? Man, if I hit .219 I think I'd be a little more subdued.

  • Anonymous

    I loathed the Yankees less in 1977. Since then, it's been loathe all the way through.
    The Mole

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Other than my resentment of Joba Chamberlain already being treated like he has a nitch in the hall of fame, I actually didn't loathe the Yankees with such venom as in seasons past because the Mets were so bad this year. Both teams have to be competitive in order for the juices to flow in.
    So I'm not rooting for them or against them but I will feel a bit of satisfaction if Sabathia doesn't come through since the Yankees stated he was signed to make them stronger in the “post-season”, arrogantly thinking they have a lock on the division or wild card.
    Also wouldn't mind Burnett getting knocked around after the slap in the face to Posada.

  • Anonymous

    As eloquently & succinctly as I can…
    Fuck 'em.
    Fuck 'em in 'e ear.
    And if they don't like 'at, fuck 'em in 'e udder ear…
    I won't waste my time counting ringzzzz, bay-beeeeeee

  • Anonymous

    it feels important that the skanks do NOT win the whole thing. that would make it a nice even 10-year absence of jewelry. or, as i like to think of it, “hollow rings.”
    but, yes, it feels as though their trip to the championship has already been booked, their seats already assigned. thanks, greg, for tapping out the unprintable. it gives me a bit more time to get ready for the outbreak later this fall of skankgush, the sportspage equivalent of swine flu. only difference is, there is no vaccine.

  • Anonymous

    No, Greg! Embrace your Met fandom! Never fall into the thrall of the Junior Circuit! When we (aka: my guys) whup the Yankee's butts and emerge as the 2X WFCs, you can take appropriate delight in however many games you win over us in 2010. We'll let the chips fall where they may next year but for now you gotta choose; New York or National League?
    Charlie (Phillies scum)

  • Anonymous

    Sadly I agree with you. One thing the Yankees don't have in their favor: since the Wild Card was introduced, only one team ('98 Yanks) has had sole possession of Best Overall Regular Season Record and went on to win the World Series. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to stop this years group of douchebags.
    2 things about them: 1) Jeter wants to “win one for the boss,” yeah, because we all know he doesn't have enough. 2) First Posada whines about being thrown behind, then calls out his teammate and manager? Seriously Jorge, if you're going through menopause you should see a doctor.

  • Anonymous

    Heaven forbid a PHI/NYY world series.
    As a fan and spectator of the sport in general, i'd naturally be attracted to the high level of play… I have no idea who i'd enjoy seeing lose more. I know I won't be very happy seeing either team win.

  • Anonymous

    If that turns out ot be the case, I'm rooting for global thermonuclear war.

  • Anonymous

    I think I'd have to go with the Phillies in that eventuality. Other than the nauseating thought of Sphincterino having two WS rings, a Phils' WC is somewhat more palatable. Because here in NYC, how often do you run into a Phillies fan? Maybe the couple of games you go against them? We're surrounded by Yankee fans. We see them every day, with their insipid “Got Rings” shirts and jerseys with names (especially cheaters like Clemens, Giambi and Rodriguez) on them. We have to deal with their unwelcome, moronic commentary (as Greg so aptly related).
    In a perfect world, the Angels, the least objectionable opponent I can think of (besides Minnesota which I doubt has a chance) take the prize.

  • Anonymous

    Sometime in early August a horrible vision popped into my head and I haven’t been able to send it away ever since. I realized that in this horrendous, health-challenged season blemished by bizarre baseball gaffes and discomfiting press conferences we would be asked to endure the Ultimate Insult: a Yankees/Phillies World Series.
    It just may happen.
    –Dan from the Bronx
    (Say how do I create a profile?)

  • Anonymous

    We had to endure it as well in 96 and 99 (Braves).

  • Anonymous

    I couldn't get AS worked up about either of those. We couldn't play with the '96 Braves, no shot, really. And in '99 we came OH so close and but for Al Leiter & Kenny Rogers, it woulda been us anyway.
    What's galling this year is the knowledge that our talent base — WHEN HEALTHY — is slightly superior to Philly and at worst on a par with the Nazis.

  • Anonymous

    In '96 I actually (mildly) rooted for the Yankees. They seemed like a solid bunch of decent young fellows, and there were the Met connections. Their fans had been pretty quiet for the previous ten or fifteen years. I was feeling charitable. By '99 I was wholeheartedly rooting for the Braves.

  • Anonymous

    I did the same thing: That was a decent group of guys.
    By November 1996 I hated them with all my heart, and have ever since.
    Thanks for providing clarity, Yankee fans!

  • Anonymous

    October 1996 was the last time I rooted full-out for the Braves in a postseason scenario. They've been dead to me ever since.
    I didn't root for them to win in the '99 World Series. I rooted for the Yankees to lose. And I watched approximately a half-hour of the entire thing.

  • Anonymous

    How weird was it, though, to see Ron Darling broadcast a Yankees game? I love him, but still.

  • Anonymous

    my neural synapses hit overload in both years.
    in 99, we had that lil ol' walk-off walk to get past, too.
    ugh. i'm still shuddering.

  • Anonymous

    One of the very, very few things to respect about the Yankees (the organization, not this team) is the old-school refusal to put players' names on the jerseys.
    Yet the typical Yankee fan probably couldn't tell you who wears or wore what number, which is why the fan shirts have names.

  • Anonymous

    In 1996 I was on the fence and was kinda sorta rooting against the Braves. I had met most of that Yankee team at a charity function I helped to put together at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant, Straw was great, Jeter was a rookie, Mariano Duncan a solid citizen, Joe torre, et, etc etc..bunch of really good guys. By 1999, I was indifferent and rooted against the Yankees.

  • Anonymous

    Here's my blog response. We hate the Phillies more!
    http://thehomerunapple.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    Tonight I was smoking outside of this bar, and a homeless man walks up to me and asks me for a cigarette. And I'm like “here ya go” because even at $10 per pack, if you can't share your habits, they're probably habits you should quit, right?
    Anyway, the guy's like, “Thanks, and GO YANKEES!!!” And I said, “Man, I'm a Mets fan.” And he stares at me for about five seconds, and then just starts swinging at invisible pitches saying “Jeter!” “Texeiria!” “hahahahaha!” “A-Rod!”
    Personal low point, sports-wise.
    Anyway, I was going to give a shout out to Jex Jyran's Rets for Monday, but I'm afraid Sark Manchez might freak a bemur if I spell any of their names correctly on a Mets blog.

  • Anonymous

    You lasted about 29 minutes more than I did. I'm pretty sure I turned on Game 1 at the precise moment the Yankees took the lead off Rocker. I was furious at Rocker for giving them the lead, and furious at the MFY for instantly taking out the guy who tortured us like he was some Double-A prospect. The rational side of my brain sensed that my irrational side was ready to detonate, so it took control, changed the channel, and I completely avoided it thereafter.
    Should it come to Phils/Yankees, I would probably root for the Phillies. They're different from the Braves of yore in that the Braves succeeded by holding us back, whereas the Phillies have succeeded because we held ourselves back. Does that make sense?

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I had to brush off the cobwebs to remember this, but the thoughts going through my head at that moment in '99 were–
    -after seeing Rocker's face, “HA HA! FUCK YOU, DOUCHEBAG! YOU SUCK!”
    -after seeing the Yankees celebrate in the dugout, “OH SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP ASSHOLES!”
    Ugh… one thing's for sure: if it is indeed Phils/Yankees I'll have to watch the whole series with the volume muted. Aside from the obvious benefit of blocking Buck and McCarver from my ears, it's easier to watch when you don't have to hear how happy the 2 most obnoxious fanbases in baseball are.