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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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The Outcome Never Changes

Ever since the Yankees recorded a 9-8 walk-off win over the Mets in June on a dropped pop fly by Luis Castillo, they've become conditioned to believe that anything is possible — particularly in their new home in the Bronx.

—Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

Saturday night, I watched the Mets lose the 1973 World Series on MLB Network. Then I watched the 35th President of the United States struck down on the History Channel. Those were depressing results, but at least I knew for sure they were coming.

I tried not to watch too much of ALCS Game Two on Fox, for I knew I might be lulled into believing something not depressing might happen. The Angels took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eleventh. On MLBN, the Mets had gone up three games to two. On History, JFK arrived to cheers in Texas. I knew neither circumstance was going to last. But I watched out of irredeemable hope nonetheless.

I stayed away from the game in progress out of conviction that the Angels' 3-2 lead wouldn't likely last. Sure enough, during a commercial break from the Kennedy documentary, I flipped to Channel 5 and heard raucous cheers for those two seconds before the picture kicked in. “Wait…let me guess…” Yup, A-Rod. The only thing I didn't know until I caught a replay was how his game-tying home run would have been an outfield fly in a ballpark built to big league dimensions.

Didn't matter. The Yankees, earflaps and all, would have found a way to overtake the Angels. If it wasn't going to be Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the eleventh, it would have been, I don't know, Jerry Hairston, Jr. in the bottom of the thirteenth.

Actually, it was. Of course it was. While the rest of baseball was delirious with speculation over where Roy Halladay was headed at the trading deadline, Brian Cashman scooped up Hairston for Chase Weems. I don't know what Chase Weems was watching last night, but Hairston was busy igniting a game-winning rally in the American League Championship Series. Alex Rodriguez tied it, Jerry Hairston, Jr. — with a little help from an Angelic version of Luis Castillo — won it.

Before they dissolved into grainy archival footage, you couldn't have known what would happen in Oakland 36 years ago or Dallas 46 years ago. You watch those events develop now, on film, and you're filled with rising levels of dread (different kinds of dread, obviously) because you now know the outcome and no matter how hard you wish, it never changes. You implore Yogi to start Stone in Game Six on MLBN, but he doesn't listen. You plead with President Kennedy to turn around, don't get in that motorcade, but the History Channel doesn't hear you. You don't have any control over the events on Fox either, but they are live, so maybe, you believe, they won't conclude the way you don't want them to.

But they do. And they will. Better to find more cheerful things to watch than pretend otherwise.

The thirteenth inning was unlucky last night, but The Eleventh Inning provides a pretty good book review right here.

7 comments to The Outcome Never Changes

  • Anonymous

    Since I don't watch games involving That Team, I could tell how things were going by the deafening, manic “YYYYYYYYYYYEAAAAAAAHHHHHH” screams coming from my downstairs neighbor, the drunken, obnoxious (yeah, redundant, I know) Y***ee fan who has been tormenting me thusly for 12 years now. I swear, I had to go to bed with my iPod in my ears so as not to be awakened by his cries, because (of course) it was inevitable the Dark Side would win. Rooting against the Empire is the definition of insanity — you do it over and over again, hoping for a different result.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Well, we saw the JFK special Sunday night on the history channel since it was apparent L.A. was going to be blown out.
    While the political behind the scenes animosity is not surprising (being what we now know about the Kennedys and Johnson) it was indeed much different than the apparent unity we saw on TV that somber day in 1963 – when I was twelve years old, the Mets were only two and you were just eleven months into your first full season.

  • Anonymous

    We all need a little Stanhope right now. Rooting for the Yankees is like “going to a casino and cheering for the house–and being an asshole about it.”

  • Anonymous

    I had a failrly large meltdown in a bar on Friday night, reacting to someone who (I thought) couldn't understand why I wasn't a Yankee fan. Large. To the point of embarrassing/mortifying my wife. I was ranting. “I will not root for greed! I refuse to be a lemming!” Loud as hell. Even the bartender was like “Geeze, Charlie, take it easy, willya?” Sarah said I had “crazy eyes.”
    When I calmed down several hours later, I tried an analogy:
    Say you live in a nice house. Nothing fancy, say a 3-bedroom colonial, decorated nicely. You have a decent salary — definite the “upper” in uppermiddleclass.
    Across the street, however, is a mansion. Not McMansion, either, but Stately Wayne Manor. In the garage, they have 2 Ferraris, 3 Corvettes & a Rolls. Old money & lots of it.
    Now, you don't have a lot of contact with your across-the-street neighbor, maybe you speak 2 or 3 times a year.
    Their friends, however…
    Their friends come to your house every day, knock on your door and tell you — loudly — how wonderful your neighbors are and how much you suck.
    Except they aren't even that polite about it…

  • Anonymous

    That's one of the best analogies I've ever read.

  • Anonymous

    The funny thing is (horror of horrors) the neighbors by and large are OK people.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse a comment completely devoid of reference to baseball:
    I am SO PHENOMENALLY GLAD that someone else knows who Doug Stanhope is. Easily the only fun time I had at a comedy club.