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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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Don't Wanna See These American Idiots

I’ve been dying to see the Mets play the Tigers in Flushing since a little before 8:00 PM on Saturday, October 14, 2006. Magglio Ordoñez had just hit a three-run homer to clinch a four-game sweep of the American League Championship Series in Detroit. We were minutes from commencing Game Three of the NLCS in St. Louis, Steve Trachsel vs. some pitcher who didn’t let down his team the way Steve Trachsel let down the Mets at the one moment in his six endless years as a Met when he was really needed. The Mets would soon be behind 2-1 in their showdown for all the National League marbles and the next four games precluded all thoughts of Detroit. Those nights would instead be devoted to the Mets scuffling to tie the Cardinals, which they did twice, and pass them, which they never did.

After seven games, the 2006 Tigers became somebody else’s opponent in the World Series. Somebody else’s victim, to be accurate. It wasn’t too much of a stretch, after the Cardinals had edged out the Mets for the pennant and went on to roll through that Fall Classic, to imagine the Mets would have done essentially the same thing. If Trachsel or Beltran or whomever you like to blame on a given day had come through a little more/at all, tonight would be not just a reasonably attractive Interleague matchup. It would be a most pleasant reminder of how we participated in and presumably won the 2006 World Series.

But it’s not that. It’s just a reasonably attractive Interleague matchup, about as attractive as one of these idiotic manufactured contests can be. I’ve been dying to see the Mets play the Tigers in Flushing for nearly four years, yes, but not in June 2010. I’ve been dying to see the Mets play the Tigers in October 2006. That ship having long ago sailed doesn’t change that stubborn desire.

I have nothing against the Tigers until 7:10 PM and will have nothing against them once they pack their striped baggage and leave town. I had nothing against the Orioles or Indians last week, either. For three days, however, I had my game face on and wished them concentrated doses of ill. Come Friday, I’ll hope we can make life miserable for the Twins in triplicate. By Monday, they can go back to being one big happy family. I don’t care about the Twins or the Indians or the Orioles or the Tigers save for the rare Octobers when they are our actual or prospective opponents. It’s odd that I am compelled to feign caring about them this month.

I’ll be out at Citi Field tonight caring deeply that the Tigers endure a bad series of baseball games. I’ll do the same tomorrow night. I like going to see the Mets, no matter who they’re playing. The opponent is rarely the attraction, but there’s usually a reassuring zero-sum gain to the scheduling. If the Mets are playing a National League team, it’s good if we win and it’s good if that other squad loses. The win and the loss make sense together. It could conceivably equal the difference between the Mets capturing a playoff spot and sitting home watching others compete (conceivably). A Met win will always be fine. A Tiger loss means not a darn thing to me. Fourteen seasons of Interleague play, counting what we’ve already seen and what lies ahead, and it still doesn’t add up.

Interleague play in October 2006…that would have made all the sense in the World. I’d take it in October 2010, too. The Tigers are having a pretty good year. Maybe we can use the next three nights for scouting purposes.

You never know. I thought I knew in October 2006. I didn’t.

***

Sharon Chapman and the FAFIF wristband after her most recent NYC Marathon tuneup, the New York Mini 10K in Central Park.

Thanks to all those who participated in our Make a Donation/Get a Book promotion earlier this month. Your great response helped push Sharon Chapman’s New York City Marathon run for the Tug McGraw Foundation significantly closer to its fundraising goal. All books have been signed and sent out, and I hope you enjoy yours if you were kind and generous enough to take part.

Learn more about Sharon’s efforts with Team McGraw here. Contribute to the cause if you can here. And if you’re interested in reading the paperback edition of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, well gosh, by all means check it out here or here.

10 comments to Don’t Wanna See These American Idiots

  • March'62

    Finally a chance to get even for the Mickey Lolich/Rusty Staub trade!!!!!

  • The Tigers were defending World Champions in 1969. A Mets-Tigers World Series didn’t seem like such a strange idea between 1984 and 1988, either. But it never happened.

    Come to think of it, the Tigers never played the New York Giants or the Brooklyn Dodgers in a World Series, either. If not for the Fred Merkle play, it would have happened in 1908, but it would never get close again, despite the Tigers, Giants and Dodgers winning 31 Pennants between them between 1904 and 1956.

    Only once have the Tigers played a New York team in a postseason series, beating the Yankees in the 2006 ALDS. I guess you should thank them for that.

    And as long as Denny McLain is remembered, neither Dwight Gooden nor Darryl Strawberry is an automatic choice for worst waste of talent in baseball history.

  • Inside Pitcher

    Greg – as always, thank you for all of your amazin’ support!

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Greg Prince. Greg Prince said: The Tigers are four years late to Flushing. #Mets http://wp.me/pKvXu-1xv [...]

  • Joe D.

    “It wasn’t too much of a stretch, after the Cardinals had edged out the Mets for the pennant and went on to roll through that Fall Classic, to imagine the Mets would have done essentially the same thing.”

    Hi Greg,

    Not too much of a stretch at all, considering the seven errors (includng five by their pitchers) made by Detroit in give games.

  • Dak442

    There are what, 18 interleague games? That’s six extra series we could face the Dodgers, or Cubs, or Cardinals. Reduce intra-division series by three or four games, we can get back to playing all the NL squads more than one home-and-home. The current schedule stinks. Even the big rivalry series have lost their zing. Enough with interleague already.

    • I don’t have any more interest in seeing the Dodgers or Cubs than the Tigers or Twins really.

      • March'62

        see Greg’s post above. Beating the Dodgers can get you in the playoffs if you’re competing for a wild card spot. If the Mets play the Dodgers more, they would start to actually look familiar. Playing 3 games against the Tigers every 4 years is a joke.

      • Dak442

        Maybe not the Dodgers so much, but I miss the rivalries with Chicago and St Louis. There was history, there was long-running enmity. I couldn’t care less one way or the other about American League opponents, other than wanting to beat them (and wanting them to beat the Yankees).
        I prefer the old balanced schedule.

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