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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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Report From Citizens Bank Park North

Things that went wrong in one Mets fan’s day:

* The Mets didn’t get a single runner to second base. What a dull, listless game this was. I remember Chris Carter nearly letting a ball go over his head in left and Jose Reyes smacking a single off Roy Oswalt. Everything else isn’t just forgotten — it didn’t register in the first place.

* Jerry Manuel continued to dare the Mets to fire him early, spouting insane nonsense about winning games as justification for sticking a Quadruple-A warm body in Luis Hernandez on the field while Ruben Tejada sits on the bench instead of continuing to learn lessons that could pay off in 2011. This has gone far beyond Jerry’s usual genial stupidity and become out-and-out dereliction of duty. By trying to smear lipstick on his pig of a record, Manuel is stealing wins from his successor and from 2011.

* There is no sign that anyone in the Mets’ dysfunctional joke of a front office is interested in stopping this. Perhaps their time is taken up by egging the press on in publicly shaming players, in hopes that will stop sportswriters and fans from remembering who gave those players dumb contracts in the first place. I differentiate between the treatment of Castillo and Perez and that afforded Beltran, by the way. Castillo and Perez were bullied by people who should man up and release them, but they had lousy excuses for being Walter Reed no-shows, so I’m not too worked up. Beltran had a reason for his absence, and what’s been done to him is character assassination that’s both shameful and self-defeating.

* Customer service continues to decay ominously at Citi Field, with concession lines moving at the speed of continental drift as workers shuffle around with glazed looks in their eyes. At one point Greg asked me, “When did this place turn back into Shea?” I just shook my head sadly.

* It rained. I’m trying to figure out how this is Jerry Manuel’s fault. He certainly didn’t help, how’s that?

* If going by noise, the crowd was perhaps 45% Phillies fans. I know a body count wouldn’t reflect that — it’s no particular surprise that fans of a team gunning for a division title and watching Oswalt made more noise than shell-shocked fans of a bad, boring, star-crossed disaster. But our row had more Phillies fans than Mets fans, and there were speckles of red everywhere you looked.

* As a bonus, the guy behind me was the single stupidest fan I’ve ever sat near who wasn’t wearing a Yankee hat. I didn’t mind that he was cheering full-throttle for the enemy — that’s his right. What got me was that he’d apparently never been to a game: On one utterly routine 6-3 groundout, he inhaled sharply as Wilson Valdez scooped up the ball, babbled “c’mon c’mon c’mon c’mon” as Valdez lobbed it over to beat a jogging Met, then exploded with joy when the ball plopped into Ryan Howard’s mitt. He did this for 27 outs. I wanted to strangle him, learn CPR, revive him, then strangle him again.

* The U.S. Open exists.

* Game 2 of the Cyclones’ New York-Penn League Championship Series was rained out, foiling my shot at seeing a climactic Game 3 in which the Cyclones could win a title. Game 3 will still happen if the Cyclones win Game 2, but it would be on Tuesday night, meaning I can’t go. Stupid Jerry Manuel.

Things that went right in one Mets fan’s day:

* Jon Niese pitched well, got one of the Mets’ four hits, and drew a walk.

* I got to sit companionably for a bit with my co-blogger and Stephanie, his lovely, kind and patient wife.

* The sight of my kid in a green raincoat and screaming yellow blingy giveaway sunglasses. Imagine if “I’m Still Here” came with a flashback of Joaquin Phoenix in character, but as a seven-year-old. It looked like that. Made me laugh.

* The food’s still good. Carnitas = win.

* The game was boring and depressing, but it was over in a tidy two hours and 15 minutes.

12 comments to Report From Citizens Bank Park North

  • stick

    I don’t mind the “enemy” fans invading. Hey, wilpons canuse all the money they can get, right?

    I also live about 20 minutes from CBP (south version). And since Philly folks have recently rediscovered that there has been a NL team in town for 100 years, you can’t get a ticket to any game (including weekdays), without going onto the 2ndary market. So, for many of them, it might be the easiest way to go. Well that, and they are routinely obnoxious.

    but, at least the Eagles lost, so they all arrived home all bummed out!

    I also attended the first 2 games in 1986 where the mets could clinch the division down in philly. Ticketmaster (I guess, at the time) sold tickets up in NY (where I lived at the time). 2 road trips, 2 losses. And Met fans outnumbered PHilly fans, or close to it.

    some great fights (near riots) to liven up the games too.

    And after that, up until 2008, every met game down in Philly was heavily represented by met fans.

  • Tom

    Why isn’t Nick Evans playing? I don’t get it. Why or why isn’t he yesterday’s news, as you so rightly put it?

    And why don’t they fire Manuel? Nothing about this team has any edge to it. It’s so frustrating to watch.

    And I was at the game, too. Phillies fans dominated. Jonathan Niese was good, though. Three runs against them is nothing to be down on. Unless the team you’re pitching for is completely shiftless.

  • Well-Meaning Phils Troll

    I’m begining to think you’re purposely sitting near our more embarassing representatives. I was at the Saturday & Sunday games, sitting in Utley’s corner, although I did keep my eye out for either of you guys as I’m determined to give you at least ONE positive Phan encounter.

    Incidentally, from a purely literary standpoint having nothing to do with the team implications, I found the following fantastic:

    ” with concession lines moving at the speed of continental drift”

    ” It rained. I’m trying to figure out how this is Jerry Manuel’s fault”

    ” the single stupidest fan I’ve ever sat near who wasn’t wearing a Yankee hat”

    And the completely random yet totally appropriate money shot:

    “The US Open Exists.”

    I laughed quite a bit at all of those.

    Cheers.

    Sorry about the idiots. Fans at away games can be like natural disasters. There will be plenty of intelligent, reasonable adults around, but just like the post-tornado news crew will find the dumbest redneck to put on camera, the moronic immature fans will find the home crowd.

    • The guy behind me was an interesting case: He wasn’t horribly obnoxious, or insanely drunk, or otherwise an ass. He was just really dumb, in a bizarre way.

      As for better interactions, Emily and I wound up next to a hardcore Phils fan at dinner on Sat nite, and we chatted for about 15 minutes. He was a model baseball fan.

      • I think the most obnoxious fan I ever sat near/infront of was unfortunately a Mets fan at a Subway Series game. Shouting endless nonsense about every player and not shutting up at all.

        Personally I’d rather they play some respectable games and play Castillo. I actually think _that_ has the most positive affect on 2011, as I suspect he’d raise his OBP and season stats a bit, which would make him marginally more tradeable while eating marginally less of the 6million. Also, Tejada can’t show anything over the next 20 games that’ll justify him being the 2Bman of a contending team next year. I understand the idea of getting him the exposure, but he’s just not it. But Evans? maybe Justin Turner? definitely a bunch of guys that deserve a looksee.

        I don’t know what the FO isn’t bothering to remedy the “Manuel’s not managing the team in our best interest of 2011 right now.” I don’t believe they fed the media anything though. All the public statements they made are in contradiction to the reports the media claims they hinted at. Perez had the proper response. “Buzz off about my off the field stuff”.

    • Flip D.

      Those were all great lines, but the one that actually caused me to laugh out loud (while at work, no less) was: “I wanted to strangle him, learn CPR, revive him, then strangle him again.”

      I consider myself a fan of good writing, able to tell the difference, and a life-long Mets fan, so having someone like Jason writing about the Mets is like having your cake and eating it, too. See, this is why I don’t write (often.) Does anyone have a better analogy than that? Oh yeah, Jason does and it’d probably be funny, too.

  • HardToBelieve

    I’m sure neither team’s fan base is well represented by the worst among them.

    And I could see criticizing another team’s fans for being front runners if Citifield didn’t look like a Marlins home game every night.

  • Not so much Citizens Bank Park North on Sunday. More like Pinelawn Memorial Park and Garden Mausoleums West.

  • ToBeDetermined

    “The U.S. Open exists.”

    The U.S. Open got rained out but the Mets game didn’t, undoubtedly due to Jerry Manuel’s poor weather control skills.

    Just a bit heavier and a bit earlier and we could’ve ended up with one less loss for the year.

    (On the other hand, we might have ended up suffering the indignity of needing to play a makeup game on October 4 to determine which of the Phillies or Braves won the division, thus extending our misery another day in the most excruciating way imaginable. Perhaps it was better to get it over with now, after all…)

  • DAP to you, Jason, for defending Beltran for something that was hardly his fault.

    As for Manuel… maybe you and all the other Met fans would like to offer Willie Randolph an apology now?

    As for when Citi Field turned back into Shea, I’ve been there twice, enjoyed it both times (despite my animus toward the Amazins), and the Mets won both times. Maybe I (or Mike Pelfrey, who started both games) was just catching them on a good day both times. I guess you can take the Mets out of Shea, but you can’t take the Shea out of the Mets.

    If Citizens Bank Park North isn’t your mud of Rheingold anymore, maybe you and Greg and the significant others would like to join me on Saturday in Baltimore at the ballpark Michael Kay calls “The Really South Bronx.” The orange parts of your Met outfits will certainly fit in, and Oriole fans hate the Yankees too!

  • metsadhd

    Listen Jason and listen good.
    If you don’t cease this erudition, I am going to have to seriously hurt you.
    No Mets fan wants wants to here this stuff.
    If we had an ounce of intellectual curiosity we would be reading Kafka, not watching this poor excuse for a baseball
    team.

    Seriously, you are the only good thing that has come out of the fiasco.
    Keep up the good work and la shona tovah to all the members of the Mets tribe.
    tHE FACT THAT hOJO HAS NOT BEEN TERMINATED WITH CAUSE, SPEAKS VOLUMES AS TO HOW VERY TONE DEAF THE wILPONSD ARE.
    aNYBODY NOTICE THAT TICKETS ARE NOW GOING FOR TWO BUCKS ON STUB HUB?
    sorry for the caps and too lazy to re-type
    doomed as doomed can be, welcome to the 21st century of wandering the desert.
    Forty more years sound about right.

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