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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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A Lot of Fun & Depressing as Hell

My gosh, that was a lot of fun at Citi Field on Tuesday night! R.A. Dickey with another complete game, Ruben Tejada skilled at bat and in the field, Nick Evans maintaining his momentum, Angel Pagan making like it was the first half of the season and Carlos Beltran making like it was the first half of his career.

My gosh, it was depressing at Citi Field on Tuesday night! There was nobody there. If not literally nobody, then incredibly close to it. Whoever was there made as little noise as possible, save for the bursts of energy that would emanate during the scoring of nine Mets runs and the completion of nine Dickey innings. The paid attendance isn’t worth citing. Let’s just say your row was your own and probably your section, too.

That’s not bad as far as fan comfort goes, but these things work better with a crowd. No crowd on Tuesday night. More like a klatch. Beds were made in advance and the lying in them was not unexpected. Still, vacant is vacant, and that business of how “there are 5,000 but they sound like 50,000” didn’t apply. If we were 5,000, we sounded like 500. That’ll happen at Empti Field.

But the game was full of good stuff. Oh, R.A., can’t you stick around this winter and have a snowball fight with us? With your 57 MPH knuckler, you’d be a more sporting opponent than Randy Johnson — and better company when we go sledding afterwards. And Ruben…where have you been lately? Oh right, nailed to the bench by the mad manager Manuel. Jerry accidentally wrote you into the lineup and you’re the second baseman again. I always love watching you field. Watching you hit was a boost to my fan esteem.

Nick Evans, walkoff hero of Monday night (which was acknowledged by absolutely nobody when he was announced in the lineup or when he came up to bat the first time) earned the right to keep playing at least one more game by crushing a home run to dead center. If Evans had been saving it up for months to show Manuel he still exists, the message should have been received — though with Jerry, the phone is usually turned off.

Pagan woke up and Beltran hit like a younger or perhaps just less injured man. It was just a crisp, crisp game on a crisp, crisp night. These Mets reminded me of the Mets who were once 2010 contenders. Didn’t hurt that the visiting Pirates reminded me of the Orioles and Indians from that same distant period when we were steaming hot.

Empti Field, however, is surely playing out the string. So many concessions were closed on Field and Promenade levels I’m surprised they weren’t boarded up. (Shake Shack, however, could form a line even if it was sentenced to life in solitary.) My friend Rob and I, extending our games attended streak to at least one in every season since 1995, found an open outpost upstairs. I asked for a hot dog and a knish. The knishes, the polite lady said, weren’t ready.

Ah, it was too nice a night to make a big deal of it, but it was five minutes to seven. What were they saving the knishes for — Simchat Torah? The other day, Stephanie and I got a similar answer in one of the swanky clubs we sampled. The menu said there was mushroom pizza available. That was a new one on us, so we asked for it. We were told it wasn’t ready. Just like the knish. Hmmm…perhaps the knish and the mushroom pizza, like Billy Paul and Mrs. Jones, got a thing going on.

Anyway, I went with the hot dog and pretzel instead; both were ready and both were excellent. Sometimes simple is best. Same for our seats. I asked at the box office a couple of weeks ago for two Promenade Reserved Infield, the second-least expensive tickets they had. They gave me Section 514, Row 11, about as good as I’ve ever had in this place. We could’ve moved down, I suppose, but the night and the view weren’t going to get any better.

It helps when you have all the room you want at a baseball game. That’s the hidden value of a Value night at Empti Field. That’s also the pity of it. Someday, September will be crowded and you won’t be able to sit where you want and the prevailing excuse at the concessions will likely be not that “it isn’t ready” but “we’ve run out of everything.”

And that, for all it implies about the possibilities inherent in September baseball, will be fantastic.

14 comments to A Lot of Fun & Depressing as Hell

  • Inside Pitcher

    I asked for a hot dog and a knish. The knishes, the polite lady said, weren’t ready

    OMG – that set me off laughing.

    At least you can understand the need for a knish to be heated to the proper temperature, as opposed to a pretzel. But that’s just too funny.

    Shea is back….

  • That’s the Met fandom I first found. At first I wondered why the seats were all empty, and then I relaized I had all this beauty all around me and it was like God made it just for me and the ones I loved.

  • Joe D.

    “Section 514, Row 11″ – amazing that for 15 bucks the Mets allowed you to see the entire field (minus the extreme outfield corners of which both can’t be seen by anyone in the dugout or in the stands at the same time).

    And I think yesterday’s outstanding blog provided all the reasoning in the world why the stands are so empty more than the play on the field the past two months.

  • kjs

    At least in 1977, as Shea emptied out when Steve Henderson (or was it the immortal Pat Zachary? The great Doug Flynn? Who was that other schmuck we got?) became the new “Franchise,” one could take comfort in wafts of marijuanna smoke that came at you from both vendor and patron, not $12 Blue Smoke sandwiches. At least in 1977 you could take comfort in the fact that tickets in 1978 wouldn’t be Super-Bowl priced. At least in 1977 you could come home from the ballgame and realize a batshit insane Republican didn’t win her Party’s nod on an anti-masturbation program. At least in 1977, poor Dominican kids weren’t being indocrtinated into the US Military on the ballfield for the amusement of those in the $200 seats…

    • Joe D.

      But in 1977 could one not take “comfort” knowing the Son of Sam was stalking the city. Maybe that’s why Shea was so deserted. since most of the victims were in Queens and areas of the Bronx that weren’t far from the Whitestone Bridge. Couldn’t have been because of the other killings, that midnight massacre when we lost the Franchise and Sky King, could it?

  • kjs

    Joe—

    You sound like an insightful, fascinating guy. But:

    a) Did you ACTUALLY READ my post? I think if you took a critical-reading course, you may discern a reference to the Seaver trade.

    b) David Berkowitz was quite active before the 1977 season and quite inactive well before the 1977 season concluded:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Berkowitz

    c) Kingman? No one missed him. I’m glad he did well for the Chicago Wrigley Tax-Writeoffs for a year or so, and opened a well-received ice-cream parlor in Chicago. I’d say back then very few dared to enter the Hallowed Grounds of Wrigley because of latent fear of Al Capone (or the drunken Bleacher Bums).

    d) Are you for or against masturbation? Do you drink tea at three? Do you want the NFL to ban the term “punter?” Do you support enlisting impoverished kids on the ballfield while the rich watch with amusement? Did you know any US-born ballplayer can enlist in the military until age 42?

    I’m dying to know your answers, Joe D. They may just jolt me.

    (BTW, did you know Joe DiMaggio’s father had his fishing boat confiscated by the US Government because he refused to sign a loyalty oath? USA! USA! USA!)

    • Take it easy on each other, please….

      • Joe D.

        Believe Me, Jason,

        I’m not even going to attempt to answer JKS’s post for fear it will get all of us arrested.

        Except that Berkowitz’s reign of terror ceased on August 11,1977 and only 51 days before the Mets 1977 season mercifully came to an end as well.

  • metsadhd

    Greg
    Knish was a slang expression in Flatbush in the late 50’s, watch your tongue please.
    Havent gone to a game all season as my own protest, but those 2 buck tickets are looking mighty appealing.
    Soon the stands will be full of business school students writing up notes as to how to run a sports franchise into the ground.
    Maybe the Wilpons should take the team to Temple Emanuel, they sure do have a ton of repenting to do before Yom Kippur.
    Job has got nothing on us lowly Mets fanatics.
    Next promtion will be all fans get a DVD of A serious Man the Coen brothers take on Job.

  • Charlie

    Would you guys (i.e., Los Mets) do me a favor? As my dear dead Dad used to say, Make yourselves useful as well as ornamental and take one or two from the Braves this weekend? I’d klove to see us going into October up 4 with three to play.

    Schaedenfreude thy name is Wilpon. http://www.the700level.com/2010/09/looking-for-work-the-mets-want-you.html

  • Charlie

    And as I said last year, thy time WILL come. Next year in Jerusalem/playoffs.

    I appreciate your writing if not your ballclub.

  • [...] life of ours, it seems inevitable that at some juncture, in some corner, the pretzels…or the knishes…or something isn’t [...]

  • [...] They pulled up the gates at Citi Field, and even the crickets couldn’t be bothered after a while…not even the crickets holding tickets. [...]