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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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Overheard in the Winning Clubhouse

“Woo! We win again! Way to go, Ruben!”
“Thanks, Ronny. I’m just glad it was quiet enough out there for me to concentrate on working that go-ahead bases-loaded walk.”
“I know what you mean. I don’t know if I could have walked to load the bases for you if the fans were making a lot of noise.”

“Hey, are you guys talking about how quiet it was in the eighth inning when we put together that three-run rally that won the game?”
“Sure are, Justin. Great, wasn’t it?”
“Oh man, totally! I can just relax and listen to the pitches when our fans make almost no noise whatsoever.”

“Fans? What fans?”
“Good one, Nick. Looking around the stands tonight, I’m pretty sure we have almost no fans.”
“Yeah, it’s better that way. No pressure. You know, I was doing pretty well in Buffalo, where nobody came to see us. It felt just like that in the eighth when I lifted that game-tying sacrifice fly. Very minor league — in a good way.”

“Lucas, nice bunt! I didn’t know you could lay ’em down like that.”
“Gotta tell ya, it wasn’t easy making contact with that guy in Section 106 yelling LET’S GO METS! the whole time I was up.”
“Yeah, what was that about? I heard a few people doing that without the scoreboard directing them to. Don’t they know we’re trying to concentrate? Glad they stopped. The silence is…what’s that word R.A. uses? Conducive! The silence is so conducive to quietude. Something like that.”

“Um, David, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, Mike. Go ahead.”
“Well, I grew up around here. I went to games at Shea Stadium as much as I could when I was a kid. I idolized the Mets, and playing for the Mets is a dream come true for me.”
“That’s wonderful, Mike.”
“Yeah, anyway, I thought I’d ask you since you’ve been here longer than anybody…”
“What, Mike?”

“Well, when I was a kid coming to Mets games we made lots of noise. We got all excited during games like this one and we had every reason to believe we were helping the Mets.”
“Uh-huh.”
“And you know, I thought that’s the way it was supposed to be.”
“Uh-huh.”
“And, well, I’m real happy we won tonight, and I’m happy the guys are happy, and goodness knows I’m just happy to be here…”
“Uh-huh.”
“But it’s weird that it’s so quiet at Mets games nowadays and everybody in our clubhouse seems to have just gotten used to it.”
“Uh-huh…”

“David? You all right?”
“Oh, sorry Mike. You just got me thinking about what it used to be like at Shea.”
“I know. I played there once, in high school, but you got to play there for real for like five years.”
“Yeah, I sure did.”
“How did you like it?”
“Like it? I loved it! I loved it for all the reasons you said. It was loud and passionate and crazy, and when we were winning, it was like we had a tenth man on the field with us. During that first game of the Dodger series in the playoffs, when Paulie tagged the two runners at the plate, I could hardly hear myself breathe. But that was all right. I was in my third year in the big leagues and I figured that was the way it was supposed to be.”

“So what happened?”
“Whaddaya mean?”
“Why isn’t it like that anymore?”
“Look around. There’s no Shea anymore.”
“Yeah, but it’s still the Mets and we’re still basically in the same place. Doesn’t anybody care about us? I mean we’ve had all the injuries yet nobody quits. We win from behind late in the game two nights in a row. I think Mr. Horwitz said that hadn’t happened quite that way since like 1965.”
“I dunno, Mike. I dunno. It’s gotten awfully quiet the last few years. That I do know.”

“Say, what are you guys talking about?”
“Oh, hey Izzy. Nice pitching tonight. One more for 300.”
“Yeah, I guess. I’m just glad you kept the rally going.”
“Excuse me? Mr. Isringhausen?”
“What’s with the ‘Mr. Isringhausen’?”
“Iz, I think the kid is starstruck.”
“Starstruck for an old relief pitcher? Seriously, Dave, how much you pay him to say that?”

“Mr. Isringhausen, you gave me an autograph when I was a kid.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I came to a game when you were a rookie. I was like ten years old and you were just up from Norfolk. I waved my program at you and Pulse and Jerry DiPoto and you all signed it. I called out, ‘Hey, Izzy!’ and you signed it.”
“If you called me Izzy then, you can call me Izzy now.”
“Damn…‘Izzy’. I’m in the same clubhouse with Jason Isringhausen.”
“Seriously, Dave, what is this costing you?”
“The kid’s for real, Iz.”
“Geez.”

“Mister…uh, Izzy, maybe you can tell me. I was remembering for David what it was like when I came here as a kid, and it was always so noisy…”
“No, it wasn’t.”
“Huh?”
“It wasn’t. When I was a rookie, it was mostly dead. Same thing the next year. We sucked and it was dead.”
“That’s not how I remember it.”
“Well, maybe for you when you were ten. And I’m not saying some fans didn’t cheer us or whatever, but I came up during lean times and we couldn’t draw flies most nights.”
“No way! I came here this one Sunday, on cap day, and…”
“Well, sure, cap day or whatever, we’d draw. But on a Tuesday night like tonight when it rained late in the afternoon and we were playing some team that wasn’t in it, like the Padres, and we weren’t in it…”
“Mr. Collins says we’re not out of it yet.”
“Sure, kid. Anyway, all I’m saying is the Mets may have had some great teams who played in front of some big crowds — like when I was injured or once I was traded — but there’ve been a lot of dull nights around here. When the team’s not going anywhere, sometimes the fans don’t show up. It’s just the way it goes. Besides, not everybody makes as much money as we do or gets comps.”

“Yeah, but I’m sure we made a lot of noise when we did show up. I made a banner once that said IZZY FOR PREZIDENT, with a ‘z’.”
“I don’t remember that, but thanks.”
“You’re welcome. And me and my friends paraded it around the field level until an usher told us to sit our butts down already.”
“Now that you mention it, I guess I do remember there being a little more excitement around the Mets at Shea, even when we weren’t very good.”
“And you guys were good! You had Huskey! And Brogna! And Tim Bogar!”
“Yeah, we weren’t so bad there for a little while.”
“I was at this one game, you were losing like 9-2, but you got a couple of runners on and you made it 9-4 or something, and we were screaming.”
“’Cause the DiamondVision told you to?”
“I don’t think so. We just screamed because we were Mets fans, y’know? We figured that’s what we were supposed to do.”
“Hey kid, that game where it was 9-2 or 9-4 or whatever — did we come back to win?”
“I don’t think so. The Mets never seemed to win when I came to games.”
“Yeah. Me neither.”

“Anyway, I’m a Met now, and it’s awesome and all. It’s awesome that my family can come and see me, and it’s awesome I come to work and see Mookie Wilson, and it’s even awesome that the planes fly overhead in and out of LaGuardia, but…”
“But what, kid?”
“But here the team is, playing its heart out, and hardly anybody shows up and those who do show up don’t seem to get very excited when we’re in the middle of a comeback like tonight. I heard the one guy sitting in the right field seats — him and his buddies — yelling LET’S GO METS! and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why nobody was joining in.”
“I couldn’t tell ya, kid. I’m just pitching until I can’t. I like coming through the players’ entrance. Y’know what I mean?”
“I guess I do.”
“Anyway, hang in there, kid. I gotta go ice.”
“Sure thing, Izzy!”

“Wow, David. Jason Isringhausen just talked to me! I can’t wait to tell my dad.”
“Uh-huh.”
“David? Seriously, you want me to get the trainer or something? You look like you’ve got something caught in your eye.”
“No, Mike. I’m fine. Just thinking about that Dodger series. That’s all.”

***

The New York Mets are offering half-price tickets in all sections for Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. Details here.

16 comments to Overheard in the Winning Clubhouse

  • Greg,

    We all miss that Dodgers series. And the feeling of indestructibility and the expectations for sustained excellence the 2006 Mets provided for us. I was at the first two games of that Dodgers series – the infamous LoDuca tag play game (a balmy afternoon affair) and Game 2, which Tom Glavine started and won – and I have never heard Shea Stadium rock the way it did for those two games. The only other game that comes close in terms of noise was Game 5 of the 2000 NLCS when the Mets clinched the pennant vs. the Cardinals.

    I think the reason you don’t hear the cheers anymore is because the fans don’t trust what they’re seeing. Mets fans want the team to do well, but until the team proves it can be championship-caliber (a good start would be by posting a winning record vs the NL EAST), I expect Citi Field attendance and the intensity of the fans will suffer.

    This team does deserve better, though. You’re right.

  • I snuck down right behind the home dugout to get pictures for the player intros in Game 1 in the 2006 NLDS and the sound pouring down on the field–before the game, before the intros even–gave me goosebumps. I think part of it was not everyone had phones that were so damned smart they made them dumb, putting in their palm the answers to all things, which apparently requires constant checking.
    Put the damned phone down and watch the game! Your facebook updates and brilliant twitter posts can wait, the Mets got a rally going here!

  • Dak442

    Not to mention, most of the fans quickly scarfed down the dreck offered at the Shea concession stands, then rushed to their seat. Nowadays, half the crowd is hanging around behind the scoreboard eating ribs or waiting on line for cheeseburgers. Or drinking in pricey lounges.

    • Lenny65

      So true. There was nothing to do at Shea other than watch baseball. I’ve spoken to other fans who’ve gone to Citi Field and done nothing but sit in a bar watching the game on TV and raved about the experience. Why even bother going at all?

  • Dave

    Face it, since we moved into Brooklyn Dodger Stadium, there’s been little to cheer. I miss Shea like I miss departed relatives, but the lack of noise isn’t the ballpark’s fault. I too was at Game 2 in 06 when G|@^ine pitched, and the place was rocking, but I was also at Game 6 (Mookie/Buckner), and that felt like an earthquake and sounded like a sustained explosion (or perhaps standing right next to Joey Ramone’s or Pete Townshend’s amp).

    Someday we’ll have something exciting and memorable (memorable in a good way) happen at the new place, and we’ll get to find out how loud it gets. And who knows, maybe we’ll all start referring to it by its real name by then.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    Well I would imagine there are many reasons for the “Quiet Crowd” I have been to New Shea but only once, so I will leave it up to you regulars to weigh in.

    1) With the new stadium, it seems as if the game is not the main focus, as there is so much to do and walk around and see!

    2) With the jacked up prices you get the “Corporate Crowd” and the real fan who would cheer does not come out that often.

    3)Its a Tues night and most people have to work, so if the game drags out alot of people have left.

    4)Its the Padres in town on a Tuesday night. There is not much interest in this match up, as both teams are kind of bringing up the rear. I for one am not excited about a Padres/D-back homestand.

    5)The novelty of the new stadium has worn off. Now its time to put a good product on the field.

    6)You are basically watching the “Bufets”, a high class triple A team and paying major league prices to see them.

    7) There is no hope left for 2011 season.

    I hope you Met fans who go to the game all the time will chime in on this.

  • I love Citi Field, but there’s just something… missing. I was at the Cardinals game with the Pagan HR and it was just dead. And it’s not like the stadium was empty–attendance was 30,770. Beltran hits a home run? Polite claps for thirty seconds. Pagan hits a walkoff? Hooray, now we can go home! I was out at Shake Shack during introductions and I was literally the only person clapping for the Mets.

    Here’s the problem: at Shea, the Mets were just OUR team. At Citi, the stadium is an amusement park where the main attraction happens to be the Mets. I’m hoping that’ll change once the team becomes consistently good again, but I’m not holding my breath.

    One final thing that annoyed me: during the 8th inning mini-rally in Monday’s game, I got a “Let’s Go Mets” chant going in the Upper Deck. I was quite proud, but this quickly turned to dismay when it was interrupted by “everybody clap your hands.” Very dispiriting. The overall atmosphere in that game was the best I’ve seen since Shea, though. Not bad for 21,000 fans.

  • Joe D.

    “But here the team is, playing its heart out, and hardly anybody shows up and those who do show up don’t seem to get very excited when we’re in the middle of a comeback like tonight. I heard the one guy sitting in the right field seats — him and his buddies — yelling LET’S GO METS! and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why nobody was joining in.”

    Well, Kid, the answer is simple as some in FAFIF (the greatest Met Blog in all the world)have alluded to. You see, the Wilpons decided to forget about the real fans and concentrate only on those with money to burn. The real fans can’t afford to go much and when they do so much of the fun is taken out for few can enjoy themselves at a ballgame when it cost them so much to do so. It’s taken the heart out of the die-hard fans so much that you probably hear more of “let’s go Mets” in front of television sets than the ball park. They’re angry for being treated so shabby (I’m glad I don’t have to walk a flight of stairs to get to your seats and can see Jason Bay patrolling left whenever I want to). Of course, we also don’t have to pay $19 for parking and get all the free food we want. Too bad a Keith Mexican Burger goes for $10.00 – those do look good. Oh well, buy one and share it with the rest in your party.

    Otherwise, there would be more fans in the park rooting us on and showing their appreciation for our play. But we know they do – after all, we also read FAFIF on a daily basis.

  • Ken K. from NJ

    Thanks for the link to that amazing stat about the two-in-a-row 8th inning or later down by two runs or more come-from-behind wins. The only 2 times it happened previously was in 1962 and 1965???

    Ahhh, those never-say-die Met teams of the early/mid 60’s….

    • Joe D.

      Ken,

      Rememer both games from 1965 vividly.

      Went to bed that Friday night listening to the the radio (no TV on many night games from the west coast those early years) with the Mets down 8-2 in the sixth and assumed they would have lost when I woke up. Back then we did not 24/7 sports coverage like today so we often waited for the newspapers to get the west coast game results for the news usually came on in five minute snipits each hour. When the POST was droppped at my door the next morning I was completely confused as the sports page headline read “MET’S AMAZE EVEN CASEY!”. I then read the first paragraph and was in utter disbelief!

      The same shock occured maybe eight hours later. We were again battling those Giants on Saturday afternoon and my brother (ardent Dodger fan which automatically made him an ardent Giant hate) were watching the game on TV. The Mets struck a rally again the ninth and euphoria reigned again as Danny Napoleon came on and just didn’t get a single but a bases loaded pinch hit triple to put the Mets ahead once more. We both jumped up and hugged each other (yeah, for the same reasons we did with the Marichal game a year later mentioned last week). The triple was off Bob Shaw and for his punishment the Giants sold him to the Mets the following season.

      • Ken K. from NJ

        Thanks for that flashback Joe. What a great Post headline!

        I do remember the Danny Napoleon Game (what else could anyone possibly call it).

        I remember the ’62 games too. The Mets were Hot!! After winning the 2nd game of that Sunday doubleheader vs. the Braves (the second time they had swept the Braves in a doubleheader in 10 days) the Mets had climbed in to 8th place and had won 9 of their last 12 games. The 9 game losing streak that opened the season was just a memory.

        Of course, it became more of a memory when they proceeded to lose the next 17 games in a row, famously described in Jimmy Breslin’s “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game”.

        • Ken K. from NJ

          I guess it’s OK to reply to myself. As the Mets were mostly out of tonight’s game (they should have won if they played a little smarter, but that’s another post…), Howie on the radio* went into some detail about Danny Napoleon and THAT Game. Man, I just love Howie! As usual, from-out-of-town-and he-should-go-back Wayne Hagin had nothing to add.

          *for the first time in it seems like a month the weather was just right for the backyard radio instead of inside air-conditioning and TV.

        • Joe D.

          Hi Ken,

          Yes, that other time was when the Mets went won nine of twelve and moved into 8th place. Do you remember Ralph Kiner on Kiner’s Korner holding hand-written signs showing the standings for those few (very, very few) times the Mets had climbed out of the cellar that first year?

          And when I saw that headline my initial reaction was that it had nothing to do with the game. I remember the Mets lost the first game of the Sunday doubleheader and went on to win the second to take three of four from San Francisco at Candlestick. I also remembered it brought them to within a game of .500 (just looked that up, I was right, the record was then 6-7) and recall being real mad after the next game for they could have been at .500 but blew an early lead in the late innings to Houston (their first game under the dome).

          Doesn’t that seem similar to what we’re going through 46 years later with the .500 mark?

  • dmg

    and i remember a game in july 1969 where the mets scored three in the ninth to beat the division-leading cubs. that’s when notice was served that the mets were going to be for real, i thought.

  • Show of hands!! How many of you texted at a Met game while they played at Shea? If you say ” I did” count yourself a Pioneer!
    Greg I love you like a Met loving Brother..But these Met fans today are alien to me..Bottom line line??? Fuck them!! I cant win hearts and minds!!!We ALL must suffer and learn!

    Rich P

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