- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

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 [1]?”
“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 [2]! 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 [3]. 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.”
“And you know, I thought that’s the way it was supposed to be.”
“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…”
“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.”

“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 [4]. 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 [5].”
“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 [6].”
“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.”

“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.”
“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.”
“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 [7].