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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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Of Randomness and Order

I’ve been watching the reading of names at the Ground Zero memorial. What gets me, besides the cruel endlessness of the list and the heartbreaking personal codas family members send skyward to those they lost, is the sheer randomness of it. People who happened to be in the wrongest place at the wrongest time — them and the people who doubled down on fate and rushed in to maybe save some strangers — those are the victims and the heroes. It didn’t have to be them, it shouldn’t have been them, it shouldn’t have been anybody.

And that has not a thing to do with baseball, just as baseball had not a thing to do with the horror of ten years ago. I keep reading Mike Piazza’s home run “healed” the city. It didn’t. It was a grand and wonderful element of a baseball game, and it made for a helluva sidebar and I begrudge no one whatever they choose to take from it. But watching those sons and daughters and husbands and wives and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters still grappling with the emotions attached to losing their loved ones, I don’t know what the definition of healing is in this context.

Still, I’m glad Mike hit it and I remain glad the Mets played that game when they did. It was on the schedule, but the schedule, so inviolate that teams play through veritable monsoons so as to adhere to it, was already off its moorings. Everything was up for grabs. A few weeks of baseball games? In the days following the acts of madness and their tragic consequences, who cared? Honestly, I didn’t.

But they played and people showed up, your co-bloggers among them. And before you knew it, they played again (and we kept showing up). One week later than planned, every team finished out its schedule. The Mets played all 162 in 2001, including 81 at Shea Stadium. Not much could be expected to stay intact in September and October of 2001, but baseball did, especially the Mets.

Ten years later, the Mets keep their hands on the legacy they cultivated then. They still visit firehouses. They still do their part for the families most directly affected. Tonight they’ll give over Citi Field to remembrance of a moment bigger than themselves, yet one whose fabric they are inextricably woven into, if just for a stitch here and a stitch there.

The Mets do the right thing more than we’d suspect. This is one of those times. It makes me proud to count myself among their fans.

7 comments to Of Randomness and Order

  • Ken K. from NJ

    I wont go into the details of my 9/11. I was a few blocks away, had a clear view of the 2nd plane, but beyond that my story is no more or less interesting than anyone else’s.

    But, you know what started to heal me? The game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on 9/19. My new convoluted 2 hour post 9-11 commute home to NJ now began with a ferry ride to Jersey City. I wanted to make the best of it on that sunny breezy Wednesday, so out came the walkman and the Mets game in progress. The Mets were piling it on, and listening to Howie on the radio just felt so wonderful and normal, I actually began to relax and enjoy it.

  • Joe D.

    Mike’s home run gave us a momentary escape from the horror of the time. That is the context of how it should be looked at, a great human moment, not for achievement but for allowing us to burst out in pure joy, an over-exaggerated joy about something totally insignificant but the trigger mechanism for some release of all that was built up inside.

    It wasn’t the Mets or Mike we were really cheering about, it was sending an emotionally charged message back to all those horrible creatures pretending to be human beings to go F*ck themselves.

    Thank you Mike and the Mets for giving us that opportunity.

  • Inside Pitcher

    Well said Greg – Kudos!

  • dak442

    When Mike hit that homer, I think it was the first time that, for a few minutes, the rage and horror had subsided for me. Just another reason I’ll love him forever. He gave me my first minutes of happiness and normalcy. It made it seem perfectly reasonable to go to Shea two days later, be angry at Armando Benitez instead of faceless douchebags, and start living life again.

  • Will in Central NJ

    My hands were cold from nerves, not the temperature, while sitting in the Upper Reserved during that first game at Shea after 9/11. Mike Piazza’s homer into the night gave me, and many others, the chance to clap my hands tingly hot again.

  • dmg

    yes, the mets of 2001 were the class organization we knew or hoped they were. and they have maintained that place in the life of the city, and mindful not to exploit or appropriate the valor of others. another reason, as you say, why i’m proud of them, and happy to be their fan.

  • BlackCountryMet

    As an outsider, I can’t comment on the events in and around the city, nor would I. I’m just proud that in a era of uncaring, behemoth sized corporations and sports team that appear to have no contact with their supporters, that the Mets carry out the sort actions stated