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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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My Favorite Things, 1962-2002

In observance of today’s Mets kids’ holiday party at Citi Field (an on-the-scene report from which will be coming later), I thought I’d dig out of the archives a little ditty I penned on Christmas Day 2002 and first published on Faith and Fear just prior to Christmas 2005. Many of the contemporary 2002 references are as dated as a good Jung Bong joke, but the overall vibe feels appropriate here in 2011 given that nine years ago I was trying to convince myself how much I still liked the Mets despite the Mets in those dreary days doing so many things I didn’t like.

After a spell of writing, I noticed I was no longer convincing myself, but celebrating all the things — the good, the bad, the Huskey — that made the Mets the Mets in my eyes and, really, all our eyes. Plenty more verses could have been added since to reflect the follies and foibles of the intervening decade (and, boy, do they keep on comin’), but I think the point is made pretty well by having mined the first forty-one years of Mets baseball.

So with that introduction, and requisite apologies to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Metsopotamian take on the old chestnut, “My Favorite Things”.

***

Apples in top hats
That rise to occasion
Fran Healy announcing
A summer vacation

Steve Phillips’ cell phone
When it doesn’t ring
These are a few of my favorite things

Extra Dry Rheingold
And Carvel in helmets
Four-fifty pretzels
And three-dollar peanuts

Durocher’s black cat
And the dogs we let out
These are the things that I sing about

Eleven-game win streaks
And two ten-run innings
A happy recap
Born of humble beginnings

High fives and low fives
And Steve Henderson
These are what bring me back time and again

When Fred Wilpon
Pays Tom Gl@v!ne
While Fonzie goes unsigned
I simply remember I root for the Mets
And it’s much too late
For me to resign

Field level boxes
From corporate connections
Changing at Woodside
And catching the Seven

Liza Minnelli
And Jay Payton hug
These are the things that I dig and I’ve dug

Shipping Puleo
And bringing back Seaver
Since Seventy-Three
Saying I’m a believer

Olerud’s hard hat
And Shinjo’s wrist bands
These are some reasons I’m one of the fans

Serenading Chipper
By given name Larry
Exchanging Harry Chiti
For Chiti, yes, Harry

Takeoffs and landings
O’er everyone’s head
These must be why I’m loyal ’til I’m dead

When the GM
Gets Matt Lawton
And casts off Rick Reed
I simply remember the Mets are my team
That must be all I need

‘Rock and Roll Part Two’
As Mike circles bases
Shock and dismay
On the Rocket’s two faces

David Mlicki
Picking his spot
Makes me glad the Mets won and the Yankees did not

Len-ee! and Ben-ee!
And that Theodore stork
The National League
Returns to New York

Alex Ochoa
Hits for the cycle
These are the things that still make me smile

Banners and placards
And the original sign man
Agee making catches
That nobody else can

Swoboda’s dive
Cleon’s shoe polish
Miracles Orioles had to acknowledge

When Ordoñez
Learns some English
And calls us all stupid
I simply remember I’ve been a Mets fan
Ever since I was a kid

Throneberry, Strawberry
Koosman comma Jerry
A Todd Worrell fastball
For HoJo to bury

Corners of K’s
And Ojeda’s dead fish
Make summer’s arrival my next birthday wish

Davey’s short in the outfield
So uses Orosco
Joe Orsulak’s swing
Which was sweeter than Bosco

Hernandez on bunts
And Kranepool in a pinch
When it comes to the Mets, I won’t give an inch

Not sitting in front of
A loud, drunken yeller
Wes Westrum proclaiming
Another cliffdweller

Lindsey tells me
Shamsky’s around in right
These are what I recall by day and by night

When Grant Roberts
Is caught toking
In
Newsday or the News
I simply remember that nobody’s perfect
And don’t let the Mets give me the blues

Ventura’s grand
But Tank stops him from scoring
Bobby V wore disguises
But never was boring

Mora crossed home on a pitch
That was wild
Things that make me cry like some kind of child

Grote going back
And grabbing a pop-up
Sisk coming in
But, relax, just to mop up

Mookie Wilson’s nubber
Trickling fair down the line
What happened next will always blow my mind

Not yet a no-hitter
But anticipation
Gregg Jefferies for five weeks
A rookie sensation

Knight against Davis
And Buddy v. Pete
These are the things, I admit, I find neat

When Armando
Blows his next save
As he inevitably will
I simply remember the leads he held onto
And then I don’t feel so ill

Number twenty-four
Staying mostly retired
Thanking the Good Lord
When Torborg got fired

Kingman’s second stay
When he handed out pens
Ralph breaking it down right after the end

‘Lazy Mary’ plays
And we keep on stretching
Mel Rojas would pitch
And he’d get us all kvetching

Mettle the Mule, DeRoulet
Richie Hebner
Seventy-Nine I can’t help but remember

Gary Carter’s knees
All wrapped up like a mummy
DiPoto made butterflies
Float in my tummy

Thinking we’re set
Because we’ve got Mike Vail
Yet I stick with the Mets, succeed or fail

When Burnitz and
Alomar crash
When Cedeño and Mo go down
I simply remember they all had bad luck
And convince myself they’ll turn it around

Calvin Schiraldi
Preceding Bob Stanley
A superstar catcher
Explains that he’s manly

Franco plays Santa
And Rusty serves ribs
The Mets speak to me in my second language

M. Donald Grant
Burning in hell
Knowing AY
Can’t be charged with an L

Clearing the clubhouse
Of sparklers and bleach
And knowing the Wild Card’s still within reach

A general manager
Who knows what he’s doing
Every position
Manned by McEwing

Best infield ever
Or so said SI
They’re all gone now, though I don’t know why

When the Mets are
Labeled quitters
And demand apologies
I simply remember they’re sensitive people
And then I don’t go, ‘oh geez’

Casey could choose from
A pair of Bob Miller
Al Jackson, pre-Michael
Original Thriller

¡Yo la tengo! Ashburn
Called out to Chacon
With the Mets on the West Coast, I don’t sleep alone

Part of ‘Men In Black’
And a scene from ‘Odd Couple’
Scrappy platoons
Like Backman and Teufel

Staiger, Mankowski
A parade of third basemen
When the Cubs finished sixth, we stayed out of the basement

Shea in the daytime
Enjoying it all
Gil Hodges eventually
Making the Hall

Clendenon and Brogna
And even Todd Zeile
Glad tidings to Mets is the feeling I feel

When Steve Trachsel’s
Paid by the hour
Or works as if that’s his deal
I simply remember his good Earned Run Average
And he’s practically a steal

Al Leiter’s cutter
And buddy Mike Bloomberg
A mayor to whom our team
Is more than a rumor

Dave Magadan speeds to
A deliberate crawl
Gosh I hope that the Mets are around in the fall

Prospects from Norfolk
And before that Visalia
Jane Jarvis’s organ
Would never assail ya

Chief Noc-A-Homa
Taking knocks from The Dude
If only Mets ushers weren’t nearly as rude

Old Timers Day inspiring
Terry Cashman
A less uptight version
Of bowtied Frank Cashen

Pretending Nolan Ryan
Had stayed his career
Wishing Sojo had been kicked in the rear

When the Mets win
None in August
And I’m there for every loss
I simply remember things can only get better
And then my cookies don’t go for a toss

Brent as in Mayne
Not the Maine of Ed Muskie
Schofield who’s skinny
And Butch who is Huskey

Piling on Rocker
A surfeit of malice
Sunny Frank Howard, the tart tongue of Dallas

Dependable backstops
The Gonders, the Dyers
The weight-lifting antics
Of Randall K. Myers

‘Bring on Ron Gaspar’
A gaffe of F. Robby
Waiting for Reyes becoming a hobby

Clipping coupons
From a Dairylea carton
The serendipitous wrist
Of the great J.C. Martin

McCarver says triples
Are better than sex
Just call Five Oh Seven T-I-X-X

When team meetings
Are more frequent
Than team victories
I simply remember when they’d shut up and play
And then I don’t feel unease

Bring your kids to see our kids
Said with a straight face
Beating the Expos
And entering first place

It not being over
When it hadn’t expired
Trading Bonilla when his act grew tired

McReynolds bolting
To beat city traffic
Rickey drawing walks
And then wreaking havoc

Debating Gerry Moses’s
Lifetime Met status
Responding when Bill Hands was throwing right at us

Don Bosch and Don Hahn
And good old Don Cardwell
Suddenly recalling
The right fielder’s Gus Bell

Topps, Upper Deck
Pinnacle, Fleer
Each pack should include at least two Bruce Boisclair

When one player
Accosts another
About his rookie card
I simply remember we’re talking grown men here
And then I don’t take it nearly as hard

Revising the yearbook
To include Lenny Randle
A roller toward Schmidt
And Schmidt losing the handle

Removing the tarp
To scattered applause
A call to the bullpen, back after this pause

Hypothetical swaps
Causing Howie to go nuts
A roster of players
Not twenty-five robots

The grass all torn up
Irritating Pete Flynn
Who cares if he’s angry, so long as we win?

A fortunate bounce
From a top-of-the-fence shot
Overcoming the scuffwork
Of devious Mike Scott

Dave Liddell disappearing
After one plate appearance
Not losing an out on lame interference

When Tarasco
And Mark Corey
Are found dabbling in drugs
I simply decide that it’s none of my business
And then I don’t blame those lugs

Carl Everett’s slam
Off of Uggie Urbina
Tomatoes by Piggy
And not Contadina

An unlikely dinger
By speedy Esix
Shortstops like Elster not committing e-six

Darryl Hamilton
Is served his release
Rich Rodriguez
Packs his valise

Counting on phenoms
Like Pulse and Tim Leary
Forgiving Hank Webb, he must’ve been weary

Happy birthday to dads
Kiner’s Father’s Day greeting
The occasional smart move
At some winter meeting

Nineteen-inning games
Won by dawn’s early light
Followed by fireworks, oh what a sight!

When our rivals
From across town
Win on our own field
I simply remember to turn off the TV
And then my venom might yield

Applauding old heroes
When they first come back
A Baltimore fly ball
That’s caught at the track

Bobby Jones beats the Giants
A Fresno one-hitter
Making Baker and Jeff Kent both act kinda bitter

Rain delay anecdotes
That never grow moldy
The Polo Grounds forever
A goody if oldie

Greg Goossen projected
To some day turn thirty
Finding no cork when Whitey played dirty

Game Three leadoff batters
Each hitting one out
Scoring twenty-three runs
En route to a rout

Two-dozen straight games
With hits by Hubie Brooks
The rosin was Wendell’s, the tantrums were Cook’s

When the playoffs
Elude the Mets
Thanks to five straight defeats
I simply remember to wait ’til next year
And then I go buy my seats

Bass and Barrett strike out
Sending gloves in the air
Our new stadium
Outdraws the World’s Fair

During those first years
No hint of a rise
Then by Eckert’s lot, we draw The Franchise

Simons and Walter
And southpaws of woe
They didn’t get saves
But at least were let go

Payson seemed generous
Doubleday dotty
Mazzilli’s a traitor but once was a hottie

Pitchers who’d battle
Throughout a run dearth
Decreeing D’Amico’d
Inherit the earth

Shawn Estes took aim
No way he could miss
All he hit was a homer, but that blast was bliss

When Mike Scioscia
Got to Gooden
And turned Game Four around
I simply remember results two years prior
And my mental state’s more sound

Hampton before
He worried ’bout schools
Escobar when the hype
Said he had tools

Dan Norman’s aborted
Switch-hitting trial
After Montañez tailed off, he still had style

With nobody out
Taking a pitch
Learning to spell
Gary Rajsich

Rally caps topping noggins
When contests get tight
That arm-twirling lady, her hex worked all right

Spahn and the Duke
And surly Eddie Murray
Immortals perhaps
Gone from here in a hurry

Four pennants waving
From the outfield flag pole
Terry Leach coming through in almost any role

When Pendleton
Hit that home run
And stopped us in that race
I simply remember something else would’ve gone wrong
And then I don’t feel disgrace

Promotional items
Handed to adults
Jumping on Nen
And on Hoffman and Smoltz

Picking up the FAN
In any location
Our runners not running from station to station

Gary and Murph
Broadcasting in sync
Sweeping the Pirates
When pushed to the brink

Sasser’s throw to the mound
Arrives on the fly
Twelve years of Ron Hodges, that seems rather high

A lineup that featured
Youngblood and Taveras
Showing Oil Can Boyd
That he didn’t scare us

A new media guide
Its cover so glossy
Ends with Don Zimmer, begins with Don Aase

When Atlanta
Beats the Mets out
Every time it counts
I simply ignore their stellar track record
And cheer for our boys in greater amounts

Sadecki, McAndrew
And every fifth starter
Timo except when
He could’ve run harder

Roger McDowell
Wearing mask after mask
The answer’s the Mets, you don’t have to ask

Salty and Cubbage
And interim skippers
Todd Hundley’s record
For receiver round-trippers

Lance Johnson never
Getting thrown out at third
Never mind ‘Grease,’ the Mets are the word

Teddy Martinez
Waved home by Eddie Yost
St. Lucie datelines
In the Times and the Post

The Magic Is Back
‘Ball Like It Oughta Be
Printing World Series tickets in Two Thousand Three

When they make bad trades
And guys lose their skills here
Amazing but it’s true
I simply remember the phrase, ‘Let’s Go Mets!’
And there’s not much more that I can tell you

15 comments to My Favorite Things, 1962-2002

  • joenunz

    Who knew that “serves ribs” rhymed with “second language”?!

    Good stuff…

  • Will in Central NJ

    Epic, man, simply epic.

    Ruth Roberts, Bill Katz, and Terry Cashman have nothin’ on you.

  • InsidePitcher

    An instant classic!

  • Dave

    Nice job, great history. And It makes Inna Gadda Da Vida look like a Ramones song.

  • Roger

    Beautiful Greg, just beautiful!

  • Barry

    Is there a fanbase in baseball that can honestly say it LOVES so many of its ex-BAD players? Think about it. George Theodore, Joe Moock (OK, I never saw him play. But I didn’t have to. I just love the name!), Marv Throneberry, Rod Kanehl, John Pacella (OK, I didn’t love him, but the cap count was certainly unusual, bordering on fun), Ron Hodges (I could use a Hodgo Hoagie right now!), etc. Who does this? The Phillies don’t anymore. Maybe the Cubs, but not like this. At one time the White Sox did, but I’m not sure as much now. And we know the Yankees try to forget all their bad players (Horace Clarke was their one homage to mediocrity!). I miss Tom Veryzer sometimes, imagine a world where Tom Hausman was good just a tad longer, wonder what went wrong with Carlos Diaz. There must be a syndrome named after this. I suppose we’re mired in perpetual escapism thanks to multiple owners (see DeRoulets) that make you want to ignore the present.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Great stuff! I love it and I’m saving it.

    As I was reading it, some of the forced rhymes unearthed a long-forgotten memory for me. In the spring of 1964 I was in High School. One day our English teacher gave us the odd homework assignment of writing a poem about a current event. I decided to put the previous day’s Met game to rhyme. I don’t remember much of the poem at all, but a check of retrosheet seems to indicate it was the first game of the 5/3/64 doubleheader at Crosley Field. Thanks to your poem, one couplet from my poem has resurfaced in my mind after all these years:

    “Out of the bullpen came Ed Bauta. Deron Johnson was the first man he threw ta”

    You can fill in the blanks for the rest, but as usual it did not end with a Happy Recap.

    Thanks again!

  • open the gates

    Barry – interesting point. I would suggest, however, that the “lovable losers” idea is mostly a thing of the past. The last “bad player” that I loved was Anthony Young. And in his case, it was because his struggle was so epic that it was the stuff of legends. Very Metsian. But since him, most of the losers haven’t been particularly lovable at all. (Jorge Julio? Pat Misch? Oliver Perez? Thanks, I’ll pass.) Not sure why that is.

  • Barry

    I have actually been a big Pat Misch fan. But I temper the expectations. Oliver Perez ceased to be lovable once he took the big contract and failed to meet even the most expectations. Selfishness is the pathway to alienation.

  • Barry

    Furthermore, I’d say being bad isn’t the REASON we root for someone. That’s counterintuitive. They simply have some trait you enjoy watching. Mark Bomback had that ”everyman” look to him. Doug Sisk had more talent, but frustrated to such a degree that you needed therapy after he pitched. Don Hahn had the cool name (but some Swoboda fans I would imagine hated him). Sometimes one bad moment or one good moment seals a player’s fate. Phillies fans, for example, never forgave Rod Barajas for going all wimpy on a play at the plate one time. Didn’t matter what he did after that.

  • open the gates

    Barry – I’d say you’re right about the one incandescent moment making an otherwise mediocre career memorable. Dave Mlicki and Todd Pratt are two names that immediately spring to mind. But then, by definition, neither of those two are “losers”.

  • WalterA98

    Greg,

    Your book is great but this is even better!

  • The stanza on left-handed-hitting backup catchers was my favorite:

    Sasser’s throw to the mound
    Arrives on the fly
    Twelve years of Ron Hodges, that seems rather high