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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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In Extremely Narrow Defense of Billy Crystal

Since it seems to come up every couple of years (as it did here), Billy Crystal wore the Mets cap in the 1991 film City Slickers not because he was an unprincipled high-profile frontrunner in the Spike Lee vein, but because the Mets promoted and pledged a large sum of money to Comic Relief in 1990. I’m not fully certain whether the Mets made the cap a condition of their support of the charity Crystal helped spearhead or if it was Crystal’s way of acknowledging their contribution. As celebrity Yankees fans go, he was always pretty steady in his public allegiance to the dark side, even during the period when it wasn’t quite so fashionable. (His insistence on doing Phil Rizzuto impressions during his visit to the Channel 9 booth on May 11, 1990 — Comic Relief Night at Shea — was his Francesa-like tell that he couldn’t behave himself properly on somebody else’s psychic or actual turf for the five minutes if it wasn’t all about his team.)

Though I always enjoy spotting a Mets cap in a major motion picture, no matter how cloying the major motion picture, I can’t help but note that shortly after City Slickers came out, the Mets’ longtime winning ways dissipated almost immediately. #blamebillycrystal

Also, Ken Burns’s Baseball may have been the only time since the “Fernando” bit began getting on my nerves that I’ve been able to tolerate Billy Crystal whatsoever, even in the mourning of the Giant-Dodger departure. He seemed to be speaking from the heart as a baseball fan as opposed to reminding you how funny and wonderful he is (lest those watching him not infer that he’s funny and wonderful on their own).

Otherwise, sure: most days’ Worst Person…in the World!

15 comments to In Extremely Narrow Defense of Billy Crystal

  • 5w30

    At least Walter Matthau wore a Mets cap in the film “Odd Couple” .. at times Jack Klugman wore one in the tv version … both the nice darker Mets blue caps of the ’60’s and ’70’s.

  • Ray

    What, not even him being from Long Beach is redeeming enough?

  • Greg and Billy sittin’ in a tree….

    Sting looking for his last name in the dip was funny. For that, his tenure in Hell is reduced by a nanosecond.

  • Dave

    I’ll tell you what’s always pissed me off. In the film “Funny Farm,” Chevy Chase wears a Mets cap.

    In the DVD cover art, it’s been changed to a Yankee cap.

  • Jim Haines

    ‘He’s not funny, he’s not fun’.
    If you could draw worth a damn, what would you need me for? Go Giants.

  • Joe D.

    And does anybody know the first time anything Met related appeared in a motion picture or television program other than the Met highlight film?

    My furthest recollection comes from an episode of the old George C. Scott television drama “East Side, West Side” back in the fall of 1963 when Jesse Gonder was shown hitting fungos to inner city kids. But the mention of the Mets actually appeared on a television show before they even got to spring training back in 1962.

    In “Car 54 Where Are You” Toody gets jealous when Muldoon becomes friendly with an intellectual rookie cop. Feeling left out, Gunther is partnered up with Leo Schaunzer and tries to conjure up a sophisticated level of conversation himself. He cries out “they’re tearing down the Met!” to which Leo replies “The new ball club? They haven’t even played a game yet!”.

  • It always annoyed me that Billy Crystal’s *61 was actually well done because I couldn’t stand him on the screen. Mr. Saturday Night may be the most boring film ever made. And that’s covering a lot of ground.

    • Joe D.

      61* was a great film and the old time Yankees who were there said that Billy’s production was accurate in it’s account. From my recollection I agree though I doubt any reporter asked Roger on opening day if he thought he could break Ruth’s record – that scene was created to set the stage for what happened.

      It’s too bad significant scenes of that film relates to the Maris family and MacGwire before those on the outside found out he was cheating. Crystal agreed with Bob Costas on MLB Network that Roger is the true season home run record holder along with Hank Aaron for career. Would love to have Crystal film add to the ending something about the Maris family and their feelings about the scandal and Roger retaining the record, even if unofficially.

  • Lenny65

    Oscar Madison: now THERE was a guy any Mets fan would be proud to call one of our own. Also, a tip of the batting helmet to Seinfeld, who at least shows his face at the home park win or lose.

  • Stan

    I recently saw a Benny Hill rerun where a child was wearing a Mets hat. Not sure how that made it across the pond.

    As far as “Seinfeld”, nothing is more cringe-worthy than “The Subway” episode where Jerry discusses the merits of the 1992 Mets lineup with the naked guy. Ugh, 1992.

  • Well-Meaning Phil's Troll

    I’ve always been impressed by (and admittedly jealous of) the frequency of Mets apparel, references, and even PLOT ELEMENTS in film.

    Hell, in one shot of one montage in ‘The A-Team’, Bradly Cooper was wearing a Phils spring training tee-shirt for a grand total of maybe 8 seconds and I was so tickled, I momentarily forgot how thoroughly mediocre the flick was.

    Regardless of what the actor/director’s official fan status is, or the reasoning behind its inclusion, it’s never not cool to see your team get the big screen shout out.

    • “Stealing Home” had a big-time Phillies theme, as I recall. And all three candidates (Carter, Reagan, Anderson) tried on three different models of Phillies caps during the 1980 campaign, though I suppose that was real life.

      In any case, welcome back to our one and only favorite Troll.

  • Well-Meaning Phil's Troll

    Much obliged.

    I never really left. I continue to read (and enjoy), but don’t post unless I have something to contribute. I also steer clear of posting when it’s a story repeated to team or financial troubles, as well as alumni losses or the like, as I worry even well-wishes might be seen as patronizing magnanimity at best, or passive-aggressive schadenfreude at worst.

    Nevertheless, the kind welcome are appreciated and I look forward – as I know you all do – the rapidly-approaching season which seemed to paradoxically take forever and arrive in no time at all.