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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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As Baseball Clears Its Throat

The tree branches resist betraying their plans. The air maintains a stubborn, residual chill. The roll call of our living legends has been mournfully diminished. The immediate future for that which we treasure is at best blank, more realistically bleak.

But who cares today? Today there are pitchers and today there are catchers and soon there will be second basemen and left fielders and coaches running drills and platitudes mouthed in full force and a starting lineup jammed primarily with young, high-numbered strangers, one or two of whom may someday grow into memorable figures. The prospects in our minds aren’t likely to match the prospects in our heads, but that’s hardly the point.

The point is spring. Better yet, Spring.

If it’s not quite the source material for Baseball Like It Oughta Be, it is baseball, and that is as it ought to be for people like us. To borrow a phrase imagined decades ago but I heard this weekend for the first time, someday just started. And even if it hasn’t, Pitchers & Catchers have.

C’mon Pelf. C’mon Niese. C’mon Thole. C’mon the whole bunch of you. It’s February 20. We’ve been waiting not quite five months for this…or in baseball terms, forever.

The Happy Recap podcast’s tribute to Gary Carter, featuring interviews with several bloggers (myself included) is here. A New Yorker piece on the humor inherent in the Mets of late, with some thoughts from yours truly, is here.

16 comments to As Baseball Clears Its Throat

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    Happy “Pitchers and Catchers Report” Day!

    The best four words in Baseball.

    Got the Met flag flying out on the flagpole this sunny and beautiful day in Florida

    LETS GO METS!….We are tied for First!

  • Josh

    As a kid who went from 8 to 18 in the nineties, all my formative Met experiences were with teams that had no hope. Against all reason, I have a good feeling about this year. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Keep believing and someday we’ve got to be right. Can’t wait to follow Faith and Fear again in 2012. Now let’s fast forward six weeks.

  • RA Dickey’s quote after Reyes left sums up why I’m looking very forward to the 2012 Mets:

    “the weight left by jose’s leaving is far lighter when distributed on the backs of the collective body.”

    I’m looking forward to settling into my seat on April 5th.

  • open the gates

    To misquote an old saying: Spring’s hope’s eternal.

    LET’S GO METS!!!

  • Patrick O'Hern

    Hey let’s be honest. They are going to be a Basement Bertha. But they are OUR Basement Bertha. Can’t wait till the first inning of the first spring trainiing games, then 8 innings and 31 days of boredoom with same articles we’ve read for 30 years (insert different player name.)Looking forward to April 5th too and daily Faith and Fear blog posts.More F&F , less Cerronne Metsblaugh.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    I can’t help but hope for the best and dream for another impossible dream, however, with ownership being what it is, I can see a resussetated Wright, Bay and/or Santana going mid-season since when speaking about David Wright Sandy Alderson recently said the decision would be independent of the club’s performance. Just like last season when we were only five out in the loss column for the wild card – the decisions to send Beltran and KRod packing were also independent from the club’s performance.

    No front office makes such moves that close and far into the season. And even if they understand the team is playing over it’s head and doesn’t have the talent to continue, that is not a message a front office sends down to it’s players (“you’re not that good yet so let’s get something in return for the vets and forget about this year”). If this was a club consisting mostly of veterans I can see it mattering less but not young kids gaining valuable experience in meaningful games and maturing. Even if they fizzled, one doesn’t stop them in their tracks and take away the positive learning steps, confidence built up and momentum going into the 2012 season and beyond.

    As mentioned before, that’s real “re-building”. And the kids know if they are close again this July, the rug most likely is going to be pulled out from under them again once more.

    That’s why my “faith” in the players is offset by my “fear” of the owners in “Flushing”.

    Joe

  • Stan

    Great column today!

    Why do I feel that if they were still playing at Shea, being lousy would be a lot more tolerable?

    • Joe D.

      Stan,

      You are so right. Shea was everything that Citi Field is not. It was also a part of our heritage that did not need to be taken away. All that was needed was some paint, new fixtures and a thorough cleaning to spruce up the place.

      But the Wilpons wanted luxury suites and boxes along with stores, restaurants and an elitist flare. It wasn’t built for the fans but for their own pockets. That’s the only reason why most of the newest ballparks were built for to begin with. Why else would a 40 year old structure suddenly be obsolete?

      • Andee

        All they wanted is what almost every other team in baseball has now, except maybe Oakland, which is holding out for new digs in the South Bay. All owners want luxury suites and all that crap; can you think of a team owned by someone who doesn’t? The Astrodome, the Vet, Three Rivers, Busch Stadium I, Riverfront, Atlanta-Fulton County, the Metrodome, and the Kingdome all were built and blown up during Shea’s tenure, and I’m sure Toronto and Tampa Bay can’t wait to do likewise. Fans can still get cheap-ass seats on StubHub, and unlike at Shea, fans with cheap tickets can move down to the lower levels to watch. The cost of tickets should not be keeping anyone away; you can get an upper deck ticket now cheaper than you can get into a movie.

        And considering how much fans groused and complained even when the team was good (1997-2001, 2005-2008), I’m not sure anything short of back-to-back championships will satisfy people. Who knows, maybe not even that. Me, I’m scratching my head that people think this is a 100-loss team. I am just not computing that at all, unless they get hit with an injury wave even worse than what we’ve been seeing every year since 2009. Maybe 100-loss team and non-World Series winner are the same thing?

        • Joe D.

          Fans couldn’t move down from the cheaper seats at Shea because the Wilpons placed ushers and security guards by every entrance checking the tickets. They also boarded up some otherwise open areas preventing us from standing behind home plate and other areas.

          That had nothing to do with the way Shea was originally designed and constructed but rather how the tenants made changes to it years later.

          It wasn’t that way when I was a kid. The fun was to purchase $1.50 general admission tickets but sit on field level outsmarting the ushers. It was indeed nerve racking hoping the ushers wouldn’t catch on or those who actually purchased the seats would show up late. We were also not prevented from moving to the lower seats or standing behind home plate in back of the field level seats toward the end of the game.

  • Joe D.

    And Andee, the cost of a cheap seat at Citi Field, once all the extra handling and processing fees are added on to it, costs a lot more than the $15 or so one has to spend in Manhattan to see a first run movie.

    From the inflation calculator: “What cost $1.50 in 1969 would cost $8.82 in 2010.
    Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2010 and 1969, they would cost you $1.50 and $0.25 respectively.”

    When was the last time one spent a total $8.82 to get into a ball park?

    Also from the inflation calculator: What cost $31.00 in 2010 would cost $5.27 in 1969.
    Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 1969 and 2010,they would cost you $31.00 and $189.06 respectively.

    Last I remember, the cost of a box seat back at either Shea or Yankee Stadium back in 1969 was $3.50, and the equivalent $5.27 is more than three times the amount one has to pay today to sit in the cheap seats.

    • Andee

      So how much does the same seat cost in Yankee Stadium now? Or is it okay for them to gouge people because they’re golden gods?

      Also, you haven’t told me which owners don’t care about luxury boxes. Take your time, I’ll wait.

      Also, on a $4 StubHub seat? It’s about $5 for self-print or Will Call, and $5 minimum service charge per order (or 10% of the total cost of your order, whichever is more). So if you’re buying one ticket just for yourself, that’s $14, less than your movie. Make it more than one ticket and the average price per seat keeps dropping.

      Funny, but I’ve lived in the PNW for 8 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single person say, “Safeco Field sucks, I miss the Kingdome.” I wonder why that is.

      • Joe D.

        Hi Andee,

        Of course that is the prevalient theme of most all owners which is the problem with all of baseball, not just the Mets and it’s obviously all the fans who are getting the shaft. But this is about Faith and Fear in Flushing, not Faith and Fear in the Bronx or Seattle so I didn’t expand it beyond Queens.

        Stub Hub is great but that’s the secondary market. We’re talking about what the Mets charge and what those on Stub Hub originally paid. Sellers on stub hub took tremendous losses last year on unused tickets. Somebody I know got two tickets behind the Mets dugout for a late season game against the Cubs a few hours before game time and paid just $30 total. Wonder how many are willing to again buy season and single tickets with the prospect of taking the same such losses? Those bargains will still be there, but they might not be as abundant in 2012. Either way, it has nothing to do with the Mets.

        As far as Seattle, Safeco Field is not Citi Field and the Kingdome is not Shea.

        Ciao,
        Joe

        • Andee

          The Kingdome wasn’t Shea, because it was a dome, but they were both all-purpose concrete blobs that were very much of their time and not built to last. And Citi Field is actually very much like Safeco, except that Safeco has a retractable roof (which I actually kind of wish Citi had, but they do get more rain/cold before mid-June up here, so it wasn’t going to fly otherwise).

          But think of the Mariners’ track record. The last time they were even in the playoffs was when they had that ridiculous record in 2001, and they’ve gone over 90 losses five times since then, and over 100 losses twice in the last four years. They’ve been around since 1977 and have never even won a pennant, much less a WS, and they would need either the Angels or Rangers to go completely down the tubes to have a shot this year (of course, anything is possible). I’d say Mariners fans have a LOT more to complain about than we do, and yet, I’ve never encountered anything like the “what have you done for me lately?” kind of entitled hostility I see from way too many Mets fans.

          And my point about the ticket prices is that a) there are ways to beat the system, and b) an ownership regime change is not likely to change anything drastically about the cost of tickets in today’s market. Yeah, it costs more in constant dollars to buy a ticket from the box office now than it did in 1969. But if constant dollars were applicable neatly across the board, it would cost me about $250 to call my mom for half an hour and about ten times that much to fly across the country in coach to see her.

          Anyway, it’s your money and your time, spend it how you wish and how you need to. But how can you be a “fan” of something you hate? Maybe I’ve been on the West Coast too long, but I don’t get it.

  • Joe D.

    Sorry – forgot to note that $31.00 was the cost of a single $19 ticket after all those add ons and shipping.

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