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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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You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Remember that whole mess last year, when the Mets were going to wear first-responder caps on the 9/11 anniversary but then Bud Selig and Joe Torre wouldn’t let them, and the team meekly acquiesced rather than incur a fine from MLB?

Well, this year our team has avoided the problem in a way that’s pretty much the epitome of the modern-day Mets Way: There will be no dispute or ruckus over hats, because this time the Mets didn’t even ask for permission to wear them in the game. They’ll wear them during batting practice and the national anthem, and then go to the regulation hats, and then probably break their own arms patting themselves on the back for getting the prelude right and blowing the main event.

I’m speechless. With a year to work behind the scenes and come to an agreement, the best answer the Mets could come up with was … to surrender.

It’s absolutely indefensible.

I know the Mets have serious financial problems, and I accept that. I know the Mets are trying to rebuild their team the right way, a way that will take patience. And I accept that too. I know that part of that patience is watching young players struggle. And I accept that too, at least some of the time.

But I can’t accept this. It’s shameful and pathetic and frankly it’s fucking embarrassing. This isn’t a payroll figure, or a free-agent signing, or an on-field win. It’s standing up for a tradition that was honorable and moving and that deserves remembrance one day a year — something eminently within the control of an organization with some semblance of a backbone.

This is what I wrote about it last year.

This is what Greg wrote.

And this, a year later, is what the Mets have done.

I don’t even know what to say.

I am a patient fan, perhaps a too patient one. I try to think of myself as a realist in assessing my team’s moves and performance given their unfortunate situation, and perhaps this has led me from realism into rationalization. But c’mon, really — this was so much easier than any of that.

Who cares what Joe Torre and Bud Selig order you to do on this point?

Who cares about MLB authenticators taking hats and policing headgear?

Pay the fine — or better yet, dare MLB to collect it.

This one is easy, ladies and gentlemen. No one would be on MLB’s side — no one. How is this even a question? How could you blow this simple thing so utterly?

I love the Mets, even when they don’t win. I love being a Mets fan, even when the on-field results threaten to plunge me into despair. But when the Mets organization says something of note or decides something that rises above the day-to-day noise, I assume the results will be either embarrassing, mealy-mouthed, disingenuous or all three. And usually I’m proven correct.

I want the Mets to win again. I want the stands to be full and loud and raucous again. But just as much, I’d like the Mets organization to stop being so reliably spineless and embarrassing. The rest will take time, but that last part is in the Mets’ power. And they can start any time they like.

Here’s a good way to kick things off: Wear the fucking hats — for all the obvious reasons no one should have to spell out.

9 comments to You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me

  • Ty Wigginton would have worn his hat and bowled over the catcher. Now we get neither action from the Mets. For shame.

  • Inside Pitcher

    It’s disgraceful – pure and simple.

  • Harvey Poris

    The spineless Mets issued a press release thanking Selig and Torre for their support in letting the Mets where the caps before the game. Really!!!

  • Harvey Poris

    I mean wear the caps

  • Will in Central NJ

    This is all about money, when you get down to it.

    Somewhere, somehow, some sniveling attorney for New Era or some licensed vendor, probably struck first by sending notice to MLB and/or the Mets, invoking their rights as a licensee by threatening to claim damages (i.e., money) if the licensed “NY” hats are not worn through all 162 games. The players, via the MLB Players’ Union, get a cut of the licensing fees, and would probably be contractually shooting themselves in the foot by wearing first responder hats. Thus, the acquiescence we now see.

    Money gets in the way of patriotism and heartfelt, symbolic remembrance. That’s what we have.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    Ever think that the Mets reaction the past two 9/11’s was because they did not want to ruffle the feathers of Bud Selig? Last year they forced David Wright to remove his cap while in the dugout so not to disobey the Commissioner.

    Why? One possibility is that the only reason the Wilpons still remain owners of the Mets is because Bud Selig held a different set of standards for his personal close friends than he did those in Texas, Los Angeles and Montreal about ten years back. And that they also had to hire Sandy Alderson as part of that understanding.

    Sandy, after all, said it was Selig who urged him to apply for a job he really was not interested in and not to stay in a position he was quite happy with at the time. Sandy is a skilled corporate down-sizer and cutting down operating expenses so the Wilpons could use that money to help pay off debts was vital to their retaining ownership of the club.

    Know we have a friendly disagreement on our perspective about this but your anger about 9/11 again put everything back into perspective for me – debt, Bud Selig, Sandy Alderson and what could have been.

    Look at the talent we already had and did not retain: Beltran (who stated he wanted to end his career as a Met) and Pagan. We would have a tremendous run production outfield with those two alone – with just the Bay being our weak link (though in fairness, we did not anticipate Duda being so bad but still,Duda could have been the platoon option with Bay in left back in spring training based on Bay’s declining figures). We had a closer with KRod (don’t let his season ERA fool you, he had a poor month of April and a stretch of four consecutive bad outings in July that has inflated it as one can see in the attached below).

    Add those to the two we didn’t dispose of – Wright and Dickey (and who knows what their future status is) to those who we did dispose of, the young kids we called up at least a season ago – then consider having obtained players to shore up our bullpen and back end of our rotation – other than the “inexpensive” players as Sandy himself said we went after – and we might very well have remained in the playoff hunt despite the injuries to Santana, Gee and Pelfrey (who almost was released in spring training).

    Of course this is conjecture but think of a lineup like this based on the seasons the players in question are having – and let’s include Reyes in the mix for though Tejada has been great as his replacement (and would have still been a great utility infielder and defensive replacement) we miss the speed on the base paths that Jose and Pagan definitely would have added:

    Think of what our bullpen would be had Francisco been obtained and used in his more comfortable role as middle reliever with KRod as the closer. And this includes Rauch (despite his bad two month stretch in May and June), Parnell and early call up Edgin

    A great blend of young talent, players in their prime and some key veterans. This would still not have been a team ready to fall apart due to age requiring a vision based on starting all over.

    But we do not have this because the ownership suddenly found itself in an economic nightmare (some of their own doing by out-pricing the fan base) that required their friend in the Commissioner’s office coming to their aid.

    Being in the biggest sports market in America and not having the Madoff fiasco affecting them, is it not a valid question to ask whether or not a different general manager would have been fired having made all the moves Sandy did?

    No, because he actually has indeed done the job he was brought in to do – save ownership of the Mets for Fred and Jeff. And that is due to the edict I believe was placed upon the Wilpons in order not to have the same standards applied to them as those three other franchises mentioned earlier.

    And that is why they will not do proper for 9/11 two years in a row.

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