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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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Legends of the Fail

In the jungle, the mighty jungle of Comerica Park, the Tigers sweep tonight.

Feels good, doesn’t it? No matter how completely predictable this outcome had been for days; no matter the never comfortable fact that we’d rather be rooting for our team than rooting against their team; no matter that the phrase “putting them out of their misery” has rarely rung truer in professional postseason sporting competition, it feels very good.

Of course it does. If you lived through the Octobers when the opposite of this happened with them, you never get tired of Elimination Day. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And really, this entire American League Championship Series turned what used to be a deep breath of baseball amnesty —  time off for good behavior, essentially —  into a veritable autumnal festival of Sheadenfreude. It’s as if some beer company marketed an Oktoberfest for gloating and it caught on.

The funny thing (funny ha-ha, funny peculiar; whichever) is if the Orioles had won the fifth game of the first round, everything would have worked out better for them. It would have been written off as a tough series informed by a teamwide slump, and their immortal shortstop — the last remaining barrier that kept them planted on the right side of dignity and a safe distance from demise — would be up on his two feet and preparing for another go-round next year. Instead, it was an utter implosion on every level, wherein their cast of megastars dimmed beyond recognition, their legendary home-field intimidation morphed into a Christian Science Reading Room (with plenty of good seats still available!) and the ability of their acolytes and apologists to say “well, at least we made the playoffs” nullified by their collective desire to forget these playoffs ever happened.

That they were beaten by a team playing markedly better seems beside the point. The 88-win Tigers didn’t necessarily blow them out until Game Four, but except for an instinctual hiccup of anxiety in the ninth inning of the opener, the tight scores never actually felt competitive. I’d dare say the 88-loss Mets could have pulled this thing out in six…and the Mets lost 88 games.

Enough about them. Let’s hear it for the 2012 A.L. Champion Detroit Tigers. Whatever our stray secondary allegiances, we’re all ungrateful slugs if we don’t each immediately and permanently confer Favorite American League Team status upon these modern-day Bengal Belters. They were responsible for executing Elimination Day in 2006 (though we might have been too giddily preoccupied to fully notice); they took care of business in 2011; and now this. All any Mets fan wants out of the junior circuit is someone to make October safe to traverse the sidewalks of New York. The Tigers have done their part for our Metropolitan sanity two falls in a row and three of past seven.

So somebody please cue up Martha & The Vandellas and let us dance in the streets in tribute to Miggy & The Verlanders. Mets fans! Tigers fans! Fans of bombast-free, entitlement-deprived baseball! It doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as they’re not here.

23 comments to Legends of the Fail

  • In Repair

    And there was much rejoicing :)

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Sorry to change the subject already, but I’m watching the Cards/Giants. Dyar Miller is the Cardinals Bullpen Coach??? Last I heard he was having a few too many in some bar in 1981.

  • Andee

    I saw two spring training games this year: Mets-Tigers in Lakeland, and Yankees-Orioles in Sarasota. (I was visiting my dad in Sarasota; this not-being-able-to-drive-to-PSL shit really sucks.) The Tigers looked like world-beaters in their game, albeit one in which they didn’t have to face Wright and Davis, and the Orioles whomped the guys in Yankee uniforms, whoever they were. An omen? Maybe.

    This game can change so, so fast, it can make you dizzy. Two years ago the Red Sox looked like a model organization, the Twins won their division, and the Phillies looked like a dynasty. I’m astonished at how much juice the Yankees have managed to squeeze out of those old, old rinds. They’ve been doing stuff like that for at least the last five years, maybe longer. But really, are they going to keep Ichiro and Ibanez over Granderson and Swisher based on tiny, tiny sample size? (Oh please do that.)

    • Overcoming age, injury, et al and getting as far as they did would seem objectively uplifting in 29 other uniforms even with the wrong end of a 4-0 sweep serving as coda. Didn’t feel that way at all here.

  • dmg

    at least cano had that breakout game. that’s something to build on.

  • Dave

    After the Evil Empire made not so much as a wimper in what turned out to be the Bronx’s final two games of 2012, I felt it in my bones…this team was not coming back. And with this model, it might not next year and beyond. Their Fantasy League approach to building a Home Run Derby roster has failed by their trophy-or-bust standards. The O’Neill/Brosius model, with dirty uniforms and role players, worked much better, but in their seemingly Trump inspired bigger isn’t big enough world, they have no room for role players. Argument could be made that with the rosters the two teams have right now, the Mets will be the better team by 2014.

    But for now, to quote my favorite philosopher, Flounder from Animal House, “Oh boy, is this great!”

  • 9th string catcher

    It’s always enjoyable to watch the Yankees get eliminated, but added bonus when A-Rod and Swisher are so awful that they get benched. Love to see the $150M albatross they’ll have to deal with this winter.

    Can I have 10,000 marbles please?

  • Brendan

    Seems like after the string of seasons we as Mets fans have endured, there are very few things I enjoy more than Elimination Day. Too see the evil empire go down without even putting up a fight was truly awesome. They never had the lead once in the this ALCS series HA!

  • Lou

    Well if the Mets had put together a respectable season perhaps I would feel better about the Yankees losing. But frankly, rooting for the Yanks to lose with our current state of affairs in such disarray leaves me with an empty feeling. I am much more concerned about the future of our team than the current situation with the Yankees. Put it another way. I certainly would rather be upset over the Mets getting swept in the NLCS than being glad the Yankees did. That would mean our team made it to the final four and right now that seems like a very long way away.

    • The Mets haven’t gotten better or worse since October 3 (free agent declarations by Jack Egbert, Garrett Olson, Justin Hampson, Rob Johnson and Fred Lewis notwithstanding). Postseason baseball brings its own set of stimuli to the table and I enjoy partaking of it in a mostly compartmentalized manner. That is to say if the Mets were playing, I wouldn’t notice what other teams were up to. But they aren’t, so I do. And I liked this part.

    • Dennis

      I agree with Lou. While I’m shedding no tears at the Yankees embarrassment, I’m not doing cartwheels either that they lost. I think it has more to do with the fact that I’ve had to sit through 4 miserable seasons with the Mets, and wish they were in the position to have gotten swept in the NLCS. I too am more concerned on where they are heading than any joy over the Yanks defeat.

  • vertigone

    Ooh ooh, I love the part where Nick Swisher misses flyballs, and can’t get hits and gets booed for it and cries that Yankee fans are big meanies! Would watch again!

  • Will in Central NJ

    Watching the NYY buy players for another grab at the crown, I feel like I’m watching the morbidly obese woman waddle up to the all-you-can-eat buffet for her 28th serving. Yeah, if it’s paid for, it’s legal, but it’s disgusting to watch, and when’s enough, enough?

    Thank you, 2012 Detroit Tigers.

  • Scott M.

    “Sheadenfreude!” Of all the wonderful things about this post, Sheadenfreude had to be the best.

    Apparently, according to an essay in the NY Times this morning, (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/sports/baseball/a-long-awaited-upswing-for-downtown-detroit.html?ref=baseball) the Ilitch family had a lot to do with the revitalization of downtown Detroit. We in NY pay for our stadiums. I prefer Detroit’s owners to ours – both Yank & Met owners. Good on ya, Tigers. Rest up for the Series.

  • [...] the baseball banter and some occasional Yankee mockery, the guys at Faith and Fear in Flushing truly support their niche community. In this case, that [...]

  • Steve D

    Dave makes a great point about role players vs. all big names. Yankee history in the Steinbrenner Era bears this out. He bought the team in 1973 and was suspended in late 1974 for illegal campaign contributions to Nixon…during his suspension, Gabe Paul laid the foundation for two championships. From 1979 to 1990, George was at his height of interference, building big money, free agent teams that never won. He was suspended again from 1990-1992…during this time, Gene Michael laid the foundation for the mid-90s dynasty. As George again began to assert his influence from 2001 to 2008, the Yankees could not win it all with big name free agents. As he declined, they finally won again in 2009.

    George may be revered by uninformed fans, but when he had major influence, the franchise never won. He had no equal in terms of promotion and building up the value of the brand. Winning teams cannot be built on the back of big name free agents. You must stock the farm system, trade off some of it for winning veterans and add a key free agent or two. The key is knowing who to trade and making good trades. The best we have seen around here were Cashen, Steve Phillips and for the Yankees, Gabe Paul and Michaels.

  • Duffystaub

    How great is this? The team is imploding right before our eyes. The fans have finally stopped paying ridiculous prices to sit in a mausoleum. All those empty seats in the playoffs have to scare them no matter how they try to spin it. And they’re going to build around Cano? We can only hope they do and get more passionless players. For Jeter to pass the torch to Cano is hilarious. It’s obvious something happened with ARod. I can’t believe it’s over the girls in the stands incident. They wouldn’t throw the towel in that early. Since when did the Yankees place moral values above win, win, win? And who comes out the winner? ARod of course. He is now a martyr. If he had played and continued to be pitiful at the plate he would have gotten the most grief, of course. But now he’s a sympathetic figure to an extent.

    So when do the last decade’s Yankee teams start geting the Braves stigma attached to them? Starting in ’01 they lost in 7 games when Rivera couldn’t protect a 9th inning Game 7 lead. The next year were handled pretty easily by Florida. Of course ’04 was the most humiliating of all defeats to the Red Sox and this year was historic in it’s record setting futility. Throw in more series losses to any opponent not from Minnesota – and to be fair one championship in ’09 – the last game of the season did not go well.

    • Steve D

      You ain’t seen nothing yet…what by nature MUST happen at some point (quite possibly next year due to injuries) is that Jeter and Rivera are going to perform horribly…the Yankees will stick with them too long…and when they are finally discarded after much angst, a huge void will be left. It will take them years to recover. If we can just get new ownership for the Mets, perhaps we can take back NYC in our lifetimes.

  • [...] it was the Braves or Cardinals or some even less appealing 2012 postseason agglomeration, these testimonials would rate the ceremonial sticking of the index [...]