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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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Can the Mets Get New York Back?

Hello, is this the York residence?

Is this Mr. York?

Good day, Mr. York. I’m with the Metropolitan Baseball Club, and I’m calling to discuss your fanship. Our records indicate you signed on with us as a charter supporter of ours in 1962, which you might remember entitled you to a full Mets fan identity for the next 50 years. Your fanship expired in 2012, but it’s our standard procedure to automatically renew you and keep you on the books for another year after that. With that year having passed, I’m required to call to ensure your continuing fanship. I’m sure you’ve just been busy and haven’t yet had a chance to renew, so if I could take a moment to confirm a few pieces of information…

Uh-huh.

Uh-huh.

Could you tell me why you’re no longer interested?

Well, Mr. York, perhaps you haven’t heard about some of the great features we’ve added since you last fully took advantage of your Mets fanship.

No. No, we didn’t win one of those. I imagine you would have heard about it if we had. We do hope, however, to win another in the relatively near future.

No, we didn’t win one of those, either. That would’ve been big news, too. But I’m sure we’ll be competing for one very soon. In the meantime, we have all sorts of intriguing and exciting players…

No, he doesn’t play for us anymore.

I agree he was a good story, but he’s no longer here. On the other hand, we do have…

No, he’s gone, too. The year before last.

Yes, he was very good and we continue to wish him well.

No, we didn’t exactly sign anybody to take their places. We’ve been going another route.

Be that as it may, Mr. York, there are all kinds of benefits to remaining a Mets fan. I’d like to tell you about a young catcher…

No, not him. He retired a while ago. You certainly do go back with us, though. The young man I’d like to tell you about is going to…

Well, he hasn’t done anything yet. But the scouting reports are excellent. And when he arrives…

No, he’s not here. We expect him in a very brief while. And when he’s here, we look forward to him catching a pitcher who is also going to be…

No, he’s not here yet, either. We do, however, anticipate…

I wouldn’t put it that way, Mr. York. There are plenty of immediate benefits to remaining a Mets fan. We have one pitcher who is here who we’re very excited about.

No, he’s still here, but between you and me, he’s going to be phased out soon.

Yes, we’re aware of what he did last June, and I’m glad you heard about it, but we’re going in a younger, more “efficient” direction.

I wouldn’t characterize it that way. Perhaps you noticed that in last year’s playoffs…

No, I understand we weren’t in them, but there were teams who were that didn’t spend a fortune to get there.

Well, Mr. York, I respectfully disagree. It’s not an unwillingness or an inability to spend, it’s just that…

You may have read that, but it’s not necessarily true. But if I could, sir, I’d like to get back to some of our other features.

Three of them — just like everybody else: left, center and right. May I ask why you were wondering about that in particular?

To be fair, Mr. York, they haven’t proven they can’t play, and if you renew your fanship with the Mets, you’ll be able to tell everybody you were in on the ground floor.

No, sir, “ground floor” doesn’t necessarily equate with “basement”. Have I mentioned we have a catcher from whom we expect very big things?

It’s not that I’m avoiding talking about the outfield with you, I just think there’s more to the big picture. For example, the catcher…

Well, I guess we will see, and if you are interested in seeing, then I’d like to just confirm those few pieces of information and have you all set to keep your Mets fanship active. First name: N-E-…

No, there’s also a third baseman, a shortstop, a second baseman probably and a first baseman, plus a high-quality selection of on-site pitchers. We do have an array of players all ready to be enjoyed right away. Now, are you still living at…?

Uh-huh, I see. Well, about how much time do you think you’ll need to think about it?

That long? I was asking for a time frame, Mr. York, because you were willing to show us your support sight unseen in 1962 and, some variations in the marketplace notwithstanding, you seem to have benefited from the affiliation. Our records show your fanship was fully active in and around 1969, 1986 and at several junctures more recently. We’d really hate to lose your allegiance after all these years.

I’m afraid I can’t promise you that, Mr. York, nor do I think you would want me to. We’ve tried to make guarantees in the past and they generally haven’t worked. We ask that by agreeing to renew your fanship with the Mets that you trust we are making your long-term satisfaction, in conjunction with our long-term success, our primary priority.

No, no, I understand, this is a big decision. Can I ask you to allow me to contact you again at some point after the season starts to see if you have a change of heart? Maybe after you’ve had a chance to see our catcher? There are no obligations. Just a conversation.

That’s wonderful, sir. You will hear from me and we do look forward to convincing you that we know what we’re doing as soon as possible.

No, thank you, Mr. York. As we say around here, we’re not really the Mets if we don’t have New York with us.

35 comments to Can the Mets Get New York Back?

  • Dave

    How did you get the ticket sales department to agree to share their phone script? Figured that was proprietary information.

  • Inside Pitcher

    This is largely the result of an organization that has been outwardly hostile to its fans for years. The time to have built fan loyalty was when things were going well. Now they’re left with those of us who are too stubborn to let them drive us away.

  • Dave Arbiter

    Bob Newhart would be proud!

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Why do I suspect you had me in the back of your mind when putting together that altogether incisive conversation?

    This is a rough time for many an original new breeder. This front office treats players and fans with all the compassion of a statistic. Sandy Alderson is more reflective of the Yankees in the fifties and sixties when they were a team that separated the classes. Obviously, the middle and lower classes were first for the Dodgers and Giants and then replaced by the Mets. The Yankees? They were all business, all corporate, the Bell Telephone and United States Steel of baseball.

    That’s why with the Mets and I it was love at first sight – my father owned a delivery truck and drove a cab at night to make ends meet.

    With the expansion of baseball into a multi billion dollar industry teams are now being run as a business. With that in mind, the role of the general manager has changed tremendously over the past few decades. Whereas most general managers back then came through the ranks of careers in the game (from hall of famer Joe Cronin to Branch Rickey who spent two years as a fringe player) most all GM’s come not from the ranks of former players (minor leaguer, fringe or scout) but from the corporate world (I think there are only three former players holding that position at this time).

    And unlike the older general manager who concentrated mainly on player personnel along with (for example) negotiating local television and radio contacts, today’s general managers are astute corporate executives and have been hired to run the team as corporation, no longer a mom and pop business.

    Which does not have to actually a problem. The Mets could be a big business yet still be run with a heart, not as extreme as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet but not as cold as it is now.

    Sandy Alderson’s first priority is to the Wilpons, to get their economic house back in order after the Madoff swindle nearly cost them the franchise on at least two occasions. He does not look at the Mets as the business of baseball but rather as baseball as a business.

    Anyone with the indifference to send away an R.A. Dickey, probably the most decent individual – and even more importantly – productive player to ever don the orange and blue to avoid a two-year extension in which the player was willing to accept below market value – does not represent the Mets that I grew up with and loved.

    • Wasn’t necessarily playing the disaffected New Breeder card there, Joe. People like you (and everybody who reads here) still follow and still care. I’m thinking of how far the Metropolitan Area as a whole (as opposed to us diehards) has drifted away from the Mets to the point where it will be tough to win them back with anything shy of massive success. The linked article, even if it did run in the Post and even if the study is not utterly comprehensive, tells a damning story…one I think is fairly evident to anybody who lives in these parts.

    • Outstanding joe..,,,the Mets miss the whole ethos of their followers and the Dickey trade after that near full house the last week of September in yet another lost seasons is the epitome of the disconnect as you state so clearly! (not to metion last years 1 sided flexible ticket price scam where you c/n buy a discount at game time evn though less than 20000 in the house!)

      • Joe D.

        Thanks Vincent, do appreciate it.

        That has been my observation after getting to know at least the public side of Sandy Alderson. At the time, I was unaware of the changing role of the general manager, probably because we were focused on guys like Omar and Steve Phillips, who were baseball people focused primarily on building a baseball team and not really getting into the financial aspect of the business (this is not giving an opinion one way or the other on how they handled their job, just their focus). So when Sandy was being hailed as the architect of those Oakland clubs and the grandfather of sabermetrics and money ball, I took at that and little more.

        So, I think Joe McGinniss should write another book “The Selling Of The General Manager 2010″ for what we got was a business person looking at the ledger book and not a baseball person with a vision of re-building a club primarily through the minor leagues. He proved his vision when admitting to Mike Francesa last September about those inexpensive players he got and knowing they would only be able to produce 50% and one cannot expect to win with them.

        So this is not the Met organization most of us grew up with. This is now a business and only looked at as a business. Oh, I know the Wilpons want to win and have shown they would spend as much as necessary to try and bring home a winner. But they also showed the dark side of themselves when Citi Field was unveiled with it’s too expensive seats, blocked view of left field for those in the “cheap seats” and catering to those with the money.

        Sandy is just their lacky. In reality, he does not deserve any of the blame for doing the job he was hired to do as he to blame for participating in the double-talk that is insulting to our intelligence as Met fans.

        What struck me was his first interview taking phone calls from fans on SNY. One asked him about the problem with Citi Field as far as hitting home runs. He answered there was no problem with Citi Field and that Met hitters had to learn how to hit home runs there instead. I was dumbfounded.

        Then he began signing all these inexpesnive players who were either reclaimation projects or discards from other teams. I could not understand why but some were trying to convince me that through sabermetrics, Sandy thinks outside the box and sees things in players overlooked by others. Well, two years later, he admitted he signed inexpensive players and knew one could not win with them.

        Everything else has fallen into place. Sandy is a lawyer and corporate business person, astute in legal matters and the areas of finance. That has been his call throughout his life. He is not a baseball person. He did not build any teams in Oakland as he did preside overseeing the business. In an interview in the Daily News after Sandy was hired by the Mets, Roy Eisenhardt, the former A’s president who brought Alderson to Oakland in 1980 said:

        “The question I’m always asked is, ‘Why didn’t you hire a baseball guy to do that rather than a lawyer?

        “I didn’t think of Sandy as a lawyer. I thought of Sandy as a really smart guy who knows how to analyze decisions and make decisions and who had had the experience of being in the Marine Corps and (serving) in Vietnam, which is a real character-building experience. Those were the skills I was looking for because I wasn’t looking for just somebody making baseball judgments.”

        (Eisenhardt was a partner at the San Francisco law firm Farella, Braun & Martel when Alderson came to clerk there one summer in the mid-’70s. After Eisenhardt’s father-in-law, Walter Haas, bought the A’s in 1980, Eisenhardt had a new post and hired Alderson to be the team’s general counsel in ’81. Two years later Alderson was promoted to GM, although Eisenhardt says the job title was VP of baseball operations.)

        Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/ex-marine-harvard-law-school-grad-sandy-alderson-brings-toughness-mets-trenches-article-1.192497#ixzz2LXrRjjx9

        Nobody with that background could just come in and suddenly make the baseball decisions that put together a winning organization. At the same time Sandy Alderson was brought on board, so was Bill Rigney, who had forty years of experience as a player, manager, scout and yes, even a broadcaster. Rigney did not report to Alderson but to Eisenhardt. And as far as decision making went, this is what Sandy said after Oakland won it’s first American League title in 1988:

        “When you talk about people who have contributed to our success, you have to single out Bill Rigney. His contributions have been enormous. He has been involved in every one of our player acquisitions since I came here in 1982. I’ve watched 600 or 700 games with Bill, and it’s been an education.”

        Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/It-Musta-Been-Rigged-Bill-Rigney-dead-at-83-2949823.php#ixzz2LXtQWo8m

        to traditinal observation and knowledge by those who played the game to know how to best apply techniques to it.

  • I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: no respectable fish would be caught wrapped in the POST…

  • But the numbers in the Post only tell the story we already know, the Mets have not just lost the current war in New York–badly00they have lost an entire generation. And the numbers don’t really take into account outside the metropolitan area, where there are more Red Sox fans than Mets fans. In many places it’s assumed you’re either a Yankees fan or you don’t follow baseball.

    • Maybe we should all move to Floral Park, if just to have one ZIP Code to call our own.

    • Will in Central NJ

      I’ll trot out my oft-told story again: a generation of children in this metro area have grown up, under the duress of peer pressure, to be fans of that other NY team.

      While shopping for a new home 2003-04, my wife and I encountered numerous open houses in central NJ where the kids’ bedrooms were decorated in NYY swag. Many of the sellers, parents of those kids, confessed that they were big Met fans, but their kids refused to have anything to do with the Mets.

      There, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz, are your chickens who’ve come home to roost.

  • Barry F.

    What we have is a worst-case scenario: the expansion of the playoff field made sure that the Yankees would make it virtually every year. Tne near-misses of the 80s in which the Yankees came up short to the likes of the Blue Jays and Orioles are gone. Now the Evil Empire goes on ad infinitum destroying the very concept of underdogism itself. The Mets, with their big run being in the 80s, meanwhile suffer in the knowledge that they were too early for this format and could not pick a worse time to be detached from their fanbase. Nothing is missed. No house reporter like a Dick Young can spin it positively. No Casey Stengel can quip his way out of the loathesome joke the Wilpons have made of this franchise.
    It is HOPELESS. It is dispicable. They are not owners, but pirates of the team we love, holding hostage the most important vicarious outlet of our lives. It is a cruelty that is almost NBA-like and is depressing enough to be like a world without sun or children or ice cream or youth.
    Joyless Wilpons, be gone. Every day you own the Mets, you inflict pain on many who one day long ago chose to root for this team.
    You are the Anti-Summer.

    • They have made it difficult to want to trust them and their product, even at a moment when I really do believe (oh, that word) certain aspects of the product are coming together.

      Count me as someone who wants to see the catcher. But comparatively speaking, I’m an easy sell.

      As for being pirates, let’s hope not, at least based on the returns of 1993-2012 in Pittsburgh.

      • dmg

        i hate to say this, greg, because it reveals the very small person i am. but i DON’T want to see the catcher (though i note he was included in the spring training photos the club posted yesterday on fb). i’m of the group that so despises the trade of dickey that even if good things come of it, i will never forgive management for moving him. that’s never with an n.

        • That’s like quietly rooting for Ruben Tejada’s batting average to dip below Jose Reyes’s batting average in 2012 and exulting even more quietly when it finally (if briefly) happened.

          Not that I did that out of pique or anything.

        • Dennis

          Are you serious? You would root against a young kid coming in here and not want him to be successful? It seems that a bunch of people that post here thrive on the negativity and would rather sit around with a “oh woe is me….I’m a poor Met fan” attitude than actually give Alderson a chance to see if he can help build a consistent winner. Isn’t that what all of us Mets fans want?

        • open the gates

          What? They traded Jerry Koosman for some unknown A-ball pitcher? Don’t want to know from him. I mean, what’s he gonna do, play in the most major league games in baseball history? Or – get this – be on the mound the next time the Mets win the World Series? (Like that’ll ever happen again.) No, I don’t care if I never hear Jesse Orosco’s name ever again.

          (That was me in the late ’70’s, minus the spot-on prognosications.)

  • Yeah, the Wilpons aren’t good for our self-esteem. Someone at my younger son’s school brought a dachshund. The poor dog was shivering cold, looked pathetic. It was a very Mets fan 2013 kind of moment unfortunately.

  • IB

    Dick Young was a vile, sanctimonious piece of garbage who was M. Donald Grant’s personal poison pen. Anyone who was a Met fan in that era would really know what it’s like to be looking at Met baseball from the bottom up. Instead, we have an endless stream of hateful bile on a blogosphere Dick Young would be proud of (FAFIF excluded!) – would probably claim to have fathered – the modern school of Met journalism. It’s a microcosm of the human condition.

    2 Guys Talking Baseball today are discussing who are the Mets greatest generation of fans. There are times when I hang my head in shame.

    I believe Wilpon when he says he loves this game and he loves the Mets. And, forget about “belief”. I have faith in this management and faith this team is turning it around. When they do, will Wilpon be cut a break? Yeah, sure.

    • Fred Wilpon owns the Mets. Fred Wilpon loves the Dodgers.

      • IB

        Fred Wilpon is in his late seventies and was baseball fan many years before the Mets existed. You’re going to fault a man for being a Dodger fan in his heart, a loyalty that began as a child? That’s just senseless to me. But, what’s even more senseless is the idea that he’s NOT a Met fan. He owns the team. He’s got a huge investment riding on the success of the franchise.

        Cmon.

        • I can get what you’re saying, but let’s face it, until very recently, Citi Field was a shrine to the Dodgers and had very little to do with the Mets, other than the fact that they played there.

          • IB

            Yeah, I would have preferred a Seaver or Koosman Rotunda over a Jackie Robinson Rotunda, but I always figured that was more a nod to history than the Brooklyn Dodger thing.

            As far as Citi Field itself as a tribute to Ebbets:

            I think the original design was
            fine to look at but a complete mess, especially with a team relying on a lot of power in the middle of the lineup. That hurt the makeup of the team. It was a huge mistake. If that’s where you’re coming from I agree.

  • […] for their on-field performance, it’s easy to be pessimistic, but with the Yankees aging, maybe they can begin to win back New York with their youth movement, even if they don’t win the […]

  • […] The post from Faith and Fear in Flushing can be found here […]

  • Steve D

    The Mets owned NY from 1969-1975…and from 1984-1993 or so. They have basically been second banana for 20 years and with good reason. If Fred retires and Jeff takes over, things will get even worse, believe it or not. Seems hopeless. The only thing that may get them to sell is if the fans totally revolt, which may happen if they lose near 100 games for a few years (which looks possible). I heard a Yankee exec say sales are slow…imagine how bad the Mets sales must be.