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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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Cuppy Town

8730264130_b6020cfddd_zI’m just back from the village green of our small town, a town that likes its baseball and may even field a professional team one of these days.

8730267100_4a303ed220_zIt’s got this quirky little parade it runs now and then, sometimes too early in the year for its own good, but the folks who march in it wear these big grins after they’ve carried their hopeful, sweet-natured signs, so it’s all in good fun.

8730247512_a8235807a3_zI try to show up in time to give ’em all a big hand, since otherwise there doesn’t seem to be anybody else around to watch ’em wave their homemade placards and such. The organizers aren’t too reliable about saying when the darn thing’ll start, however, so some years — like this year — I catch only the tail end. Maybe the tail end was about the same size as the front end. Either way, I saw the grins.

8729145179_fe9641781a_zThe town doesn’t lack for eats, which is nice. My wife’s treating an ulcer — maybe or maybe not related to watching our unprofessional team — so we couldn’t really partake of the big picnic. There was a girl selling gluten-free goodies, though, and she couldn’t have been nicer steering my wife through what she might be able to sample in her condition. Same for the lady inside the market right next to it. The niceness of the folks doesn’t always extend to the people who have to work in our town, but Saturday, we found quite a few kind souls.

8730270618_b29804f599_zFunny thing about our town is though the baseball team can’t rightly be called professional, the people who put the team out there sure want to make you feel like they’re a big deal. Used to be there was just one enormous-headed mascot, but now he’s got company. Some fella dresses up as a coffee cup and all the folks try to help the one person who’s supposed to find him find him.

8730224674_b71b352a20_zIt’s not much, but our town’s pretty small.

8730279790_42afab0bf6_zWe’ve had the team so long, that it’s hard to remember how good it’s sometimes been. Now and then they tell us “facts” about what happened to the team on whatever date the day happens to be. It’s not uncommon for something to be wrong with the facts by the time they put ’em up where everybody can see ’em. For instance, they said our then-professional team split a doubleheader in Los Angeles 41 years ago Saturday. Actually, that doubleheader took place right next door to our current village green, and the kicker was it was the first day-night doubleheader our team had ever played at home. But they didn’t mention that.

8729121465_cd5a0efe70_zEasy mistakes to make if you’re not careful looking things up. The folks who run our village green are sometimes kind of careless that way. But we keep coming back anyway. I’m a bit of a stickler about details, yet I’m not all that particular overall. If I were, I probably wouldn’t be so fond of our unprofessional team.

8729121637_73fd65e2dc_zYeah, you can call out this or that mistake or that or this silliness, but it’s our little town, with its peculiarities and oversized coffee cups, so you tend to let it go. You try to enjoy the grins instead. You see folks you know, and you chat, and you catch up on life away from the village green. You talk about the local team and its unprofessional performance, too, of course. You can’t help but notice it — or that ever since the village green was built, the team hasn’t had itself a winning season.

8730246030_57f95fcd61_zSaturday it played another team that built itself a pretty little park and has never had a winning season there, either, but my word! That team played like champions against our little band of amateurs. I wonder if they’ve suddenly gotten really good or if they just happen to benefit from the good fortune of having been visitors to our village green today.

8730254646_66885a14a5_zOur boys’ record isn’t what you’d call good right now, but I’ve seen it worse. Still, I can’t say I’ve seen them be worse in a very long time. Hmm…I suppose these things go in cycles.

8730254700_c5d4305e8b_zSay, you know who played for our little team that has yet to requalify for professional status Saturday? Neither do I. The lineup our manger sent out there reminds me of the kinds of packs of baseball cards I got when I was a kid. I’d open the wax paper, let the smell of the freshly planted gum waft over me and then watch the players tumble out randomly before me. Always wished I could’ve gotten better players. Instead, it was either the same old discouraging faces or some no-names that left me wondering who stuffed them in the pack in the first place.

8729106941_da91779c20_zOur players didn’t play too good Saturday. Our manager didn’t do anything much to help. One of our boys — one of the few we’ve got who’s come through for us lately — got hit with a baseball, but nobody seemed to mind. Not the longest stream of banners. Not many grins after what banners there were got put away. The girl with the gluten-free food was nice, though. And everybody pitched in to help pick out the coffee cup fella. It rained, but not to excess. Then we all dispersed.

8729114115_d366fb79a2_zJust another day in our town. Just another season like the ones directly before it.

Photographs by Sharon Chapman.

14 comments to Cuppy Town

  • Joe Nunz

    Placards!!

  • Steve D

    Welcome to Pottersville.

    I didn’t get to march with my banner idea.

  • Inside Pitcher

    Every time I see this thread name I start thinking of this Ben Folds tune –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRSSaOgvHHk

  • Jerry

    Attended banner Day game with my brother. Game felt done by 5th inning. Attended Wednesday’s White Sox game, park looked empty. Not good.

  • Jon

    Banner Day makes me so sad. All these great fans, all that creativity, all this heartbreak. Ugh.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Greg,

    Though it is obvious the participants were just as enthusiastic as they counterparts from 50 years ago, it is also obvious that the number of them are shrinking.

    It’s not because the ball club is bad – it’s because this Met organization is not responsive to the spirit of the Met fan or even shares such spirit in it’s own self.

    You know me, Greg. If this original new breeder is getting so fed up as to not live or die with the team anymore, it’s not a sign of getting older as it just having enough and acknowledging the orange and blue that I grew up with – all that it stood for from both fans and ownership alike – is a thing of the past.

    The Mets are looked at by this front office as a business and nothing more.
    Today is mother’s day and the greatest Mets mom of them all (aside from our own, of course), Mrs. Payson, would never have let it get to such indifference.

    She also would have built a ball park that was fan friendly and geared to watching a game and not a shopping mall and convention center. She also would not have tried squeezing the Met fan out of every dollar she could by making a day at the park for some families simply un-affordable.

    Or maybe it’s just a reflection of our times and that the days of a Mrs.Payson-type are too of a bygone era – just like the spontaneous love that made us shout LETS GO METS with no prodding from a public address system.

    Sorry that Steph is dealing with that ulcer and hope she feels better real real soon.

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    Banner day works in between games of a doubleheader..

    Is it really a banner day if there is nobody there to look at the banners?

    This team has turned into. “Peek a week” I look in and see how they are doing when Harvey pitches.

    For the other 6 days they are non existent!

  • Lenny65

    Sigh. They’re backsliding into that dreaded Mets listlessness again. Well, OK, they’ve already back-slidden. Still, I was kinda expecting a little more…life out of these guys. The crappy pack of baseball cards was a terrific analogy, every time I see Ike Davis in the lineup I remember the disappointment when I’d get ANOTHER Kurt Bevacqua.

    • Steve D

      I gave up on Ike last year and he has done nothing to change my mind…his at bat in the 8th inning was pathetic and Ron Darling said as much. He has great power, but can only hit a mistake right down the middle. Heaven forbid we ever had a coach who could help him…Keith probably could.

      • Lenny65

        It’s tough to see the guy struggle like this, I was really hoping he’d “find it” in 2013 but it certainly doesn’t look that way. Not to dump all the blame on him, of course, he’s just one symptom of the disease.

  • J.C.

    The second picture is my banner.

  • 1970

    Sad. Empty. Futile. Pathetic. Overpriced. There is but one sign: If the odious Wilpons remain, their greedy and silly stadium will just be a tourist trap. Except for Harvey and Wright, I can’t watch this degenerate organization.

  • [...] here most games?” “If we’re so dumb, how did almost a hundred banners get made going on about how great the Mets are and how people love the Mets?” “Hundred more than I would’ve guessed.” “Well, we tried to bury it at like ten in the [...]