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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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Saturday Note Fever

I attended Curtis Granderson Bobblehead Night despite feeling no affinity whatsoever for Curtis Granderson as a New York Met. My bobble-enthusiast friend Joe talked me into going.

By “talked into,” I mean he had to ask twice. Usually it’s just once.

Curtis Granderson Bobblehead Night coincided with a hollow 7-2 loss to Philadelphia that coincided with Granderson striking out with the bases loaded.

It might not have been a coincidence.

Curtis Granderson makes for a better bobblehead than he does hitter.

More lifelike, too.

The Phillies scored seven runs, and that’s with the AARP discount.

Never mind retrofitting Nelson Cruz into a Mets uniform while willfully ignoring the bargain he became for the Orioles once he went untouched during the peak of the free agent market. If the Mets had committed the same two years and $16 million to Marlon Byrd during the last offseason as the Phillies did, Saturday night would have been different.

We’d have a productive right fielder who keeps proving he can hit in Citi Field.

We’d have a much better bat than Granderson’s; Granderson and Byrd have nearly identical on-base percentages, but Byrd’s slugging percentage is more than a hundred points higher.

We’d have, by Baseball-Reference WAR’s reckoning, 2.5 wins more for much less money.

We wouldn’t be stuck with a massive contract ($47 million) for three more years after this one for a player in frightening decline.

We’d have, essentially, the outfield version of Bartolo Colon’s relatively sane deal, except cheaper.

We’d still have Dilson Herrera and Vic Black because Byrd could have been signed after being rented out to Pittsburgh at the end of last season.

And we would’ve received Marlon Byrd bobbleheads, probably.

After the Phillies hung their five-spot on Colon in the sixth, I spent nine dollars on twelve ounces of beer, not because I was thirsty but because I was in that rare space in which I felt I really needed one.

Never have I so fully understood those vintage 7 Line shirts that declared, “This Team Makes Me Drink.”

Consumption of that beer lightened my mood considerably for approximately fifteen minutes.

The Mets’ lone scoring threat seemed to coincide with the draining of my beer cup. Maybe I need to drink more beer.

Or watch less of the Mets.

Granderson surely isn’t the only Met not doing anything at the plate. He’s also not the most expensive Met not doing anything at the plate.

David Wright’s been hurt, except he insists it has nothing to do with his endless slump.

All right, then. When is Wright going to be placed on the Able List?

And when might Granderson join him there?

There was a celebration of Taipei before the game. A festive dance was performed that was supposed to ward away evil spirits, according to Joe.

Jimmy Rollins refused to leave the ballpark, so I don’t think it was danced correctly.

Herrera drew the most sustained applause of the night for recording his first major league hit. The second-most, at least from me, was directed at Matt Harvey for presenting the Veteran of the Game with one of the American flags that flew over Citi Field.

Harvey appeared ready to activate himself when the rosters expand Monday and pencil himself in to start in Miami Tuesday.

I always get the feeling that the presentation of “an American flag that flew over Citi Field” is meant to glorify Citi Field more than it is to salute America.

Is the Veteran of the Game supposed to be overwhelmed by the gesture? “Y’know, I served my country under an American flag in a dangerous part of the world, but this one is nice, too.”

Wilsonianism strove to make the world safe for democracy. Dilsonianism might make the Mets feel secure enough to trade Daniel Murphy.

I don’t necessarily want to trade Murphy, the one guy on board who piles up hits like the Big Apple Brews stand must pile up profits. But I do want somebody acquired to bolster this lineup in the role of rising tide that lifts all boats. Murph may be the most tradable commodity we have.

We’re finishing fourth or fifth with him. Branch Rickey advises we can finish fourth or fifth without him.

Though you could say that about many, many Mets.

All our boats, at least the ones that carry our bats, are sinking.

Or are docked out by the World’s Fair Marina.

Joe and I sat to next a couple of dozen hearing-impaired fans. There was a lot of sign language flying back and forth. If I’d been paying attention, perhaps I could have learned a new way to communicate how much the Mets sucked.

A bad sign: there was a wave picking up momentum during the Mets’ one and only rally of the evening, in the seventh. I’d criticize the priorities of the participants, but, really, they weren’t missing anything.

Or were they supposed to be using their energy to wave the Mets toward victory? In which case, watch the game, people.

After the dramatic comeback I envisioned while in the middle of my beer failed to materialize, we met up with Paul from North Carolina, a Twitter pal of mine making his first Citi Field appearance. Sunday will be his second.

He sounded regretful about it already.

Paul expressed a healthy philosophy on remaining loyal to the cause from hundreds of miles away, not to mention light years from first place: If you lose your kid in the mall, your best bet is to wait for him or her to come back to find you instead of going off half-cocked searching.

Paul’s waiting for the Mets — the contending version with whom he fell in love nearly thirty years ago, that is — to meet up with him at the Pretzel Tide by the Gap, I guess.

I had to ask Paul, who speaks with an accent not often detected in Flushing, how he decided to get lost with the Mets when it was pretty obvious he didn’t grow up around here. The answer was WOR-TV when it was a superstation. He watched the Mets rather than be tempted by the WGN Cubs or TBS Braves.

He was quick to note the Cubs and Braves weren’t very good when he first got cable, while the Mets were on their way to the World Series.

Good call in 1986. Debatable now, though he’d never change the channel spiritually. Or try to find a new kid at the mall.

I may be mixing his metaphors. My apologies to Paul if I am. I’d blame the beer, but it was only twelve ounces and many hours ago.

Nine bucks for twelve ounces. What a racket.

Speaking of unmistakable accents, I’ve been at Citi Field enough in this year of in-game hosts to notice whenever Branden introduces a contestant from Merrick or Syosset or any one of our fine Nassau and Suffolk communities, he refers to that person as being from “Lawn Guyland”.

I doubt he really talks like that.

Friday night, I noticed Branden on a refreshment line just like a regular person before the game. There’s something discouraging about that.

Our in-game hosts are our second-tier royalty. When Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t show up to use his box, they’re the biggest celebrities we’ve got (next to Mr. Met and Cow-Bell Man, anyway). I really wouldn’t have a problem with Branden, Alexa and/or Christina being given behind-the-counter access for the quick pick-me-ups that keep them so darn perky in-game entertainment after in-game entertainment.

Now I’m wondering whether their open bottles of water are taken away by security as mine was Saturday night.

Because open bottles of water represent a threat to all those flags flying over Citi Field.

Every wiseass in creation has already pointed out that by posting their 73rd loss of the season, the Mets won’t win the 90 games they never promised anybody but everybody assumes they did.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…though if they had won 90 games, they wouldn’t have been damned.

It’s a bit of a shame word got out about the 90-win thing, because if the Mets had gotten there without hyping it, they could have gloated, in their best Pee-wee Herman, “We meant do that.”

Here’s what I would’ve liked to have heard out of the general manager when he was asked the first time about 90 wins:

“Our goal on a daily basis is to win the game in front of us. Do that, and the totals will take care of themselves.”

And when that was greeted by inevitable smirks and eyerolls, I would’ve liked Sandy Alderson to have added the following:

“Obviously we still have a ways to go. Everybody here is going to work very hard to get us where we want to be as soon as we can get there.”

His actual explanation, that 90 wins was neither a goal nor expectation, was more discouraging than watching Branden treated like a mere commoner.

I glanced at the out-of-town scoreboard at some point late and was overcome by sadness that on the second-to-last night of August none of it affected the Mets.

Of course they are making a race out of dibs on fourth place, which sits squarely on the line with Sunday’s game, the final Mets-Phillies battle of 2014.

The Mets hold a half-game lead over the Phillies with 26 to go.

My how times have changed where Mets-Phillies showdowns are concerned.

The Mets won 40 of 59 games in the best stretch of Shea’s last summer. When they were done playing the Phillies for the year, they held first place.

We spent the rest of September playing scoreboard, as they say.

That was the last September during which we looked at the out-of-town scoreboard out of anything but passing curiosity for what others are up to.

That was six years and one stadium ago.

That was when we had a team whose core talent almost provided a sufficient counterweight against its telling flaws.

My god, things have gotten so bad on the edge of September 2014 that I’m getting nostalgic for September 2008. And September 2008 was, by Metsian standards, a kick in the ol’ Ricardo Rincons.

Things will get better.

Eventually.

Or so I’m told.

Or so I sometimes tell others.

Some days I believe it.

Tonight I’m dubious.

Going to another game in which no Met accomplishes much of note will wear on your tenuous long-term optimism, no matter how nice the bobblehead you bring home.

11 comments to Saturday Note Fever

  • M Bordick

    Wright and Granderson seem older than all of the AARP Phillies save maybe Howard, and Colon actually is.

  • Inside Pitcher

    They took your water away AGAIN?

    smh….

  • Harvey

    At least the Cyclones are in a race for the post-season. Tied for the wildcard with 2 games left.

  • The Jestaplero

    Was at the game…sitting next to the boneheads who started the wave…Curtis whiffs with bases loaded, 2 outs, down by 4, and is later taken out of the game – on his bobblehead night….Colon looking like he ‘s DOEN as Jerome from Manhattan used to say. Are we ready to call Sandy’s Young/Colon/Granderson signing an unmitigated disaster? Will it hamper his ability to sign marquee players in the next (critical) 2-3 years?

  • roger kowalski

    The wave during the granderson at-bat infuriated me so much that I had to come here and chronicle my frustration.

    • Inside Pitcher

      Are you the same Kowalski who used to sit in the Mezzanine at Shea? I was looking at pix the other day and thinking about you – good to see you here!

  • Wheaties54321

    Watching Granderson and Wright struggle mightily night after night has me feeling low on hope also.

  • Parth

    With Granderson’s AB, bolstered by immediately falling behind 0-2 in the count, I had absolutely no hope he would even make contact. And Wright’s 2 extra base hits since the ASG is almost impossible. Having them back to back now in lineup is TC logic at its best.

  • open the gates

    Hey, I still have my Jason Bay bobblehead. And BTW, on Jason Bay Bobblehead Day, there was only one position player who didn’t get in the game. Namely, Jason Bay. Not sure if that says more about Jason Bay, bobbleheads in general, or Mets cluelessness in greater general. But I still have my Jason Bay bobblehead. And when the Mets make me nuts, I bobble him. He’s been bobbling a lot lately.

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