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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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And I Believe in a Promised Land

“Hello? Anyone still up?”
“In here.”
“I’m not coming by too late, am I?”
“No, it’s fine. Come in. Sit down. There’s some old pretzels in the fridge if you want. Might be a little hard, so be careful.”

“I’m not hungry. They’ve got great food at work. I’m still wired, though. I just had to drop by and tell somebody who would understand.”
“You had a good night it sounds like.”
“A good night? Did you see it?”
“I couldn’t stay up. These games are on too late for me these days.”
“Oh, you should have seen it. You should have heard it!”
“It was loud, huh?”

“Loud doesn’t begin to describe it. You said it would be loud if something like this ever happened.”
“Yes, it could get loud in my day.”
“I don’t know if you ever heard it like it was tonight, though. I mean it was crazy.”
“Big win, huh?”
“Not just a big win, but a wild scene. The fans were so into it.”
“Those fans can definitely get excited.”
“Excited isn’t the word for it. It was…”

“Yes, Amazin! I’d been hearing about Amazin’ as long as I can remember, ever since I started in 2009, but I never really got it.”
“You have to experience it for yourself. Took me, what, maybe six years to feel it.”
“When you were doing it, were the fans nonstop?”
“They could definitely keep it up.”

“But when the other team was introduced. Did the fans just give it to them? I mean the Dodgers knew they were in for it. And Utley…”
“Utley. Chase Utley. You should remember Utley. He was with the Phillies back when you were around.”
“I saw a lot of ballplayers in 45 years. Who can keep track?”

“The noise directed against Utley…wow! The fans would not let up on him. He probably wishes had taken that suspension.”
“Any whiskey bottles?”
“Whiskey bottles? What are you talking about?”
“When I was doing the playoffs, the fans didn’t just make noise. They made trouble for the bastards on the other team. Like Rose.”

“Howie Rose? Why would anybody make trouble for Howie Rose?”
“Not Howie, for Pete’s sake. Pete Rose. Had the most hits ever. Took out Buddy Harrelson with a dirty slide.”
“I don’t know who those names are.”
“You don’t know Pete Rose or Buddy Harrelson? I thought they gave you a museum at some point.”

“Anyway, when I thought it couldn’t get any louder from booing Utley, you should have heard the cheers for Ruben Tejada.”
“Tejada…Tejada…is he the one who cries when he’s traded?”
“No, that’s Flores.”
“Ah, Gil Flores. He was a nice boy.”

“I said Wilmer Flores, but that was something else. See, after all the Met reserves were introduced, they surprised everybody by bringing out Ruben, who hobbled out with a cane. The place went nuts.”
“The place went nuts when Willie and Yogi and Rusty went out to left field to stop the crowd from throwing whiskey bottles at Rose.”
“Rusty — he was there!”
“I thought Rusty was retired. They don’t have the DH now, do they?”

“No, Rusty threw out the first pitch. Then Harvey took the mound.”
“Haddix? He was Tom Seaver’s first pitching coach. No Rube Walker, but a nice fella.”
“This was Matt Harvey, you know, the Dark Knight?”
“It was a dark night when my lights went out in 1977. Have you ever seen the pictures where the players brought their cars on the field, turned their brights on and pantomimed a game of catch?”

“Uh, so Harvey throws a great first inning, but he’s not so good in the second. The Dodgers score three runs and for the first time everybody’s a little quiet.”
“Everybody was a lot quiet in 1977. Not one of my happier years. Not much company then. Not in ’78 or ’79, either, though that Gil Flores was a very nice boy. Did you say he was there tonight?”

“I think you mean Wilmer, and yes, he was the starting shortstop because Ruben was out. The second inning could have been worse, except David made a great jumping catch at third.”
“David…third…that sounds familiar.”
David Wright.”
“David! Him, I remember! He must’ve been 23 when I last saw him. What is he now, 24?”
“David’s 32.”
“Nah, you’re kidding. Little David Wright? The kid from Virginia who was all golly shucks and carried Cliff Floyd’s bags?”
“I don’t know. David’s the captain.”
“He is? Good for him. How’s Jose?”
“He’s not there anymore.”
“He must be 24, too.”

“I don’t know. Anyway, we were down, 3-0, but the Mets didn’t quit.”
“The Mets never quit. Have I ever told you about 1986?”
“You have. We got three singles in a row, scored a run and then the most amazing…”
“Amazin’. It’s pronounced Amazin’.”
“Then the most Amazin’ thing happened. Wilmer Flores was up…”
“Gil Flores has a son? Give him my regards.”

“I keep telling you, I don’t know who Gil Flo…just listen, old man. You’ll want to hear this part.”
“I’m listening, I’m listening already. I listened to the Beatles, you little pisher. The girls were screaming and you could barely make out that they were even singing.”
“I’ve heard this story! Can I tell you mine? I finally have one of my own.”
“So who’s stopping you?”

“Wilmer Flores was up, with men on first and second and he beats out an infield hit.”
“That’s nice.”
“Nice? It was more than nice. The fans went crazy.”
“Yes, crazy. You said that before.”
“You don’t understand. I vibrated.”
“You what?”

“I vibrated. Out in left field, I could feel it.”
“You vibrated? That’s…that’s Amazin’!”
“I know! You used to tell me about the times you shook…”
“Oy, did I shake. It was against the Cardinals in 2000…or was it the Dodgers in 2006? Either way, yes, I shook. My Upper Deck almost came off from shaking. Are you all right? Did your Upper Deck come off?”

“I don’t have an Upper Deck. I have a Promenade.”
“Fancy with the euphemisms you are.”
“The important thing, the thing I’m trying to tell you, is I really got to feel what you always felt. The people came and they made noise all night and they were into it from the beginning to the end. They made the visiting team uncomfortable and they supported the Mets. And the Mets fed off it and won big.”
“Oh, they won? All from an infield hit by Gil Flores’s son?”

“That was just the beginning. Curtis Granderson hit a three-run double to put the Mets ahead, 4-3. In the next inning, Travis d’Arnaud homered to make it 6-3, and in the inning after that, Yoenis Cespedes…”
Orlando Cepeda? The Baby Bull? He’s a Met now? No, that can’t be right. He’d be older than I am.”
“Yoenis Cespedes hit maybe the longest, definitely the most majestic, probably the most important home run a Met has hit since I’ve been around. I mean, the arc…wow!”
“Did you shake then?”
“You know, it was so loud, I couldn’t even feel myself at that point. It was like I just stood there with my mouth open in awe of what Cespedes had done and what the Mets were doing. It was 10-3 and everybody knew they were going to win and take a series lead.”
“This Harvey — he gave up three runs in nine innings?”

“No, he only lasted five.”
“He left with an injury? I mean a starting pitcher in a playoff game who’s ahead by seven runs would only come out after five if his arm was falling off. Did I tell you about the time Rob Gardner pitched 15 scoreless innings and it was declared a tie?”
“It’s different these days. Harvey went five, Bartolo Colon went two…”
“Colon…he sounds familiar from my out-of-town scoreboard. He’s a Met now? No, that can’t be right. He’d be older than Orlando Cepeda.”

“There was a little bullpen sloppiness later, but the Mets won easily enough, 13-7.”
“That’s a strange score.”
“I know. Some guy who keeps track of these things says the Mets have won by 13-7 only once before, at Wrigley Field.”
“Wrigley! My old friend! Is he still active? Give him my regards if you see him.”
“The Mets just might. There’s still one more game for the Mets to win.”
“Oh, that’s important. You’ve gotta keep the momentum going. Did I teach you that?”

“I think you said something about that.”
“Listen to me, this is crucial. It sounds like you had a good night.”
“I had the best night. There was spontaneous chanting and there was bunting hung everywhere and orange towels waving and one high-five after another and 44,000 fans…”
“Forty-four thousand? What, was the Upper Deck under renovation? Forty-four thousand’s pretty low for a playoff game.”
“Forty-four thousand’s my record for any Mets game.”
“I keep forgetting you’re so much smaller than I was.”

“I may be smaller, but I get the job done.”
“You make sure you get the job done! Don’t just sit back and think it’s over. The Dodgers, they always have good pitching. They have a good pitcher going tomorrow night?”
“Uh, yeahClayton Kershaw.”
“Oh, Don Shaw’s boy? Or is he Bob Shaw’s boy? I could never keep those two straight.”
“Clayton Kershaw was Cy Young and MVP last year.”
“A regular Koufax, huh? Well, then you’ve gotta bear down even more. You got a taste of the playoffs. But you can’t stop there. You’ve gotta keep going. You and those 44,000 fans and these Mets of yours — you like how tonight felt?”

“I loved how tonight felt. It was what I was waiting seven seasons for. I thought a night like tonight would never come for me. But when it came, I finally felt like a real ballpark.”
“Well, you keep going, because you have no idea how much better it can be. Brush this Clayton Shaw and this Chase Ugly aside while you’ve got them down. Win this series. Move on to the next round. You feel like a real ballpark now? You’ll feel like something you’ve never imagined if you keep going.”

“I’ll feel Amazin’?”
“Ah, I’m not worried about you anymore, kid. You know how to be a ballpark in the playoffs.”
“And you’re not the dump everybody said you were, old man.”
“Lemme let you in on a secret. When they told me I could stay open in October, I was never a dump. I was a home field advantage. Now make me proud and go keep being one yourself.”

32 comments to And I Believe in a Promised Land

  • Dave

    Thanks a lot Greg…after getting less than 3 hours of sleep thanks to the distance between Flushing and Central Jersey and my long morning commute, now I’m getting verklempt. Shades of the classic “You’re Golden Now.”

    But now Citi finally, completely feels like home…there are memories there now. We know what it feels like for the place to be so loud you can’t carry on a conversation, how it feels to leave it with half a voice. And the Mets handled, you know, that thing (as Tony might say to Paulie) the best way possible…by showing the Dodgers who’s boss, with 44,000 making what kind of seemed like the noise 56,000 used to make.

    Now I just wonder how much caffeine it will take to make me last through tonight’s game in my nice comfy chair in the tv room.

  • Steve2916

    Your capacity to write original and entertaining content in the wee hours continues to amaze me. Thank you.

    What a night in front of my TV. It hit me around the third inning how great it is to have the Mets playing in the post-season.

    The Mets avenged Tejada in the best way possible…a blowout win. Kudos to Harvey for gutting it out on an off night. The mark of a great pitcher is that he gets it done in a game where he does not have his best stuff. He came up big.

    On to tonight! Let’s go, Mets!

    • mikeL

      indeed…thanks greg (did you even go to sleep last nite?!)

      what a win. utley doesn’t seem so big in my mind now.

      we indeed got the blow-out win that would show all of the dodgers what utley’s punk move and MLB’s incompetence would unleash.
      blood lust has been replaced by my vision of the long red-eye home, silence from the dodgers, and poor little utley without a friend on the flight…coming home to a city that somehow hates him as much as ours does.

      that said, another laugher and maybe a met pitcher can send utley home with a tattoo, a souvenir of his trip to the big apple.

      glad that tejada came out and got some love from the fans. heal fast.

      let’s go mets. in FOUR!

  • Mikey

    when Curtis came up with the bases loaded in the second, I said to my TV, “come on Curtis, swing at the first pitch and crush it,” and boy, did he. they were just attacking the baseball, and of course when Cespedes crushed that homer…wow, what an exhilarating feeling that was. I don’t live in NY anymore, but I’m lucky enough to have been at two of the Mets/Astros playoff games in ’86, the two home games they won in that series and the atmosphere was electric and then some. I can only imagine it was like that last night at Citi with all of those big hits by Curtis, Travis and Yoenis. Now let’s get to Kershaw early tonight and put this series away in Flushing.

  • Dennis

    13 runs was the best revenge to lay on the Dodgers. Hope they knock out Kershaw early and finish the job tonight. LGM!!!!!

  • THAT is how we get revenge – blowing these clowns out of the water in our (new) house. Now, beat their ace for the 2nd time, move on, and hope Utley doesn’t retire so someone can dust him in April or May.

    Oh, and someone should’ve had a freshly printed contrcat awaiting Cespedes before he took off his batting gloves after that rocket.

  • Gianni Privacio

    Curious if you guys, or anyone else actually there, had good view of the strike zone. Seemed to me that the scoring outburst by both teams may have been influenced by pitch calling. First noticed it with Harvey not getting several close pitches, mostly near the lower part of the plate outside corner. Rare when a marquee pitcher does not get those calls. Same for Anderson. Later, Wood did get a couple borderline strikes inside, Colon maybe got a few in the 3 K inning. And the overall numbers (344 pitches / 223 strikes) seem pretty normal?

    Obviously not sour grapes here, just an observation. Historically, I do think that Glavine’s results with the Mets were colored by his consistently not getting that foot and a half outside pitch he got when with Atlanta.

    Might have some bearing on tonight’s game, guessing it should be called by Chris Guccione, Gary Cederstrom, or Chad Fairchild based on rotation. If the zone is tight against Kershaw might give the Mets a shot at some runs, conversely could throw Matz off early. Wondering if anyone else saw same?

  • Marc R

    Mr. Wright ain’t a boy, no he’s a man . . .

    • Jacobs27

      Beat me to it, Marc R.

      Pretty soon little park’s gonna take charge! Got the faith to stand its ground! Not to mention, BLOW AWAY those Dodgers that break your shortstop’s leg…

  • open the gates

    Now THAT’S the way to win a ballgame!

    And kudos, Greg. That was truly one of your finest pieces. Hope the “new kid on the block” gets this experience frequently in the next few weeks.

  • Robin Moore

    I loved reading your writing about the Mets. Game 3 was wonderful. I was sitting on my couch here in Suffolk, VA. I had my HIT TOWEL (from 7 Line) and was waving it as if I was at Citi-Field cheering with all the other Mets fans. Lets win this thing tonight.

  • 9th string catcher

    Can’t be sure, but it sure felt like Mattingly gave Utley a one game suspension. Given Utley’s success against Harvey, I think that helped enormously. Had he been in the lineup during the 2nd inning, the game could have gotten away entirely. Either way, the issue is over with as far as I’m concerned. Now let’s close this thing up!

    • dmg

      i agree — i imagine after utley appealed, that torre called up his protege and said, look, just keep him out this first game, we don’t need something terrible happening. mlb will make it up to you sometime later.

  • Inside Pitcher

    Hey – the pretzels were ready!

  • Amazin’ piece, Greg. I watched the game over night, thanks to the time difference between New York and England – so am operating on about three hours sleep like Dave in the top comment, but can’t wait to do it again tonight – Citi sounded so loud last night (even at 3am, with the volume down so I don’t wake my boys!). Let’s take care of business tonight. If only because I need the sleep!

  • Eric

    It was good to see the Mets raking like they did in August. Winning one against Kershaw or Greinke is still a tall order, but much better than needing to win against both of them. This is the position they planned to be in.

    Still mostly unknown young lefty Matz up next to make his bones against the best lefty in the game on center stage.

    For Kershaw, game 4 is a must-win game. Not only is team elimination on the line, his reputation as a champion worthy of Koufax is on the line. The sample size is growing that he is not. With Greinke likely to test the free-agent market, who knows when Kershaw might receive another chance to fix his reputation if he loses again tonight.

    Harvey appears not to be a bonafide staff ace like deGrom, but Harvey was good enough.

    Is winning sufficient retribution for Utley breaking Tejada’s leg? No, it is not. That’s separate business.

    • mikeL

      in a fairness eric harvey wasn’t pitching like harvey last nite.
      maybe without the innings-limit business he would have been in his zone in spite of the long time off…of maybe he’d have a dead arm from overwork.
      let’s see how he fares after the next long season.

      and what harvey did do was will the outs he needed to get in spite of not having his usual control or movement.

      may stephen matz make us all very proud tonite and out pitch kershaw the way degrom did just a few nites back.

      • Eric

        True. Harvey’s TJ-recovery season is a built in valid excuse.

        If Kershaw wins tonight, imagine deGrom’s reputation if he outpitches Kershaw and Greinke on the road to win the series.

  • mikeL

    just saw this:

    more dodger fan thuggery.
    i hope the mets make some kind of official statement of support for the unnamed, beaten fan so that all in the ballpark can invoke him as well (as rueben) as one to rally around.

    all the more glad our guys took the high road and set the tone for their outraged fans.

  • mikey

    I want to say something else…remember how we wanted home field? Well if that had happened game 3 would not have been at citi. A lot of variables but the fact that the utley play happened in LA made it possible for game 3 to be in NY played to a raucous crowd that clearly had the team feeding off it. Im not happy about rubens leg but last night was just another page in the ongoing book of one of the best mets seasons we have ever seen

  • Eric

    Listening to the WOR radio broadcast last night, I wished the currently under-utilized Gary Cohen could at least fill in for Josh Lewin and team up with Howie Rose when Lewin’s “off” announcing Chargers games.

    Wayne Randazzo is a competent pre- and post-game man and a serviceable play-by-play fill-in, but he falls far short of Cohen in the booth, who’s one of the best radio play-by-play men in the business.

    Having Cohen there yet not using him to broadcast the 2015 Mets post-season with Rose for posterity’s sake is a waste and a shame.

    • Dave

      Imagine how Gary must feel…he’s every bit as much a fan as the rest of us, has what has to be a dream-come-true job, but now that the games really mean something, he’s on the sideline. Kind of Dillon Gee-like, except we know he’ll be back. I hope at the very least he gets to sit in a luxury box, gets to hang out with former players or something.

  • Lenny65

    Thanks Mets for the greatest bday gift since Lenny’s Game Three HR in ’86! Now THAT is revenge, no silly beanball wars, no ejections, just a resounding win. Let’s finish them tonight, I’m sick to death of hearing about Kershaw and Utley, time to send LA home for the winter. If these guys start raking again no one’s beating them.

  • Daniel Hall

    That was a fun game. Let’s hope they can make at least some of it into tonight’s game.

    Of course Ruben has not been avenged so far.

  • Josh Burton

    Greg, you truly make being a Mets fan more enjoyable and rewarding. Thank you.

  • Christopher Gross

    This, literally, made me cry. . .

  • CowCrusher

    It’s not Citi, It’s Shea Jr. #BEAT LA and make it “Shea-ke” like yesteryear! !!!! :)

  • ljcmets

    David and Jose, eternally together at 24 at Shea, smoking cigars, drinking champagne, and believing it would always be just like that. That made me choke up.
    “My friends, it’s been a long, long time…”

  • […] happens come Thursday, October has provided gratifying proof that Citi Field can indeed get its roar on if the faithful are given something to roar about. Kudos, also, to the Mets for tidying up aspects […]

  • Tom V

    So out in leftfield, CitiField was shaking? I was out in RF, Sec 502, and was disappointed after the Cespedes HR to NOT feel it shaking the way Shea did. Great piece!

  • […] didn’t impact the Mets in any tangible way. As for Saturday night, geez, that was ice-cold fun. Everything Citi Field told Shea Stadium last week remained true. It’s an epic place for an epic event when it’s filled with epic fans, and I’ll […]