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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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So Crowded, Everybody Went There

Did Citi Field seem roomier to you in 2017? There were 328,980 fewer customers paying their way into the old ballgames there than there were in 2016 — and we know paid “attendance” doesn’t fully reflect the relationship between fannies and seats. The approximate 11.8% drop in official visitation to the home of the Mets is understandable. One year the Mets were coming off a pennant and driving toward the playoffs. The next year the Mets were falling off a cliff. A seventeen-win plummet is a tough selling point in any market.

So there was more wiggle room from Promenade on down. Shorter lines at the concessions. Decreased demand to be inside the fancy/schmancy clubs. “Lonely People” by America spiritually replacing “Piano Man” by Billy Joel as the eighth-inning singalong. The reported total of 2,450,622, ninth-highest in the National League, is a respectable enough figure when you stare at it (if Citi were a city, its attendance would have been the fourth-largest city in the United States), but it was definitely less than the Mets had drawn each of the previous two notably more successful seasons.

Yet there was one spot the Mets operated that appeared more popular than ever. It was the destination everybody talked about and almost everybody elbowed, shouldered, kneed, muscled and practically collapsed their way into. Per Yogi Berra, perhaps, it was so crowded, everybody went there in 2017.

It was The Disabled List, the hottest spot in town and recipient of Faith and Fear in Flushing’s Nikon Camera Player of the Year award, presented to the entity or concept that best symbolizes, illustrates or transcends the year in Metsdom.

All season long, the chatter around the Mets was “DL this” and “DL that,” as if the rich and famous were aching to be a part of its scene. It almost hurt to consider the accumulated star power it attracted. And it wasn’t a day-to-day thing, either; you had to commit…ten days…sixty days…who could keep count after a while?

You could try, but it would be painful.

The true mark of what makes a spot hot is the buzz it generates, and the best way to understand what made the Disabled List sizzle is to sift through the online reviews its glitzy patrons left. Taken together, their feedback reads like a cry for Yelp.

“I keep a regular table there, in the back. Sometimes it feels like I never leave. It’s the personal touch I appreciate. The Maître D, Ray, treats me like family.”
—David W., April 2

“Try the inflamed elbow. If you have the time, it’s worth it.”
—Steven M., April 2

“I’m having what Steven is having.”
—Seth L., April 2

“If I can be oblique about it, I’d recommend the left one.”
—Juan L., April 2

“I’d had ham before, but the hamstring was something else.”
—Brandon N., April 2

“You wouldn’t call me hyper, but when it comes to the DL, I’m all about hyperextension.”
—Lucas D., April 20

“Two words: the knee.”
—Wilmer F., April 20

“Have the strain. Try it without water.”
—Yoenis C., April 28

“I’d heard so much about the DL that I had to grab a seat — laterally.”
—Noah S., May 1

“I’d been so often that I didn’t think I could be surprised, but with this trip, you might say I learned the wrist of the story.”
—Travis D., May 5

“You’d have to be a clot to not want to check this place out.”
—Jeurys F., May 12

“Thumbed my way to the DL. Nothing could keep me away.”
—Asdrubal C., May 16

“I didn’t think I’d need to be here, yet here I am. Go figure.”
—Tommy M., May 24

“Thumbed my way back to the DL. I wonder if they have branches of this place somewhere else. I’m definitely gonna ask if they can send me to check them out.”
—Asdrubal C., June 13

“I tried the shoulder.”
—Josh S., June 14

“The joint has barely changed since I last showed up.”
—Neil W., June 15

“I said ‘scallops,’ but they had me down for ‘scapula’. I’m not sure they understand me anymore.”
—Matt H., June 16

“Saw David and Neil again when I walked through the door. Like old times.”
—Juan L., June 16

“The biceps tendinitis is pretty exotic.”
—Zack W., June 21

“If you don’t go to the DL, it’s like you don’t really care.”
—Robert G., June 28

“So busy! I’d lend a hand if I could.”
—Michael C., July 1

“They weren’t kidding about the crowds. It was like I could barely breathe when I arrived.”
—Brandon N., July 8

“My reaction after they told me to leave the Disabled List? Let’s just say it was stressful. So back I went for more.”
—Zack W., July 24

“I was torn about making the trip. Eventually the DL wins out.”
—T.J. R., July 28

“Far be it from me to impinge on such a popular place, but I couldn’t resist.”
—Seth L., August 15

“I tried the ribs. They cage them fresh.”
—Jose R., August 17

“Frankly, it feels more like home for me here than home does.”
—Steven M., August 22

“I’d fall all over myself to get to the DL again. No more separation pangs for me.”
—Michael C., August 25

“What can I tell you? I’m just not a big fan of the water.”
—Yoenis C., August 26

“Heaven nose I tried to make a reservation, but they don’t accept them after September 1. It must be like wearing white after Labor Day.”
—Wilmer F., September 2

“I hear Ray is leaving. I’m still here. I don’t mean to sound unappreciative, but I’d like to think the Disabled List won’t be such a hot spot next year.”
—David W., October 1

FAITH AND FEAR’S PREVIOUS NIKON CAMERA PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2005: The WFAN broadcast team of Gary Cohen and Howie Rose
2006: Shea Stadium
2007: Uncertainty
2008: The 162-Game Schedule
2009: Two Hands
2010: Realization
2011: Commitment
2012: No-Hitter Nomenclature
2013: Harvey Days
2014: The Dudafly Effect
2015: Precedent — Or The Lack Thereof
2016: The Home Run

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