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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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No La Tengo

“Whoo! Whoo! Wasn’t that awesome?”
“Absolutely! Great concert! Thanks for turning me on to them.”
“Sure.”
“One thing, though.”
“What?”
“I never asked you. How did they get their name?”
“You don’t know the story?”
“No.”
“Really? I thought everybody did.”
“I swear I don’t.”

“Well, it goes back to 2018. These guys were big Mets fans.”
“Mets?”
“They’re a baseball team in New York. They weren’t any good, and that year they were really terrible. So one night they’re playing this really long game. It’s like…I don’t remember, maybe the thirteenth or fourteenth inning, it’s tied, it’s going nowhere.”
“Sounds boring.”
“I guess. You know baseball, some people like it like that. Anyway, the game’s going on forever and there’s a fly ball to left field. It’s not deep, but there’s nobody there to catch it where it’s going and there’s a runner on third.”
“What’s this got to do with the band?”

“I’m getting to that. The shortstop, Rosario, runs all the way out, and Smith the left fielder — well he wasn’t really a left fielder, but he was in left field — ”
“Wouldn’t being in left field make him the left fielder? I don’t know much about baseball, but I kind of remember that from gym class.”
“This was the Mets. You didn’t always play where you were supposed to.”
“Is that why there was nobody where the ball was going?”

“Something like that. That same game there was another fly ball that was going somewhere around there and nobody was playing there, either. Cost one of their really good pitchers a run, which was why the game was going on all night.”
“Wow, those — what were they called again?”
“The Mets?”
“Yeah, Mets. Those Mets sound pretty wacky.”

“They were. So where was I? Oh yeah, you’ve got this second fly ball heading to left. You’ve got the shortstop — Rosario, fast kid — running out there. And you’ve got the left fielder — Smith, not so fast, not really a left fielder, like I said — running in for it.”
“Don’t they have a system so that doesn’t happen?”
“Normally they do. Actually, they did that night. Rosario called for the ball.”
“Calling, yeah, I’ve heard of that.”
“Yeah, Rosario called for the ball, which means he gets to try to catch it. Except Smith doesn’t hear him or see him because he’s trying to catch the ball, too. And he calls for it. Except Smith calls for it after Rosario. Meanwhile Rosario’s kind of waving Smith off, but that’s useless because Smith’s looking for the ball, apparently forgetting Rosario is running toward it.”
“What a mess!”

“Yup. You can imagine what happens next. Utter chaos. Rosario gets the ball in his glove, but Smith crashes into Rosario at practically the same moment and the ball pops out of Rosario’s glove. Then they both fall down. For some reason, Smith grabs hold of Rosario, who’s on his knees on the grass, like they’re getting ready for a wrestling match or something.”
“Wrestling? What’s that have to do with baseball.”
“Exactly. The ball is lying on the ground, both of them are frozen in place and the runner from third scores. Pretty soon the game is over, and the Mets lose.”
“Wow. Crazy.”

“Yup. Sure was.”
“Still, what’s that have to do with the name of the band?”
“Oh, right. Like I said, the guys in the band are big Mets fans and they looked at each other and one of them said — maybe because he was studying for a Spanish test or something — ‘¡no tenemos esperanza!’”
“Which means?”
“’We have no hope.’ It kind of became an inside joke with them, and as they started getting gigs, they called themselves that and it stuck.”
“I never knew that. Well, however they came up with it, it’s a great name and a great story, and No Tenemos Esperanza is a great band.”
“Aren’t they?”
“Totally. They rock. Are the guys who inspired it cool with it?”

“Who’s that?”
“You know, Rosario and Smith.”
“Oh. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know that anybody ever heard from them again after the way that game ended.”
“Aw. Too bad. Well, at least something good came out of it, I guess.”

14 comments to No La Tengo

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Brilliant! I was looking forward to this, as I often do after the latest creative Mets loss. Howie and Josh were all over the Yo La Tengo angle. For what it’s worth, Josh kept insisting it was Rosario’s fault, that as far as he could tell from the replay, Rosario didn’t verbally call Smith off, just waved. Kind of looks that way to me too. Plus it’s not like Smith bowled him over and knocked the ball out of his hand,

  • eric1973

    Looked like the ball popped out before he was hit, maybe.

    And he also dropped a popup earlier in the game.

    And he also grounded into a DP with the lead run on 3B to deprive Wheeler of a victory.

    Not a good night for Rosario.

  • Dave

    No Tenemos Esperanza is a brilliant band. My favorite albums of theirs are their best known work, Let’s Play Two Infielders in Leftfield Tonight and the lesser regarded Vargas Can Pinch Hit.

  • mikeL

    thanks greg for taking the edge off this VERY VARGAS game unravelling. i was yelling at the tv – more specifically at smith – who really needs to get a fresh start somewhere else – and the mets ‘brain’ ‘trust’ that can’t help but stifle and ruin so many prospects on their transition to the bigs.

    with any luck NTE will have a career half as long as YLT’s :first saw em at CB’s in ’86 and 32 years later still going strong. unlike the mets, with a few exceptions.

    NTE!!!

  • Gil

    You could see it coming. Dom just chugging from deep left. If I can borrow an old phrase from a famous WFAN caller named Jerome – “I DONT WANT HIM ON MY TEAM! I DONT WANT HIM!”

    Metspolice guy has a lot of gags going, but Dom’s 1 RBI and the current date is one that makes me laugh out loud almost every time.

    Wheeler threw a gem and I’m starting to believe in McNeil.

  • LeClerc

    My knock on Callaway is that he isn’t embarrassed by this kind of performance.

    They should have left Dom Smith in Williamsport (then again, the kids there wouldn’t make such a farcical blunder).

  • sturock

    For the umpteenth time, who is putting this roster together? They’ve known Nimmo was headed to the DL for days now. Couldn’t they bring up an outfielder? No, because that actually would have made sense.

  • SeasonedFan

    They’re Amazin’… & not in a good way.

  • Bob

    As I age (almost-67 yrs old—Met fan since 1963)I react to Mets Bad New Bears antics the same way my father (an old NY Giants Fan) used to react in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967,–HE laughed out loud and said–“boy, do they stink……”
    I would get so angry that I went to my room to cool off for a few hours (years?)
    So now 50+ years later, I watch Dom Smith do his Marv Throneberry act–Yo lo tengo—oooppppssss..
    Perhaps it’s time to visit the grave of Ol’ Casey Stengel–(only 15 minutes from here @ Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA)
    Can’t anyone here play this game?
    Or as my Mother would say–OY VEY!
    Bob

  • Mark Mehler

    Somewhere Elio is smiling.

  • jon

    Brilliant. LOLing also at the comments.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Nowadays the players yell “Ball! Ball! Ball!” instead of “I got it!” I’m envisioning Rosario yelling “Pelota! Pelota!” and Smith crashing into him saying “Amed, what the heck is a pill otter?”

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