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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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The 2022 Oscar’s Cap Awards

There’s Oscar pouring ketchup on his salad. There’s Felix expressing revulsion. There’s Oscar explaining to him ketchup is the culinary equivalent of tomato wine (tomato dressing would have been a more logical retort, but maybe somebody in the writer’s room was thinking wine on salad evoked oil and vinegar). Oscar, of course, is wearing a Mets cap while this exchange takes place. We say “of course” because that’s how we like to picture Oscar always. Sometimes on The Odd Couple he’s not wearing it, and it’s still one of the greatest shows ever, but it’s that much better for the Mets cap.

The plot of this episode, “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Pencil,” is about more than Oscar garnishing his greens. It’s the one in which Felix decides he must learn to write so he can accompany his photographs (portraits a specialty) with text, thus he enrolls at the Gerard Ferguson School of Creative Writing. Felix takes his new discipline extremely seriously, much to the dismay of everybody around him, especially Oscar, who is subject to Felix’s masterpiece, “Ode to a Skyscraper”:

Born from the rubble that lies there
Nurtured through snow and through rain
By men whose only companions
Are derrick and shovel and crane

Center for great institutions
Place where conglomerates grow
Yet home for the little cigar shop
With the candies all in a row

Seven! Seven! Seven! they will call you
Towards Heaven! Heaven! Heaven! you will soar
Only God can make a tree, I will grant you
But only man can make a fortieth floor

Oscar is left speechless and promises to put the poem “in an appropriate place,” a room, we the audience notice, seems to be tiled in porcelain.

Felix’s roommate, regardless of his forever threatening violence toward Felix, really does care for him, so Oscar pays a visit to Gerard Ferguson, planning to expose the Creative Writing school as a racket in his next column in the New York Herald. Ferguson, who’s been giving Felix’s work high marks, promises Oscar that he will have Felix’s work sold within 24 hours, and helpfully reminds Oscar — after glancing at his prospective column — that a spelling rule of thumb by which to abide is “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’”. Oscar says never mind that, just make sure you sell one of Felix’s poems, lest the teacher learn that “it’s ‘bail’ before ‘jail,’ so you’d better not ‘fail’.”

That brings us to the dinner with the ketchup and the salad and Felix finding out that Oscar confronted Ferguson, and Felix being insulted that Oscar would doubt his talents were marketable. Oscar tells Felix if somebody actually buys something Felix wrote, “I’ll eat my hat.” Felix produces the $25 check Ferguson secured on behalf of one of Felix’s poems and passes Oscar the ketchup with a hearty “Bon appétit!”

Oscar removes his Mets cap and prepares to dig in. Except we never see the ketchup meet the NY because a) it’s best left to the imagination; and b) Oscar would never do that to his Mets cap, except by accident while eating, which means he’d probably done it plenty, because have you seen how Oscar eats?

The conclusion of this episode of The Odd Couple from October 6, 1972, reveals the sale of the poem was to a woman named Ida Moskowitz, and the poem is to be engraved on the tombstone of her beloved wire terrier Spot Moskowitz — and the tombstone is in the shape of a fire hydrant, which only serves to dampen Felix’s writing ambitions: “After all my lofty ambitions, terrier tombstones […] the embarrassment, Oscar, the humiliation.”

“What humiliation?” Oscar asks by way of cheering up Felix. “Who’s going to visit the grave of Spot Moskowitz? Three little dogs with yarmulkes?”

We’re less concerned with whatever Spot’s canine chums have on their heads than what Oscar has on his head. He didn’t eat it. It would be on many episodes to come. And, for an eleventh consecutive year, we are here to pay homage, with another presentation of the Oscar’s Caps, wherein Faith and Fear reviews the previous twelve months’ worth of sightings and mentions of Metsiana in the popular culture. Somebody’s wearing a Mets cap on a sitcom? Somebody injects a Mets reference into movie dialogue? Maybe the orange and blue shows up in real life far from the ballpark? Our definition of what works as Mets infiltrating pop culture evolves over time, but we know that in 2022, we saw the Mets practically everywhere. Or everywhere that we saw it.

At the outset, we extend our thanks to the many bird dog scouts who have contracted Oscar’s Caps fever. This feature has become the essence of crowdsourced since we first began presenting it at the end of 2012. Faith and Fear continually receives tips of a “I don’t know if you saw this…” nature, which complements our own vigilant watching, listening and reading, and every last one of them is appreciated. Sometimes we’ve seen it, sometimes we haven’t. Sometimes it’s something that just began streaming the night before last. Sometimes it’s something that’s eluded our notice for decade upon decade. But if we didn’t know about it before the year started and we learn about it before the year ended, it winds up here.

Usually we save these up for one big Cap dump — sort of like taking in the majesty of Oscar’s bedroom — but we tipped our hand and Cap for one of the most exciting sightings back in May and will revisit that blast of a Mets find to start us off. The pre-eminent Oscar’s Cap of 2022 goes to Nanette Fluhr, the artist who painted her son in his Mets cap and jersey on the eve of his Bar Mitzvah ten years earlier. Through circumstances explained in detail here, we learned her oil painting — named “Lonny,” after her now grown son — was going to be digitized and shipped to the Moon as part of the Lunar Codex project taking off in 2023. It would be enough to know an example of fine arts that was exhibited in an actual museum involved Mets garb, but to know it’s going to slip the surly bonds of Earth…well, that’s out of this world. (Equally stunning is that the blog post that explored the creation and destination of “Lonny” is getting similar Moonbound treatment.)

When you think of paintings of Mets icons, your mind might race to the most iconic of Mets, Tom Seaver, and you might think of Andy Warhol’s iconic portrait from 1977. Then you might groan at the recollection that from Tom’s collar, it is painfully obvious during which side of 1977 Warhol was capturing Seaver. Yeah, he was a Red by then. But on October 26, 2022, if you kept an eye open on Facebook, you ran into this historical nugget from Revolver Gallery, an entity devoted to Warhol’s life and work, that informs you it could have been different had a certain Mr. Grant not meddled with the primal forces of nature:

As part of his Athletes series in 1977, Andy photographed Tom Seaver, professional baseball pitcher who played for various teams over his twenty-year career. In photographing Tom, Andy wrote in his July 20, 1977 diary entry:

“Tom Seaver was adorable. Athletes really do have the fat in the right places and they’re young in the right places. The person taking the photographs was Mr. Johnson, a nice man who did the story on Jamie Wyeth and me once. He wanted Tom to wear a Mets hat, so they went out and bought one, and then he wanted Tom to do a Cincinnati-uniform with-a-Mets-hat picture, half and half, but he refused. Tom’s wife Nancy was calling on the phone. He hates the Mets now. He’d just bought a new house in Connecticut and everything when they traded him.”

Tom was in New York on July 20 because the All-Star Game took place the night before at Yankee Stadium, and Tom Seaver made the All-Star team a month after M. Donald Grant traded him to Cincinnati and made sure Seaver would want nothing to do with wearing a Mets cap even off the field for the next five years, not even for artistic posterity, especially for artistic posterity. Seriously, thanks again, Don.

Back to more agreeable judgments, like that found in the 2021 motion picture adaptation of J.R. Moehringer’s memoir The Tender Bar. The author’s real-life Mets fan inclinations shine through in the film, with a trip to a Mets-Braves game promised young J.R. by his generally delinquent dad; young J.R. wearing a Mets cap; the gift of a Tom Seaver-signed baseball from his Uncle Chuck; and the line, “Uncle Charlie says the Yankees are assholes, but the Mets drink at the Dickens.”

The Dickens, you say! And say, what about what happened on Dick Cavett’s CNBC show in the aftermath of the Mets winning the 1986 World Series? His guests were Sid Fernandez and Roger McDowell. The righty reliever (McDowell) spritzed the erudite host with the champagne that was flowing everywhere that October. Just like at that bar from Moehringer’s youth, you’d like to imagine.

Dick Cavett’s successors on the late night beat noticed the New York Mets all these years later, none more faithfully than the Mets fan who executive produced 2021’s Once Upon a Time in Queens. Two from the wonderful world of Jimmy Kimmel Live:

“Reporter Steve Gelbs, who was in the stands, managed to get hold of a foul ball and got the chance to meet some wandering Mets fans in Pittsburgh.”
—Kimmel on September 8, 2022, sharing a clip from the afternoon game of the previous day’s doubleheader in which SNY’s Gelbs indeed did pick up a foul ball, only to be accosted by fans of both the Mets and Pirates who all but demanded he surrender the ball to them. Kimmel didn’t lavish much attention on “Bob,” the colorful “since 1962” Mets fan who Gelbs wound up interviewing for the remainder of the sixth inning. (Bob also wanted the ball.)

Three weeks later, Jimmy Kimmel Live returned to the host’s native Brooklyn. On September 28, Jimmy K. bemoaned the recent stumbles of his beloved New York Mets:

“They’re torturing us […] breaking hearts is what the Mets do. They’re like the Kardashians of baseball and I’m here all Kanye, y’know?” (Kanye West references were slightly less loaded in September than they’d be by December.)

With that, Kimmel’s sidekick Guillermo began making his way to the stage in a Mets home pinstripe uniform — RODRIGUEZ 7 — complete with glove and ball, accompanied by Timmy Trumpet, in a black Mets jersey, playing “Narco” from the balcony, just as if Guillermo were Edwin Diaz coming in from the bullpen. “I’ve never been more attracted to you than I am right now,” Jimmy told the Mets-clad Guillermo. And to Mr. Trumpet, the host added, “Hi, Timmy, I’m Jimmy.”

The other Jimmy doing a talk show in New York, Jimmy Fallon, injected a little Metsiana into his show not too long before via a guest who was just trying to fit in with the local culture. Or as Emilia Clarke put it as she recited Olivia Rodrigo lyrics in a Noo Yawk accent on July 21, 2021, “Well, good for you, you friggin’ moron. I guessed you moved on real easily. Go Mets!” With that, Clark raised a fist, presumably endearing herself to the true New Yorkers in the Tonight Show audience.

The Mets were sighted or namechecked several times at Fallon’s alma mater, SNL. We can’t guarantee every reference was flattering, but these are the ones we caught:

John Mulaney’s subway newsstand manager wore a tan cardigan with a sizable blue Mets NY (orange outline) emblazoned on its left breast in the signature Mulaney musical number on Saturday Night Live, Season 47, Episode 13, February 26, 2022.

“I’m having a parade, y’all — like when the Yankees win the World Series or the Mets finish a season.”
—Chris Redd as Mayor Eric Adams with a horribly outdated reference (on how he plans to celebrate the arrest of the Sunset Park subway shooter), Saturday Night Live, April 16, 2022; Season 46, Episode 18

Eleven-season veteran Kate McKinnon’s farewell to Saturday Night Live (Season 47, Episode 21; May 21, 2022) came in the opening sketch of the season finale, where she played, for the last time as a cast member, earthy Colleen Rafferty, again being debriefed by Pentagon officials regarding her latest shall we say invasive abduction by aliens. Explaining her return to her home planet, Colleen details that she was “dropped into the middle of a field,” after which “the umpire called time out and the Mets’ security staff took me out of the stadium. Look — not the most embarrassing thing I’ve done on a jumbotron.”

“…[W]hile over in Queens, a porta-potty was set on fire in honor of the Mets blowing the division.”
—Colin Jost, Weekend Update, Saturday Night Live, October 8, 2022, shortly after the Mets won Game Two of the National League Wild Card Series at Citi Field (the setup to the joke was that the Empire State Building had been lit up in Yankee colors to honor Aaron Judge’s 62 home runs)

“‘And now coming to the plate from Santo Domingo, STARRRRRRLING MARRRRRRTÉ!!!.’
—Marcello Hernandez’s Weekend Update desk piece on the differences between American and Latin baseball players, Saturday Night Live, October 8, 2022 (Marte went 0-for-5 in the NLWCS the night his name was invoked)

Not on the show itself, but musical guest Sza wore a black Mets jacket in the promotional spots NBC aired for the December 3, 2022 episode of SNL hosted by Keke Palmer (who was not wearing a Mets jacket).

If you want a classic “live from New York…” Mets moment, however, you are advised to go back a quarter century and relive one of the all-time greats. On December 13, 2022, The Ringer marked the 25th anniversary of the SNL sketch “Baseball Dreams Come True” with a full-blown oral history of how 15 major leaguers — led by Todd Hundley — paraded out of the bedroom closet of a young man played by Chris Kattan. Hundley didn’t participate in the article, but Todd Zeile, Gregg Jefferies and Cliff Floyd each chimed in.

The first host of Saturday Night Live, on October 11, 1975, was the great George Carlin, which provides us a segue to this sumptuous sighting:

“I had tickets to see the Mets, who George loved, to play the Dodgers, who he hated.”
—Jerry Hamza, manager of George Carlin, regarding the game of May 4, 1982 at Dodger Stadium, where Carlin experienced symptoms of what turned out to be a heart attack, from part two of the documentary George Carlin’s American Dream, which premiered on HBO, May 21, 2022, and was directed by Mets fan Judd Apatow.

The segment includes Mets-Dodgers footage from games fairly obviously not from May 4, 1982, even though it’s implied we’re looking at game action from the date in question (for the supporting “fairly obviously” evidence to follow, it’s best to activate the Comic Book Guy voice in your head as you read on). Bob Bailor is seen sliding into second base during a day game that Baseball-Reference confirms took place on Sunday afternoon, May 17, 1981. We see Fernando Valenzuela pitching at night at Dodger Stadium — Hamza makes clear Fernando Valenzuela pitched in the game he and Carlin attended — but Valenzuela did not face the Mets in a day game at Dodger Stadium when Bailor played for the Mets (1981-1983). In the clips with Valenzuela, no Mets are in sight; there are also several shots of the Dodgers wearing their 1981 Los Angeles city centennial patches.

Also in the documentary, a stagehand wearing a Mets cap is seen setting up in advance of Carlin taping his 1992 HBO special Jammin’ in New York at Madison Square Garden’s Paramount Theatre.

Documenting some other documentary Met sightings…

• A mid-’80s TV commercial for WHTZ-FM (100.3) which finds Morning Zookeeper Scott Shannon wearing a Mets jacket in an effort to associate himself and his radio station with something immensely popular in New York appears in a trailer for the 2022 documentary Worst to First: The True Story of Z100 New York.

• A person attending a Ralph Nader rally at Madison Square Garden in 2000 wore a black Mets t-shirt, caught on film by The Party’s Over, a documentary narrated by Philip Seymour Hoffman, future portrayer of eventual Met manager Art Howe.

• Cleon Jones is among the Africatown community leaders featured in the 2022 documentary Descendant, a film exploring the historical aftermath of the arrival and subsequent burning of the illegal slave ship the Clotilda off the coast of Mobile, Ala., in 1860. Jones’s 1969 Mets teammate Nolan Ryan was the title character in another 2022 documentary, Facing Nolan, streaming on Netflix. Cleon’s fellow Alabaman and teammate in the 1973 World Series, was given star treatment in Say Hey, Willie Mays!, a 2022 HBO production

Reality shows are theoretically cousins of documentaries, right? Sure. With that in mind, we’ll note Mike Piazza was announced as one of sixteen “celebrity recruits” competing in the Fox reality show Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test in advance of its premiere on January 4, 2023. The granddaddy of all survival-themed reality shows, Survivor, was graced in 2022 by retired firefighter Mike Turner from Hoboken. This Mike liked that Mike from the other show plenty because this Mike is a huge Mets fan, a nugget those who watched the 42nd season of Survivor learned if they were dutiful enough to last through the first 41 seasons and keep surviving as viewers.

In April of 2021, Mercedes “MJ” Javid and husband Tommy Feight of the Shahs of Sunset Bravo reality show hosted, in real life, a Mets-themed birthday party for their two-year-old son Shams. Proud mom MJ posted on Instagram a pic of the orange-and-blue balloons, Mets logo and Mets cake, not to mention the young man outfitted in a Mets jersey. She topped off the accompanying message with a hearty #LGM.

At the forefront of the reality show craze of the early 2000s, spawning a genre going strong more than twenty years later, was a prime time game show called Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Networks still run such programming between 8:00 and 11:00 PM — it’s relatively inexpensive, assuming they’re not giving away a million dollars — but the heart of game show territory continues in syndication, sometime after your local and national news. In New York, the heart beats loudest on Channel 7 at 7 o’clock, when it’s time for Jeopardy. In 2022, it was time for a couple of Mets fans to answer in the form of a question:

On April 7, 2022, Mets Opening Night as it happened, Citi Field in-game host Mike Janela was a contestant on Jeopardy. While he didn’t emerge a winner the way Tylor Megill did that same night in Washington, at least he went out in style. Not knowing what else to write for the Final Jeopardy, clue of, “Patented in 1955, it did not go over well in the high-end fashion world but the then-new aerospace industry found it very useful,” Mike went with, “What is I’m going to lose but the Mets will win it all this year?”

Allie Nudelman, a health care policy professional from Brooklyn lost on Jeopardy!, October 10, 2022, the day after the Mets got knocked out by the Padres in the National League Wild Card Series. Her contestant anecdote was that she was a Mets fan and took all the guests at her wedding to the Mets second no-hitter.

The category is POTPURRI. We have the board:

“Congratulations to the Dodgers on their World Series victory! Congratulations to the Astros on their World Series victory! Congratulations to the Mets…”
“Hey, don’t waste time on the Mets!”
—Summer and Wickie, Girls5Eva (Season 2, Episode 3; released May 5, 2022, with the 2022 Mets securely in first place), as the group attempts to record a year’s worth of possible social media posts in advance

In 1985, Dwight Gooden pitches to Bob Einstein’s legendary Super Dave Osborne character at Dodger Stadium. The pitch Gooden allegedly throws hits daredevil Super Dave in the groin (though it’s fairly obviously not the pitch we see Gooden release). The sketch prominently features Steve Garvey, then a Padre, who introduces Doc as “probably the fastest pitcher in the game”. Osborne was blindfolded while standing at the plate. The blindfold was made of “Saskatchewan seal skin bindings”.

A still image of Willie Mays swinging for his first home run as a Met in 1972 races by in the brainwashing/training film montage in 1974’s paranoia-inducing The Parallax View.

A two-toned Mets jacket recognizable from the Dallas Green era plays a critical role in one issue of Hit Me, the AWA (Artists Writers Artisans) “high-octane crime thriller” comic series written by Christa Faust and illustrated by Priscilla Petraites. The jacket makes temporal sense in that Hit Me is set in early-1990s Atlantic City, a locale AWA describes as “decaying,” which might also describe the Mets as they began wearing that particular model of garment.

Marie Hershkowitz’s reminiscence of becoming a Mets fan in 1965 and getting to go to the final game of the 1969 World Series, involving her father somehow getting her and her sister tickets and her mother driving them to Shea Stadium, was featured on the November 17, 2022, episode of the storytelling podcast The Moth.

If you can stand a little more reality, here are a few Met sightings from the political wild…

A Mets cap was spotted on the head of a protestor after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June 2022 via a photo published as part of Amee Vanderpool’s SHERO substack.

The Twitter home page picture for Queens Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez features AOC shaking hands with constituents, one of whom is wearing a Mets cap with a 2015 World Series patch.

On October 2, 2022, notable former White House employee Jared Kushner wore a Mets cap at his son’s youth league baseball game in Miami, per photos published by the Daily Mail.

An oldie but a greatie: when President John F. Kennedy landed in West Germany in 1963, he was greeted by a “Let’s Go Mets” sign. (It doesn’t have to be new to rate an Oscar’s Cap — it doesn’t even have to have happened after Neil Simon wrote The Odd Couple.)

It may have been fiction, but its grit was real. We’re talking about New York-based Kojak, off the air in first-run terms for some 45 years now, but still putting Met vibes out there on one of those channels that doesn’t care what year it is. Because getTV cooperates with our curiosity, in 2022 we noticed…

• Manhattan South Det. Bobby Crocker (Kevin Dobson) knew to keep his head fashionably warm on a cold winter’s day in Washington Square Park by wearing his Mets winter hat in “Kiss It All Goodbye,” Season 4, Episode 22 of Kojak (February 22, 1977). The ski cap will be familiar to aficionados of Mets highlight films (a.k.a. Mets Yearbook) as a Fan Appreciation Day giveaway from earlier in the 1970s. Also appearing in said episode as the heavy: Christopher Walken, though disappointingly not sporting Mets gear.

• Det. Crocker wears a plastic Mets batting helmet as he goes undercover doing surveillance, posing as a painter (he’s also in coveralls) on Kojak, “Caper on a Quiet Street,” Season 5, Episode 6, November 6, 1977.

• In the Kojak two-parter “Summer of ’69” (December 4, 1977 and December 10, 1977; S. 5, E. 9 & 10; we can’t confirm if young Bryan Adams was watching and taking notes), Theo Kojak has to try to piece together a crime from eight years earlier, leading to an exchange in the first part that includes “The Mets won the World Series — who could forget ’69?” from Capt. Frank McNeil after Kojak asks him, “Hey, Frank, remember 1969?” and Kojak’s eventual response that begins, “For you, ’69 meant the Mets going to the World Series…” In the second part, contemporary suspect Ray Blaine, is questioned whether he remembers what he was doing the day before he was originally arrested — which, he is reminded, was October 16, 1969. He tells his interrogators, “Yeah, yeah, that’s when the Mets won the Series. I was watchin’ in the lobby. All day.” The lobby refers to the 23rd St. Y, where, in a flashback, we see Kojak tracking down evidence while Blaine and his 1969 accomplice Fred Toner and others watch Game Five, for which there is shown genuine color footage on a television and absolutely terrible play-by-play (not even a passable “announcer voice” is deployed in lieu of Curt Gowdy and Lindsey Nelson). Somebody in the lobby urges the Mets to “knock McNally out of there,” shortly before Toner — who Kojak will end up shooting in 1969 for what turns out to be Blaine’s string of murders — excitedly informs Blaine — a.k.a. the real Clothesline Killer who Kojak will end up shooting in the present day — that “Clendenon just hit a home run, drove Jones in.”

Just like Kojak hit a home run and drove us to a fit of transcribing.

Who else loves the Mets, baby? In the contemporary world of New York-based cop shows, Blue Bloods.

A framed Mr. Met poster appears in the apartment of Leo Stutz, half-brother of Anthony Abetemarco, the two of whom are later said be “bitchin’ about the Mets,” on Blue Bloods; “Hidden Motive”; Season 12, Episode 17 (April 1, 2022).

“I’m a Mets fan, you know? If I have a son, I’m gonna name him Thor, after Syndergaard.”
—Syrian-born detainee Abel Salem (Azhar Khan) trying to convince arresting officers of his American bona fides, Blue Bloods, “Mob Rules,” Season 7, Episode 4 (October 14, 2016, or nine days after Noah Syndergaard was outdueled by Madison Bumgarner in the NL Wild Card Game)

“What’s your life’s greatest loss?”
“Let’s Go Mets.”
“Still goin’ on about those Mets, huh?”
“We’ll never get over it! You can’t win one-hundred and one games and then get eliminated in the first round.”
—Henry Reagan (Len Cariou), during a family board game, expressing disgust with how the 2022 season ended, on the December 9, 2022 episode of Blue Bloods (“Poetic Justice,” Season 13, Episode 9)

Maybe a little too contemporary, but we feel ya, Harry. We also regret to acknowledge former talk show and current podcast host Conan O’Brien saw this coming:

“Even though they are expanding the baseball playoffs from 10 to 12 teams, I still feel confident saying ‘Sorry, Mets.’”
—O’Brien in a tweet, March 19, 2022

Blue Bloods has been on CBS a long time, but not as long as yet another New York-based cop show that likes a good Mets reference has been on the beat at NBC. In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, “In Loco Parentis,” Season 19, Episode 15 (March 7, 2018), Assistant DA Peter Stone tells Lt. Olivia Benson he can get her ballplaying son “all the Mets tickets he wants”.

For those who can’t get enough NYPD detective action, there continues to be the pulsating Mike Stoneman series of thrillers written by now veteran genre author Kevin Chapman, and it turns out the wonderful world of Mets podcasting has entered the Stoneman Universe’s feed. An interlude of NYPD officer Bill O’Dell listening to (and “yelling at”) the New York Mets podcast National League Town, hosted by Jeff Hysen and yours truly, appears in Chapman’s 2022 Mike Stoneman thriller Dead Winner. Also spotted in this volume: a Mets Tiffany lamp and a framed, autographed R.A. Dickey jersey from his Cy Young season of 2012. (As for National League Town, avail yourself of its glance back at 2022 here — and its interview with author Chapman here.)

Gonna take a quick breather from all this crime-solving and do a little New York Times crossword puzzle-solving. I just hope the clues lead us to the perpetrator…I mean answer.

The February 6, 2022, New York Times crossword puzzle had as its clue for seven-letter 86 across “Regular at Citi Field”.

New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, 1 across, May 15, 2022: “’Meet the ____’ (baseball fight song)”.

September 17, 2022, New York Times crossword puzzle, 10 down: “Mascot whose head is a baseball.”

In the December 20, 2022, New York Times crossword puzzle, 63 across was “M.L.B. team that played its first two seasons at the fabled Polo Grounds.” Four letters.

(METSFAN; METS; MRMET; METS. But you already knew that.)

Known Times crossword aficionado Jon Stewart (eight-letter word for film about the daily obsession enjoyed by celebrities and common folk alike included Stewart’s fondness for WORDPLAY) is better known in Oscar’s Cap circles for his Met fealty. And you don’t have to be a Mets fan to know Jon is one of us. In a Washington Post profile prior to his being awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in April 2022, it was noted Stewart dressed the same every day when he hosted The Daily Show: “a T-shirt, khakis and a Mets cap, like Steve Jobs and his turtlenecks”. In an episode of podcast The Problem with Jon Stewart that had been released around the same time, Stewart snuck a Mets reference into his discussion with Margaret Sullivan, media reporter for The Washington Post (both the media and the Mets unrealistically get his hopes up was his point). During the celebratory Twain ceremony that aired on PBS, Ed Helms led a singalong of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” replete with t-shirt cannons fired off by a party patrol decked out in blue and orange t-shirts (MTP on the front, STEWART 22 on the back), before showing Stewart’s off-target ceremonial first pitch from the 2006 postseason at Shea.

Two performers who took the concert stage at Shea made their Met feelings known in 2022. Billy Joel, who gave us The Last Play at Shea in 2008, donned his Mets cap in a 2022 public service ad to help raise money for Long Island Cares, an anti-hunger organization founded by Harry Chapin. The same cap made a prominent appearance later in 2022 as he sat for an interview with the Australian version of 60 Minutes. Elton John, who shared a Flushing bill with Eric Clapton in 1992, offered his two pence on matters close to our heart in 2022…and proceeded to go breaking it:

“Something that makes me very happy tonight: the Braves swept the Mets.”

That was on Sunday night, October 2, spoken right before the longtime Atlanta resident played “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in Nashville. Elton can say goodbye Seaver Way while he’s at it. If you’re looking for musical titans whose delivery can be high and outside but not overtly offensive when it comes to the Mets, you can always remember 50 Cent’s infamous first pitch from 2014, the one that’s probably still sailing over Queens. It got shouted out on black-ish, Season 8, Episode 2, “The Natural,” January 11, 2022.

The musical act most ancestrally connected to the Mets’ home base remains the Beatles, who played Shea in 1965 and 1966. In 2022, Radio Voice of the Mets Howie Rose played his Beatle favorites and added some personal stories about them as part of the “My Fab Four” segment on SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel. Meanwhile, the ongoing musical act who may care about the Mets more than any other in the present day, Liz Callaway (I speak from experience), mentioned the 1969 Mets in the liner notes to her 1960s-themed album The Beat Goes On, which was released in 2001. Released in 2022: Liz’s newest album, To Steve With Love, a celebration of her friend Steven Sondheim. Check it out with your own ears.

Going through the back catalogue, a Columbia Records promotional disc from 1984 titled Most Valuable New Players, including tracks from up-and-coming acts like The Outfield and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, has as its cover photo an overhead shot of Shea Stadium, photographed many years earlier, during its classic Rheingold ad phase. Another unexpected sighting greeted visitors to Byrdland Records in Washington, DC — nominally Nationals territory — in 2022 when they encountered a watercolor rendering of Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock wearing his black Mets cap (“Ad Rock – The Kid – Sharp Cheddar”), as interpreted by Maryland artist Andrew Katz.

As long as we’re in a tuneful state of mind, let’s recommend a couple of articles less about Mets in the pop culture than a Met tastemaker who appreciates certain aspects of pop culture. In a meeting inspired by the steady stream of musical references emanating from the SNY booth, Gary Cohen discussed his love of rock and pop with longtime music critic Wayne Robins in the November 26, 2022, edition of Robins’s Substack newsletter Critical Conditions. Cohen described baseball as “often three-and-a-half hours of game with eight minutes of action. It’s a lot of time to fill. It gives us time to talk about other things like music.” and admitted most of his tastes calcified long ago (thus most of his references are many decades old…like many of us who relish his broadcasting). At the end of the Mets’ abbreviated 2022 postseason run, Hope Silverman’s Picking Up Rocks blog offered a chronicle of each song and artist Gary mentioned in the course of the year, noting, among other things, that “the booth is weirdly obsessed with Mountain, [Leslie] West and ‘Mississippi Queen’.”

One person’s weird obsession is another’s perfectly normal pursuit. For those whose popular culture consumption includes a healthy portion of anime, there were popular Met memes making the rounds in the past couple of years, including a dubbed YouTube video of Joey Wheeler of Yu-Gi-Oh! (“No matter what happens, Yu, I want you to remember the most important thing: that’s da Mets, baby! Let’s Go Mets! 1986 can happen again! C’mon, baby, Let’s Go Mets!”) and his friend Yugi Moto overlooking Citi Field in a Photoshopped Twitter illustration (“It’s not always about taking over the world Sonic,” Yugi’s message reads. “It’s about the Mets, baby! Love the Mets. Alright, baby, let’s go get a home run, baby! Love the Mets, let’s go Mets!”).

Any medium that becomes Metsian clearly has potential. Isn’t that right, Robot Chicken?

Freddy Krueger bursts into a bedroom, ostensibly to kill Jonathan, only to find the Michelin Man (who has a German accent) being intimate with Mr. Met (dressed only in boxer shorts and Mets cap). Jonathan, it is explained, is “having a sex dream about the Michelin Man boinking Mr. Met”. Freddy Krueger awkwardly excuses himself (“no judgment”), after which Jonathan emerges from hiding to thank the couple. “You got it, Jonathan,” a pretty buff Mr. Met replies. “Anytime.”
Robot Chicken, “May Cause Indecision…or Not”; Season 11, Episode 13; February 21, 2022; part of Adult Swim on The Cartoon Network

On a more mass-appeal scale, we can report one particular monster sitcom was there for us early on: In the third episode of Friends (“The One with the Thumb”; October 6, 1994), a Mets cap can be seen sitting atop Joey and Chandler’s TV. And to show that true Friends never forget, a baseball with a Mets logo was featured in the accoutrements from the apartment of Joey and Chandler in the touring exhibit “The Friends Experience” making its way across America in 2022.

Well known as a friend of the Mets, NBA guard Donovan Mitchell, whose father works for the Mets in player relations and community engagement, represented his family and favorite baseball team well in an April 2022 ESPN story on the Utah Jazz’s scholarship program, sporting a Mets cap while sharing good news with a scholarship recipient. Mitchell has since moved on to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where perhaps he roots on the side for Andres Giménez and Amed Rosario.

Mets fans can cheer for the Guardians in their spare time if they wish, as long as we still have different leagues and stuff. The historical relationship between the Mets and one of their New York National League predecessors could be more complex (or have you forgotten who used to own the Mets?):

“Whatever you do, don’t mention the Mets. The judge is an old-school Dodgers fan, thinks they’re only in L.A. temporarily and they’re comin’ back to Brooklyn any day now, and the Mets are usurpers. Got it?”
—Defense attorney Todd Spodek’s advice to a client in Inventing Anna, “Too Rich for Her Blood,” Episode 8; Netflix; 2022. The same lawyer wears a Mets t-shirt in Episode 9, “Dangerously Close”.

Or it didn’t have to be complex at all — take it from this feature’s patron saint:

“I’m a Met fan, but I used to be a Dodger fan, you know, when they had Campanella and Snider and Robinson.”
—Oscar Madison to Dodger fan Mark, the son of Anita (Dina Merrill), The Odd Couple, “Oscar in Love”; Season 5, Episode 12 (December 12, 1974) when Oscar tries to relate to his girlfriend’s kids

When romance is in the air, the Mets are sure to follow. In “Jay Street,” the ninth episode of the first season of the 2022 Hulu series How I Met Your Father (March 8, 2022), Sophie learns how the parents of Drew — Sue and Lou — initially found one another. “We met at a Mets game back in ’89, when I spilled an entire Coors Light down his shirt,” Sue explains. “Lou slapped me on the ass. I looked at him, and he said, ‘Sue me. My name is Sue! I laughed so hard that my dress basically flew off.”

On Night Sky, Dear Franklin (Season 1, Episode 6; released May 20, 2022; Amazon Prime), there is this exchange:

NICK: Me and Nina, we were just getting to know each other a little bit. She’s a Mets fan, can you believe it?
NINA: Go Mets.

Elsewhere from the world of streaming, in Season 2, Episode 5 of Netflix’s Russian Doll (2022), Nadia, when using a crowbar to knock down a wall to hide a bag inside a tunnel, marvels that she’s “got an arm like Darryl Strawberry”. Darryl’s always been a reliable Mets pop culture touchstone:

“This is an autographed Darryl Strawberry earring.”
—Shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy) trying to sell some of his merchandise, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1987

Title character Ramy in the Hulu series Ramy appeared in a Mets cap in the promotional material for Season Three in the fall of 2022 — and he wears it in Episode One. We already know how fashionable Met regalia is — and so does yet another Manhattan-based talk show host:

“I’m attending the Mr. Met Gala. (Rihanna’s wearing a giant baseball head, and Jared Leto’s eating ice cream out of a tiny batting helmet!)
—Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) tweet, May 2, 2022, the night of the Met gala

You want fashion? In December 2022, GQ featured Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Starling Marte in a baseball-themed fashion spread. You want more fashion? Leading celebrity Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld starred in a fall 2022 online ad/image campaign for the Kith clothing line, donning a Mets cap in a couple of the shots, appropriate enough in the year Jerry’s pal K(e)ith had his number retired. Around the same time, a little after Jerry wet-blanketed the triumphant Citi Field performance Timmy Trumpet gave on behalf of Edwin Diaz, Seinfeld released a companion book to his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series, which included this tidbit from fellow Mets fan Matthew Broderick regarding his meeting Ralph Kiner:

“I told him a heartwarming story about how my father when I was little would say, ‘Oh, I don’t like when Bob Murphy takes over, I feel like then the Mets lose. I think they do better when Kiner is talking.’ So I got to tell Ralph Kiner that. And he said, ‘Well, we didn’t really have very much effect on the outcome of the games when we were calling ’em.’”

JERRY: Do you realize how stupid he thinks you are?
MATTHEW: How stupid do you think I am? How stupid do you think my father was?
JERRY: Yeah, and he’s trying to be nice about it.
MATTHEW: Very nice. “No, I’m sorry to break it to you, our calling the game didn’t have much effect on the game outcome.”

Ralph Kiner anecdotes never go out of style. Nor do Seinfeld reruns or Met pop culture sightings. Keep ’em coming in 2023!

11 comments to The 2022 Oscar’s Cap Awards

  • Brilliant and thorough, as always. It’s an annual rite of passage into the new year. Thanks so much, Greg!

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Always look forward to this, it’s a Hot Stove highlight for me. I noticed that the list seems longer than usual. I’m wondering if it’s because the Mets are slowly but quickly (as Casey once may or may not have said) becoming more on the National Media Radar instead of just being that other team from New York. If so we will most likely see even more Cap-Worthy sightings in 2023.

    Thanks, and, you know, LGM.

  • Loved it, from start to finish. And you’ve provided us an amount of detail and volume of information so large that it took me two sittings and the better part of an hour to assimilate it all. Time well spent.
    Glad I could contribute to the submissions in my small way. This is a lot of work, and yet you wove together all the disparate parts into a continuum smooth and seamless.

  • Dave

    I always forget this annual entry is coming, and when it does, it’s such a fun read. But my favorite Mets/pop culture intersection is always the booth. Keith of course likes the music a white guy nearly 70 likes…as far as I can tell, his favorite seems to be Carlos Santana. Not that Keith is a hippy, far from it, but he’s from the hippy end of the Boomer generation. Gary, like me, is from the punk/new wave end of the generation, and regales us with references as indie and underground as bands like X (name-dropped their lead singer Exene Cervanka once) and talks about how much he loves to listen to Jersey rocker girl Palmyra Delran on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. Ron, even though he’s the youngest of the crew, is kind of in the middle, seems to dig stuff like Boston and I remember him once agreeing with Keith about (ugh) Jethro Tull. The kind of stuff the jocks in my high school liked.

    I know, none of that has anything to do with the Mets aside from who’s talking about it. But I’m tired of thinking/talking/tweeting about this guy Carlos Correa, who may or may not exist.

  • eric1973

    Cohen described baseball as “often three-and-a-half hours of game with eight minutes of action. It’s a lot of time to fill. It gives us time to talk about other things like music.”

    It’s really too bad Gary Cohen does not like baseball anymore. He used to be a true professional. Now the only Cap he is associated with is a Dunce Cap.