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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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New Year's Baseball Eve

I’m amused to read the stories of “what are people who want to watch the Giants-Raiders game on New Year’s Eve going to do?” Watch it, of course. Or keep up as best you can via radio. If it’s important to you, you know what you have to do.

This blog, as our longtime readers know, endorses following baseball games to the exclusion of all civility and good manners no matter the event into which you’ve been sucked or the people who might take offense; it is you who should take offense that anyone should try to keep you from what matters to you as long as what matters to you isn’t blowing somebody’s head off or other hurtful activity. We make an exception from time to time as sensitivities and considerations warrant, but we try to follow our own advice. Football is not baseball (boy is it not ever), but it has its place and time and that place and time is approximately here and now. The Giants have a big game. Do what you have to do.

Speaking of big games, New Year’s Eve starts at 11 AM on ESPN2 as the North Carolina State Wolfpack take on the (be still my Golden Brahman heart) UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS in the (I better hold tight to something) MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL.

I may even wake up for this.

When I attended USF from 1981 to 1985, we didn’t have a football team, and that was fine with me. I actually preferred it that way. The whole notion of being on the inside of a college football school turned me off. I pictured such a campus as one big fraternity, one from which I would somehow be blackballed. (And Revenge of the Nerds didn’t even come out until the end of my junior year.) Besides, being in Florida, one had his choice of top-notch college football, a fact and a sport of which I was barely aware before I headed south. I became a U of Miami fan during their Bernie Kosar age of enlightenment — they were new at being a powerhouse and they threw the ball a lot, both of which seemed appealing — and that contented me just fine from a short distance.

Now that I’m long graduated, I can be one of those alumni who dresses up in a raccoon coat and cheers his alma mater’s pigskin accomplishments in a fashion completely hypocritical to his younger self’s values. USF started a football program in 1997 and I’ve followed it lightly but loyally. The Bulls’ promising 2005 Big East debut, primarily the taking out of Louisville (the Phillies of the conference), gave them every opportunity to become something called bowl-eligible, assuming they didn’t trip up late to Connecticut (the Expos) or West Virginia (the Braves). Of course they did both but fortunately managed just enough wins before that to eke their way into the Muffler Shop championship.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl, played in Charlotte, is one of those bowls that everybody with any sense makes fun of as soon as they hear of it. That’s all right. I’d scoff, too, if USF weren’t a participant. But you have to understand that this is a program (how come college sports teams are “programs”?) that is nine years old. Nine-year-old programs don’t go to bowls, not even silly, obscure ones played before noon when sensible people are out stocking up on mixers. So I’m as excited just for the invite as I was the night Miami beat Nebraska to win the ’83 National Championship…and I was pretty excited then.

School spirit. Better late than never.

Let’s not kid each other, though. I’d drop the Meineke Car Care Bowl, let alone the Super Bowl, in a Temple Terrace minute if there were a Mets game on, even an old Mets game. There isn’t. Not a good one anyway.

In case you’re desperate, YES is showing Game Five of the 2000 World Series between 1 and 4 PM. And XM 175 is airing between 3 and 6 AM (I assume after midnight tonight) Game Two of that fetid Fall Classic. No, you’re not that desperate.

Don’t forget — we offer the pleasing alternative of sublime play-by-play of “ordinary” baseball action to get you through these alleged holidays. Theater of the mind and all that.

MSG and FSNY used to favor us once in a great winter’s while with a vintage Mets game, but they’re out of the Us business. Snigh, whatever they wind up doing, isn’t doing it yet. And ESPN Classic is plugging away with old college football games, which makes no sense to me whatsoever. Show old college football games to college football nuts when there’s no live college football on every five minutes. Show baseball fans baseball games when we don’t have any. Logic would tell you that.

What’s wrong with people?

New Year’s Eve means a lot to me. I wouldn’t be here without it. It would mean more if I could go to a ballgame just once on December 31. Hey, maybe I can…

11 comments to New Year's Baseball Eve

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday and Happy New Year, Faith.
    Thank you (and Fear) for a wonderful year of musings on our team.

  • Anonymous

    I can't listen to those Yankee “Classics” even if it does include the Mets. THe over-dubbing of Michael Kay and some other jackoff is just too much for me to handle. I can't take it.

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday & Happy New Year, Greg.
    Remember when we couldn't wait for '06? Well it's here!

  • Anonymous

    The last time I attended my alma mater's Big Game, the day ended with me perhaps tailgating excessively, after which I wandered the stadium yelling “PUNT, GODDAMN IT! PUNT! PUNNNNT!” on every down. This was of course extremely amusing, and I still find it baffling that other alumni didn't seem to understand such subtle, sublime humor. This difference of opinion, while peculiar, eventually persuaded me that suggestions I depart the premises might have some small merit. Ah, football. A savage business.
    I don't think I could ever be desperate enough to watch Game Five of the 2000 World Series. I like that 2000's highlight tape simply ends, Pravda-style, after Benny's double, with a certain tension in Tim Robbins' voice hinting that things ended poorly.

  • Anonymous

    I can recall many a New Year's Eve spent with my friend Greg, tossing out the old and ringing in the new (and celebrating the first of our group to age another year) with nary a drink or a woman to be found. When I, believing the grass to be greener in the company of women and alcohol began celebrating in the traditional manner associated with the holiday, would find my attention span waning and my will to shake my groove thing spent would harken back to my times at Greg's house watching his fake Yule (schul?) log spin 'round and 'round while I made believe I was warming my hands over it. I of course would have taken the Greg experience every time, TAB and all. Happy New Year and Happy 43 to Mr. Gregory W. L. Prince.

  • Anonymous

    I still find it baffling that other alumni didn't seem to understand such subtle, sublime humor.
    Perhaps you should have been yelling, “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU PUNTING???!!! STOP PUNTING!!!!”

  • Anonymous

    We drank a lot of TaB and warmed a lot of hands fakely. I appreciate that either you didn't point out how lame we were or, perhaps like me, didn't realize it at the time. A recent rundown of birthday disappointments past, recited for Stephanie (because she hasn't heard them enough in her life), found me explaining that those Joel/Fred/Larry celebrations may not have been gala, but were highly satisfying. Maybe it was the TaB talking.
    Yeah, I'm oldest first again. But Julio Franco still calls me muchacho.

  • Anonymous

    Red Barber and Connie Desmond. Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy. Gary Cohen and Howie Rose.
    To the pantheon of great broadcast teams, we can now add “Michael Kay and some other jackoff”. They may be unlistenable, but I like how they are billed.
    Benny Blanco, ladies and gentlemen, with a very late entry for Line of the Year.

  • Anonymous

    Wait, which one am I again?
    Thanks Albertson, for the good wishes and for being, as far as I can remember, our first reader, certainly the first we knew about who we didn't already know. We would've been musing without the software and the audience, but it's more fun this way.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Charlie! I remember when we couldn't wait for '76, '86 and '96, too. One out of three ain't bad.

  • Anonymous

    Hey now, easy on the Meineke guys. Cause I remember them back when George Forman was still ordering junior cheeseburgers off the kids menu. Best of all, there's a Met connection.
    You might be just young enough not to remember this, but let me take you to Way Back in the Day, when men were men, WOR didn't stutter on its first letter and (most importantly) Channel 9 was the one and only place to see the games.
    Games started at 5 minutes after the hour, and in these pre-digital days who knew exactly when the hour started anyway? So more than once, I'd flip on Channel 9 a few minutes early and would catch the cheap commercials that were stuck in rotation at that odd time. And one of the regulars, so regular I still think of it every time I see the word “Meineke,” was an incredibly underproduced and tacky one with a bimbo, a mirror and a sledgehammer. They each only had one line:
    Bimbo: Meineke Discount Mufflers SHATTERS prices!
    Sledgehammer: BOOM!
    Mirror: CRASH!
    The rest of the ad was just title cards and voiceovers for that week's special. But it meant the Mets were soon to be on, and in the summers of my youth, a little muffler mayhem was worth waiting through.
    Thanks for reconnecting me with my orange and blue roots. You guys are great.
    Ray (“Tell me what you thought of my novel”)