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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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Sunday In The Park With Jerks

Before anyone goes blaming the prevailing doofusdom I encountered in my section of the mezzanine this afternoon on beer and front runners, understand that I witnessed no overpriced suds consumed and no clueless interlopers. I was surrounded by what appeared to be sober, loyal Mets fans. Doesn't mean they couldn't be moronic.

Behind me was a family or two — whatever their relationship, they were enmeshed — whose matriarch was a raspy yeller in a Wright shirt. Reminded me of a neighbor we had when I was growing up, one who'd threaten to call the cops if somebody parked in front of her house. She just figured out that Trachsel works slowly and informed her children of this…over and over and over again. She took great delight in the Devil Rays' pounding of the Yankees and chanted “Let's Go Rays!”…over and over and over again. When Trachsel or the parade of relievers that followed him managed two strikes on a National, she led her brood in “Strike Him OUT!”…over and over and over again. Oh, and when a brief shower sent those sitting to our south scurrying for shelter, she started a “Who's got the cover? We do!” call and response that fortunately fizzled as fast as the rain.

Her or whoever's kids they were specialized in kicking seats. A kicked seat doesn't have to be yours for the kicking to be irritating as psoriasis. For those of you don't have it, psoriasis is extremely irritating.

A couple of rows in front of me was a Jets fan. I suppose there were lots of Jets fans at Shea. That's fine. I'm a Jets fan in my spare time. But this Jets fan — COLES 87 jersey, Mets cap — wanted to be Fireman Ed east. He listened intently to their game with the Bills on a transistor radio and whenever the Jets scored, he turned around and raised his arms to signal a touchdown. The raspy lady, after protesting that the Bills are the only “real New York team” (I'd never heard that!), got caught up in this, too, and intermittent J-E-T-S spelling was added to her repertoire.

While all I did with the kicking kids was turn around and tell them to STOP IT!, I found myself strangely emboldened to heckle the Jets guy. It wasn't so much the updates from another sport infiltrating our national pastime that got me (though a harumph of “baseball gentlemen, baseball” never seemed more in order). It was the solemnity with which he carried out his dispatches that struck me as inappropriate. The hands over the head for a few beats too long elicited a “WHAT ARE YOU, TOUCHDOWN JESUS?” from me. And when the Shea scoreboard offered the final from Orchard Park before he could — about an eighth of the crowd was already applauding — he started to tell us that hey, the Jets won. “WE KNOW,” I said, “BUT THANK YOU FOR DOING SUCH A DUTIFUL JOB OF KEEPING US INFORMED ALL DAY!”

Forgive me for telling the story with me as the de facto hero, but I got a very positive response from at least a couple of Mets fans who came to the Mets game to watch the Mets game.

So I was not crazy about those behind me or in front of me. Next to me? Joe. As in my pal Joe with whom I've gone to five games this year and with whom I am now Joe and five. Not much to say here about Joe and me at Shea today except we sure do wish we could have seen the Mets win a game together in 2006.

Except for this:

While I was settling in to my seat, with the raspy lady and the Jet correspondent making themselves evident early, Joe was completing the triangulation of my day by harassing Ryan Zimmerman. With Reyes up in the first, Joe shouted, “HEY ZIMMERMAN! YOU'RE NOT PLAYING IN ON THE GRASS…YOU FOOL!” over and over and over again. Reyes singled, which meant Joe was going to scream at the Nats' third baseman during every single Met at-bat for the rest of the day, several times per at-bat — or until it was proven that it wasn't working. Took a couple of futile innings, but he got off it, though not until the raspy lady wanted in. “What about the grass? Why are you saying that?” Joe didn't acknowledge her. Good man.

All that was missing from this discomfiting 5-1 loss was some idiot in a Yankees cap. As if on cue, one appeared, a guy in his teens in the company of his similarly aged Mets fan friends. The sight of the vertical swastika raised everybody's ire into a good, old-fashioned “YANKEES SUCK!” Natch, the kid did the thing where he points at the vertical swastika with pride. “TAKE HIS HAT! TAKE HIS HAT!” swelled in response.

The Nikon Camera Player of the Day was clearly the kid's buddy, a dude who actually did take that crappy Yankees cap and actually did fling it logeward. A huge cheer ensued.

So really, a good time was had by all.

14 comments to Sunday In The Park With Jerks

  • Anonymous

    Don't even get me started.

  • Anonymous

    Too bad the post-season rosters are already frozen. I'd trade J.P. Losman for Traschel even-up right about now.

  • Anonymous

    HI Greg- Thats one of the reasons I haven't gone to a game this season-
    I had a similar group behind Dan & me at a Hudson Valley Renegades Game-know it all guy pontificating about stuff he knew nothing about while his annoying clan of 5 kids kicked our chairs or swatted us as they went scurrying by in and out of their seats all game-and chanted the players names in shrill obnoxious voices..
    Where are the parents to teach these kids not to do that or say excuse me if they knock into you? Or to stop them from bothering people who paid to come and enjoy the game?
    I was going to say don't get me started but that horse had long left the stable………….

  • Anonymous

    That's why you drink at the ballpark, to dull the senses enough to block out all these yutzes.

  • Anonymous

    I knew that intervention didn't take…

  • Anonymous

    I hope everyone is noting my silence on this matter. Despite how much you KNOW I have to say about the JERKLIKE behavior that has caused me to either stay away from or leave early from two games this week that I held paid tickets to.

  • Anonymous

    I've been in field level seats twice against the Nationals and both times Nick Johnson had a little fan club of moronic harassers. I always admired how it never seem to perturb him in the slightest. I'm glad Shea had the decency to clap when he was carried off the field.
    But, speaking of yesterday, despite the obvious failure of the Mets to do much of anything, I think Trachsel just gave us another reason why he should pitch in the playoffs. He's mediocre and frustrating, no question. But, when Trachsel falls apart, it is always death by slow poison. His melt-downs are a work in progress, with commerical breaks in between. Essentially, he gives Chedro Breliciano plenty of time to warm up. Maine, on the other hand, (except in his last start) is usually cruising and then, wham-bam, couple of long balls and his lead is gone. His troubles are far harder to predict and impossible to remedy once they've struck. In a playoff game, we could potentially use our vaunted bullpen to bail Trachsel out, but perhaps not Maine.
    That's my thinking, expecting the worst maybe, but it has a sort of odd logic to it.

  • Anonymous

    True enough, Shari. All it takes is one fly in the ointment to ruin the whole tube of Neosporin…or whatever ointment you choose. On the flip side, when a baseball game is fun, it's more fun than anything there is. I'll keep playing the odds, understanding there are going to be Sundays (and other days) in the park when the end result on the field and in the stands add up to an ohfer. Get a night like last Monday night and it makes everything worthwhile.

  • Anonymous

    Greg, you went over his head with the use of “dutiful”. It's like when I yell at people to move “with alacrity, please?!”
    The issue with our section all year is that we have what seems to be the preferred background for photographs. I have sympathy for japanese tourists. But there are MULTIPLE times in a game when you can block my view and I don't care. When David Wright is at bat is not one of them.
    We ask nicely, we yell, we plead, we yell in several languages, we ask the usher to move them – people act as though it's an incredible imposition to wait. A model type last week posed – no, seriously, she POSED – and when we started getting loud and vocal about her extended time blocking our view, she complained to the usher.
    Also on that list is people's inability to make bathroom breaks and food runs inbetween sides. I know we don't have concourses, but you can stop at the entrance to the tunnel and wait a few minutes instead of causing an entire row to stand up while you and your three girlfriends come back with two beers in each hand in the middle of the inning, repeatedly.
    This is why we will likely sit in our upper box seats rather than mezz reserved for the playoffs, just so we don't have morons walking in front of us all night.

  • Anonymous

    A model type last week posed – no, seriously, she POSED – and when we started getting loud and vocal about her extended time blocking our view, she complained to the usher.
    Was this the blonde in the tight beige t-shirt who kept pulling up her top? Right field, mezz box?

  • Anonymous

    The idiots ruin my whole tube constantly. But more, it's the people paid to control the idiots, who couldn't be bothered to do their jobs. On Saturday, the cigarette smoke was so excruciating, the drunks in the non-alcohol sections so obnoxious, that I had to leave. I couldn't see, I couldn't breathe, I was dizzy, I was disgusted, and all because of people doing things they are not supposed to be allowed to do. And there in the concourse is a gaggle of guys in their orange security shirts, just hanging out and having a grand old time. Nowhere near the seating areas they're paid to keep an eye on. Just hangin' out, shootin' the proverbial breeze.
    When no one enforces the rules in any given place, word gets around. But when the rules ARE enforced, word also gets around–and people are more likely to obey them. And then those of us who do obey the rules and act like civilized human beings aren't forced to leave games we paid to see in the 4th inning.

  • Anonymous

    Ah good, I can make my annual rant right here; louts at the ballpark are my biggest pet peave and mobs always scare the shit out of me and ruin my experience. With projectiles flying through the air, how can anyone enjoy the game?
    Out here in LA, the fans have gotten worse and worse over the last 6 years. Now, LA fans are known for laid back complacency, so I take this as a bellweather for baseball in general. It is one thing that so many people seem to have no interest in the game outside of the “kiss cam,” beachballs, the other video bullshit, and screaming epithats at the right fielder. But I've seen beer and other projectiles thrown at families with babies in their arms because someone near them was wearing a Giants jacket.
    With ticket prices having reached levels that have little or no mooring in reality, it is remarkable to me that baseball clubs often fail to provide every fan with even rudimentary security–I find myself ponying up for the expensive seats just to avoid the less regulated cheap seats. It is maddening that security at the ballparks I've been to feel that their job is limited to hanging out and enjoying the game because this problem could be easily dealt with–a watchful pressence goes a long way to detering stupid behavior and mob enabled violence.
    It pains me to defend them even in passing, as I hate yankmes gear wearers as much as anyone, but I can't really condone taking someone's hat and throwing it. Security must be collective for everyone, even Yankers “fans,” and no one should have to worry about their person or their clothes being ruined or stolen. Further, this kind of abuse just emboldens the same type of easily influenced drunken morons towards worse and worse behavior. Plus… we all know that most people with Yankers gear aren't really fans.

  • Anonymous

    It wasn't the first time I'd watched a Yankee cap go flying (not counting the many times I saw myself taking matters into my own hands in my daydreams). Since it was the guy's buddy, I'm going to look the other way. But no, you shouldn't do that.
    Unless it's a Yankees cap at Shea Stadium.

  • Anonymous

    “she complained to the usher.”
    I'm sorry, what the hell is that?