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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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Pride Wenteth After a Fall

So, New Springfield's looking pretty good now, isn't it, with our ample parking and daily Who concerts.

—Mayor Homer Simpson

Probably no need to stoke these fires, but it's a long way from here to Wednesday at 8:20 PM, so what the hell?

I was listening to the FAN all through the overnight, a program devoted to Yankee grumbling, not Met exuding. As Jason said, fine with me. Let 'em gripe to high heavens, let 'em insist their truck must be backed up, let 'em beseech their PTB to switch drivers, let 'em bury those 35 homers and 121 ribbies they got from their third baseman. Let 'em get it out of their systems 'cause that's all they've got now. We've got games coming up.

But one thing, I think, bears noting. I heard a surprising plurality of the callers exclaim, “I'm embarrassed to be a Yankees fan.”

As well as you should be. But not because your team lost a playoff series.

This seems as good a moment as any to play the moral superiority card, so let's do it.

You're embarrassed to be a fan of your team? Then what the fuck kind of fan are you? Because as long as I've been a fan of the team I'm a fan of, I have never been embarrassed to be that fan.

Disgusted by my team's performance? Sure.

Annoyed by my team's decisions? Repeatedly.

Humiliated by my team's actions? Occasionally.

Depressed by my team's failures? Sometimes for years on end.

But embarrassed? Never. That's my team and I'm their fan. That's it. That's how it works. One devastating postseason series loss does not embarrass the fan out of you. Even if you've watched your team be eliminated…oh…six consecutive years, you do not become embarrassed by them. They suck? You suck…it up. It's part of the social contract.

If it's not for you, then it's not for you, in which case there's no law saying you have to stick with it. That's not an altogether dishonorable option. If your values system operates in a manner that tells you that a string of defeats at the worst possible instant is making your life more miserable than you can imagine the hypothetical down-the-road payoff being wonderful, then quit. If you can't view a few bad breaks now as a small price to pay for everything excellent you received then, give it up. You don't have to be a fan. There are other things to do with your life. Go do them. Enjoy.

But if you're going to stick with it, stick with it. Be mad, be sad, but don't be “embarrassed” by what or who you are. You called radio stations to crow and strutted down the street in your garb and probably haughted it over a few people who didn't share your particular fandom when it was all going swimmingly. Now that it's not, you can't be “embarrassed” to be that same fan. Don that cap, wrap yourself in that jacket and tell the world you still root for that team of yours, win or — this will shock you — lose.

Otherwise, you're the fraud we always suspected you were.

On the flip side, I heard a few Yankees fans mutter congratulations to the Mets and wish us luck (the good kind) in winning the World Series. They're New Yorkers, they said. Willie deserves it, they said. At least the Mets know how to play the game, they said. Whether they meant it or not, it was fairly gracious. It's more than I ever managed in 1996 when it was de rigueur in some quarters to act that way in the other direction. At the end of that year's October, the Mets took out an ad in one of the papers congratulating the Yankees. I hung it on my office door. If Fred and Nelson could tip their cap, so could I…for about two hours until I got ahold of myself and tore it down.

Now that was embarrassing.

My partner in this blog is an insightful guy. We were at one of the Subway Series games in May when I noticed how little attention our slice of Shea, regardless of affiliation, was paying to this rubber match, the one that was reportedly such a hot ticket, the one all of New York was said to be atwitter over. How, I asked him, can everybody not be glued to their seats — or at least standing in front of them — when so much is riding on this?

“I hate to break it to you,” he answered, “but not everybody is a fan the way you are and I am.”

Who knew?

There really are such animals as casual fans and bandwagon fans and fans whose interest ebbs and flows. There are people who simply like to get caught up in a phenomenon and people whose curiosity draws them to a crowd and people who have the means to attend Events and buy their way in because it's the thing to do. There are people who can take it or leave it depending on the quality of what it is. There are even people who think it's neat when a team, any team, that plays where they live is successful. Those same people didn't care before and they will drift away soon after.

Mind-boggling, I know, but they're apparently out there. As long as they're pleasant and relatively sincere, I don't mind their participation. Being a part of something bigger than yourself is what a bandwagon is all about, whether you were on the bandwagon when there were plenty of good seats available or whether you're cramming your way onto the last open car (step behind the yellow line — there's another one right behind it approaching the station!).

I'm not going to worry too much about what those who weren't Mets fans before 2006 — especially before Holy Saturday, October 7, 2006 — are thinking as long as I've got the Mets versus the Cardinals or the Mets versus the Padres to worry about. The more the merrier, et al, though I'd certainly prefer some heretofore apathetic ass not be glued to a mezzanine seat that by all rights belongs under one of our orange and blue bottoms. Should what comes next proceed well, we're the ones who will revel the deepest. Should it not, we know the drill. We might be disgusted, annoyed, humiliated or depressed. We might be all of that at once. But we'll never be embarrassed to be Mets fans.

I'd be ashamed of us if we were.

16 comments to Pride Wenteth After a Fall

  • Anonymous

    We could go 0-162 and I'd still wrap myself in orange and blue. I'd never be “embarrassed,” I'd never publicly disavow my team because we didn't get a ring, and I'd never boo my own. Disgraceful.
    However, I do reserve the right to say “we suck” when we do… because although I know it and I say it, I never walk out on it. If they suck, I suck… it up. If you don't stick with your team through the bad, you have no right to lay claim to the good. (And no matter how much we suck, heaven help any outsider who dares speak those words in my presence.)
    You wanna shove your success down our throats and bully us constantly when you're doing well? Then put your money where your big mouths are and stand behind your team when they lose. And don't expect any sympathy or goodwill from us, either, after your years of abuse and torment. That ship sailed long ago.
    Bite me, Yankee fans. You and your team suck. Enjoy your offseason. It starts now.

  • Anonymous

    If you live your life as a bandwagoner, then you damn well should be embarrassed.
    I remember chiding the kids at my son's bus stop the day after the 2001 World Series ended, because these supposed MFY “fans” weren't wearing any Yankee gear that day. I told them that true fans supported their teams no matter what (if their parents aren't going to raise them well, they need to learn this stuff on the mean streets of suburbia, from mean people like me!).

  • Anonymous

    The Yankee bandwagon is The Loser Express. Coming soon to a golf course near you. HAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Anonymous

    I was embarrassed to be a Mets fan when Vince Coleman nearly blinded a 2 year old girl with a firecracker. And when Saberhagen sprayed bleach at those reporters. So, I know where these fans are coming from……

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but it took small-time criminal types, third-degree assault and a winning percentage well south of .400 to send you to that state.
    Falling two victories shy of the LCS? Please.

  • Anonymous

    We can go back to that old entitlement thing. I NEVER feel entitled. Only grateful and unbelievably proud of the orange and blue. So many years of sucking it up and loving them anyway…..So many years of making deals with divinities large and small……It was all worth waiting for…..
    And Laurie,…….you are SO right…..they can kiss our asses….I could care less about how devastated they are.

  • Anonymous

    If I was “embarrassed to be a Met fan” every time we didn't win the World Series, well…
    I'm not even sure how to finish that sentence. It's too absurd to contemplate. I can't even comprehend the Yankee fan mentality. It's all about winning. You don't win, we stop liking you. HOW??
    Beyond my powers of comprehension.

  • Anonymous

    It's like caring how devastated a spoiled rich child is because he didn't get the mini Ferrari he wanted, and had to make do with a pony instead. Deal with it, Skank fans. If daddy's $200 million trinkets didn't satisfy you, don't come bawling to me. I've suffered for too many years at your hands to muster even an ounce of sympathy. Or remorse. Much like you for the past 10 years.
    Boo f**king hoo. Cry me a river. Tell it to the Marines. Here's a quarter, call someone who cares… with whom you have obviously confused me. Sayonara, baby.

  • Anonymous

    I so love Laurie's subtle, nuturing side.

  • Anonymous

    I think “embarrassed” and “humiliated” are fairly synonymous, so I don't really follow how it's OK to be one and not the other.
    But yeah, I think it's OK to blush when three of your players are tagged with gang-rape accusations, not when your players — waa, waa — fail to hit against the top pitching staff in the league.

  • Anonymous

    Humiliated: I stand here figuratively naked, with only my own concept of my dignity to cloak me.
    Embarrassed: Quick, get me out of here, hide me, I don't want anyone to see me this way.
    It's a fine line, I M. Donald Grant you, but it's what I had in mind.

  • Anonymous

    Humiliated: Oh man, I can't believe they did that. This SUCKS!
    Embarrassed: I don't want anyone to know I'm a Met fan.

  • Anonymous

    I'm as big a softie as you're ever gonna find. I even feel bad for A-Rod. But Yankee fans? Never. Spoiled bullies who act like everyone else has just been borrowing their trophy for the last six years; like every World Series they don't win doesn't really count. Braying bandwagoners who take credit for things that happened 80 years ago, or even 30 years ago… things they weren't a part of and don't remember, they somehow manage to shove down your throat.
    Riddle me this, Yankee fans: What have THESE Yankees done? How many rings do THEY have? And how many of the Yankee world championships you brag about have YOU personally witnessed?
    God, how I hate them.

  • Anonymous

    I can always count on you to catch a point without stabbing yourself.

  • Anonymous

    While we are enjoying the Yankees' discomfiture, whadda we htink — when Joe Torre wrote A-Rod into the 8th spot in the lineup for that final game, was he daring Steinbrenner to fire him?

  • Anonymous

    I love the appellation “Holy Saturday.” I am an Orthodox Jew who has been a huge Mets fan since as long as I can remember (@'66) and, of course, I love when the Evil Empire falls.
    So Saturday, besides being Shabbos, was the first of two days of Sukkos. When I got to temple on late Saturday afternoon our whole synagogue here in Highland Park, NJ, which is strongly pro-Mets, was abuzz w/a rumor that the Yanks were losing 8-1 (although, of course, we were slightly concerned w/the accuaracy of the report since it was so hard to believe). My 17 yr old son and I were absolutely delighted, as was just about everyone else. All we were looking for at that point was a double clinching, which we saw w/the morning's newspaper. It definitiely enhanced the enjoyment of the holiday!
    Some day I'll tell you about how I found out about the Buckner hit on Simchas Torah night, but that's for another day…