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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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Mets Magnetism

Pallets of brown corrugated boxes sit somewhere in Queens. They are filled with magnetic schedules. Could be the reason I suddenly feel something.

I already kind of don’t remember the first week of the 2008 season. I was there, it was there, but there wasn’t much there there. Admittedly, I haven’t managed to sit down and focus like a laser on nine contiguous innings, but that’s just an excuse to go with all the others. Whether it’s the hangover of ’07 (if you can have a hangover after drinking no Champagne) or the clammy New York spring or the inability to mix and match new Mets with previous Mets and call the collection a team or, to be blunt, the saggy 2-3 start, I’m just not feeling this particular campaign yet.

But where I’m headed in a matter of hours…I’m feeling that. I’m feeling the pull of Opening Day at Shea Stadium. It’s absolutely magnetic.

Somebody’s down in storage unloading those pallets right now. Case upon case of those brown boxes. Somebody’s cutting through the bands, somebody’s rendering the adhesive obsolete. I can hear the boxes tearing open. I can feel it. Somebody with a clipboard is directing a fleet of forklifts. These go to Gate E, these to Gate D and so on. Break ’em out, have ’em ready. Company’s coming.

It’s the Home Opener at Shea Stadium. They always hand out magnetic schedules, since 1997 at least. It’s the first sponsorship, the first promotion of the year: Kahn’s…Delta…whoever pays the freight. They used to give one to everybody. Now it’s the first 25,000 through the gates. You’d figure they could afford another pallet’s worth, given the Amazin’ advertising the thing provides. These magnets go up on 10,000 fridges and 10,000 filing cabinets in the Metropolitan area almost immediately. Who knows how many millions of times this summer somebody in New York or New Jersey or Connecticut will say “hang on a sec…let me check…” and crane a neck toward the schedule he or she was handed April 8 and positioned purposefully onto a cooperative surface April 9? Who knows how many Mets fans have waited patiently since September 30 to replace the previous magnetic schedule with a better one?

The new magnetic schedule’s gotta be better than its predecessor. It’s just gotta.

Or so we hope, which is fine — which is required, actually. Hope’s in fashion this morning and afternoon, no matter how few sparks the season to date has thrown off, no matter that the cast of 2008 doesn’t feel whole, as if we’re in the Archie Bunker’s Place phase of All In The Family.

Ah, stifle yourself. Enough moping that these Mets haven’t clinched a darn thing after one week on the job. Those were road games. They counted only in fact, not at heart. The season starts when Shea unshutters, when indifferently trained personnel dip into those brown boxes and peel off a magnetic schedule to you…and to you…and to you…and sorry, we’re all out, you shoulda got here sooner. The season starts upon first sighting of the big blue shell with the white trim, its amazing Technicolor dreamcoat of seats and its green, green grass of home.

The season starts at Shea. One more time it does. The contents of a pallet of corrugated boxes sitting somewhere in Queens says so.

11 comments to Mets Magnetism

  • Anonymous

    I'm glad you wrote this. I won't be there today, like I wasn't there last year after attending 14 of the 15 previous home openers. Do you know what kills me the most about it? Not getting the magnetic schedule. I still have 2006 on my fridge (somehow that seems fitting).

  • Anonymous

    …watching briefly before getting sucked back into an all-day meeting…
    Nice job by the Mets saluting Bill Shea and Shea Stadium. My feelings on Shea vs. Citi Field are well-known, but that was a classy move to salute the old place and the man whose name it bears.
    P.S. Considering we're 2-3, maybe it would be better to give Willie the good-luck flowers before the start of the actual season. Because it would suck to, say, miss the playoffs by one game.

  • Anonymous

    for those at the game, what was the reaction to schoeneweis, both when he came in to relieve and after he was pulled?
    did willie really think schoenweis was a good idea? come on.

  • Anonymous

    When he entered the game, the reaction was mixed. There were enough people ready to forgive and forget that the cheers were clearly audible.
    When he was pulled, the reaction… wasn't mixed.

  • Anonymous

    He was booed in introductions. Nice. And when he was pulled, there weren't enough people there who were either sober or knew enough about baseball to realize that he may have gotten in trouble–like all pitchers do–but he got the double-play ball to get out of it. It's not his fault that it somehow didn't end up to be a double-play ball. But Met fans would rather do without beer than a scapegoat to abuse.

  • Anonymous

    Magnetism? Somebody needs to reverse the polarity.

  • Anonymous

    thanks all…i've been without tv/radio and was forced to watch the play by play on gamecast.

  • Anonymous

    I still have 2003 on my fridge.
    The one that's in the basement.
    Talk about fitting

  • Anonymous

    Re Schoeneweis in the pregame introductions, why not change the number order one eensy bit so he's introduced before Santana?
    You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know the fans would cheer Santana madly, that you'd want to extend the moment, and that Schoeneweis would get booed. So why not reverse 57 and 60? Then you would have had this….
    Scott SCHOENEWEIS! (boooo) And welcome to New York, Number 57, Johan SANTANA! (yaaaaaaaah hallelujah! yaaaaayyyy! etc.)
    instead of
    Johan SANTANA! (rejoicing, madness, etc., long pause). And number 60, pitcher Scott SCHOENEWEIS! (boo– ) UMANDNOWYOURSTARTINGLINEUP….

  • Anonymous

    If he had been effective at all beforehand, he wouldn't have needed the DP grounder…