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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 Things Free Agents Think and Do Not Say

Yeah, I’ll take some questions. First let me get this stupid jersey off. Why am I wearing a jersey over a suit? Come to think of it, why am I wearing a suit? I’m gonna be playing baseball, not asking Congress for a bailout.

Uh, you…what influenced my decision to come here? Money.

You…like I said, money. They made me the best offer.

Best offer — you know, most money, most years. It added up really nicely for me.

Mitigating factors? I hoped I could get more money and more years from another team somewhere else, but the market wasn’t quite what my agent thought it would be, so I grabbed this offer. I’d been on the market long enough, y’know?

Yeah, second row…no, I would’ve gone to any team that gave me the money and the years I was looking for.

Special? Well, it’s always special to make bank. I’m gonna make it here, so I signed with them.

My number? You mean how many years or the value of the total package? My uniform number? I’d hafta look. I dunno. They gave me whatever. I don’t really care about that shit.

Hot chick on the left…what’s it mean to be here? You mean at this press conference? They told me I had to be here.

Oh, on this team? I dunno. Like I said, they’re the ones I signed with.

No, I didn’t have any particular attachment to this team. Why would I? I played with the one team I came up with ’til last July when they dumped my salary and sent me to that other team to help them make the playoff push. I haven’t played for this team before.

Did I want to? Well, I signed with them.

When I was a kid? No, I didn’t think about it when I was a kid. I don’t think I heard of this team until we played them that one series a coupla years ago.

I dunno. I didn’t grow up around here, so I didn’t know anything about this team. Actually, I wasn’t a really big fan of any team. I was playing, y’know? I always thought the kids who were fans were kinda gay. No, not gay-gay — you know, like you and the rest of the reporters.

Yeah, you…the history? We flew in this morning and my agent made sure a car would be waiting for us.

The history of the team? I just told you I’ve never played for this team, so how the hell would I know anything about them?

Um, the fat guy over there with the beard…thoughts on the stadium? I guess this is where I’ll be playing my home games, right? The car took us into a private garage, and I was busy texting on the way over, so I didn’t get a good look. We’re in the stadium right now, aren’t we?

My thoughts on the stadium? They’ve got a field, right? And a fence? So I guess that’s all right.

Um, four-eyed dude in the back…a chance to win? Any team I’m on is gonna have a chance to win. I’ve got pretty bitchin’ stats. I wouldn’t have gotten this contract without ’em.

Joining a contender? I dunno. Were they in the playoffs last year? I was in the other league and don’t really pay attention to the games I’m not in. I know we didn’t make the playoffs even though I had that great salary drive. Shit, it wasn’t my fault they choked.

No, once the season’s over, my job is done. I don’t watch any playoffs or whatever if I’m not playing.

Phone call? From somebody on the team? This team? Nobody actually does that. I have an agent who calls the team to get me the contract. That’s how the other players do it, too, I guess. I don’t know who’s on this team yet anyway.

Um, the blonde on the side…the fans? What about them? I don’t know anything about them. They’re the fans. Am I supposed to know them or something? They have security here, right?

I don’t give a shit if they boo or not. I get paid either way.

Pressure? What pressure? Pressure was those last two months last year when I had to put up the big numbers to get the contract. The money’s guaranteed now. I’ll do my work and take my cuts and whatever happens happens. I’m pretty good, so I guess it’ll take care of itself. And if it doesn’t, the contract’s signed.

Um, a couple more…what? My family? Shit, I don’t know what they think. I’m gonna be making a lot of money and my wife’s probably gonna be on my ass even more than usual. Good thing I’ve got that prenup. She was pretty hot when we met when I was in the minors, but with this contract I can probably do better. It’s not much of a marriage, in case the ladies in this city are listening.

We’ll live wherever. Probably as far from around here as we can judging by what my agent told me. Not too long a drive, I hope. But, you know, away from the city.

The local cultural scene? I’m a ballplayer. My wife’s a ballplayer’s wife. I play ball. She does whatever all day. We’re not gonna be going to any culture. I’ve got a pretty big TV. I’ll probably get a bigger one now.

Endorsements? I hope so. That’s a shitload of money right there. First year for sure. If I’m any good after that, I’ll totally cash in. If not, I’m covered. It’s a pretty kickass contract.

Oh yeah, it has incentive clauses. My agent told me about those. I thought that was pretty funny. And a signing bonus. Man, just for showing up! It’s almost like I don’t have to play or at least I don’t have to play all that good.

We get more if we’re in the World Series, don’t we? Sweet. If you want to call that motivation, you can.

No, I don’t really wear jewelry, so I don’t care about a ring. But I can always use another check.

Oh yeah, my agent wants me to mention my foundation. It’s gonna give me some pretty serious tax breaks, so whatever with that and kids.

Is that it? More pictures now? Do I need to put this stupid jersey back on? This whole thing is kinda gay, but if you say so. The shit I hafta do to make a living.

7 comments to The Things Free Agents Think and Do Not Say

  • Anonymous

    Money? I thought it was all about the rings. Baby.

  • Anonymous

    Also, I like to think, to get good enough at a sport that people are willing to pay you millions of dollars to play it, you've had to develop some romantic illusions about it in order to motivate yourself.
    But maybe not. Maybe, to paraphrase Karl Marx, every profession hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe has been stripped of its halo and no other nexus remains between man and man (and woman, for that matter) than naked self-interest and callous cash payment.

  • Anonymous

    I don't know about anybody else, but I kept picturing John Olerud as the mystery protagonist here.

  • Anonymous

    Too bad most fans don't realize that these really ARE the answers they'd give if they could. Especially Yankee fans, who truly believe every free agent who swears that it's a lifelong dream to wear the pinstripes, blah blah blah. PLEASE. It's a lifelong dream to cash those obscene paychecks. Most players (there are a few exceptions, of course) don't care which uniform they're wearing, nor do they give a monkey's balls about history, aura and mystique. When they hand out the stock platitudes after their first visit to Yankee Stadium or the obligatory stroll through Monument Park (during which they probably only recognize a handful of names… your average ballplayer knows as much about baseball history as you know about the history of the industry you work in), they have one thing in mind… visibly sucking up to the team that will hopefully sign them to a ludicrous contract one day. Being a Yankee is the quickest path to easy money for nothing, and every player knows it.
    Sterling Hitchcock said it best. When asked after leaving the Yankees how it felt to wear the pinstripes, he shrugged, “Polyester is polyester.” Such refreshing honesty is sorely lacking in these times of outrageous contracts, when players feel they have to pretend the team that offered them the sweetest deal is the team they've always dreamed of playing for, often even manufacturing a childhood preference. It's so transparent, yet mostly everyone falls for it.

  • Anonymous

    I'm sorry to be “that guy” Greg, but you made 2 mistakes here. The stuff about being traded to a contender the previous summer and the comment about being from a different league were never said.
    Otherwise, you did a great job transcribing the Tom Glavine press conference from 6 years ago. Bravo!

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of Tom G!@vine, do you think that the players care about their performance as such and not simply its link, in principle, to their future salary? Whether they care where and for whom they play, are they happy when they win and upset when they lose in something like the way we are?
    You look at a guy like David Wright and you get the impression he really cares about the game and not just his paycheck. Likewise, I betcha Billy Wagner's not thinking, yeah, baby, free ride, glad I don't have to do that baseball thing anymore. He's not happy to be out of the action.
    On the other hand, they're not devasted, are they?

  • Anonymous

    John Olerud strikes me as the living, breathing embodiment of Joe Montana as the roomate in the “SNL” sketch where we hear every nasty thing everybody's really thinking after they say something trite. In Montana's case, every word in his thoughts matched what he said (to ultimately hilarious effect).