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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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May 9 and Life to Go

I should be a Mets fan. I identify with their culture. I appreciate how deep into the Bachman-Turner Overdrive canon the Shea Stadium deejay can dig. I have bitten my palm, Squiggy-style, over the throngs of big-haired women who have the Mets logo airbrushed on their nails.
—Joel Stein, Time, 2000

There were good reasons Sebastian Bach of Skid Row performed before Saturday’s game against the Pirates. There were good reasons Gary Dell’Abate, a.k.a. Boy Gary/Bababooey from the Howard Stern show, threw out the first ball. Very good reasons, actually, having to do with the Mets holding Autism Awareness Day. Bach and Dell’Abate (the latter a huge Mets fan) are supporters of a great cause, and it is to their credit that they would use their celebrity to raise awareness, just as the Mets are doing a fine thing publicizing such a fight.

That said…the lead singer from Skid Row…Howard Stern’s punching bag of a producer…the Mets. The spirit of Shea Stadium lives. I mean, really, Sebastian Bach, with the hair and the metal and I assume a reality show to plug. And Gary from Uniondale. There is nothing majestic about having these as your celebrities on a Saturday afternoon. There is nothing sacred. There is nothing prim or proper. There is something very much Mets about it.

To which, I say hot damn, bring on the Sebastian Bachs and the Gary Dell’Abates (hell, their stand-ins are usually riding my train anyway) and let’s be Mets about this. Let’s be Shea about this. Let’s bite our palms as Squiggy would at this six-game winning streak and these new places of ours: Citi Field and first, respectively.

Citi Field? Needs work, still. Never mind the blind spots (none of which bothered me from Mezzanine 1…I mean Promenade 414) and the lack of Mookieabilia. It needs to be louder or somehow dirtier without becoming filthy. It needs some Shea to it. In the top of the second, my friend Jeff, he of [friggin’] fantasy camp correspondent fame, read my mind and asked, “Is it quiet here?” We indeed could have been studying for our PSATs when it was a mere 1-0. As it grew into 5-0 and all the other delightful scores until it was finally 10-1, it got louder and maybe a little Sheaish. Needs work in that respect, but on the occasion of my seventh game, I came away with no other complaints, not from the game, not from the park, not even from the overpriced cheeseburger stand beyond center that I finally bore down and tried (good, not great; get a Steak ‘N’ Shake up in here and we’ll talk).

First-place Mets? I want to exult and luxuriate, but I seem to recall being in first place in some other recent seasons and…well, you know. Nevertheless, there are five places available in your National League East, and the one we occupy as a result of our win and the Phillies’ loss is the best to have, so let’s have it. Let’s keep it, too. Let’s not let up. But it’s May 9 and 29 games in. To paraphrase the great philosopher Howie Rose, the last 133 are the toughest. But this is a better look to the Mets than what constant viewers saw a little more than a week ago. And the sound of “first-place Mets” is, with all due respect to Mr. Bach’s charitable impulses, better than “18 and Life” at its loudest and clearest.

Unless 18 refers to Jeremy Reed, who could have pitched for all it mattered by the ninth. Which would have been pretty awesome.

Fuckin’ A it woulda been.

Two inquiring minds wanted to know more about Faith and Fear: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, thus we have two Q&A interviews it is our pleasure to share, this one with Tad Richards of the NY Writing Careers Examiner and this one with Regis Courtemanche of MetsBlog. My thanks to both for their interest and inquiry. The book they ask about is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

7 comments to May 9 and Life to Go

  • Anonymous

    i wonder if being in first place and starting to run away (and hold on) will make people forget how bad Citi Field is from a price, view, and Mookieabilia points of view.

  • Anonymous

    If they start losing, the prices conceivably could go down (at least on the secondary market), the view could get better (because the better seats won't be occupied) and more Mets stuff might go up because the Mets would have nothing to sell regarding the present.
    But I don't want to test that theory quite that way.

  • Anonymous

    For the moment, it no longer looks like Johan then cross your fingers for 4 days.
    So the BJs go through the trouble of bidding up Takahashi and signing him. Then they let him go. Go figger.
    With 12 games to go on my 15 game plan, I really like my perch atop sec 506. Matter of fact, it's a stunning view all around. Flushing Bay and River. Awesome. If I needed to make a pit stop every 2 or 3 innings I'd likely think otherwise. I'm content with a pre-game Nathans foot-long and a bottle of water. Nature waits til end of game.
    Primo seats seem to be better occupied at value and bronze price-points. How long before silver and gold fold into value and bronze?
    If a higher percentage of promenade and porch / landing seats are filled over a season or two as compared to field and caesar, how long before the outfield gets more seating ?
    These are, of course, rhetorical questions.

  • Anonymous

    I usually sit below you in sec 405 for my couple games, and noticed that the view of the bay could be better overall (I think I mentioned that on my blog at one point). I'm like you that I eat pre-game, and eat simply, and sit for the game unless I MUST get up. With all the financial problems the Wilpons face with losing money to their friend's ponzi scheme and the status of the bonds, I can't see prices going down. I'd like to get to other seats, but I really need to find the right value or bronze dates to experiment, and I may want to do it this year.

  • Anonymous

    As I descend the stairs between secs 505 & 506, the Bay and River rapidly fade from view. You just don't see it the same on the platform between the 400s and 500s. See it for yourself. The top of the ballpark is majestic in its sweep.
    Shea deserves better props at the new yard. The man, if not the old yard.
    My dad's generation closed the Polo Grounds twice. Once for the Giants, once for the Mets. The first closing brought pain. The second not.
    The name Polo Grounds was not posted at any of the several yards located at Coogan's Bluff – until the Mets posted it there in '62.
    I'm calling Citi Shea, unless I'm drawing comparison between the two. Citi is such an embarrassment. In NYC, the fans name the yard. It's our birthright.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree that the secondary market ticket prices will be more affordable if the team ends up sucking..
    I also believe that if the team is good, that your physical surroundings will change very little. In other words, mementos of our past will be pushed deeper into the recesses of our minds. The powers that be will care even less. The 'out with the old and in with the new' attitude will prevail..
    It kind of reminds me of whats going on in DC these days..
    Rich P

  • Anonymous

    I love this site but I just can't go along with the Citi Field bashing (other than the name). I sit in section 531 looking right over the left field foul pole. Is my view of the left field corner obstructed beneath me? Sure it is. Would I rather be sitting another 60-70 feet further away just to be able to see the 3% of the playing surface I'm missing? Not a chance in hell.
    I went from sitting on the third base side on the edge of the outfield grass at Shea in a row that was so high as to not exist at the new ballpark. Despite moving out to the left field corner, granted in the first row, I feel so much closer to all of the action. It helps that the seats are a hell of a lot more spacious (I'm not a small man), with enough leg room to allow me to concentrate on the game and not my creaky knees and back..
    Is the food expensive? You betcha. So was Shea. But at least here I have options on what to eat as compared to the sad state of affairs at Shea for all but those who had field level seats and/or those who were willing to come down from the high heavens (pigeons struggled to reach my seats) and navigate that narrow corridor.
    As for the sound……I would submit that there is marked lack of trust for this team. I think the team continues to make people too nervous to trust in any good feeling. The events of the last two years will do that to you. I'm as vociferous as anyone I know in my rooting habits at a game but even I find myself more restrained than I ever have been before simply for fear of being disappointed again.
    I'm hoping that as time goes by more will be done to Mets-ify the new park. Shea needed it a heck of a lot more than Citi Field does. Anything that hid the ugly corridors at Shea was an improvement. Citi Field has a beauty and style that can stand on its own for now. And in any case, the true beauty of Citi Field, just like Shea before it, would be to have a winning Mets team playing there.