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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 1, New York Times 0

I saw this New York Times piece on my iPad and spent the next couple of hours trying to keep my blood from boiling.

I love the Times, but Jim Luttrell’s post is tone-deaf about Mets fans specifically, baseball fans in general, and ignores the actually interesting currents and tribes of the city in favor of shaking a tin cup for the permanently shallow and professionally bored. From the assumption that Mets fans check out once there’s no chance of the postseason to the invitation for readers to submit cutesy Lettermanesque items, the target audience is fair-weather fans, brainless NYC drones and snarky douchebags without portfolio, none of whom I have the slightest interest in reading about or hearing from in the paper of record.

Besides, those deluded enough to still go to Citi Field last night saw a whale of a ballgame — and were reminded that this year’s Mets team just keeps somehow finding a way. On Sunday the season flat-lined as the Mets lost Jose Reyes and then Daniel Murphy in the finale of their series with the Braves. Yet for all that, they came roaring back, tying Atlanta before succumbing to Chipper Jones for what only feels like the 58,000th time. But they fell short, and listening up in Maine, I just shook my head. Nine games out. Murph gone for the year. Back to baby steps for Reyes. Now it’s really over.

Tonight, after the Mets Pelfrey’d a 4-1 lead into a 4-4 tie, I figured they’d roll over and die. They’d lose to San Diego, then start losing two of three and three of four. And I thought to myself that I wouldn’t particularly blame them. Eventually even the best-motivated bunch has to conclude that’s five or six snakebites more than a reasonable person ought to bear. (I think one reason for my fury with the Times was their juxtaposition of the Getty Images snap of an anguished, white-faced Murphy being helped off the field with silly comment-trolling. Murph was one of the real feel-good stories of the year, and now his year was turned to ashes, too.) And indeed, things got worse as the potentially useful Pedro Beato continued to struggle and the singularly useless Ryota Igarashi continued to pitch like he normally does, landing the Mets in an 8-4 hole going to the bottom of the eighth.

But there were pleasures to be had after that anyway.

Like seeing Mike Baxter take his first swing as a Met and line a ball to deep left, where it clanked off Kyle Blanks’ glove for a gift double. Baxter’s from Whitestone and grew up a Mets fan, so he had people in the park by the dozens, and SNY caught them practically levitating with happiness — a nice moment even if we never hear from Mike Baxter again. After Ronny Paulino added a sac fly it was 8-6, and hey, youneverknow.

Like seeing David Wright, recently recovered from A FREAKING BROKEN BACK, spearing the third out of the top of the ninth with a headlong dive into foul territory despite the game being pretty clearly meaningless, at least as far as the Times is concerned. Still down by two, and prodigal son Heath Bell was coming in with chip still firmly on shoulder, but there’s a reason they play 27 outs, so we’d see.

Like seeing Jason Pridie hang in there for a tough at-bat against Bell, followed by an even better at-bat by Justin Turner, whose response to wearing the goat horns has apparently been to play even harder. Then Wright spanked a single up the middle and what the hey, it was 8-7. They’re going to kill me, I thought, imagining Jason Bartlett spearing a sharp Lucas Duda grounder behind second and turning it into a game-ending double play. But then the Mets had already done more than I’d expected — if they lost, I knew I’d be disappointed, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be mad.

Like seeing Duda — a hulking kid who seems painfully shy, doesn’t really have a position and has committed the cardinal sin of admitting to struggling with his self-confidence — get a bit lucky, rolling one past Bell lunging this way and Orlando Hudson sprawling that way to score Turner and Wright for a 9-8 win and a happy dogpile and a face full of whipped cream.

The Mets aren’t going anywhere this year — we know it and they know it and just in case any of us momentarily forget it, the baseball gods will remind us by trotting out back fractures and rolled ankles and old shoulder injuries and new shoulder injuries and hamstrings and high slides and who knows what else. But despite their open October calendars, these Mets keep scratching and clawing and biting and kicking. They win more than we think they can; when they lose, they often make us proud to be their fans anyway.

And so it turns out there are pleasures left to be had in this bizarre, star-crossed season.

You might even call them reasons someone who loves baseball might continue to go see it played somewhere.

You know what? Let’s not tell the New York Times.

36 comments to Mets 1, New York Times 0

  • Kristin

    Thank you, Mr. Fry. I read your blog regularly (some friends say obsessively, but to each their own) and this is why. I am proud to be a Mets fan, and to be a Mets fan who likes to read. Thank you for being emotionally invested, well spoken, and honest… all too often elements that are missing from all aspects of life let alone the media.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Great article Jason. Stuff the New York Times, folk go and see the New York Mets because we’re Mets supporters and thats what true supporters do. This game sounds like a belter, can’t wait to see the highlights tonight. LGM

  • dmg

    once again, i gave up but the mets didn’t. watched pelf surrender the lead, then the bullpen make it insurmountable — down four in the eighth. how great to wake up and read accounts like this of the win! (note to self: hang in there a bit longer.) all i ask of a rebuilding year, and what else could this be considered, is a team that doesn’t quit. i enjoy this bunch. for all their many flaws, lack of effort is not one of them.

  • kd bart

    “…the target audience is fair-weather fans, brainless NYC drones and snarky douchebags without portfolio”

    In otherwords, your typical current Deadspin commenter. Most of whom are still referencing 2007/2008 in regards to the Mets. Get past it guys. It stopped being even a bit funny in 2009 and now it’s just boring and tired. By the way, I used to be a frequent Deadspin commenter but not so much anymore.

  • @EllenJM

    This made me tear up. You gotta believe. :-)

  • steven feld

    I am a life-long Mets fan who has been living in Europe for my most of my adult life,so I have to contend also with a 7-hr time difference.
    Last night,I must admit,that between falling eye-lids,I gave up after the Padres scored 4 in the 8th.
    “OK I thought,I´ll wake up tomorrow to read about another Mets loss”
    A half-hour later,the baseball Gods must have woken me up,as first I saw that they has scored 2 in the bottom of the 8th.
    Intrigued,I kept watching,and as the saying goes,the rest is history.
    We should not compare ourselves to Yankee fans.
    They do not understand life.
    Life is a lot more about loss,and coping with loss than any Yankee fan will admit to.
    But we do.
    By the way,I read somewhere that the Yankees baseball cap is the No.1 piece of clothing apparel worn by people caught doing violent crimes.
    Read into it what you want.

    • BlackCountryMet

      Steve I know what you go through,I’m the same in the UK. Can’t do live games in the week but rearrange shifts so I get Thursday day games live and also watch w/end games. It’s rough when the start of your day is dependent on what score pops up when switching the computer at work!!

      • steven feld

        Are you watching on,or ESPN America or SKY?
        Were you around when Channel 5 was broadcasting baseball in the UK,(1990 s)?

        • BlackCountryMet

          Subscribe to MLB TV mate, get Gary Keith and Ron all the time and other games when Mets not on, got a day game tmw night(Giants?) Best value going i feel, £75 for the entire season and post season too,BARGAIN!!

  • Jon

    Yeah, F the Times and their entire perspective, “promoting” Waldstein to the Yankee beat last week was another pretty douchey move by them. F Deadspin as well. And F Heath Bell! None of ’em get it.

  • Between this article and the passion of Bobby Ojeda every night on SNY towards this team, it makes me proud to be a Mets fan. For those fans of other teams who don’t understand why Mets fans are happy with this team, I feel sorry for you.

  • Inside Pitcher

    I was there last night. I have no voice as a result. It was totally worth it.

    F–k the Times – what do they know?

  • Andee

    Yeah, screw the Times. You know where I want to be on my birthday (Sept. 27)? Citi Field, that’s where. Because all I do is sit here in freaking Portland where we can’t even hold on to a PCL team. And the Mariners (speaking of fans who have lost interest, even before that hideous losing streak) are a four-hour nightmare traffic jam away. And I don’t get to be jaded about watching LIVE FREAKING PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL like this turdmunch you reference, who I’m going to guess is in the income bracket where he can actually afford to pay door price for the good seats, and I will take advantage of the indifference of, er, fans like him by purchasing unbelievably cheap seats on StubHub, and it will ROCK. And it’s Yankees fans who don’t pay any attention until the postseason. We have that luxury as Mets fans? Real ones? Puh-lease.

  • Dan

    Love the link text, Jason; at least one person noticed :)

  • […] Looks like Faith and Fear in Flushing is proud to be a fan of this team as well. Follow […]

  • Dak442

    In an email to a bunch of friends I was listing reasons family vacations suck, and among them was “they take you away from your baseball team”. The Yankee (and surprisingly, Red Sox) fans among them instantly chimed in with the general sentiment that I should be glad of that. It is sad that some “fans” are only interested in winning, don’t pay attention if the playoffs are out of reach, and can’t enjoy the little things about disappointing (result-wise) or losing seasons. Whatever their record, on September 29 I will begin to miss these Mets.

  • Nathan

    Thumbs up! Thank you for giving voice to us all.

  • Sean

    Here’s what I get to deal with: this from a Phillies’ fan friend– oh sorry, this from a fan of America’s team, since according to Forbes that’s what the Phillies are:

    “while i understand the entire ‘woe is mets’ attitude, i feel that it would carry more weight if the mets were, in fact, the small market, scrappy team that you pretend that they are”

    The only people who get it with this team are people like us and it’s not a matter of fan devotion. It’s a matter of knowing what this team was like the last couple of years, knowing that their expectations for this year aspired to bleak, and it’s a matter of watching them and understanding what toughness, heart, and resiliency look like in baseball. Everyone else is still more comfortable with the Mets as the listless hopeless outfit they have been much of the last two years and at various times in their history. They may not be a playoff team, but they are also not listless or hopeless.

    Sorry everyone else. This group has actual scrap, the kind I don’t have to pretend they have. You may still beat them. But you’re going to have to actually go out there and work to within an inch of your life to do it. They’re not going to save you the trouble by giving up.

  • Flip

    Ok, chalk me up as another one who got a little teary eyed reading your blog. Jason, thank you so much. You really expressed not only what must have been emotions for most of us last night, but also just what it’s like to be a Mets fan, in general. Your blog does this better than anything, and better than anyone out there. Sorry to gush, but as a life-long Mets fan, myself, it’s nice to finally have this resource. BTW, to those in Europe who wrote in, I used to live in Paris back in the day and got a daily subscription to the International Herald-Tribune, in part to follow the Mets scores. Back in those days, that’s all there was. The idea of American TV in Paris was akin to the idea of phones/TV’s with no wires that you could carry around in your pocket.

    As for last night’s game, I have one bone to pick. Everyone says Baxter’s hit was a gift double, but he hit it really well and unless you took a perfect route to that ball, it wasn’t THAT easy to catch. Sure, many leftfielders in the NL would have caught that, but I’d wager that fewer than you think would have. Everyone seems to disagree with me, but I’m sticking by my guns. He DESERVED that double and did what Mets players have been doing all year…. not giving up and sticking in there and putting the darn ball in play! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that this year even Mets’ outs have been hard outs way more often than usual.

    Thanks again, Jason.

  • Linda

    Thank you!! Now how can i copy this and give it to every fr*@cking Yankee fan who gives me S*&t because of my license plate Mets5fan? I wish i had a nosebleed ticket for every stupid comment i have heard this season.

    This is a team. TEAM.
    So we are out of it. Big deal. We figured that going in but what a nice ride hoping we could make it. And along the way we discovered great guys to cheer for. Guys that love the game, that play to win, that never give up. Guys who have family in the stands cheering and screaming like they did for little league home runs.

    This is a TEAM.

  • Good post, Dak.

    The best lesson to learn as you get older. There are no dog days.

    • Dak442

      Thanks. The dog days are November and December, when I struggle to retain interest in football and it’s too far away to count days until Pitchers and Catchers.

  • Watch the clip of Duda’s game-winning hit, and stay to the end for the dugout reaction:

    Look at Terry Collins hopping up and down like a little kid. It’s adorable.

  • Judge Schmells

    Great work, as usual. I especially loved the phrase, “the permanently shallow and professionally bored.” So much truth in that.

  • boldib

    Ha ha ha ha ha NYT and all your funny funny commenters! It’s fun to kick someone when he’s down, isn’t it?

    Well guess what NYT quiche-eating, panty-waist assholes? No Met fan who knows anything about baseball, who loves baseball, is down.

    Just the opposite!

    I love this Mets team!

    thank-you Jason!

    • NostraDennis

      You know, I don’t feel that old, but I clearly remember a time when the readership of the New York Times was actually larger than the readership of FAFIF. It’s true.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Just seen the highlights.Note to NYT…THATS why we watch the Mets, cos they got BALLS, guts,play hard and play for 27 hard outs.And you know what, our successess are worth 10 of the cross town greedy arrogant whining bunch of to$$ers. Well done Mets, lets try and keep it going

  • I havent felt so good about a Met team since 2000!!
    That said I was at last nights game and did see the (fans?)streaming out..I was not one of them!.Buffalo Soldiers to the rescue!..

    Times article? The game and recent generations of fans are so totally different..I saw at least 6 Red Sox hats, and a Giants hat..I guess thats OK..What kind of attention span do you think they have with todays slower and less accomplished game ?

  • Lenny65

    Maybe the most thrilling Citi Field moment ever. Collins for Manager Of The Year! An inspiring win from a gutty team. Screw the haters, anyone who’s been watching these guys this year knows the veil of misery is lifting. Never say die!!!

  • Jeez, it’s like Monday night’s game is suddenly the new Steve Henderson game. And Duda lays down a perfect bunt for an encore!

  • Lenny65

    Tonight’s game was a perfect example of a game the 2009-10 Mets would have definitely lost. I’m just happy to know so many fellow fans see the life in this team. I LOVE that kind of scrappy, never-say-never baseball where everyone plays a part in a win. I was glued during that 8th inning tonight, terrific stuff.

  • dmg

    yeah, this one tonight — tuesday, that is — i stuck around to watch. (learned my lesson on monday, after all.) scoring 3 in your last at-bats to win two games in a row? suh-weet!

    i know it’s the pods, and that these wins don’t mean anything in the standings. guess what? NONE OF THAT MATTERS. these were great games, and the team i root for found ways to pull them out in stirring fashion. as baseball, as narrative, as metaphor, the way this team is playing is why i will always be a mets fan.

  • ALL Mets wins mean something!!
    Thats lesson one !!!Rich P