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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 Gloomiest Recap: 150

Overheard high atop 514 Thursday afternoon…

ROB EMPROTO: What’s the worst game you’ve ever been to?
ME: September 15, 2011, Mets versus Nationals.

To be fair, across two Logs that have tracked the 522 official Mets games I’ve attended, Collapse games have been worse. Johnny and Armando late-inning specials have been worse. Anything where “NY” won and it wasn’t us was worse. There was a Merengue Night in 1998 that forever ensured my disavowal of an entire musical genre. “Worst” is highly subjective, and when it comes to the Mets, it’s far too broad a category to plop on the table without being prepared to dissect it for hours on end.

Which was how long yesterday’s game took.

Nationals X Mets I — misery too epic to be left to Arabic numerals — will endure as especially horrendous because it had going for (or against) it something I don’t think any of the other 225 Mets losses I’ve witnessed in person could claim.

Gloom. It was the gloomiest day I’ve ever spent in the company of the New York Mets. And friends, I’ve spent some dark nights with my team.

But not in broad daylight I haven’t.

Rain I’ve sat through. Rain delays I’ve sat through. Severe chill I’ve sat through. The winds of Flushing Bay have annually whipped my psyche as they have my unprotected exterior. Yesterday, though, was an extraordinarily brutal afternoon of elements. Temperatures plunged. Precipitation spit. Skies darkened. Then darkened some more. Then turned as black as any three Mercury Mets jerseys. It was the kind of weather where if you sit through it, maybe the home team does you the solid of offering you tickets to another game.

Except after yesterday, that would have been cruel.

Yet it wasn’t just the sharp right turn into December.

Or the miserable score (Nationals X Mets I truly understates the intensity of the blowout).

Or the caliber of opponent that was kicking our ass.

Or how limply the once-feisty 2011 Mets are fading into oblivion.

Or my having been in the same stadium fewer than 24 hours earlier for what seemed like a heartbreaking 2-0 loss but was, by comparison, the last gasp of the feelgood phase of the Terry Collins Era.

Or the thought of the eager schoolkids I saw on the 7 whose field trip wasn’t likely to go down as a cherished childhood memory.

Or the fellow in the ATF cap who — before exiting to enjoy his stock of alcohol, tobacco and/or firearms — snorted that the Mets were a bunch of millionaires too scared to play in a little rain.

Or the fellow wrapped in orange and blue angrily informing all six of us in our section that the Nationals were running up the score so their agents could get them more money in the offseason.

Or the balks, the errors, the LOBs, the high fences and the centerfielder who could’ve sworn he’d seen a ghost.

Or the time of game, which broke three clocks and five calendars.

Or the nerve of the Mets putting two runners on in the bottom of the ninth when Rob and I were too stubborn or too stupid to turn our backs on them.

It was how incredibly private this game was that boosted this one’s status into Worst territory. It was how I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the seventh or eighth or fifty-fifth inning and, upon descending into the Promenade Food Court, I heard nothing. Not a sound. Not a soul. Almost everything was shuttered. Everything else could have been. And when I returned to my seat, it wasn’t any different…except a regulation baseball game was taking place below us.

In August of 1981, after a seven-week strike had been settled, the Mets invited people to attend their intrasquad games for free. Baseball-deprived since mid-June, I jumped on a Long Island Rail Road train or two (including one that wasn’t scheduled to stop at Shea, but the conductor was very nice to a clueless 18-year-old version of me) and practically ran to Gate C so I could be part of the first Mets baseball since June 11. This was the summer before I left for college, so I wanted every drop I could get. There were no tickets necessary. Just walk in and take a seat on the Field Level.

I figured it would be a festive afternoon in Flushing, but not really. The Mets basically chose up sides and played ball. I might be imagining this, but I kind of remember Lee Mazzilli serving as manager for one side of Mets and Doug Flynn managing the other. I also don’t think they bothered turning on the scoreboard. There were no concessions open. No public address announcements were made. It was just a bunch of guys in blue Mets warmup tops shaking off the rust and reacquainting themselves with the tools of their trade very, very quietly. There were maybe 500 of us taking in their maneuvers. We made a little noise, but after a while, not that much.

That’s basically what yesterday was like, except it was sunnier thirty years ago and I actually wanted to come back again.

12 comments to The Gloomiest Recap: 150

  • tim

    It’s games like this that make me glad I’m in Alaska. I mean, something has to make me glad I’m in Alaska, right?

  • Funny you mention Doug Flynn and Lee Mazzilli, because when the P.A. was playing “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer yesterday, and there were about 42 people left in 50 degree weather, it seriously felt like the late 70’s.

  • I’ll still take this over any of the Benitez / Franco choke games, particularly any of them involving the Braves. Horrifying. Believe me, in two weeks, I’ll forget all about yesterday’s debacle.

  • joenunz

    If my math is correct you have a .567 Winning Pct (296-226) at games you’ve attended. No time to look it up now, but that has to be better than just about ANY split (home/road; day/night; MerengueNights/Non-Merengue Nights) that we could conjure up. Impressive.

  • The highlight of the game was running into both you and Sharon there. After bouts of miserable baseball, my friend and I tried to sit in sections worse than our tickets indicated and we were told by some very brusque ushers that it was not possible. And I was with a former Shea usher who was livid. Between the two of us, we never, ever, ever leave early. We left in the eighth inning. The only pang of guilt I had was when Mike Baxter was warming up in the pen and I thought, “I’m going to miss a position pitcher hurling for the Mets.” Thank you, Manny Acosta for getting the last out and returning me to my piece of mind. I’m sure you were hoping for a Baxter entrance to somehow salvage a terrible day, but Acosta has proven unreliable when the last out is concerned. You know the 28th will be so much crisper.

  • Pat O"Hern

    When you do do a gloomiest recap on a full season, please include June 23rd 1975. My Dad couldnt stand my begging any more, drove my 8 year old ass down from Syracuse to my first live Mets experience. Couldn’t have been a better preview of my next 36 years with this team.

    • When you do do a gloomiest recap on a full season

      I’m just calculating how much I’d have to be paid to undertake such an endeavor. Antidepressants don’t come cheap, you know.

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