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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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Valley of the Diehards

On the first night I was inside Citi Field in 2011, well before the season started, someone who works for the Mets said to a group that included me, “You guys are the diehards.”

On the last night I was inside Citi Field in 2011, just before the season ended, we still were, at least by the standard definition that implies implacable devotion to a cause. Our cause is the New York Mets, for modestly better or predictably worse. That much is clear after 161 mostly unsuccessful games — except “diehard” implies a resistance to prevailing trends, and I don’t necessarily think that describes people like us, people who dotted select portions of the stands for the Mets and Reds on a Tuesday night long after the Mets and Reds on a Tuesday night would mean anything to anybody else.

It’s not that we’re resistant to prevailing trends. We’re indifferent to them. We’re impervious to them. We don’t know that there’s a whole wide world out there that doesn’t give a damn about the 2011 Mets when 2011, in Met terms, is innings away from expiring. It doesn’t occur to us to notice. And if we happen to be accidentally cognizant that the 2011 Mets are high on nobody’s list of priorities but our own, what do we care about anybody else’s list? Ours commences, continues and concludes with the 2011 Mets, until there are no more 2011 Mets.

When that occurs, which it will innings/hours from now, we’ll start a new list, under the heading of 2012 Mets.

But we don’t leave the 2011 Mets until every last one of them has left us. We don’t leave the 2011 Mets until the 13th inning of the second-to-last game, and if we can, we plan an instant return for the last game. We go nowhere where our team is concerned.

Our team also goes nowhere, but we figured that out quite a while ago.

Last night at Citi Field — the last night at Citi Field for this year — was great until it wasn’t, and it wasn’t great then only because it ended the way it did, with another Mets loss (despite a dissonant scoreboard message that insisted METS WIN! after Justin Turner lined into a game-losing double play).

Jose Reyes was great as he embraced his chase for five decimal-place immortality before he probably chases nine digits preceded by a dollar sign. Jose homered deep twice. Jose singled shallowly once. Jose was on handmade signs. Jose was on everybody’s minds. Jose was on second as Ruben Tejada endeavored to drive him home in the bottom of the ninth. Jose was on third by the time Ruben worked one of his already-patented ten-pitch walks. Jose was atop the batting race by a scintilla of a whisker of an eyelash when he came out on deck as the potential not-losing run in the 13th. Jose stood there and watched his last plate appearance evaporate before it could materialize, just as Ryan Braun did when some Brewer got picked off before he could surge ahead of or, better yet, drop further behind Jose.

We watched Jose closely. We watched the out-of-town scoreboard obsessively. We watched TAM overcome NYY, BOS fend off BAL, PHI crush ATL and STL inevitably pound HOU to ensure two last-day Wild Card ties in a sport that allegedly requires another playoff round to generate late-season drama. Add that to whatever we divined (and confirmed, via smartphone) Braun was doing as MIL took on PIT, and I was moved to remark to my companion that even though somebody who likes something I don’t might not understand why I don’t like what he does, I don’t understand how anybody couldn’t like baseball as much as I do. We’re watching results from games we’re not even watching, and it’s thrilling — AND we’re watching a game right in front of us!

That was before the game right in front of us got all Acosta’d and Parnelled, but the point holds. How could anybody not want to be a diehard if being a diehard means one more night outdoors with baseball all around you? In the company of diehards like you to whom you don’t have to explain yourself?

Got something you’d rather do than go to the last night game at Citi Field last night? I mean besides go to the last day game at Citi Field today?

I didn’t think so.

8 comments to Valley of the Diehards

  • srt

    Wish I could have been there last night but getting to Citi from where I live is a logistics nightmare and usually during the week advanced planning and time off from work.

    I did however watch from beginning to end. I believe I’ve seen all but 2 Met games this year. As disappointing as this season has been (much like the past 2 seasons), it’s still better than no NY Met baseball. It’s going to be a long, cold winter until Opening Day rolls around next year.

    For those of us watching on SNY, Gary did a good job of not only keeping us up to date on all the games involving the WC teams, he let us know exactly what Braun did at each at bat and where Reyes stood all night.

  • kowalski69

    Lets go mets

  • Guy Kipp

    Gary Cohen may have done a fine job directing traffic last night, but not so for the SNY production truck. After Reyes homered in consecutive at-bats, his next time up, viewers missed the live at-bat to see replays of the two earlier home runs.
    At this point, any viewer tuned in to THIS game rather than one with playoff implications is here expressly to see Reyes’ at-bats. To miss a live swing in order to show something on tape is inexcusable.

  • Ken K. from NJ

    (Of course, if the batter has half a brain he steps out of the box for a minute…)

    Gary (or maybe it was Keith) very briefly implored Tejada to step out of the box, but he’s young, and probably was concentrating on other things at that moment. He’ll learn. It seems like Jose came out almost during the first pitch to Tejada.

  • Richie

    I was there last night…was surprised the last game this year was a day game.