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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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Lane Pryce Tries to Sign Tom Seaver

Every Mets fan who watches Mad Men religiously knows Lane Pryce is one of us, thanks to the orange and blue pennant that adorns his office wall. But perhaps you didn’t know just how devoted our British compatriot is when it comes to the fortunes of the 1966 Mets.

Unfilmed scenes tell the tale…

“Don, do you have a moment?”
“What is it, Lane?”
“You might be surprised to learn our very own New York Mets are the fortuitous beneficiaries of a grave clerical error on the part of the Atlanta Braves.”
“Atlanta? Didn’t they just move to Milwaukee?”
“Yes, well, it seems the Braves had their eyes on a prize pitcher and, as you Americans say, leapt before they looked.”
“You’ve really taken to our colloquialisms. How about taking me to the point.”
“The point, Don, is this young man, Seaver — the Times actually identified him as ‘Feaver,’ but my chum in the team’s front office assures me it’s Seaver — is supposed to be quite the comer.”
“And that helps me how?”

Lane read the news on April 4, 1966, oh boy. It was a little off, but oh boy anyway.

“You see, the commissioner had to void Seaver’s contract with the Braves…something about signing him before his eligibility was permitted because of his collegiate status at the University of Southern California.”
“I’m familiar with the region. Is there anything else?”
“General Eckert held a drawing to determine which other team would have the opportunity to vie for Seaver’s services, which are projected to be considerable. The drawing involved the Mets and the teams from Philadelphia and Cleveland.”
“Some kid from California whose name is hard to spell doesn’t have to go to Georgia. Lucky him.”
“It’s the hat, Don.”
“The hat?”
“The Mets’ name was drawn out of a hat, securing them the rights to sign Seaver.”
“Hat sales are off ever since Kennedy refused to wear one. The Nixon people should have listened to us.”

“Yes, well, it got me to thinking about London Fog.”
“Aren’t you the one who insisted there was no such thing as a ‘london fog’? We take your word on these matters, Lane, though it would have helped with our youth-targeting if you could have warned us about the British Invasion. Peggy didn’t know. Pete didn’t know. They look young to me. Maybe we should have kept those two brats from the other agency, Smith and Smith, or whatever their names were.”
“I’m afraid I was otherwise engaged in securing us these ‘two floors’ the week the Beatles appeared with Sullivan. But I do recall you said our friends in Baltimore were looking for a way to diversify their product line.”
“You’d think selling raincoats with the knowledge that it is always going to rain would be enough, but they didn’t seem to want to hear my advice about limiting their exposure. Neither did our old art director, come to think of it. Why did you come in here?”
“The hat, Don. New York’s beloved Mets are getting a boost from a hat. The commissioner used a fedora for the drawing, much like the one you continue to wear despite the ever-changing cultural upheaval threatening to devour us all, and this seems the perfect opportunity…”
“Opportunity for what?”

“A bright young man like George Seaver and his association with a London Fog hat might be gold for an account that’s been lagging a bit, particularly in the local market.”
“From what you’re telling me, Feaver…”
“Whoever he is, this college dropout hasn’t played a professional game yet and you want us to do what — take out a spread in the Journal-American celebrating that fact? I’m not even sure that paper’ll be in business much longer. With conversations like these, I’m not sure we’ll be in business much longer.”
“My contact with the Mets tells me they might fly Seaver up here for a press conference. Perhaps he strides to the podium wearing a fedora manufactured by London Fog and announces, ‘I owe it all to this hat,’ while the photographers click away for the evening papers. Shea Stadium was very well attended last season, and if we can draw the attention of even a fraction of that 1.7 million…”
“And do what? Get them to fight over the last Sugarberry Ham? Did I miss something? Are you creative director now?”

“Something about my adopted country brings out the moxie in me, I suppose.”
“Look, Lane, I appreciate your interest in doing something more than counting our paper clips and keeping Manufacturers Hanover from shutting off our lights, but I told London Fog the risks of diversifying, and now isn’t the time…”
“That was three years ago, Don. Three years ago, the Rolling Stones were doing cereal commercials in England.”
“If you could get Brian Jones to wear a London Fog hat, that might be helpful. Crane tells me they’re coming to Forest Hills in a couple of months, though I wish he wouldn’t talk to me — or Megan. Otherwise, Lane…”
“That’s quite all right, Don. Seaver is slated to start the season in Jacksonville as it is. Manager Westrum would love to have him up here sooner, but they don’t want to put too much pressure on the lad.”
“Pressure? Are we talking about baseball or the Korean War here? The only pressure I can see is the Mets being stuck so far down in the National League cellar that they’ll run out of oxygen. The way the space program is going, we’ll land a man on the moon before the Mets win a pennant.”
“They do have quite the farm system, you know.”
“I wish we had one of those in this office. Ask Peggy to come in on your way out.”

5 comments to Lane Pryce Tries to Sign Tom Seaver

  • richie

    It really is incredible that we came out on top in this. The luck of the draw was on our side. Imagine what could have been if we drafted Reggie Jackson?

  • richie

    by the way, great satire..

    • Thanks. Lane as Mets fan has launched numerous flights of fancy between myself and a fellow dual enthusiast. I hope to hear more from his as both seasons roll along.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Even more intriguing is that only three of the 19 remaining major league teams showed interest in Seaver before that drawing. Also that as an original draft pick by the Dodgers he was only selected in the tenth round.