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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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Seasons Don't Fear the Chipper

Larry Jones has been hard to miss, but we’ll manage.

First responder caps…Bobby Valentine embroiled in controversy…wondering how the Mets are going to handle Chipper Jones…

What decade is this anyway?

I’m not in the mood to be overly outraged at the moment, so I’ll just say I agree with Jason’s assertion that the Mets are not doing the right thing by not fully honoring a tradition they started in 2001 when they looked outside themselves and honored the true heroes of their community with a small but significant gesture. It’s a demerit against a franchise that does so much right in the realm of active September 11 remembrance when it comes to working with Tuesday’s Children, to name just one worthwhile example. It’s a total mark of shame against MLB, but what else is new there?

Bobby V isn’t our story anymore, but the figurative heat rising from his managerial tenure in Boston feels like the smoke from a distant fire…say, any of the media-stoked conflagrations that sporadically ignited when he summered on Roosevelt Avenue between 1996 and 2002, particularly toward the end of his Met residency. Given the contentious interview he gave to WEEI and taking into account how stories sizzle that much quicker and so much hotter when it’s the Red Sox imploding in Beantown, this may be the end of his residency there, too. For all the bad press he’s brought on himself lately, it’s hard to recall the image of Bobby V wearing the NYPD cap in September 2001 (during games, mind you) or leading the support efforts in the Shea Stadium parking lot before play resumed and wish anything but the best for a man who gave so much of himself to others. Bash Bobby Valentine all you want. He’ll always be my manager, even if he’s not our story anymore.

As for Chipper, he’ll be out of our hair three games hence. He’s been a fixture in our scalp since 1995, causing his most persistent itch right around the turn of the millennium. Chipper Jones and his teammates always seemed to rise head and shoulders above the Mets when it mattered most. They still seem to do that, even though it doesn’t matter all that much to us in September 2012 the way it did circa September 1999. But he’s still Chipper, except now he’s a retiring legend and he’s worked diligently to soften his prickly edges. The man’s done nothing but attempt to ingratiate himself to the Mets fan mindset since around 2008, when the stadium for which he named his son was coming down, and I’ve learned to appreciate him for the rare self-aware superstar he grew into. I also appreciate that he won’t be bothering us anymore after Sunday. I hope the Mets shake off their insecure nature for two minutes and offer up a brief ceremony of some sort before his last game. I hope the Mets fans remember exactly who he is, in every sense of the word, and give him the LARRRRRRYing he so richly deserves. Standing and applauding while indulging the ancient at-bat ritual for the man we called a lot of things but never simply “Jones” would be a nice touch. Sitting and booing would be understood, if a little tacky. Let’s offer up our own recognition, whatever legal form it takes on. Chipper and Larry have both earned that.

Chipper…Bobby V…the caps. All of a piece, in a way. Certainly all of an era, a complex era when the brass ring loomed so tantalizingly close for so long. There are days from the heart of that period I’d like to forget, but there are emotions I am destined to remember for as long as I root. They’re a decade removed from the present yet I’m feeling them all over again.

7 comments to Seasons Don’t Fear the Chipper

  • Inside Pitcher

    As always Greg, well said!

  • Dave

    And now to express the opposing viewpoint…if the Mets do anything to honor Jones, wherever you are, you will hear my blood curdling obscene screams from my Central Jersey tv room. It would rank, to me, right behind trading Seaver, tearing down Shea and Fred saying “here Bernie, I trust you with my money” among the worst moments in franchise history.

    And I’ll pose the question again…would the Braves ever do the same for a retiring Met? The day Cox becomes Valentine’s bench coach.

    • Let’s get David Wright signed to a two or three long-term contracts, meet back here in 2024 and test your theory about retiring Mets greats. Has there ever been a retiring Mets great? That is, “I’m a Met, I’m retiring, I’m worthy of a farewell tour”? Other than Willie Mays in 1973 and Rusty Staub in 1985, I can’t think of one. Todd Zeile was the last Met remotely in the “very good career” realm who announced a retirement in a Mets uniform. Gary Sheffield finished up as a Met, but just kind of faded out.

      • Dave

        Believe me, I hope management gives us the chance to test the theory. From reading blog comments elsewhere, and this morning’s Times, I definitely seem to be in a cranky old man minority, but I still think other teams hate us and we don’t have the fire in our bellies to hate them.

      • Patrick O'Hern

        Always thought it was odd in 2005 with Piazza. It was treated like he was retiring. The video, the Rockies(?) on the top step of the dugout clapping. I do not recall Rusty ever announcing he wasn’t coming back in ’85. Thought he wanted to in 86 but Mets didn’t offer during the winter. They had the orange hair day for him in 86.

  • Kevin From Flushing

    Understood sentiment, however in no way will I applaud this man come Sunday.

    Nice photo!