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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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What Can I Tell Ya?

Despite the various commercial entreaties of Branden, Alexa and Christina, I can think of no worse place to take my dad for Father’s Day than Citi Field. Also, I can think of no worse place to take your dad. Or anybody’s dad, son, brother, uncle, grandpa, cousin or in-law. I wouldn’t jump to take anybody to Citi Field at this moment unless he — or she — was a 50 Cent fanatic, and apparently that ship has finally sailed.

Of course if somebody’s close relation really wanted to see a ballgame and understood the consequences — accepting a ticket to a Mets game right now is akin to signing a waiver forfeiting all rights to satisfaction — then I’d renounce my better instincts and graciously escort that theoretical family member if the logistical stars aligned. I mean if you can’t get me to go to a Mets game with you, you probably can’t get anyone to go to a Mets game with you.

But not this particular Sunday. I realize that for all the events and occasions for which I’ve planted myself inside Shea Stadium and its relentlessly disappointing successor facility, I’ve never been to a Mets game on Father’s Day. My father doesn’t really like baseball, so it never entered the familial thought process when I was growing up. Other plans were always made and other plans continue to be made. The third Sunday in June is one of the handful of dates when I automatically tell anybody who asks that I can’t go to the game. Come to think of it, it may be the only date that I absolutely know is a no-go.

That’s OK. I’ve got 80 other opportunities during seasons when I’m not turned off by the idea of joining the Mets for a few hours and I’ve got an 85-year-old dad who remains available for other plans. We lost my mother on Father’s Day when he was 61 and she was 60, so parental longevity is something I’m not taking for granted this past quarter-century.

Dad may not have passed along much in the way of baseball wisdom when I was growing up, but he did give me a phrase that pretty well covers the state of the Mets at the moment. It’s something he says when one of our conversational topics reaches the ellipsis stage, when neither of us can express a solution to a given issue.

“What can I tell ya?”

I guess “What can I tell ya?” is an older sibling of a phrase I’ve long disliked, “It is what it is,” but I find “What can I tell ya?” more elegant and less abdicative of responsibility. “You” have told me all there is to tell “me”…let’s move on to the next thing.

I can deal with that. I can deal with that better than I can deal with contemplating all that so distresses and disturbs modern-day Metsopotamia.

The Mets lost to the heretofore punchless Padres Saturday. They were completely rolled by starting pitcher Jesse Hahn, presumably the progeny of Jesse Orosco and Don Hahn. The youngster was making his second career start and, with no track record to speak of — certainly no practice at going deep into a game at any professional level — he stifled the Mets on one hit over six innings. Maybe the one hit was an error. Maybe the error was thinking Jesse Hahn was going to have a problem with a Met lineup predisposed to amateur performance.

Three relievers followed Hahn and gave up one hit among them. The 5-0 final was a nice synergistic nod to 50 Cent, but I doubt that was the idea. David Wright has gone from #FaceOfMLB to #OMG and #WTF during almost every #AB. Chris Young struck out four times and played a little of the emotional victim card afterward, joining the chorus of Mets past and present who discover heat every time they venture into the lukewarm Flushing kitchen and thus wish to scurry out ASAP. Young was characteristically crummy and was instinctively jeered by the first sizable home crowd the Mets have attempted to entertain in weeks. I’ve never been one for booing members of my favorite team, but if you’re modeling the golden sombrero during La Fiesta de Nada, don’t necessarily expect the rousing reception the Mets green-screen into their propagandistic recruiting films to materialize in a live-action setting.

I don’t mean to pick on Young. I don’t mean to pick on Wright. The Mets didn’t mean to pick on Hahn and they stayed true to their meaning. But here we are again, same nothingness gaining traction; same competitive void expanding out into the universe; same “we’re close” claptrap condescended down from on high; same dampening of expectations; same suffocation of aspirations. Except on Saturday, there was a postgame concert, and on Sunday, dads and kids get a cap.

The Mets aren’t very good these days…

What can I tell ya?

Other than — per the immortal words of the physically absent yet spiritually present paterfamilias of the Ralph Kiner Television Booth at Citi Field — happy birthday to all the fathers out there.

Mine included.

10 comments to What Can I Tell Ya?

  • Lenny65

    There honestly isn’t much you CAN say about games like today’s totally lifeless outing. The Mets have assembled one of the meekest and anemic lineups they’ve ever trotted out and we’re just going to have to deal with it as there’s pretty much no help in our immediate future. Hearing that they MIGHT “add payroll” IF they’re in contention in July did nothing to ease my pain, either. Tough to “contend” when a minor league call-up is mowing through the lineup like he’s Bob Gibson in ’68.

  • Matt

    That was a black hole of a game. The first game I went to was in 1985, and obviously, it was good and got better from there, until it sank into the early 90’s, when they started throwing Juan Samuel, Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray, Orel Hershiser and every other tired, retired retread at us. This game felt like that like that. I went purely as a formality for a friend who was visiting from out of town, but every second not catching up was just looking at a game where strikes were being called, errors were being made, walks were happening. It was just boring.

  • Steve B

    Probably the worst Mets game I ever attended. Lifeless from beginning to, well, end of the 8th when we left. Had my kid take me for an early father’s day. We were struggling with this one. We agreed the most exciting things in the game were: 1) a blue baloon swirling around the stadium in those crazy winds, 2) that rundown in the 5th or 6th inning, and 3) watching the grounds crew chase down the trash that blew onto the field between each inning. Seriously.

  • Dave

    As someone whose Father’s Day present is tickets to today’s game, thank you for the Kinerian birthday wishes, and enjoy the day with your Dad. But yeah, what can any of us tell anyone?

    Yesterday’s performance by Wheeler, immediately following a similar outing, also reminds us of something else that can depress our mood, and that’s that heralded prospects (or at least those not named Seaver, Koosman, Gooden or Harvey) usually have learning curves when they arrive. Real steep learning curves. So when we hear about position player prospects like Nimmo and Plawecki and Cechinni and whoever as still being “a few years away,” just remember that even in a best case scenario that probably means “a few years away from being completely overmatched rookies.” That’s the way it is with young players.

    Unless they’re pitching against the Mets that is. One way I’ve taught my daughter about the game’s history is to point out how often the Mets make an opposing pitcher “look like Sandy Koufax.” Another Koufax doppleganger was on the mound again yesterday.

  • Lou from Georgia

    My dad is from the Bronx originally, and saw Mantle and Maris as a kid, but he never was a big baseball fan. When I was growing up in California, I was a Giants fan attending many a game with my oldest brother at the Stick, but my dad worked what seemed like 11 hour days all the time, and only took me to one game in the 16 years I lived there. I love my dad and appreciate all he did for me. Sometimes I wonder, if only I would have followed my dad or kept on with my childhood team, I’d be a heck of a lot happier when it comes to baseball. Instead I chose this mess and can’t seem to go back. Anyway, happy Father’s Day to all the dads. Let’s hope the Mets can make it happier and eke out a win today.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Fifty Fathers Days ago, Shea Stadium was a far more exciting place to be (that day anyway), even if the Mets were an equally punchless team:

  • FL Mer Fan Rich

    It was Father’s Day 1964. I was 8 years old! I was sitting with my dad in Shea. Jim Bunning of the Phillies pitches a perfect game against the Mets.

    I have been to many World Series games. Reggie’s 3 home runs, game 7 extra innings and all star games.

    Nothing compares to that Father’s Day game with my dad….50 years ago. I remeber it like it was yesterday…..Thanks dad for the memories!

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    Correction about perfect game!… 50 years ago!

    I’m so old I can’t add!

  • Roger Tusiani-Eng

    This is a classic post. I was at this Saturday game and I LOVE your descriptions. “No worse place to take your dad”, “Shea Stadium and its relentlessly disappointing successor facility”, “modeling the golden sombrero during La Fiesta de Nada”, “same “we’re close” claptrap condescended down from on high”. Greg, I must tell you that this post was infinitely more entertaining and brought me more smiles than the entire day at CitiField on Saturday. You absolutely and perfectly nail the feelings and events of the day. My hats off to you!

    And I cannot stand the garbage blowing around the field, the wind whipping through the hallways, and everyone doing everything but watching baseball. I hate that my beloved team plays in this house of horrors. Damn I miss Shea.