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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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Played Under a Bad Sign

Pictured: One of the many innings when Anthony Rendon batted.

Pictured: One of the many innings when Anthony Rendon batted.

There were two hints on my ticket for Saturday night’s game that a pleasant result wasn’t in the offing:

1) The Washington Nationals were listed as the opponent.

2) Chris Young’s picture adorned it.

The Nationals need no introduction in our neighborhood. One delightfully foot-stompin’ win notwithstanding, Flushing is the Nationals’ world; we’re just living and getting rolled in it. The Mets lost this one, 10-3, and the contest wasn’t nearly that close. Mets pitching kept dedicated assassin Adam LaRoche off base in five plate appearances and they still lost by seven runs.

Yes, that kind of game and that kind of night. Fifteen hits for the Nationals. Four errors for the Mets. Zack Wheeler threw a thousand pitches per batter, none of them out of the desired reach of Anthony Rendon. The bullpen was just as effective.

Nevertheless, I gave myself a glint of hope when Wilmer Flores put the Mets where I didn’t expect they’d spend any time whatsoever — on the board. It was the bottom of the fifth, the Mets were already trailing by six runs as the winds, mists and lights combined to conjure what appeared to be Aurora Borealis swirling over center field. Things had gotten just clammy enough that Stephanie, who was the one who wrangled these deceptively innocent tickets through her non-profit posting, declared she was going to go take a walk. I trusted she meant away from sitting in the chill, not necessarily prohibitively far from me and this stupid team I dragged her into by osmosis 27 years ago.

An alternative to Gonzalez Germen graciously ushering more of Wheeler’s countless runners home sounded swell, so I agreed to walk, too: for warmth, for novelty, for the chance to avert my eyes from the relentless carnage for an inning or so. Wouldn’t ya know that while we were browsing in the Field Level version of the team store, Flores went deep. I wasn’t watching the monitor and the sound wasn’t on. Only when the store’s speakers picked up the stadium loudspeakers and I heard “Car Wash” did I catch on that the Mets were positioning themselves for a miracle comeback.

Or so I allowed myself to almost believe until maybe the seventh. We left the store, bought a pretzel, set up shop on the bridge long enough so a string of Met batters could get back the run they’d already returned to the Nationals in the time it took us to purchase the pretzel. It was 7-3 and I thought that something might be cooking.

Something was. It was the Mets’ goose, and I don’t mean Gozzo. More Nationals runs and Nationals hits and Mets miscues followed. And there went the Mets into that misty night. Actually, the mist eventually dissipated and what the Mets refer to as fireworks commenced as soon as the Nationals got done laughing to themselves over how easy these games are. I’m not exactly a Fireworks Night fan, but I do appreciate a dazzling display when Cody Ross isn’t anywhere in sight. I can still remember feeling a little awed by what the Gruccis lit up over Shea in the ’90s.

This wasn’t that. This was precisely ten minutes of oversized Bang Caps brought to you by a drug store chain and thanks for coming. It was the Fireworks Night this game deserved, I guess.

As for Chris Young loitering on my ticket, it was a ducat detached from our corporate benefactor’s season stash, obviously printed before it occurred to anybody that Chris Young would be less draw than repellent to Mets fans — and that was when Chris Young was still a Met. He’s been something else for somebody else this month, much like Dave Kingman was in September 1977, after having been a Met earlier that sensational season.

Dave Kingman hit four home runs as a one-month wonder in the same borough where Chris Young’s career has magically revived. Kingman was ineligible for that particular postseason roster; they won the World Series without him. Young is batting .400, breaking up no-hitters, slugging dramatically and stealing home plate since arriving within his doctor-ordered change of scenery. It’s blissfully unlikely CY2’s second 2014 team will approach the postseason (for which he, like Kingman 37 years ago, would be ineligible), but stay off my ticket anyway.

I’ll leave you with three saving graces from Saturday night:

1) Some kid, maybe eight years old, was sitting behind us and really knew his baseball, which is to say he all but cursed out the Nationals as they built their 6-0 lead, but in really knowing terms.

2) If you’re not a stickler about your overall well-being, the cheddar bacon Box Frites are disgustingly delicious.

3) A gentleman best described as a dandy — and likely fueled by a substance best described as alcohol — was leading a singalong of “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” on the LIRR train we boarded at Woodside after the game. We got off at Jamaica. I’m betting he belted ’em out all the way to Ronkonkoma.

Which, if you don’t have Google Maps open, is as far beyond Citi Field as the Nationals are from the Mets.

5 comments to Played Under a Bad Sign

  • Steve D

    Ever sit in the upper deck when they do fireworks now? I did when deGrom nearly no-hit SF last month. Sparks fly all around you and you are enveloped in smoke. My daughter was hit by something in the head and was crying. The Mets sent me an email survey about the game and I told them what happened. No reply of course. That may have been my last game ever….especially if their new Facebook logo is now the standard team logo.


  • Dave

    Man,f*** Chris Young. NOW he’s inspired enough to start playing for something better than a minimum salary non-roster invite next spring? If Alderson signs one free agent this winter about whom everyone uses a phrase like “hoping to regain…” or “reclamation project” I’m going to scream.

  • Parth

    I can only surmise the reason Citi fireworks suck is financially driven- When other teams go for the Matt Holliday fireworks, we settle for the Jason Bay version. Went last year and saw Harvey get lit up by Arizona and the Cody Ross bat flip- and almost walked out mid way through that post game calamity. Did the Wilpon’s focus group easily entertained patrons? Tinny sound system poorly synched with the explosions- do 1 event well- as opposed to 3 or 4 sub par- marketing 101.

  • Dak442

    I try to block from my mind the vision of Dave in pinstripes, thank you.