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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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How Another Thirtieth Lives

During the endless (or so it seemed) New York City newspaper strike of 1978, when checking one’s phone for headlines was somehow not an option, a parody of the so-called Paper of Record made the rounds. Not The New York Times, it was called, the brainchild of George Plimpton, the industrious correspondent who would go on to scoop all competitors regarding the tantalizing prospects of fireballing Sidd Finch seven springs later. I mention this because if you ever wanted to see what Not The New York Mets’ Ownership looks like, read this letter from a guy who runs a much different baseball team.

To post a note of this nature, you have to follow something akin to the advice Steve Martin once offered for being a millionaire and never paying taxes:

First, win the World Series.

From there, I suppose it’s easy to emit graciousness and take a few miles off one’s triumphalist fastball when you’ve just been crowned champions of the baseball world (and had plenty of practice at it), yet Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants president and CEO, gives good letter even when the Giants go home at the same time as the rest of us. The man is, per something I learned watching The Simpsons, an anagram of Alec Guinness: genuine class.

“We’re back in our offices now, confetti still stuck to our shoes, and diving into the preparations for 2015,” Baer began. “But my first order of business is to thank you.” And that he does.

• He noticed that Giants fans “showed up with Panda hats and Hunter Pence signs and orange everything”.

• He credited the Giants’ success to “what happens when a community lifts a team, and a team lifts a community […] when we’re all in this together — the fans, the players, the coaches, the front office, the ownership group, every usher and vendor in the park”.

• He praised the Giants front office as a bastion of “exceptional, tireless and passionate employees. They collaborate, they innovate and they are customer-centric and community-centric. They are the unsung heroes of our organization…”

• He thanked Giants fans “again for carrying us through” to victory.

• He signed off by telling them, “We look forward to seeing you at FanFest in February!”

FanFest, in case you’re not sure, is an offseason celebration of the team, put on by the team, for the fans, because fans like being fans of the team. Many teams hold FanFests. The Mets don’t. (Though these guys do, and it’s lots of fun.)

As delightful as Baer’s letter is from a warm & fuzzy not to mention results-oriented standpoint, it’s also instructive to see what’s not in it. No urging Giants fans to send in their season ticket payments right now so you don’t miss out on all the 2015 action; no links to the team shop so you can buy more official championship merchandise before it’s out of stock; nothing about signing an oath declaring one’s True San Franciscan-ness. I’m sure the Giants are more than happy to accept their customers’ cash contributions, but Baer (and his communications people) didn’t decide this was the moment to pounce. Instead, this was the moment for everyone to enjoy.

Can’t imagine receiving anything like this from the admittedly preoccupied folks who own the Mets. Their traditional messaging tends to be more commercial and less emotional. Then again, there hasn’t been a World Series parade to come back to the office from in a while. I’d be willing to read just about anything they’d write us when there’s confetti still stuck to their shoes.

Time has flown since the World Series ended, but its conclusion provided a good jumping-off point for a lively four-sided conversation among the fellas at Rising Apple and myself. You can listen to it here.

5 comments to How Another Thirtieth Lives

  • Lou from Georgia

    It’s not that I think the Wilpons don’t want to win, nor do I think they mean to have utter contempt for the fans. It’s just that they tend to really suck at their jobs as owners. I’d like it if they’d go away and leave the baseball decisions to Sandy, give him a set budget, and see what he can do. Let the GM be the face of the business side and hopefully the only time we have to see these goons is when the Mets are celebrating in the locker room after beating the Yankees in the World Series next year- Yankees won’t make it there but I can’t imagine a sweeter team to beat on the way back to the mountaintop. Instead, we have baseball’s version of Dan Snyder. I don’t have any hope that they’ll ever give up the team, but perhaps all the off the field drama forces the Wilpons to actually learn a lesson, and gets them out of the limelight and get their sh!t together.

    On a side note Greg, I just hope my love of the Giants as my 1-A team is not getting to you. LGM!

  • SkillSetsMets

    And to think the Jints almost moved from San Francisco under previous ownership. Originally rumored for Tampa, then San Jose (hence the pissing match with the Athletics over that territory). But as for the Mets, the greediness, neediness, tone-deafness of the Wilpon regime is why so many ridicule our Metsies.

  • open the gates

    And the funny thing is, back in ’86 I kept thinking how fortunate we Met fans were to have classy ownership, as opposed to the incessantly-self-promoting, multiple-Martin-firing, trash-talking, Winfield-stalking monstrosity whose team played on the other side of the Whitestone Bridge.

    Of course, back then the face of Met ownership was Nelson Doubleday, descendant (sort of) of the legendary Abner, as classy an owner as any who ever lived. Fred Wilpon was just the annoying junior partner who kept dropping Sandy Koufax’s name at any given opportunity. How things have changed. Back then, who would have imagined that Met fans would WISH they had owners named Steinbrenner.

  • Dave

    Ok Greg, never going to question your loyalty, but are we done with the Giants fan boy stuff now? :-) Almost sounds like Keith and his Cardinals lovefest.

    • That reminds me of a wonderful story Kruk & Kuip told about Brian Sabean…

      This wears off eventually. I’m thinking 6 PM Monday it will be a distant October memory. Can’t swear it won’t come up again in mid-January, however.