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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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Giddily Unseated & Rootin’ in the Stand

Perhaps you’ve heard about the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets, all of whom have gone to Meet The Mets. More than 27,000, whatever the vocation, did so Monday night, myself included. We gave ’em a yell, gave ’em a hand and let ’em know we were rootin’ in the stand.

Yes, “stand,” which is the official lyric submitted by Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz in 1961 for an authorized team song that would be played twice this particular 2015 evening at Citi Field, once around 7 o’clock as we leaned forward with anticipation, once a little after 9:30 as we practically pranced toward the exits. I always thought it should have been “stands,” but during the course of Monday’s game, I understood why “stand” must stand.

It’s explained several lines earlier when Roberts and Katz detail what we do when we go to meet the Mets. We’re hollerin’ and cheerin’ and jumpin’ in our seats. Seats are not made for jumpin’. Some seats, I learned, aren’t even made for sittin’.

Let me back up here, if not into my seat, for that would be an impossibility.

My seat and I reconcile after it abandoned me.

My seat and I reconcile after it abandoned me.

It’s the middle of the game between the Mets and Rockies. I’m sittin’ — not jumpin’ — in my luxuriously padded Delta Sky 360 Charles Montgomery Burns Club seat, brought to me for the evening by my good friend Skid, who you’ll recall is the Mets fan from California who decided to move to New York for six (hopefully seven) months and join his team every time they open their gates. Skid was celebrating his birthday Monday and opted to make his accommodations relatively ritzy for the evening, purchasing two of these seats and graciously inviting me along to occupy one of them.

Really, this whole season has been a birthday celebration for Skid. I’m thinking he wished for this on some previous August 10, blew out the candles and got what he asked for: every day he gets to go to a baseball game. Maybe he wished extra hard that one time and asked for a first-place team. Skid wishes very well.

Anyway, game’s going on, we’re not yet winning, but we’re not necessarily worried. These are our first-place Mets. If you can’t find the faith to tolerate a temporary one-run deficit, then you’ve chosen the wrong year to go to Citi Field. Me, I was delighted that we finally have a right year to go to Citi Field. I never went to see a first-place home team at this ballpark this late in any year. It’s the one feature they forgot to install when they were busy padding all those seats.

Ah yes, the seats. Specifically, my nice seat. I’m sitting in mine when I decided I’d like a nice Diet Pepsi, so I ask for one from one of those nice people who come around to ask if you’d like anything brought to your nice seat. (Everything and everybody is nice when you’re in first place.) To effect one of these transactions, you give the person the money, and the person places your order, and — an inning or three later — you get your soda.

OK then, let me just dig my wallet out of my pocket, which I shall do by shifting slightly in my seat and…

The next thing I feel is a slow drop. I don’t mean like Luis Castillo’s agonizingly torpid pursuit of a fly ball a veritable baseball generation ago. I mean more like that sensation you get in a dream where you’re falling and you’re falling and, oh, it’s all right. It’s just a dream.

But this wasn’t a dream. This was my seat, less falling than sinking. I’m not sure how it managed to completely unhinge, but it sunk all the way to the ground.

With me in it.

Fancy seat, yes. Exquisite bolting, not so much.

From six or so inches above ground, I hand the nice person — who is trying very hard to not laugh uncontrollably at the PLOP! her customer has just taken — the money for the soda. I take no offense, for I’m laughing, too. As is Skid. This would be funnier if it happened to someone like Mr. Burns or the man from the Monopoly board, but it’s still funny, even though it happened to me. My rear end was safely guarded from cement and the bag I’d had under my seat withstood the blow (good thing I decided to leave my Ming vase home). Because the attendance was 27,000 and not 42,000, I didn’t have to stand in the stand for long. There was no problem finding a replacement seat right next to the one that had unseated me.

This had never happened to me at Shea Stadium. This had never happened to me at Citi Field, though it had happened to somebody in the row in front of us maybe an inning earlier. Perhaps not the comic thud, but the same idea, making it two high-roller seats too banged up to stay in the game. I’m pretty sure each had to go on the furniture DL. (Keep Ray Ramirez away from the upholstery if you ever want to see them again.)

Meanwhile, Jon Niese pitched seven strong innings, Travis d’Arnaud belted a home run, Curtis Granderson conveniently let himself get hit by a bases-loaded pitch and Daniel Murphy snuck a sharp grounder by Jose Reyes, who I couldn’t help but instinctively applaud most of the evening despite his insistence on wearing a bizarre purple uniform to our pennant race party. A 4-2 lead was placed into the hands of Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia and they handled it with care. If there are openings in the carpenters union, they might want to apply. Nothing fell apart on their watch, allowing Skid and I and everybody else to watch our first-place team maintain its first-place lead.

Have I mentioned the Mets are in first place? It bears repeating until it gets old, which I don’t believe it will as long as it retains the benefit of truth. Citi Field, of which I’ve never exactly been a roaring advocate, sounded like it knew exactly what place it was in when Murphy broke the 2-2 tie in the seventh. If it didn’t vibrate as I’m told it did during the Nationals series that Changed Everything, it surely echoed of the promise from April, when the environs began to feel tangibly engaged in a manner they never had. Then came May, June, most of July…not wholly terrible for wins and losses, but you know that dream where you’re sitting in your seat at a ballgame and the ballgame itself very slowly plummets to the ground and you laugh uncontrollably because you don’t know what else to do?

It’s August and things are different in the best sense of the word. I’ve known it for a fact because I’ve seen it on TV, but sometimes you need to get your Skid on and see it for yourself. Prior to Monday, I’d been to 200 regular-season games at Citi Field between April 16, 2009, and July 30, 2015, but none whose result would keep a diehard up nights on account of ecstasy or misery. Then the Nats stopped by; and the Mets stymied them; and from a distance it was a revelation.

But there was perceptible distance between me and Citi Field when it seemed to matter most. Two-hundred games in that joint, yet I managed to miss the three that altered its equation. I felt like Roger Angell recounting where he wasn’t during the heart of 1969’s seminal eleven-game winning streak:

MAY 30-JUNE 1: Mets sweep Giants 3 games while I waste Memorial Day weekend in country. Bad planning.

Until I communed personally with my first-place ballclub, my giddiness was on an emotional seven-second delay.

Was this actually happening?

Were the Mets truly the team ahead of everybody?

Does Citi Field got lungs and know how to use them?

I now understand it all to be genuine, every bit as genuine as Skid, who is an excellent role model for us all (and should be toasted heartily this Thanksgiving at his ticket rep’s house). Skid never strays far from the Mets of New York town when they’re in the vicinity and look what they’ve done for him. Look what they’ve done for all of us rootin’ in the stand or wherever we happen to be jumpin’ from joy. When they play as they have lately, seats — no matter how lavishly cushioned — are essentially superfluous.

28 comments to Giddily Unseated & Rootin’ in the Stand

  • LA Jake

    Very nice of Skid to take you to the game. Not very nice of your seat to quit on you. Very nice of Niese, d’Arnaud, the bottom of the 7th, Clippard and Familia.

    Apologies for not being able to shepherd the Dodgers to a win on my watch at Chavez Ravine.

  • LA Jake

    P.S. It’s time to give CarGo the Barry Bonds treatment and just walk him every time. He is on a sick run right now and I’d force anybody else to beat me.

    Since July 4th, spanning 28 games, he’s hit 16 homers, driven in 36, scored 27 runs and raised his average from .237 to .288 by going 42 for his last 108 (.388).

  • Ken K. in NJ

    In spite of all the hoopla, the team is still not drawing very well. 27,000 is about the same as they would’ve gotten five or six years ago on a beautiful August weeknight for baseball.

    Yes, maybe more people are actually showing up, and yes, maybe there’s more energy, but if Wilpon/Alderson are keying their 2016 pocketbooks at least in part to fannies in the seats, we’re never gonna see Cespedes again.

    • Rob E

      They’ve already got Cuddyer, Granderson, and Lagares signed, two of their best hitting prospects (Conforto & Nimmo) are outfielders, and they’re going to have to figure out what to do with d’Arnaud/Plawecki next year (one solution being moving d’Arnaud there). Even taking money completely out of the equation we may not see Cespedes again (and not for bad reasons).

      • LA Jake

        -Cuddyer will likely be done after next season and who knows what his physical condition is at this point.
        -Granderson will be there next season but is clearly slowing down as an OF and after next year a question mark.
        -Lagares needs to be fixed health-wise so he can play All-Star CF again and who knows if that can happen and if that will cure his hitting woes as well and if he’ll be able to play in 2016.
        -I like Conforto and he likely deserves a full shot next spring, but he’s a LH hitter.
        -Nimmo may be one of the Mets top hitting prospects but his numbers don’t exactly bear out that he’s anywhere near ready for the majors and he hasn’t shown much power in the minors.
        -I don’t see d’Arnaud playing the outfield though I suppose it’s possible.

        By my calculations, that’s two major health concerns (and both had hitting concerns as well this season), an aging OF who doesn’t hit lefties, two prospects (one likely ready for the majors and one not likely ready) and a possible move of a C to an OF spot. And after 2016, Cuddyer and Granderson will be free agents.

        On the other hand, Cespedes is by far the most dangerous RH hitter in the lineup and none of those true OFs mentioned above are anywhere close to his class as a power source. He also can play both CF and corner OF and still has a cannon arm and good speed. If you had to pick just one of those outfielders for the next 3-5 years based on all five tools, surely Cespedes would be the choice. Taking money completely out of the equation if we don’t see Cespedes again it would be for bad reasons. And therefore I come to the conclusion if we don’t see him again it will be for monetary reasons.

        • Rob E

          Valid points, but Cespedes is probably looking at a $150 million deal. I don’t think they’re going to pony up that much when they’re probably thinking that they will cover the outfield SOMEHOW. They are still going to have to do something with Duda, and at some point they are going to have to start dealing with the pitchers, and that’s going to be EXPENSIVE.

          If you think that qualifies as a monetary reason, that’s certainly one way to look at it (and you won’t be alone in looking at it that way). But there is a lot of gray area in between not spending ANYTHING and pissing away EVERYTHING, and they still have to plan for the future.

          I’m sure they will get KILLED if/when Cespedes walks, but considering that the well isn’t bottomless and that they have other options in the OF in 2016 (not saying they are better without Cespedes) I can see them not blowing the wad on him. Maybe they’ll surprise us, but I don’t think the stars are lined up for that to happen. And they still have resources to make moves besides signing free agents.

          They hung in there this year with everybody hurt…it’s not a stretch to think they can compete next year with better health and with young players one year further down the road.

          • LA Jake

            Um, well, talking about Cespedes looking at a big deal and needing to pay Duda and the pitchers is all, um, well, monetary. At no point in my response do I say anything about not spending ANYTHING and pissing away EVERYTHING.

            Furthermore, for an MLB franchise in NYC with its own cable network, the well should be bottomless. I can also see them not blowing a wad on him. But that still comes back to it being a monetary decision.

            It’s a stretch to think they will be better without Cespedes than with him, even if the team improves as many of us believe it will, considering the current outfield situation. It’s a bigger stretch with all this talk about money to say the decision about Cespedes is not a monetary decision, because with ownership with money, this would be a no-brainer.

        • Matt in Richmond

          Jake, I see where you’re coming from, but that is a pretty extreme glass half empty way of looking at the situation. Granderson slowing down? Maybe, but he has played every game (literally) and has actually raised his level defensively and offensively the last month. Lag ares gets a mulligan from me this year because he’s clearly not healthy. Conforto looks to have significant upside and should only improve. Cuddyer has had an almost bizarrely bad year, and would likely produce at a better level next year, particularly if they use him wisely….lots of off days, mainly start vs. lefties, big bat off the bench sort of role. And I actually think there’s a decent chance they at least try Travis in the outfield a bit. Put it all together and I’m not sure it’s wise to throw a huge 9 figure deal at Cespedes. It would be initially exciting for sure, but prudent?

          • LA Jake

            I LOVE Granderson, but he has less than no arm and he’s lost steps, nothing he can do against Father Time. And he can’t hit lefties and that’s been his whole career.

            I like Lagares and he does get a mulligan but the fact remains his throwing is nowhere near what it was and he hasn’t been nearly as good in the field and at the plate, so he might need surgery and then who knows how long he would be out and if he would return to his previous form.

            I like Conforto but he hasn’t proven a thing yet and is a lefty bat.

            I like Cuddyer and hope he is healthy and hits well but neither of those is anywhere near a given.

            Not sure why people expect d’Arnaud can easily move to the OF if they try that, especially since he’s so valuable as a good, power-hitting catcher.

            The bottom line is everybody in the Mets outfield BESIDES CESPEDES has major questions and none of them hit with his power from the right side.

            Knowing all that, Cespedes should be signed because THAT IS THE PRUDENT THING TO DO. Hoping all or most or some of the other guys work out is not.

        • Matt in Richmond

          There are several reasons the idea of trying Travis in the OF is being discussed. It keeps his bat in the lineup, rather than having to simply sit him 2-3 times a week. It decreases his injury risk, which has clearly been a major problem. Relative to most catchers he is fairly small, quick and nimble which would suggest at least the possibility of him being a viable major league outfielder. I certainly don’t pretend it’s a guaranteed success or even that it’s something they’ll definitely do, but it’s worth discussing I think. I don’t have much more to say on Cespedes. You are clearly all in on us retaining him, and it’s a defensible position to take. I’m just not as certain. He’s damn talented, and still in his prime. Is our need for a player like him great enough to justify the enormous cost it would take to retain him, and thus the restrictions it would place on us improving other areas? Hard to say for certain.

          • LA Jake

            “He’s damn talented and still in his prime.” How many of those players are available? There’s no salary cap in baseball, so paying a lot for Cespedes doesn’t preclude the Mets from improving other areas. Crying poor (whether the truth or a lie) doesn’t cut it for the ownership of a NYC major league baseball franchise.

    • For a Monday night in August against the perennially non-drawing Rockies, I’d call it a robust 27,000. I’ve seen “27,000” before and this actually felt like a little more. Good indicator, I believe, for the rest of the series (weather permitting tonight) and season. They’ve marketed the bejeesus out of weekends, but actual baseball has to sell the weeknights.

      And kudos to the Mets for not wearing the camo on what used to be Military Monday. They hosted the Merchant Marine Academy, whose members were resplendent in white, so maybe they felt having the ballplayers play dress-up was redundant.

  • Eric

    Kudos to Niese who pitched another strong game and stopped the losing streak. The score 4 and win expectation applies to Niese as much as to the young stud pitchers. While he’s not one of them, Niese is the senior member of the Mets starting rotation and one of the 4 remaining Mets who experienced 2008 and all the seasons since then.

    The Nationals aren’t going to roll over. Whether or not their chemistry is off, they’re still loaded with veteran talent in their line-up, rotation, and bullpen.

  • Paul

    You’ll pay for the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge!

  • This is a promotion thing right? Your seat gives out on you and you get to keep it and bring it home right?

  • dmg

    am i the only one who found it bittersweet that the aging jose reyes couldn’t corral murph’s game-winning seeing-eye single?

    • LA Jake

      It would’ve been just bitter if it was the other way around and Reyes made the play as a Rockie or failed to make the play as a re-acquired Met so I’ll take it. But I do find it sad he’s not still the Mets SS.

      • dmg

        oh, i much prefer the win. but things have turned so quickly in metsville: i could easily have seen him making that play just, say, 10 days ago.

    • Eric

      It was sad. Word out of Toronto was Reyes’s fielding was down, but Murphy’s RBI grounder was clear proof of it. His legs just moved heavy on the play.

      It wasn’t so much that Reyes whiffed with his glove, but his show of frustration that he should have reached that ball but his legs let him down.

  • eric1973

    You know, I LIKE all these guys, too, and if I knew any of them personally, I could never bring myself to insult any of them, I’m sure.

    But: Would it kill any of them to show any fight, any fire, or any personality? Each and every one of these guys has the persona of a Steve Gelbs-like blob of jellyfish. Can one of them ever lose their temper, ever? I don’t mean in a childish Jose Reyes way, when he embarrassed himself and Jerry Manuel on the field during a game.

    To be a team leader, you need to have gotten angry, externally, but it needs to be sincere, and of course, that’s the core issue. There’s a bit of a leadership void on this team that hopefully great pitching and timely hitting can overcome.

    No Grote’s or Hernandez’ here.

    • Eric

      Flores cried.

    • LA Jake

      I hate to invoke the evil empire, but Jeter, Pettitte, Posada and Rivera were the Core Four of a bunch of championships and I don’t recall them losing their temper very often if at all. And Joe Torre wasn’t exactly throwing hissy fits left and right. Leadership has nothing to do with getting angry.

  • Eric

    20132015 Happy Harvey Day Harvey is back.

  • […] Giddily Unseated & Rootin’ in the Stand »    […]

  • eric1973

    Agreed, Jake, however all those guys were tough in their own way, especially Posada, which added to their ability to win.

    This team needs to find their own toughness which is natural to them. Maybe it is still developing, and it can only help.

  • […] summer story. We’ve found something that’s got us … well, that’s got us hollering and cheering and jumping in our seats, whether we’re butchers or bakers, or consultants or content providers. Some part of me had […]