- Faith and Fear in Flushing - https://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

No La Tengo

“Whoo! Whoo! Wasn’t that awesome?”
“Absolutely! Great concert! Thanks for turning me on to them.”
“One thing, though.”
“I never asked you. How did they get their name?”
“You don’t know the story?”
“Really? I thought everybody did.”
“I swear I don’t.”

“Well, it goes back to 2018. These guys were big Mets fans.”
“They’re a baseball team in New York. They weren’t any good, and that year they were really terrible. So one night they’re playing this really long game. It’s like…I don’t remember, maybe the thirteenth or fourteenth inning, it’s tied, it’s going nowhere.”
“Sounds boring.”
“I guess. You know baseball, some people like it like that. Anyway, the game’s going on forever and there’s a fly ball to left field. It’s not deep, but there’s nobody there to catch it where it’s going and there’s a runner on third.”
“What’s this got to do with the band?”

“I’m getting to that. The shortstop, Rosario, runs all the way out, and Smith the left fielder — well he wasn’t really a left fielder, but he was in left field — ”
“Wouldn’t being in left field make him the left fielder? I don’t know much about baseball, but I kind of remember that from gym class.”
“This was the Mets. You didn’t always play where you were supposed to.”
“Is that why there was nobody where the ball was going?”

“Something like that. That same game there was another fly ball that was going somewhere around there and nobody was playing there, either. Cost one of their really good pitchers a run, which was why the game was going on all night.”
“Wow, those — what were they called again?”
“The Mets?”
“Yeah, Mets. Those Mets sound pretty wacky.”

“They were. So where was I? Oh yeah, you’ve got this second fly ball heading to left. You’ve got the shortstop — Rosario, fast kid — running out there. And you’ve got the left fielder — Smith, not so fast, not really a left fielder, like I said — running in for it.”
“Don’t they have a system so that doesn’t happen?”
“Normally they do. Actually, they did that night. Rosario called for the ball.”
“Calling, yeah, I’ve heard of that.”
“Yeah, Rosario called for the ball, which means he gets to try to catch it. Except Smith doesn’t hear him or see him because he’s trying to catch the ball, too. And he calls for it. Except Smith calls for it after Rosario. Meanwhile Rosario’s kind of waving Smith off, but that’s useless because Smith’s looking for the ball, apparently forgetting Rosario is running toward it.”
“What a mess!”

“Yup. You can imagine what happens next. Utter chaos. Rosario gets the ball in his glove, but Smith crashes into Rosario at practically the same moment and the ball pops out of Rosario’s glove. Then they both fall down. For some reason, Smith grabs hold of Rosario, who’s on his knees on the grass, like they’re getting ready for a wrestling match or something.”
“Wrestling? What’s that have to do with baseball?”
“Exactly. The ball is lying on the ground, both of them are frozen in place and the runner from third scores. Pretty soon the game is over, and the Mets lose [1].”
“Wow. Crazy.”

“Yup. Sure was.”
“Still, what’s that have to do with the name of the band?”
“Oh, right. Like I said, the guys in the band are big Mets fans and they looked at each other and one of them said — maybe because he was studying for a Spanish test or something — ‘¡no tenemos esperanza!’”
“Which means?”
“’We have no hope.’ It kind of became an inside joke with them, and as they started getting gigs, they called themselves that and it stuck.”
“I never knew that. Well, however they came up with it, it’s a great name and a great story [2], and No Tenemos Esperanza is a great band.”
“Aren’t they?”
“Totally. They rock. Are the guys who inspired it cool with it?”

“Who’s that?”
“You know, Rosario and Smith.”
“Oh. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know that anybody ever heard from them again after the way that game ended.”
“Aw. Too bad. Well, at least something good came out of it, I guess.”