The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Friday Night Void

When the Mets are on a TV near you as a matter of course, which I grant you isn’t often this month, it’s swell to sit down and watch, but it’s not what I’d classify a treat. A steady diet of even the tastiest dessert — and what are Gary, Keith and Ron if not a brownie sundae after dinner practically every night? — can’t be a treat if you come to expect it.

On Friday night, April 8, 1983, I was ready for a treat. My kind of treat. As a college student in Tampa, I almost never saw the Mets on TV. True, I’d seen them in person a week before at Al Lopez Field, but that was Spring Training. I was supposed to see them the next afternoon in St. Pete, too, but it rained.

It was a foreshadowy shower, it turned out, just like every instance of rain has begat more rain this month, or in the case of the Mets in Denver at the moment, snow. Tonight, a Friday night, there’s no game. We haven’t yet had a Friday night game in 2021. Or a Friday day game, come to think of it. There were none scheduled the last two weeks because Openers were set for the respective preceding Thursdays (even if only one was played) and baseball where fields were built unroofed thinks it outwits the elements annually by holding aside the day after its Openers lest it risk losing a gate in case of inclement weather. (Seen a lot of big gates lately?) A Friday in baseball season without Mets baseball is no better than chicken broth for the soul. You’re glad it’s Friday, but where are the noodles? Where are the bits of chicken and slices of carrots?

Where’s the nourishment?

The 1983 Mets opened the season at Shea on Tuesday the Fifth — fella named Seaver pitched in home whites for the first time there in a buncha years — and continued on Thursday the Seventh. They reached a quick 2-0 and had themselves a night game set for Friday the Eighth.

A night game that was going to be televised in the Tampa Bay area! Not a national broadcast, mind you, but a feed picked up from one of the combatants. It was Mets and Cardinals, both of whom prepped for the season ahead at Al Lang Stadium, not to be confused with Al Lopez Field, springtime home of the Reds. When it came to baseball in Tampa-St. Pete and environs, it was Al in the family. If you trained in Tampa Bay, they remembered you now and then once you broke camp. There were no Rays. There were baseball fans. There were a couple of independent stations, Channels 28 and 44, that aired baseball games from distant precincts. They weren’t always Mets games, but you can be damn sure I was all over it when one was.

This was my wheelhouse. This was my Friday night. I thought about it all week long. Mets and Cardinals, live from Shea, 8:05 PM in the TV lounge on the ninth floor at Fontana Hall. If I were home, I imagined, I’d order a pie and maybe a quart of a leading national brand of cola from Capri. Gino’s was the best, but Capri delivered and would do very nicely in my dream scenario. I’d bring the pie in from the delivery guy and turn on the set. Who am I kidding? The set would already be on, but I’d tune it to Channel 9 at the end of a long day. I saw myself ending the workweek in the city in the late afternoon sun, trudging toward Penn Station. There was a little trash in the gutter at the corner in my mind, but that was OK, because it’s Manhattan in 1983 and that’s what New York looks like.

Joe Walsh scored the scene for me.

Somewhere out on that horizon
Out beyond the neon lights
I know there must be something better
But there’s nowhere else in sight

Yes, Joe, there was something better, and of course it’s in sight. The Mets game! Tonight! Channel 9! Let’s go!

Never mind that I was 20 years old, had no job in the city and was nowhere near town. Tampa would do for tonight. Three weeks from now I’d be back in New York, but I didn’t want to wait for proximity to the Mets while they were playing games that counted. My favorite part of the long drive from Florida, other than concluding it, was reaching Baltimore or thereabouts. The East Coast began to look more North than South by then. It looked lived in, like the city Walsh sang about on The Warriors soundtrack (and the Eagles recorded on The Long Run). Time it right, and you might hear Bob Murphy and Steve Lamar calling a John Stearns at-bat through the static, or at least a sports report at fifteen after or fifteen before the hour on WCBS or WINS attesting to the existence of the Mets, something that didn’t often come up on Tampa Bay radio.

When you’re living somewhere else in the pre-Internet age, you get romantic about where you’re not anymore. You get famished for any nibble from home. A nibble of Mets baseball would satiate. An entire nine innings projected as a feast.

The game was an eight o’clock start, as night games were in those days. Games didn’t routinely yawn for three-and-a-half hours, so it wasn’t really late. Daylight Savings Time didn’t kick in until late April, so it had to be dark, not only in New York but in Tampa. Still, in my mind, that golden late afternoon sun is streaming through the window when I head out into the TV lounge to ascertain it’s unoccupied and lay claim to the channel-changer. First come, first served. Did my neighbors think they had better things to do than watch a Mets game on a Friday night? Trick question: there was no thing better to do than watch a Mets game on a Friday night.

Ha, nobody’s out here! It’s mine! All mine! I get to watch the Mets on a big color TV! What a treat! Should I order a pie, or would that be gauche?

Bob from down the hall saw me approach the set, my fingers practically flexing in anticipation of dialing in the UHF frequency that would allow me to commune with my baseball team. Bob was from Jersey. We weren’t particularly close, but Bob knew me well enough.

“Hey, Greg, if you’re looking for the Mets game, forget it. It was rained out.”

So it was. There went Friday night. No treat for me. No game on tonight, either. Pizza sounds good, though.

Sounds great, actually.

5 comments to Friday Night Void

  • Lenny65

    Damn Rockies. Why are they playing them in April anyway? They’re one of those NL teams I don’t totally despise like with the stupid Nats or Cubs or Dodgers or Marlins, but I don’t especially care much for them or their stupid humidor either. Anyhow, these bogus seven inning doubleheader games (in theory) play right into our hands, so there is that. While I’m a purist who hates tinkering with the fabric of the game, I’m also a pragmatist who’ll take a W no matter how tainted it may be.

    Often overlooked is the fact that Game Seven of the 1986 World Series was rained out and was played on Monday the 27th, which at the time seemed unfathomably late in the month. While I had no doubt whatsoever that they’d win, I do recall cursing the baseball gods for torturing us for one more day.

  • Daniel Hall

    It doesn’t even hurt anymore at this point. The constant rain/snow/’rona-outs are just a persistent nag right now, like a co-worker or supervisor you can’t really stand but that doesn’t go away. You adapt. Get selectively deaf.

    Speaking of “games did not take that long”, I watched the Barves and Cubs from Wrigley yesterday – only game on at a decent time for Europeans – and that nine-inning, 5-2 game took just over four hours to complete. And I don’t really know why. (364 total pitches for 14 walks, 19 strikeouts are a good start though)

    Also, we’re somehow still first with our 5-3 record, despite there being only one AL team (and only two in the NL that were not also involved in our misery) that does not have more W’s – the Yankees :-P

  • Harvey Poris

    There are six New York teams with seasons currently underway. Five of them have winning records. The only exception-the Yankees!

  • Chet Walterson

    Did you mean Al Lang Field where the early Mets trained (often with the Cardinals?)
    It later grew up to become a stadium

  • It was a Stadium by the time I was there.