Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Book Excerpts That Don't Suck: Faith And Fear In Flushing

Illustration for article titled Book Excerpts That Dont Suck: Faith And Fear In Flushing

Sigh. Here we go. "Faith And Fear In Flushing: An Intense Personal History Of The New York Mets" is not a book I'd promote on this site unless it was really, really good.


I consider that the best possible endorsement of Greg W. Prince's book I could possibly give. Anyway, here's an excerpt from the book where Greg explains why on earth he could possibly be so attached to such an awful, awful team. So enjoy this Mets fans. This is your one gift this year.

Illustration for article titled Book Excerpts That Dont Suck: Faith And Fear In Flushing

I don't love the Mets because of all their October participation. If that's what I came for, my love would be pretty darn intermittent. They're 7-for-40 getting there on my watch and 2-for-7 when there are playoffs to watch. Two world championships in their and my lifetime. They were awesome, but they're not why I love the Mets.

I don't love the Mets because they are such a well-run organization filled with the kind of people to whose baseball acumen you'd willingly trust your fate. There are less successful franchises all about, but I swear only the Pirates and their sixteen consecutive losing seasons sit between the Mets and rock bottom in terms of reasonable return on resources.

I don't love the Mets because they treat their customers with care and respect. My almost-mandatory attendance at every single home game in September 2008 indicated to me that it is company policy to approach us with unsurpassed indifference and hold us in utter contempt. On any given night, we were 50,000 walking cash machines or, perhaps, the reason a whole lot of people couldn't knock off early.

I don't love the Mets because of the great mass of Mets fans who surround me too often. Too many Mets fans come to Mets games for reasons that apparently have nothing to do with supporting the Mets. These are the kinds of people who stand in your way in supermarket aisles and cut you off on the Southern State Parkway and boo their cats for not being dogs.

I don't love the Mets because of the players who composed the most recent Met roster. The players on the Mets, individually and as a unit, don't automatically forge an instinctual connection with me. I had nothing against Shea's final edition, but I found myself with little in particular for them. Some struck me as talented, enthusiastic, and good-natured, and I appreciated their efforts on my nominal behalf. Mostly, though, I didn't feel the 2008 bunch all that much. And, though it's not a hanging offense, they just weren't very good.

I don't love the Mets because I'm rebelling against or reacting to the presence of some other team ... any other team. The Mets are front and center. Everybody else in the majors is tied for second through thirtieth (OK, second through twenty-ninth; thirtieth is reserved for that bunch in the Bronx, but they're of peripheral concern most of the time).

I don't love the Mets because it gives me license to behave as a "crazy fan." I don't know whether it's crazy to give one's mental well-being over to the fickle physical fortunes of a batch of youthful millionaires. I don't know whether it's crazy to risk vast quantities of disappointment in the longshot search for a modicum of solace. I don't know whether it's crazy to think the angst I incur as a preoccupational hazard is, in fact, maybe its own reward. But I'm a big fan. I'm not a crazy fan.

I don't love the Mets for the reasons that are often cited for loving the Mets. Oh, I love the Miracle, Magic, Amazin', Believe ethos. I love the Black Cat and Bill Buckner and the Grand Slam Single. If I drank more, I'd drink only Rheingold. If my DVR would dispense them, I'd watch nothing but Met-tinged episodes of Seinfeld and The Odd Couple while eating nothing but warm Kahn's Beef Franks topped with nothing but Gulden's Brown Mustard, the mustard Sharon Grote served to her family. I love all that stuff. But that's just part of the deal, not the deal itself.

I love the Mets because I love the Mets. Call it circular reasoning whose perimeter permits no logic to permeate. I love the Mets because I love the Mets even though there is, at certain times, almost nothing on the surface about the Mets that I can stand.

I love the Mets because I have always loved the Mets. It's no more mystical than that. I picked them up at six and stayed with them. It occurred to me at nineteen that by then the Mets had been the only non-familial constant in my life dating back to when I could account for my constants. It's only grown deeper since I was nineteen, which was 1982, which was a terrible season (65–97), but that didn't stop me. None of the terrible years has ever stopped me. It doesn't necessarily reflect on the purity of my character except maybe for its streaks of stubbornness or loyalty. It doesn't necessarily confirm that I automatically value the perennially put-upon underdog versus the well-fed overcat. It doesn't necessarily illustrate how not bad I might look in blue and orange. I've enjoyed reflecting on how these past forty seasons have transpired and what these past forty seasons have meant to me, but I could have wrapped this thing up in less time than it took Johan Santana to wrap the Fish inside his complete game three-hit short-rest shutout on the final Saturday of 2008:

I was little.

They were local.

It was 1969.

From there, it was easy. I was a Mets fan then, I'm a Mets fan now.

Remember, before there was a book, there was a blog. Go there too.

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