You wanted to see me Sir?
Yes, come on in. We got to do a sports movie and I was wondering what you can get out of this. (tosses book onto the desk)
Faith and Fear in Flushing, by Greg W. Prince?
That’s the one.
Terrific book, sir, I’ve read it myself. And I…
They say it’s like ‘Fever Pitch’
That’s a fine comparison, Sir. Hornby and Prince are both outstanding writers whose works examine how a passion for a sports team becomes an inextricable part of who we are.
Hornby? Who the hell is Hornby? I’m talking about Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Kimmel.
Jimmy Fallon, Sir.
Whatever. Can we get Ben Affleck to play the lead?
Of Greg? I get more of a Paul Gamatti vibe…
We’re not going for Academy Awards here, son. We’re making a sports movie. And get Matt Damon to play his sidekick, Jason. ‘Lethal Weapon’ meets ‘Bull Durham’ I like it.
Well, boss, this is more of a love story.
Then get Drew Barrymore to play the girl.
I’ll call her agent.
And write in a little more drama. Have him have to win her from a Yankee fan. Or maybe from the Matt Damon guy. That’s the kind of spice this picture needs.
But Sir, you don’t understand. It was love at first sight between these two. In some ways, it mirrors the burgeoning relationship between the boy and his team, one that continues to this day.
She doesn’t have to compete for his love with the team?
Nope. It’s about devotion in good times and bad. It’s about what it feel like to be uplifted in 1986 and to bear witness to 1993, on 15 separate occasions.
Well then who’s the bad guy?
Oh, there’s lot of them, Sir. There’s Cesar Cedeno, M. Donald Grant, Benji Molina, Joe Grahe, Keith Lockhart … Page 157 is full of villains from the 1988 postseason alone and it pointedly doesn’t even include Mike Scioscia.
So this Scioscia fellow is innocent?
No, guilty as sin, Sir. It’s just one of many instances in this book where even hard-core fans will be reminded of how much more there were to the stories we all experienced than what may remain in popular memory. This is the testimony of a writer who has seen much, and forgotten little. Quite remarkable.
Yes, yes. But these bad guys? They all get it during the Big Game at the end, don’t they?
No sir. This is a story of the Mets. They’ve won the Big Game quite infrequently, as a matter of fact.
So it’s a tearjerker?
Certainly, some is. It reminds us that baseball, like life, often is a hard thing to endure. We might see ourselves as the awkward child who humiliates himself in a chance meeting with his hero — or the awkward adult whose Mets gear draws idiotic responses in the supermarket. And the story of a loved one with whom we’ve had complicated relationship dying of a terrible disease? Yeah, that one just might hit home. Thanks to the Mets, we all know what it feels like to look at a called strike 3.
Maudlin don’t sell popcorn, kid. Punch it up some.
Don’t need to Sir. It’s actually quite funny throughout. I particularly enjoyed the lighthearted but vicious gutting of Yankee fans in Chapter 23. I’ve taken it upon myself to contact the agent for Stuttering John Melendez.
I see. So how does it end?
They lose the Big Game – and for the third year in a row. Only, and I believe this is the central point, we don’t have to feel bad about ourselves because of it. And we needn’t be ashamed, because that’s what being a fan is all about. This is a story about loving the endings, some happier than others. It’s about being a Met fan. It’s about us.
BEN AFFLECK DREW BARRYMORE PRINCE OF FLUSHING MATT DAMON PAUL GAMATTI and JOHN MELENDEZ as ‘THE UNCLEVER TOOL’ BASED ON THE MEMOIR ‘FAITH & FEAR IN FLUSHING’ BY GREG W. PRINCE