Baseball Literature

Why are we attracted to certain blogs? For the content? Presentation? Aggregation? All acceptable reasons. However, none of these specifically capture the draw of Faith and Fear in Flushing. If the site has a simple layout and is bereft of multimedia use, why do readers come back? The answer is simple and may seem utterly obvious, but it’s the writing. Again, it’s the blog for Mets fans who “like to read.”

The two contributors to the blog bring their own accomplishments to make the blog what it is. Jason Fry has worked in almost every aspect of the journalism industry. From editing at the Wall Street Journal Online to his work at the Poynter Institute. Greg Prince, also with extensive writing and editing experience, has published his own book about the Mets entitled, what else, “Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History.” Clearly, these two men are qualified to write about the subject matter, and write they do.

When analyzing individual posts in the blog, the only outstanding factor to look at is the writing style and composition. While occasionally a post includes a photo, or bolded out quotes, the consistency of these features would be unable to maintain the blog’s success among readers. So what is it about the style that pulls us back?

It’s how both writers paint the picture to the reader. Using honesty, cynicism, detail, and nostalgia, Fry and Prince both convey the state of the New York Mets without having to recount an entire box score. In fact, the writing style follows closer to an anecdotal story than a baseball recap. Descriptive narration from a Citi Field scene is always a common find. A connection to the past is never far off as well.

This is best done by analyzing a passage from Prince’s recent post entitled “Down at the Sunset Grill.” From the beginning of this paragraph one can easily notice the intense description. Combinations of words such as “joyfully festive” and “unbearingly tense” create a contrast in the readers mind. Without being in the stadium the reader can envision the crowd cheering for R.A. Dickey to pitch on. Very quickly following that description is a nostalgic look at the past to 1999. Prince knows his reader. The undying Met fan who remembers October 3, 1999 better than he or she remembers what was for dinner yesterday. He successfully compares the two events, with extreme detail, to make sure it hits home plate.

“Dickey’s quest leaned more to the joyfully festive than the unbearably tense: ringing chants of “CY YOUNG!”; recurring bouts of standing ovation; the blue-clad 7 Line Army holding forth beyond center field for nine innings and then some. Nevertheless, it smacked just a little of Home Game 81 at Shea Stadium 13 years ago, when it was mandatory that the Mets beat back the Bucs in order to advance to a one-game playoff that would determine if they could then, and only then, enter the postseason for the first time in 11 years. The business of October 3, 1999, was as pressing as any I’d ever been party to as a Mets fan. That R.A. Dickey’s attempt to capture himself a round number even remotely resembled the afternoon Melvin Mora dashed home on Brad Clontz’s wild pitch to ensure a trip to Cincinnati is a credit to how much R.A. means to a satisfaction-starved fan base that has had little of an enduring nature to cheer since Shea closed and Citi opened.”-Greg Prince, “Down at the Sunset Grill”

Each post has its own personality and theme. The headings for them are unique and creative, but not straightforward enough for the reader to catch the gist of the post itself.  The last word used to describe the posts would be concise. While the writers use plenty of paragraphs to break up the ideas used in each post, there are no subheadings to organize the content of the post itself. It is up to the reader to decide to sift through the information. The lack of organization is acceptable, for Faith and Fear is not a blog to be sifted through. It is one to read and enjoy the opinions and storytelling of the fan writers who feel the same emotion and go through the same everyday struggle as every Met fan present and past.

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