By Dana Brand
Editor's Note: This is Dana Brand's first contribution to this blog. - M.S.
Over the past year, I've written a book to see if I could figure out why I cared so deeply about the New York Mets. I don't think I found the answer to my question, but in trying to find the answer, I had the chance to explore a number of things about myself. I learned something as I remembered watching the tenth inning of the sixth game of the 1986 World Series with my wife, a Red Sox fan. I learned something as I remembered watching my father, a lifelong fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and then the Mets, cheering his team during the 1999 playoffs, even though Alzheimer's had ravaged his brain and he could not possibly have understood what he was watching so intently. I learned something when I thought about what I've felt taking my daughter to Shea, and driving home afterwards, with her asleep in the car, and me, alone with my memories of the game and the comforting and loving voices of Bob Murphy and then Steve Somers.
Why are the Mets so much to me? Why could I not live without them? Why does everything associated with them stir something inside of me, from the logo, to the song, to the apple, to the big, goofy stadium, to the very thought of Doris from Rego Park or Mr. Met dancing on the dugout or Ralph Kiner hosting Kiner's Korner? When I think about this team, I have something to say to my seven-year-old self, who is still inside of me after 45 years, with his transistor radio and his Mets hat. I talk to myself in, I hope, thirty years, still waiting for pitchers and catchers who aren't even born yet. I talk to thousands of people whose roar includes my own scream as Carlos Delgado hits one high up into the right field lights. I talk to people who will live in the far future, who are as abstract now as the people you see in the video fly-through of Citifield, but who will hear the planes, see the Flushing sunsets, and know exactly the same thing I feel when someone with Mets across his chest wins the game in the 11th with single right up the middle. The Mets turn me to mush. They do. I love it. I love them. I don't care.
I don't care if Frequency doesn't make sense. There's something in that movie's sense of the possibility of the impossible that caught the spirit of the Mets fan exactly. There is something in the humor of Jerry Seinfeld that catches perfectly our shrugs, our love of the familiar, our haplessness and our love. We are these crazy people from New York who refuse to root for the Yankees. We have something better. I don't know how to describe or explain it, but we do.
The Mets run through my life, a reliable source of unexplainable happiness. They give me a community, and time to think, and things to connect to. They let me play with the coolness of numbers. They treat me, every second, to the pleasures of hope. And they've taught me how to handle disappointment.
I'm a relatively rational person. But I embrace this big bobbly Mr. Met-headed thing that entered my soul at some point in the sixties and has never found its way out. It's here. I'm happy to see it. I am at home with it. I wrote a book about as many possible aspects of it as I could think of. As many possible memories, of players, of games, of seasons, of voices, of things at the stadium. I am hoping that other people who have the Mets will recognize some of the same things within themselves. I described what I saw, and what I remember. I also tried to figure it out. But I didn't.