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Putting It in a Book

Dana BrandTuesday, February 13, 2007
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.

About Dana Brand: Dana Brand's book, which has the working title of Mets Fan, will be published by McFarland this fall. To read about it, read samples, and read the table of contents, please visit metsfanbook.com. You can also check out Dana's blog at metsfanbook.com/blog/.

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Comments (4)

Nice job. As a professional writer myself, I really appreciate good writing and this was well done.

Well done. I totally relate, and your article sent shivers down my back. I was that kid with the Met hat and radio on (low) under the blanket listening to the game when I should have been sleeping. My fingers and legs crossed on every big moment. Zisk (Pit) still gives me nightmares he was always a Met killer.

Thanks for the memories!

Patrick

Dana,

I'm looking forward to the book. A lot.

One thing I think we Mets fans take for granted is that, unlike most baseball fans, we actually have a choice of hometown teams to root for. Okay, so do fans in Chicago, the Bay area and Southern California. But Oakland and San Francisco have a bay and totally opposite cultural spectra separating them, and the Angels still can't decide what city to say they're playing in. The Windy City is the only true comparison of choice; a fan can logically choose the Cubs or the Sox, whether they live on the north or south side. If you're a kid growing up in Milwaukee, you kinda sorta have to be a Brewers fan by default. We don't have those provincial shackles.

I've always been a Mets fan, because I've always been able to find someone to like on every Mets roster. Yes, even the crappy teams. I honestly can't say that about more than a handful of Yankees (Roy White, Mattingly and Bernie Williams come to mind, and not much else). For me, the players' perceived personalities, distilled through the media, drive much of my passion as a fan.

That's not fair, since that means I liked a lot of the players I liked because the sportswriters who covered them liked them. But it's a fact. And with this newfangled "new media", it's becoming easier to determine who's worth our adulation. If a player's a real dirtbag, we're more likely to find out about it sooner than we used to. Not that any of OUR guys are dirtbags.

Anyway, thanks again, Dana, for filling this gaping hole in the public library under Dewey Decimal Number 796.357 with "Mets Fan".

As I grew up a Brooklyn Dodger fan, the 40's and 50's prepaired me to be a Met fan of the 60's and 70's. To many times it was always waite till next year, and it seemsd it was always that other team in N.Y. who would beat us. I still remember that special year befor Brooklyn went to L.A; we did it, we became the champs of the city. All those waite till next year, went away. Now a Met fan I see us coming up fast and a team being formed that will be our time at the top and not just for one special year, but for years to come. I think last year was a good learning year to deal with the playoffs and a burning inside them of waite till next year, a fire in a Met team that I have not seen in a good while. This is a special time to be a Met fan and very special for all of us who been waiting for next year. I think its here. Enjoy this year. Lets Go Mets.

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