By Mike Steffanos
Author: Dana Brand
Paperback, 212 pages, McFarland
In one of the many things that didn't get done during the hectic last year of my life, I really regret that it took so long to write this review. I mentioned on several occasions how much I enjoyed the book, and especially enjoyed the chance to meet Dana and several of the finest Mets bloggers at the launch party for the book last September.
Dana's book has received universal praise around the Mets blogosphere. At this point the book has been out for many months, and I'm sure that almost all of my readers have seen reviews and opinions on it. At this point in the game, it's a challenge to bring anything new to the table on what makes this such a terrific book for die-hard Mets fans that enjoy a quality read. Since my own tardiness has created this dilemma, it seems only fair that I try.
When I was invited to Dana's book launch party last year, I wondered what type of person I might be meeting. I had gotten to know Dana a little from some e-mail exchange. He seemed like a nice guy, but I all I really knew about him was that he was an English professor at Hofstra University. I couldn't help but wonder if he might not be a little stuffy and intellectually aloof as some of my own professors seemed back in the day.
Of course he was nothing of the sort. Dana proved to be warm and friendly, and I felt I had known him for a while. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, because that was what came through in all of his essays. They're smart and well-written, obviously, but also accessible and real. Dana speaks to the simple truths of what it means to be a fan of this amazin' club. In writing about his own experience he touches on things that are universal to most of us. When Dana writes about that magnificent old dump that is Shea Stadium, he speaks to feelings that only true Mets fans can understand:
When I go to Shea, I feel as if I am visiting my father and several long lost versions of my daughter. I visit all of the different eras of my life, and all of the different teams and players who gave me so much happiness as I grew up and grew older. So many pieces of my life are connected by the fundamentally unchanging experience of a game at Shea. So much of what I have known and been seems held in the great curved embrace of the stands, in the rich green symmetry of the field, in the chaos of girders and buttresses and bathrooms and frying food on the concourse behind the seats. So much of me is here, in this thing that can be torn down but can't be replaced.
The essay that this quote was pulled from is on Dana's web site along with three others that appear in the pages of his book. Dana gives you a chance to get to know him and his book before you spend a dime of your money. That seems more than fair to me.
Speaking of getting to know Dana, there is a page on the web site devoted to his appearance schedule. As highly as I recommend the book, I also recommend that if you have a chance to make it to one of these events you do so. You'll find Dana is as warm and engaging as his wonderful book. And Dana, if you ever write another one of these, I promise not to take so damned long to review it.
Buy Mets Fan online at Amazon.com