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Respect for the Past Shouldn't Be History

Mike SteffanosFriday, June 6, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Dana Brand is the author of the terrific and highly recommended book Mets Fan.

Dana is also a professor at Hofstra University. On his blog yesterday, in a post titled Honoring and Studying the History and Culture of the Mets, Dana talked about something near and dear to my heart:

Readers of this blog might enjoy this interview I did yesterday with Mike Silva at New York Baseball Digest. It was the lead-in to an interview with Jacob Kanarek, who is publishing a book called "From First to Worst" about the Mets in the Seventies. Mike and I talked about the Mets in the Seventies, a depressing but interesting topic, and then we talked about the need for the Mets to pay more attention to their own history and fan culture, a topic which, I notice, is getting more and more attention on Mets blogs and forums.

In my interview with Mike, I mention that I am, along with another Hofstra professor, submitting a proposal for a conference that will commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the New York Mets. At this conference which will be hosted by Hofstra (pending approval, but the odds are good), we hope to bring together as many current and former Mets, executives, management, journalists, bloggers, fans, and students of the game as possible. So, even if the Mets don't start doing more to honor and study the history of the team, some of us can start doing our part. I certainly hope that the promised museum of the Mets in Citifield will be worthy of the team and will be accessible to the fans.

I love the idea of a conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the club. I hope you'll take a minute to click over to Dana's blog and leave him a comment or email supporting his efforts. The half-century history of this franchise is worthy of much more effort than the Mets management has been willing to put into it.

It's a shame that management doesn't feel this team's history is worthy of the basics, such as an Old Timer's Day. When I was a young Mets fan OTD was held every year, but mostly to honor former Dodgers and Giants who played for those teams before they defected to the left coast.

I would like to think that even those of you who are much younger than I would be interested in seeing some of those great Mets players of the past honored on a yearly basis. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote and Bud Harrelson are probably familiar to Mets fans that weren't even born when they were integral pieces of the '69 champs.

For those of us who are older and creakier, it would be fun to see some of the former Mets who aren't as familiar to those who don't go back quite that far: Ken Boswell, Jon Matlack, John Milner, Felix Millan, to name a few. How about George Stone, who had one great shining year that helped the Mets to an improbable pennant? Skip Lockwood, who had some nice years as a closer for a team that didn't win many games.

Even during the dark years of the franchise, 1977-1983, there are players I remember with affection: John Stearns, Steve Henderson, Craig Swan (if he could have only stayed healthy), Pete Falcone (the Oliver Perez of his day), and Ed Lynch, to name a few.

Mets history isn't about championships, unfortunately, but it is about the enduring love of the fan base for a team that was constantly overshadowed in its own town. And that enduring love is exactly what the Mets should honor by remembering the past.

I hope Dana's conference idea comes to fruition. Any effort to pick up the slack in this area is welcome and absolutely worthy of our support.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Ryan Church, declined to pinch hit in the eighth saying" he wasn't ready to hit"(N.Y.Post) doesn't sit well with me, for a lot of reasons, all pointing to a lost vision of this team. It seems they continue to think everything will get better by itself, just leave it alone it will go away and all will be well. Thats how they look at everything, pitching, hitting, clubhouse, manager you name it. To them everything will get better, just let it be. No changes are needed. I thing with out any change we are headed for another lost season.

Mike, your blog post and some e-mails I've received expressing interest in the conference have inspired me to put the conference proposal up on my blog. You can read about what we've officially proposed to Hofstra. This is almost certain to come off and I am particularly excited about involving you and other bloggers, who are, it seems to me, the true repository of Mets history and the true standard bearers of Mets culture (much more than the mainstream press or the TV or the radio).

The news just doesn't get better about the team trying to win! Now Castro was late ,they say he overslept?I don't think so!Something is rotten on this team and if we don't fix it soon this is a lost season. There is a clubhouse problem not yet in the news, that is putting the fire out in this team. We need to clean it out, something stinks. Like a bad left over in the frig. the odor is making everything smell bad. It's time to emty the stuff that went bad.

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