By Mike Steffanos
Maple Street Press Mets Annual 2009
Edited by Matthew Silverman and Greg Spira
Softcover, 128 pages, Maple Street Press
A problem with most sports annuals is they try to cover everything and wind up doing a poor job of previewing anyone. Another problem is that these team previews are often written by folks who clearly don't know a whole hell of a lot about the teams they're analyzing.
Neither is the case with the Maple Street Press Mets Annual 2009. On the back cover it boldly proclaims itself to be "The Most In-depth Guide to the First Season in Citi Field!", and it actually manages to live up to that.
One of the annual's editors, Matthew Silverman, seems to have authored or co-authored most of the Mets books ever written. Okay, maybe that's somewhat of an exaggeration, but he's been prolific and doesn't have to fake knowledge of his subject.
You will also recognize other contributors such as Greg Prince, Toby Hyde, Joe McDonald, Howard Megdal, Jon Springer and Ted Berg. As with last year, the quality of the writing is excellent -- another departure from run of the mill sports annuals.
There is extensive coverage of both the major league team and the minor league affiliates, including schedules and basic franchise info. Toby Hyde did a great job detailing some of the top prospects, Mike Emeigh covered last year's draft and Evan Drelich had a nice piece on Fernando Martinez.
Other articles I particularly enjoyed were Greg Prince's look back at the '69 club (hard to believe it's been 40 years) and a piece by Silverman on Fernando Tatis' comeback. An interview by Silverman with Keith Hernandez on the '84 club that turned the franchise around was also excellent.
Citi Field is covered in depth with articles on various aspects of the new park.
There's also a really nice section with detailed scouting reports on the players, and even CHONE projections as a bow to the Sabermetricians. While I doubt this annual would appeal to hardcore numbers crunchers who care about nothing else, it offers a little bit of everything to the rest of us.
Last year's annual was great, but this one was even better. If you love the Mets and love to read about them, this is a must-have. It's not available on Amazon, but you can buy it direct from the publisher. You can also find it at local bookstores and newsstands.