By Mike Steffanos
We're going to do something a little different this week. I like to highlight 3 books, two of which are already out and one which is due out sometime this summer.
Maple Street Press Mets Annual 2009
Edited by Matt Silverman and Greg Spira
More literate than most publications of this genre, editors Silverman and Spira have done a nice job in mixing a lot of solid info and some terrific writing into a must-have season preview for Mets fans. Really good stuff. To be reviewed in more detail soon.
Purchase in local newsstands and bookstores in the New York metropolitan area. It's usually found with the magazines in bookstores. You can also purchase it direct from Maple Street Press at the link above. I didn't find the book on Amazon, but if you search the title at EBay there were some folks selling it there.
Faith and Fear in Flushing
An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets
by Greg Prince
I haven't even received my copy of this book yet, but I have no doubt of what the quality will be. If you are one of many who have spent thousands of hours reading Greg's writing at his blog, you know what I mean. A foreword by the great Gary Cohen is just icing on the cake for this one.
I will also be reviewing this book at some point, but if you can't wait for that -- and who could blame you -- this book is available now from Amazon and other on-line retailers.
The Last Days of Shea
Delight and Despair in the Life of a Mets Fan
by Dana Brand
coming summer 2009
According to Dana on the book's web page:
I enjoyed writing Mets Fan so much that I decided to write another book about the last two seasons of the Mets at Shea. It was supposed to be a feel-good book but the Mets didn't co-operate.
It's still a very good book, I think, and if you don't mind unhappy endings, it may still make you feel good.
I've tried to commemorate the stadium that is no more and I've celebrated all of the fun we had there. I also try to come to terms with what it means to root for this team, and what it means to experience the loss of a place that has meant so much to so many of us for so many years.
As with Greg's book, I know enough about the author to feel secure in predicting Dana's book will be terrific. I'm looking forward to its appearance this summer.
Finally, I wrote something on Saturday in reaction to yet another ridiculous Kevin Kernan column in the Post. I've received way more email than I normally do on this one.
Many readers asked me why I don't write more of these, whether in response to Kernan, Mike Francesa, Wally Mathews, Bob Raissman or someone else. The truth is that I don't really care for writing something that negative, and I actually believe the better response to the excesses of any of the above is to ignore them.
In this case, though, the idea that it required hatred of your opponent was particularly obnoxious to me, along with the fact that everyone who writes about how the Phillies dislike the Mets and love to stick it to them conveniently forget that the Mets beat the Phillies decisively head-to-head this season. A team doesn't have your number when they lose to you 11 times in 18 games.
I've played sports my whole life -- never on a professional level, but for the love of the game(s). Anyone who competed against me will tell you that I played as hard as anyone. I tried to win every game, from the loosest backyard or sandlot contest to the organized stuff in leagues.
I never once had to feel hate for someone on the other team to want to beat them. And trust me, if we competed, you had no doubt I wanted to beat you.
After many a game I happily sat down with teammates and opponents to down some cold ones and brag about how great we were. (The more beers, the better we had played.) Sure, occasionally there was bad blood after a tough contest, and some guys you just didn't like, but the idea of hating an opponent as a virtue was and is foreign to me.
I say it again. Kernan is an ass. What's more, if he convinced one kid reading that column that he or she needed to work up a hatred for their opponent to compete at the highest level, he is a dangerous ass.