By Mike Steffanos
The last thing I posted in this space was a piece about Newsday's new pricing model back in mid-November. Since then, I've probably started a dozen or so posts running the gamut from the Bay signing to reaction to Mark McGwire's shocking "admission" that he did, indeed, use steroids.
However, words that once seemed to come fairly easily to me during most of my years writing this blog have lately refused to dance off my keyboard onto the virtual page. To be honest with you, it got to the point where I felt my time as a blogger had run its course.
I am in the midst of a number of changes in my life. At 51 years old I am not quite as quick to adapt as I once was, and I'm sure that has played a part in this. I'm getting out of the business that's paid my bills for more than a decade and trying to figure out where I'm going there. My Mom's situation is still complicated and time-consuming and, at times, mentally exhausting.
Anyway, those are my problems, not yours, but as 2009 rolled over into 2010 and the words continued not to come I felt that I was at a crossroads not only as a Mets blogger but even as a Mets fan.
I can't recall a winter in recent memory where I felt less invested in what the Mets were doing, and it really had nothing to do with the moves that they were and were not making. I guess that given everything else that was going on in my life, baseball just seemed trivial in comparison.
This was quite a contrast from where I was heading into the season. In February and March I felt energized and on top of my game writing for this blog. I committed myself to trying to blog daily again, and for the most part was accomplishing that. I felt like I was doing my best stuff in a couple of years and was looking forward to the season.
My Mom's problems began before the season did, however, and consumed most of my time going into the early summer. By that point the Mets season had essentially fallen apart, too, and I found myself expending whatever energy I had to spare in a last ditch effort to resurrect my business. There never seemed to be much time or energy left over for blogging.
The season came to its inglorious end, leading into an off-season that featured little of consequence beyond the Jason Bay signing. As the holiday season and then January slipped by and I still wasn't posting, I thought it was time to realistically confront the possibility that I didn't have the drive to do this anymore.
If I wasn't going to keep the blog going, however, I still had three books that I had accepted review copies of and hadn't produced the reviews: Ron Darling's The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound, Greg Prince's Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, and Dana Brand's The Last Days of Shea: Delight and Despair in the Life of a Mets Fan.
When you're given a review copy of a book, the deal on your part is that you will give the book a fair read and an honest review. I certainly hadn't lived up to my part of the bargain. So I felt that I couldn't end my blogging career without doing the reviews.
Since it had been a while since I had read the books, particularly Darling's and Greg Prince's, I sat down and read them again in the order I had originally received them.
I've finished rereading both Darling's and Greg Prince's books and am just starting Dana's. They're all excellent books, and well worth the effort. I'd like to get all three reviews posted before the end of this month.
An unexpected consequence of my effort came partway through my encore read of Greg's book. I remembered why I love baseball and even the Mets so much. I remembered why obsessing over the ups and downs of this franchise somehow made sense despite its relative triviality compared to the real meat and potatoes problems that life throws at us.
We're going to give this thing one more shot -- returning to where we were a year ago when I committed to trying to post daily, starting today. As we wait for spring training to get underway we'll talk a little bit about things that happened this winter and where we think the club needs to go moving forward.
Let's talk some baseball. (And thanks, Greg and Dana.)