Even though Andy Martino asserts we’re racist, Mike Vaccaro implies we’re idiots and a market research company concludes we’re more fickle than Philadelphians, I still believe in us. I maintain bedrock faith in the faith of the Mets fan. I have a lifetime of experience as a Mets fan among Mets fans to back me up, but just as assuring, I have three examples handy of the depth and suppleness of the Mets fan mind at work.
You should have them, too.
Two annual publications and one commemorative book are out and I urge you to obtain all three: read them, absorb them, keep them close by, refer to them often. They’re not simply informative. They are, both in terms of quality and in the context of our times (or at least this week), revelatory.
What I like about Maple Street Press Mets Annual 2011; Amazin’ Avenue: The Mets 2011 Preview; and New York Mets: 50 Amazin’ Seasons is they are the brainchildren of Mets fans and largely the handicraft of Mets fans. The contents, therefore, are honest, analytical, entertaining, incisive and did I mention honest? That’s the thing about Mets fans. Give them free editorial rein and they don’t rah-rah you into sugar shock. Mets fans lack an amen corner. We’re too self-aware for that. Perhaps it’s why our best face isn’t always instantly interpreted by the world at large as one capable of smiling, laughing and enjoying our team over the very long haul.
We do. We really do. We just know too much to do it brainlessly and breezily. It’s why we write so much. It’s why what we, as a people, write is so often compelling to read. It’s what makes each of the editions alluded to here must-haves.
Maple Street and Amazin’ Avenue are season previews, per se, but don’t think their usefulness expires once Spring Training ends. The history sections alone make them keepers. It’s history processed and related by Mets fans for Mets fans. As is the case when Mets fans get together to talk, nothing is spoon-fed nor sanitized. You come away informed, not snowed. Amazin’ Avenue, in particular, dares to venture into the outside world a good bit for targeted third-party viewpoints of pressing Met issues and puts those perspectives to good use, but overall, whether it’s the state of the Mets in 2011 or what the hell the Mets were thinking in some other year, you have the sense that the editors have our interests at heart. In a cold, cruel, not always blue and orange universe, it’s a comforting feeling.
As for New York Mets: 50 Amazin’ Seasons, prepare to immerse yourself completely in a galaxy that is nothing but blue and orange (and, yes, a little black since 1998). To call it a coffee table book is to unnecessarily glorify coffee tables. This is a Mets book, through and through. This is practically the Mets Museum if you can’t make it out to Citi Field on a given evening. The reason it transcends attractive design (though it is attractively designed) is it was put together by a grade-A Mets fan who took not one iota of his assignment lightly.
Matthew Silverman has been through this terrain before, as the author of Mets Essential and 100 Things Mets Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die and editor of The Miracle Has Landed and, come to think of it, Maple Street Press Mets Annual. When you pick up this new volume, you realize it was all leading up to 50 Amazin’ Seasons, wherein every damn one of them is covered lovingly, thoughtfully and, yes, critically. Matt knows his stuff like few Mets fans I know, and he worries about his stuff enough to get it right. Inside this lavishly illustrated book, he practically recreates a half-century of good and bad, of hope and dismay, of, well, faith and fear. Matt absolutely gets what has made the Mets the Mets since their DNA commenced to coalescing with the departures of the Giants and Dodgers and he carries that ethos of “getting it” clear to the present.
I’m enhanced by having all three of these titles in my baseball library. You will be, too.
Semi-disclaimer: I wrote an article for Maple Street Press, as did Jason; we co-wrote another piece for Amazin’ Avenue. And Matthew was kind enough to acknowledge me in 50 Amazin’ Years. These glowing recommendations, however, are based on the entirety of the above works, surely not merely our contributions.