I won’t stretch the truth and tell you that I knew Dana Brand well. The little that I knew Dana I liked very much.
Dana passed away yesterday of a heart attack, and I got the news from fellow blogger Greg Prince.
I thought I’d start with letting Dana tell you about himself.
My name is Dana Brand and I’ve written
a book called Mets Fan. My book is for all of us.
I write about why we are Mets fans and why we
are not Yankee fans.
I write about what the players mean to us.
I write about the good years and the bad years.
I write about what we feel when we
go to Citifield, and see Mr. Met, when we
see our logo, sing our song, or cheer for
I write about what we feel when we bring our kids
to a game. Or when we watch the most important
games in Mets history with the people we love.
I write about what the Mets are in our lives, about
how beautiful baseball is and how wonderful,
exciting, sad, and horrible it can be.
I am a Professor of English and American
Literature at Hofstra University. I got my Ph.D.
from Yale where I studied with A. Bartlett
Giamatti, with whom I often discussed baseball.
Back in the winter of 2009-2010 I did a Meet the Bloggers series and Dana said…
My blog pieces are essays about the experience of the Mets fan. I write about the ballpark, the heritage of the team, the experience of family and community, and the mood of the fanbase. I write about the lyricism and humor of the Mets fan. I write about the way in which being Mets fans connects with all of the other ways in which we live our lives. As far as I know, I am the oldest Mets blogger. I am 55 and I remember listening to the very first game the Mets played.
The way I got to know Dana the little I did was because I heard he was working on The 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets conference at Hofstra.
April 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the New York Mets, one of the most popular and culturally significant baseball franchises.
On Thursday through Sunday, April 26-28, 2012, Hofstra University will host a conference to consider all aspects of the history and culture of the team. This will be the first multidisciplinary conference to consider every aspect of a Major League Baseball franchise.
Expected participants at the conference will include current and former members of the Mets’ organization; baseball executives, journalists, broadcasters, and analysts; baseball scholars, historians, and cultural critics; and writers, artists, filmmakers, cartoonists, bloggers, collectors, and fans.
Presentations will be accepted on the basis of 300-500 word abstracts submitted by December 1, 2011.
Possible topics include: The Origins of the Mets; The Roots, Myths and Evolution of Mets Fandom; Defining Individuals in Mets History; Mets Icons, Symbols and Mascots; The 1969 Mets Season: How It Happened, What It Meant to People, and How It Survives as a Cultural Metaphor; The Mets in Subsequent Eras; The Mets and Queens; The Mets and Long Island; The Mets and New York Baseball; The Mets in Film; The Mets in Literature; The Mets and the Culture and Politics of New York City; Mets Broadcasting; Mets Journalism; Famous Fans; The Mets and New York’s Ethnic and Cultural Communities; Defining Moments in the History of the Mets; Mets Controversies; Shea Stadium; The Mets Blogosphere; The Pleasures and Perils of Professional Baseball in New York; and Covering a Baseball Team in the Unique Media Environment of New York.
I was hoping to take part in the conference in some small way. Nothing would make me happier to know that this conference goes on in Dana’s absence and memory.
Greg Prince, better with words than I, as always, including this sentence has a lovely piece about Dana up on Faith & Fear..
After I learned that Dana had died, I flashed back on our last meeting, unplanned, in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field on April 10. He was at the first Sunday home game of the year alone and I was at the first Sunday home game of the year alone. Dana wanted to soak up the new season in solitude. I wanted a magnetic schedule and didn’t feel like asking around if anybody wanted to go. When we recognized each other, we greeted as old friends, as people who had been old friends going much further back than September 2007, which is when we actually first met. As I learned on that occasion, at the Long Beach Public Library, we went way the hell back. I guess I knew that from having read Mets Fan, but it was kind of thrilling to feel it unfold in person. Here was, per the title of the book he was in my hometown to read from, a Mets Fan. Here was somebody who shared my life with me without knowing it. That’s how it is among all of us, isn’t it? With Dana, it was immediate and it was warm and it was as all-encompassing in a Mets Fan sense as it could be.
In April, we did what Mets Fans like us who go way the hell back do: we complained. We complained about the Mets. We bitched and we moaned and we griped and we found fault. But not for a second were we unhappy while we were doing this.
Do yourself a favor on this off-night and spend 10 minutes with this video. We can talk about hedge fund managers and injuries in the morning.
Here’s Dana Brand.