The New York Mets
Ethnography, Myth, and Subtext
Publication Date: August 21, 2007
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No baseball team has captured America’s imagination like the Mets. Alternately the “Lovable Losers” and the “Miracle Mets,” New York’s other team offers fascinating fodder for writer Richard Grossinger in this thoughtful collection. The New York Mets is a series of probing essays on the best and most interesting years of the team, particularly 1969, 1973, 1986, and last year’s abbreviated run. A pivotal essay chronicles the lives of a professional athlete and a die-hard fan to create a well-argued, deeply felt meditation on the ways in which franchise baseball has come to fail not only the fans but the players.
This centerpiece presents a poignant narrative of Mets pitcher Terry Leach and author Grossinger’s own experiences playing and tracking the sport. Taken together, these powerful essays alternately take the poet’s, the alchemist’s, and the player’s perspective to paint a composite portrait that brings all the stunning highs and dispiriting lows together to show the ways in which America’s favorite pastime has changed. Grossinger reflects on the salad days when teams were happily homegrown and laments the current money-ball scenario some call baseball today.
Richard Grossinger is an anthropologist and publisher who has authored or edited over twenty books, including five anthologies of baseball literature. Grossinger and Lisa Conrad co-edited Baseball I Gave You the Best Years of My Life, the first anthology of its kind, and one that includes work from contributors as diverse as Don Hall, Jack Kerouac, and Jack Spicer. Baseball Diamonds and Into the Temple of Baseball followed, both edited by Grossinger and Kevin Kerrane. For over thirty years, Grossinger and his wife, Lindy Hough, have run North Atlantic Books.
Mike Vaccaro has been the lead sports columnist at the New York Post since 1992, after previously working at the Newark Star-Ledger, the Kansas City Star, and at newspapers in upstate New York and Arkansas. He is the author of Emperors and Idiots, the definitive history of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, and 1941: The Greatest Year in Sports, which will be published in May 2007. The winner of over 150 journalism awards since 1989, he is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and lives in Hillsdale, NJ with his wife, Leigh.
“Grossinger summons the deep continuum, backward from Endy’s catch throughout the innermost heart’s secret Mets—Melvin Mora, Terry Leach, Wayne Garrett, and beyond. He speaks to and for the True Believeniks, those of us always searching for the door into summer.”
“You want fun? Well, root for the Mets and read this wonderful book and realize that you’re part of a legacy that will live long after we suffer, linger, and die over West Coast games and four-game losing streaks and leaky bullpens. Enjoy.”
—Mike Vaccaro, New York Post sports columnist
“For those of us who were there from the beginning, it’s been forty-five years now, close to half a century of bewilderment, frustration, and unlikely miracles. The amazing Metropolitans of New York. Richard Grossinger gets the story of the team just right. He is a philosopher of the game, the world’s first baseball mystic.”
"Grossinger’s thorough knowledge of Mets history is complemented by his understanding of the ethnographer’s art. He writes with a flair and authenticity that encourages further reading, and I found it easy to cross the finish line. He’s an engaging writer, and the depth of his passion for the early Mets is worthy of attention."