Title: The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times
Publication Info: Lanham, Md : Taylor Trade, 2011.
Summary/Review: I received a free advance review copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. The biography of the great Mets pitcher and Hall of Fame baseball star is generally a hagiography from the title to the conclusion. Not that I would prefer a hatchet job but depicting Seaver as near-superhuman does him no favors in my opinion. Also, Travers and Seaver share the same alma mater of USC and Travers doesn’t miss any opportunity to mention it. I did learn some interesting things about Seaver such as the fact that he was a late bloomer and didn’t become a great pitcher until his college years. There are also some interesting details of his Mets years and relationships with coaches and players. The diehard Mets or baseball fan may want to read this book but otherwise I think the great Seaver biography remains to be written.
Recommended books: Gil Hodges: The Quiet Man by Marino Amoruso, The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw by Michael Sokolove and If at First: A Season With the Mets by Keith Hernandez.
Author: Matthew Silverman
Title: Best Mets
Publication Info: Lanham, Md. : Taylor Trade Pub., c2012.
Summary/Review: I received and advanced copy of this book for free through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program, who like to send me books about baseball (I wonder why). The title of the book pretty much sums things up, this is a book of lists about the best Mets players, teams, games, traditions, etc. Obviously this book is not going to have widespread appeal beyond Mets’ fans, although I’d think it best for the novice Mets’ fan looking to learn a little bit about the history of the team. Still, there are better Mets’ books out there. (see below)
Recommended books: Faith and Fear in Flushing by Greg Prince, Mets by the Numbers by Jon Springer and Taking the Field by Howard Megdal.
Author: Howard Megdal
Title: Taking the Field
Publication Info: Bloomsbury USA (2011)
Summary/Review: I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program. Mets fan and sports journalist Howard Megdal, frustrated by the mismanagement of his favorite team decides to take action by running for the office of Mets general manager. The position is not an elected office of course, so this is a bit of a gag, but Megdal dutifully holds primaries on a number of Mets blogs. I could have lived without the extensive details of the election campaign as it becomes obvious pretty early that Megdal has great ideas about how to manage the Mets and that these ideas have a lot of support among Mets fans. Luckily, alternate chapters contain Medgal’s actual analysis of how to run a ball club focusing on the Mets historically on their all too many bad transactions as well as the thought and planning that went in to building the championship teams of 1969 and 1986. Megdal’s evaluation of the Mets past and present is spot on as are his ideas for the future of the team. I’d vote for him if I could but lucky for him Sandy Alderson took the job, so Megdal can focus on spending more time with the baby daughter he writes about lovingly throughout the book.
Recommended books: Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets by Greg Prince, Foul Ball: My Life and Hard Times Trying to Save an Old Ballpark by Jim Bouton, and Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
Title: Mathematically Alive: A Story of Fandom
Release Date: 2007
Director: Joseph Coburn & Katherine Foronjy
Production Co: Vitamin Enriched Inc.
Country: United States
Genre: Documentary / Sports
This movie is about something near and dear to my heart – fandom of the New York Mets. Set during the historic 2006 season when the Mets lead the National League in wins and made it as far as the 7th game of the championship series, the documentarians track several diehard fans through their game rituals and Mets-centered lives. The premise is very similar to Still We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie, but without support of the Mets and Major League Baseball, Mathematically Alive lacks the glitz and production values of the Red Sox film. Major League Baseball trademarks and ballgame footage (and even Mike Piazza’s face!) are pixellated out of the movie. The affect though makes this even more of fan-based film, by fans and for fans, and Mets fans true to their blue-color heritage are not about glitz. I was especially excited to see the son of a good friend near the end of the film pontificating wisely about his favorite team. A must-see for Mets fans, recommended for baseball fans, and others may be interested if sports fandom interests them.
I have an awesome friend name Sharon. Today is her birthday but that’s not what this post is about. I’m writing because in exactly one month Sharon will be running in the New York City Marathon. Sharon’s story is inspiring in that just the past two years she’s lost a lot of weight, got in shape, and built up her strength and ability to run many, many miles.
But it gets better than that. Sharon is running as a member of Team McGraw to support the Tug McGraw Foundation. If you’re not aware, Tug McGraw is a major league baseball relief pitcher who helped the New York Mets win their first World Series in 1969. When the Mets were contending for the pennant again in 1973, Tug coined the team’s famous rallying cry “Ya Gotta Believe!” Later in his career, McGraw pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies and was on the mound when that team won its first World Series in 1980. As a result, Tug is a rare player who is beloved in both New York and Philadelphia.
Tug McGraw died in 2004 as a result of a brain tumor. Which brings us back to Sharon who is running to support the Tug McGraw Foundation and enhance the quality of life of people living with brain tumors, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Sharon has been working hard to raise a lot of money, so if you read this, please consider taking a moment to donate to Sharon’s fundraising efforts and wish her well in the New York City Marathon.