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TAKING THE FIELD by Howard Megdal


A Fan's Quest to Run the Team He Loves

by Howard Megdal

Pub Date: May 10th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60819-579-4
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Baseball writer Megdal (The Baseball Talmud, 2009) recounts his 2010 campaign to be elected general manager of the New York Mets.

The author was fed up—decades of Mets baseball, and only two world championships and a few postseason appearances. As a lifelong Mets fan, and someone who made his living writing about them, Megdal feared a future of further frustration, especially for his new-born daughter Mirabelle. “No child of the Mets,” he writes, “should grow up wondering what October baseball feels like.” Convinced the Mets were poorly managed, at a press conference in June, Megdal strode to the podium, giant foam hand securely in place, and announced his candidacy for Mets general manager, declaring, “Ich bin ein Mets fan.” He placed his name—the only name—on the ballot on some 20 Mets blogger sites. Though the job was not an elected position, Megdal hoped the Mets’ management might at least listen and learn. Their sins were many, and the author recounts them in detail. Too interested in the quick fix, the Mets traded promising young players for soon-to-be-over-the-hill established players. They allowed their farm system to become depleted of prospects, or else promoted such prospects to the Majors long before they were ready. They banished marquee name in trades that made no sense. Also lost along the way were fan loyalty and attendance—the fans were already treated as if they were an inconvenience rather than the lifeblood of the organization. The Mets were dysfunctional, and strong fan response gave Megdal a clear victory, but not the job. Though the author includes plenty of baseball minutiae and a few too many statistics, he balances the narrative with wry humor and endearing vignettes of Megdal teaching the game to his young daughter.

Like the game itself—leisurely and enjoyable.