I started this blog back in 2001, when I first bought a computer that had this hook up to my phone line and came with a disk for something called America Online where you could get e-mail and access to the World Wide Web. I started reading websites by people who were basically fans. The web was dominated by Red Sox sites and the only real Mets site was Bryan Hoch’s Mets Online (I wonder how many Highlander fans know that the MLB Highlander beat writer is a Mets fan) which was more a message board type with some good articles by Hoch thrown in for discussion.
After reading these sites and a few others I thought maybe I could start up something that covered the everyday goings on of the NY Mets. So I opened up a Blogger account and The Eddie Kranepool Society was born. I had no idea who would read this site and I figured I’ll do it for a season and if no one other than family and friends read it I’ll just move on. During that first summer I took a week off to vacation up at Cape Cod, so I didn’t write for the week and never checked my e mail, how could I ? There was no Wi-Fi nor did I have a laptop, I barley had a cell phone (where is my old flip phone from T-Mobile by the way?) so it was a chillaxing vacation.
When I returned home and went on my computer and dialed up my AOL account I saw there were a lot of emails from folks who were reading the site every day and were concerned about what happened to me and why wasn’t I writing about the Mets? To say I was surprised by this would be a huge understatement. So instead of unpacking from vacation, I wrote a post explaining my disappearance to which I received e mails that these folks were relieved that I was ok and still writing. It took me awhile to comprehend that I connected with a segment of Mets fans who shared my passion for the team.
One of the folks who corresponded with me was a man by the name of Dana Brand. All I knew about Mr. Brand was he was about the same age as me, we both shared a great passion for the Mets and we both took brown bag lunches with a frozen can of soda wrapped in tin foil to games at Shea Stadium. Then I found out that Mr. Brand was Dr. Brand, he received his doctorate from Yale in American Literature and was totally freaked out. How was this man, a scholar, not only reading my blog but he loved how I wrote. Huh?
I got to meet Dana at a book launch party he had for his book Mets Fan in which he gave me a mention which of course really had me thinking he’d mistaken me and my work for someone else. When I arrived at the party and introduced myself, Dana gave me a vice like handshake and a big smile and said “I am so glad you could make it, I’ve been really looking forward to meeting you” again I thought, does he know who I am? We sat and talked for a while as other guests arrived (take a look at this picture from the book launch, it’s the Mets bloggers version of the Cavern Club) and the passion and enthusiasm that Dana had for the Mets was dazzling. One of the subjects he was most excited about was a conference he was in the midst of putting together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets. He explained to me that this was going a real big event that will cover everything and anything Mets related for the past 50 seasons. I told him that this sound great and something I would definitely look to attend and that point Dana stopped me in mid-sentence and said “attend? I want you to be part of it” “What? What the hell am I going to do”? I was shocked to say the least and every time we’d meet up at Shea or Citi Field (I’ve mentioned how we were like two grumpy old yentas complaining about Citi Field) he’d remind me about the conference. His enthusiasm for the event was contagious.
The 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets Conference will finally become a reality next weekend (Thursday, Friday and Saturday the 26th, 27th and 28th of April) and as excited, anxious and proud to be a participant (myself, Taryn “ Gall For All Seasons” Cooper, John “Metstrdamus” Coppinger and Greg “Faith and Fear In Flushing” Prince will be panelists in a Q & A session titled Fielding Questions: The Passion of the Bloggers) there will be some sorrow in knowing that Dana will not be there with us.
As you all know, Dana passed away just about one year ago at the all too, too young age of 56 but I know that all the participants and folks who come out to the conference will make this as much a celebration of the contribution that Dana made to Mets fandom as it will be for the team he loved. Every team would call itself fortunate to have a fan like Dana Brand.