While the New York Mets have been relatively quiet this winter, past and present media have stepped up to fill-in-the-blanks. Before Opening Day at least five new Mets-related books have been, or will be, released.
The two most anticipated releases will happen over the next month. Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza will release his autobiography, Long Shot, on February 12. The book was co-written by writer Lonnie Wheeler, a Cincinnati sports columnist, who also wrote autobiographies on Henry Aaron (If I Had a Hammer) and Bob Gibson (Stranger to the Game). In a recent interview with Newsday, Wheeler said Piazza addresses the performance-enhancing drug question head on – and in detail. Wheeler told the newspaper he believes Piazza is “clean.”
While the Piazza book will draw great media interest, it is Howie Rose’s first book, Put it in the Book: A Half-Century of Mets Mania, that may turn out to be the most insightful and revealing read of them all. According to advanced media information, Rose will share his Mets memories, both as a fan and, later, as the Mets radio broadcaster. Sound exciting? No, but the release also notes Rose will share his “thoughts and opinions on the current Mets team and roster and his thoughts on the future of the club.” If Rose is as honest with the written word as he is on the microphone, this could get interesting. The book hits shelves on March 1.
I must admit, I was excited to see Ira Berkow was releasing a Mets-related book titled, Summers at Shea: Tom Seaver Loses His Overcoat and Other Mets Stories. Berkow is a Pulitzer Prize winner and has been covering New York baseball since 1981. Good read, right? I’m concerned. The advanced media says the book is “culled from 50 years’ worth of columns.” That, to me, smells like a reprint of old material, but I will reserve judgment until I read it for myself. Berkow’s book will be released the same day as Rose’s title, March 1.
Mets fan and author Matthew Silverman is also releasing another Mets book on April 2. It is titled Swinging ’73: Baseball’s Wildest Season. According to Joe DeCaro, senior editor at Metsmerized Online, the book is not “your regular everyday telling of the “Ya Gotta Believe” season … instead I was transported through time itself and relived the 1973 season not only from the Mets perspective, but also from that of the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees as well.”
Finally, on New Year’s Eve, Howard Burman quietly released Season of Ghosts: The ’86 Mets and the Red Sox. Burman is an accomplished author and playwright. He describes Season of Ghosts as a story of “one of the most dramatic baseball seasons ever, as it stretched both backwards and forwards–from the ghosts of seasons and players past to the reality of what followed … On an institutional level the game faced critical issues–player contracts, collusion, drugs, free agency, charges of racism, cheating, gambling, the growing popularity of professional football, and the influence of cable TV and satellites. Yet it produced a season of intense drama ending with an unforgettable post-season.” Season of Ghosts is available now.