Upcoming conference celebrates Mets, fans

One of the things about being a Mets fan is being able to commiserate with others of like mind- those who suffer in the baseball sense the ups and downs of rooting for the franchise that earned the nickname ‘Amazin’ early in its 51-year history.

This Thursday through Saturday, Hofstra University will be host to both the loyalist of fans and interested academics, when it hosts the 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets Conference.

50th Anniversary of Mets
Hofstra University, Thurs - Sat

The event will feature three days of panels and celebrations of the club’s unique history and relationship with its fans. It was the brainchild of Hofstra professor and author, Dana Brand, who died unexpectedly last year. Brand wrote two books on the Mets fan experience. His friends and fellow Mets fans at the university are carrying out the plans he laid out for this event.

“People keep asking me ‘Why the Mets conference? And why Hofstra?” said Paula M. Uruburu, an English professor and vice-dean at the school, who is a co-director of the conference. “My response is why not a Mets conference? Baseball is a thinking man’s game. It lends itself to interesting analysis in a way that a lot of sports don’t. I don’t think there anything better that combines the academic with the idea of being a fan.

“This area is a huge fan base for the team. Billy Joel once said that Shea Stadium was where New York City and Long Island met. That’s how we view Hofstra.”

The theme of the conference will be to focus on many different areas in which the Mets are significant.

Panels will feature a mix of diverse topics, mixing studious analysis (on topics such as the Mets and religion, music, and multi-culturalism) with fan-friendly chatter (Mets media members and bloggers, including this writer, will reminisce about favorite games, players, and moments).

Former Met Rusty Staub will be a keynote speaker at the conference banquet. Ed Charles, the third baseman for the 1969 team, will do a poetry reading. Other members of the team from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s will also be in attendance. And of course, Mr. Met will be in attendance.

“I hope people aren’t scared by this event being at a university,” Uruburu said. “It’s meant to be much more than an academic conference. That’s how Dana would have wanted it.”