NY Mets conference dedicated to the memory of Dana Brand
A three-day conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the New York Mets at Hofstra University honored Prof. Dana Brand--a lifelong Mets fan, a Professor of English and co-director of the conference before he passed away in May 2011.
- "He had loved the Mets since they happened in the 1960s," said Sonia Brand-Fisher, a student at Smith College and Brand's daughter. She attended the conference along with her mother, two aunts and grandfather. Brand-Fisher recalled long car rides with Brand where they discussed anything from the Mets to Hemingway.
- “The conference started really about four years ago. I had an idea for maybe being able to do a conference on the Mets," said Richard Puerzer, chair of the Department of Engineering at Hofstra and conference co-director. Puerzer talked to Dean Bernard Firestone about his idea for a baseball conference, and he suggested that Puerzer introduce himself to Brand. The two baseball fans met and decided right away that the conference was a great idea. After Brand passed away, his friend of 23 years and fellow professor of English, Paula Uruburu, offered to step in as co-director with Puerzer.
“There was this real sense that the Mets were this great outlet for him to start exploring not just his Mets identity but also himself as a writer, and that’s something he’d always wanted to do his entire life," said Brand-Fisher. Dana started writing essays about his feelings about the Mets, which culminated in his first book, Mets Fan, in 2007, and when he heard that Shea Stadium was being torn down and replaced, he was motivated to write his second book, The Last Days of Shea, in 2009.
- “Dana was always on the cutting edge of things, and he became a blogger and got into the whole idea of social media and networking and inviting conversations with people,” said Uruburu. Brand was named "The Proust of Mets Bloggers" in 2009 by Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic for The New York Times.
“I know it would touch Dana immensely to know that the conference was dedicated to his memory,”said Sheila Fisher, Brand's wife.
- Around 250 people attended the Mets conference according to Natalie Datlof of the Hofstra Cultural Center. Former players, poets, statisticians, historians, writers, artists and filmmakers came together to contribute to the multidisciplinary conference.
- Mr. Met ran around campus on April 27 signing autographs and taking photographs with fans including Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz.
- Mr. Met started the chant "LET'S GO METS" during a session of brown bagging in the bullpen with the blogosphere; bloggers and fans came together during the lunch hour each day to discuss Mets topics, such as no pitcher in Mets history has tossed a no-hitter.
- "[Brand's blog] enabled him to connect with a lot of people, and we have a lot of bloggers at this conference because of those connections Dana was able to make. Dana was a passionate Mets fan, and it came through in his blog. It came through in his writing and his books, and I think it’s again here today in this conference," said Puerzer. Many Mets bloggers attended the conference and used social media to promote fans to attend too.
- During the "Miracle Mets" panel, Bud Harrelson, Ed Kranepool and Art Shamsky discussed their favorite memories as players on the Miracle Mets during the 1969 season when the Mets won their first World Series title.
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