By Taryn “The Coop” Cooper
See this? That picture was taken in July, in celebration of our friend and brother in the Mets community, Dana Brand. Dana passed away earlier this year. He was a real hero and champion to the Mets community, especially the Meterati, who fancied themselves as sort of writers with feeling and emotion, and tying in our love for the Mets with our daily zest for life.
Mets fans are a quirky bunch, and hey, it takes one to know one. Or several. Back in 2007, I was invited to a reading by Dana Brand for his then newly-released Mets Fan book. The Mets literati was a club I desperately wanted to pledge. When I walked in that day, Dana looked at me, recognized me right away, and motioned for me to join in on the fun. I’ll never forget that. If you want a real-life example, if you ever saw the movie Independence Day, when Judd Hirsch’s character is forming the prayer circle, and tells everyone to join hands, THAT was Dana Brand.
If you noticed in the first photo I posted, I was speaking in front of a sign that said, “Bring Back Banner Day.” Perhaps it was done a little tongue in cheek, perhaps it was a little wistful. Yet, the idea of banner day is very Metsian in its roots, and perhaps defines the very essence of being a Mets fan.
I attended my first Banner Day in 1986, which used to be in between a scheduled doubleheader (try getting that done anymore). At the time, I didn’t understand the history and roots behind it, but it does remain one of my fondest memories. After all, how could I forget the one sign that has been a Cooper family punchline ever since: “Shea’s Bathrooms Are Worse Than Chernobyl.”
Things are different now. Mets fans can be snarky and wise-asses, but we’re a little more educated now and attuned to the inner-workings of the team. I didn’t think Banner Day would fly again. Sure, I am a fan who certainly wanted it to return. For a stadium that has a strict banner and sign policy (and CitiField is hardly the ONLY place that does this), I didn’t think Banner Day would ever be again.
Till the 50th anniversary festivities were announced and Banner Day IS returning for 2012!!!
Can I get a WOOOOO?? WOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Of course, no good deed can go without wondering what it’s ulterior motives are, perhaps Bitter Bill asked with are Mets pulling the sheets over our eyes? What, covering a crap cake, as I like to call things nowadays? This, I feel, is a step towards making us fans happy. We wanted something like this for years. Wanna hear my theory on questions like that? Mets fans are afraid to allow themselves to be happy about anything. I’m not afraid. I’m really thinking about what kind of Banner Day I want to make. The 50th anniversary is bringing the fun back.
Fun is something that has been missing for quite some time, especially since CitiField opened up. When the Mets were the Loveable Losers in the ’60s, Banner Day was something for everyone to enjoy and to forget how bad the team was, it was for the fans and BY the fans. If you think about it, blogs and podcasts and videos are done as a way of expressing our love and even our frustrations with the team, and how they impact our lives. I guess that it’s like with any relationship, you give, you take, you love, you hate.
I said when I heard of Dana Brand’s passing this year, that I was sure he would be one of the first people some of us would think of when the Mets won a championship. His name was the first person who popped into my head for this announcement about Banner Day, that he would have loved to see it. Along with many of us who fought the good fight to get Banner Day back where it belonged: in CitiField, with the Mets, once again.