Wednesday, March 3, 2010
First Class Person
About a year ago, I wrote about Greg Prince of Faith and Fear's book, something I considered to be a very solid definition of what it is to be a Mets fan. There is a certain amount of passion, pride and complete and utter insanity in following the Mets year after year, even as they look middling or embarrassing, because you know that for every 1993 or 2009, there's a 1999 or 2006 waiting somewhere in the wings.
As Mets fans, we come from all different cloths and walks of life, and sometimes we find ourselves thrown together rather randomly, and it's in such a way that I found a man named David Nolan.
For those of you who aren't familiar with my non-Baseball life, I work at Theater for the New City in Manhattan. Baseball, especially Mets Baseball doesn't run especially deep there, except within the confines of my office. Even then, you wouldn't know much about my being a Mets fan except that I had a printout of a snow-covered Shea Stadium that was e-mailed to me as a Christmas card by the Mets some years ago. It was, for the random Mets fan who would come through my office, a good conversation piece.
I knew David Nolan first as a veritable encyclopedia of Sound. Whether it was his work at any number of NYC Radio stations, or concert venues, or his mind-boggling collection of sound clips and live recordings, the man knew everything there was to know about sound recording, engineering and archiving. He helped me out innumerable times on a variety of projects, from pulling sound clips from the internet or sneaking me into WNYC's studios to record voiceovers amidst the mess of Danny Stiles' records. He helped me out so many times, I almost felt I was imposing on him. I mentioned this to him once, and he told me, "This is my hobby." For David, this was the sort of thing he loved doing most.
David and I were always friendly, mainly because David was a friendly person by nature. But it was over the Mets where David and I truly became friends. I don't remember exactly when or how I found out that he was a Mets fan. I only recall one evening at the 11th Street Bar when El Guapo and I were watching the Mets. David lived on the block, and I happened to see him passing by on his way home. The game was on, and he decided to stop in and have a drink with us and catch a bit of the game. It was right around the time of that year's Subway Series, and I mentioned that I was going. He said he hated me. Over the course of time, this scene would repeat itself. We would be in the bar, watching the game, and David would happen to pass by. Usually he would walk by, look in, see me, and then keep going. Then he'd double back and come in, usually for a quick drink, and then head home. Depending on the weather, he'd have his very sharp, 1999-style Mets jacket on. One particular instance, Game 2 of the Dodgers series in '06, he stayed for the remainder of the game. In parting, he would always give me the peace sign, which I always took as his trademark.
When The Ballclub started in '07, I kept it mostly hidden from my day-to-day life. I figured that it was a different world, the Theater and the Mets. I started to plug it here and there once an audience developed. I was surprised to find that among the readers was David Nolan, and more than that, he was an ardent fan. He often told me that he found what he read here to be better than what he could read in most newspapers, and that I'd certainly be able to find a career in journalism if I wanted to. David had a reputation as a harsh critic, so his praise was never lost on me. It's always nice to know that your work is appreciated by peers you have a great deal of respect for.
David also looked out for me as a person. In addition to all the times he helped me with shows, he also looked out for me on the job front. For a period of time, I was looking for a new job. David, who worked for the 92nd Street Y, was constantly on the lookout for a position that I could fill.
The last time I saw David was at TNC's annual Benefit. It was a formal event, far more formal than David or I are used to attending. Both in formalwear, we cracked a few prom jokes before the conversation turned to the Mets. He mentioned that he hadn't renewed his plan; out of the 15 games he had, he only made it to about 6 or so. I told him that I had renewed mine, and we should get to a game together this season. He told me that he definitely wanted to watch a game with me. Sadly, David passed away last Thursday, unexpectedly. A husband and father, David's wife, Joy, came to TNC the following day and told me I need to continue to write this blog. With his passing, not only did the TNC community lose a great person and a great friend, but the Mets also lost a great fan. It's unfortunate that I won't get to have the chance to catch that game with him. But I know that wherever he is, he'll be watching. And his wife will be following the Mets and this blog in his stead.
Rest in Peace, Dave. I'll toast you with my Opening Day beer in April.