No baseball team has captured America’s imagination like the Mets. Alternately the “Lovable Losers” and the “Miracle Mets,” New York’s other team offers fascinating fodder for writer Richard Grossinger in this thoughtful collection. The New York Mets is a series of probing essays on the best and most interesting years of the team, particularly 1969, 1973, 1986, and last year’s abbreviated run. A pivotal essay chronicles the lives of a professional athlete and a die-hard fan to create a well-argued, deeply felt meditation on the ways in which franchise baseball has come to fail not only the fans but the players. This centerpiece presents a poignant narrative of Mets pitcher Terry Leach and author Grossinger’s own experiences playing and tracking the sport. Taken together, these powerful essays alternately take the poet’s, the alchemist’s, and the player’s perspective to paint a composite portrait that brings all the stunning highs and dispiriting lows together to show the ways in which America’s favorite pastime has changed. Grossinger reflects on the salad days when teams were happily homegrown and laments the current money-ball scenario some call baseball today.