February 9, 2015


Hot Stove (Sadie Stein, 2/09/15, Paris Review)

When I saw a feature on Harper Lee's New York in the New York Post, my lip curled. Until, that is, I glanced at the annotated map and saw that it listed--along with the Yorkville flat where Lee lived off and on for decades, Capote's Brooklyn Heights home, and the offices of agent Maurice Crain--the old Shea Stadium. 

And that, of course, changed everything. As every fan of a punch line team knows, we cannot afford to ignore any fellow travelers in the cause. And Harper Lee: What a get! All of a sudden, I was totally ready to throw my scruples to the wind and use the eighty-eight-year-old's long-ago devotion to the Mets for my own selfish ends. Or, you know, Mets ends. Since learning this, I have mentioned that Harper Lee was a Mets fan to no fewer than five people, with an air of smug triumph reserved for the truly irrational. "Harper Lee," I said casually to a businessman reading the paper on the subway. "You know she was a big Mets fan, right?"

"You know who loved the Mets?" I demanded of a guy on the street in a Mr. Met-patterned knit hat. "Harper Lee."

It would be hard to say which of them cared less. 

In fairness, in a world of tenuous claims, this seems to be a relatively plausible one. Marja Mills, the author of The Mockingbird Next Door, termed Lee "a rabid Mets fan"; Andrew Haggerty described her as "passionately devoted" to the team. Meanwhile, Lee's biographer Charles Shields told the Post, "She was a big Mets fan--she used to go around with a Mets hat on." And Smithsonian magazine pointed out (rather gratuitously), that the team was "the natural choice for someone with an underdog thing as big as the Ritz." 

Posted by at February 9, 2015 5:53 PM

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