PORT ST. LUCIE — Mark Canha isn’t just getting ready for Opening Day. He’s also finishing up his first book.
The Mets outfielder is working on a travel food book, based on the feedback he’s gotten from his Instagram account, @bigleaguefoodie, where he chronicles his favorite restaurant spots around the country.
“I get messages all the time on my Instagram and Twitter saying ‘Hey Mark, I’m coming to a certain city to watch one of your games. Where should I go eat?’” Canha said. “That’s the tough thing about Instagram. You can’t just look up a city on someone’s page. This way, you can go to the table of contents and see where you want to go.”
So far, Canha said he has about 45 different spots highlighted from coast to coast.
And while he’s eaten in places around the world, Canha said he’s focusing his book on cities with Major League teams, as well as some spring training sites — including Port St. Lucie.
“I decided to keep the focus on baseball cities because most of my following is baseball fans,” Canha said of his 71,000 Instagram followers. “They don’t always know where to go on the road, so this will address that.”
Since Canha spent the first eight years of his career in Oakland and is entering his second season with the Mets, there is a “heavy San Francisco, Bay Area and New York bias.”
But he’s also included spots in Miami, Minnesota and southern California.
“I’ve been doing the food blog for about seven years and I thought, ‘What should I be doing with this?” Canha said. “And this was my best idea. It should be a guide to help people in the baseball world find good food.”
The restaurants so far include some of the most famous in the country to less well-known.
“I have a few three-Michelin star restaurants and others that aren’t on those kinds of lists,” Canha said.
He noted the famous Le Bernardin in Manhattan and French Laundry in California will have entries, but there will also be room for his favorite Italian spot in San Francisco, La Ciccia.
“I want neighborhood places to be in there, too,” Canha said.
He wants it to be a coffee table-type book.
Canha’s process includes looking back at his old Instagram posts, reading the blurbs he’s written and expanding on them.
“I’ll either just go off memory or sometimes I’ll read what I already wrote and it will bring back what I felt,” Canha said. “In the book, I can be more thorough and I can let people know what it’s actually like to eat at the restaurant.”
He’s enjoying the process.
“I’m going back and revisiting what it feels like to eat there,’’ Canha said. “I’ll sit for half an hour and think about what I’m gonna say about a place and what emotions it evokes.”
He hasn’t found a publisher or picked out a title for the book, but Canha said he is intent on finishing it and getting it published.
“I like the writing part of it,” Canha said. “I have to learn about getting it published, but I’m going to get it done.”
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