Noah Syndergaard named Opening Day Starter

After yesterday’s matinee at Port St. Lucie, in which Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard preformed admirably for 4.2 innings, Mickey Callway committed to Noah for the Opening Day start.

Noah is set to be the first pitcher to start in back to back Opening Day games since Johan Santana started three straight games between 2008-2010.

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Mickey also announced that Jacob deGrom will pitch the second game of the season, on Saturday March 31st.

So, that leaves Matt Harvey, Jason Vargas, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Zack Wheeler out for the last three starting spots, unless the Mets want to start with a six-man rotation, which is unlikely given the number of days without games in April.

The two probables out of those list of six candidates is Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas. It’s Harvey’s walk year, so you want to see if he can re-claim any value before becoming a free agent (despite a fairly poor 5.59 ERA this Spring).

The other near-lock is Jason Vargas, only for the fact that the Mets just signed him to an $8 million dollar deal, and he’s not going to Triple-A or the bullpen for eight million.

That leaves the fifth spot up for grabs. Statistically speaking Matz and Wheeler look to be the least likely, as they’ve struggled in most every start they’ve had and have the two highest ERA’s of pitchers that have started a game this Spring.

Lugo has looked slightly sharper than Gsellman, but neither have had many opportunities.

Oh, and Rafael Montero? DFA him, already.


Am I Going to Opening Day?

Short Answer: Maybe.


Let me Explain.

I’ve gone to Opening Day in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The last five times I’ve gone, the Mets have won. In addition, I’ve gone to the final home game of the season in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, all of which we’ve won.

Now, I try to not be naive or be superstitious, but I can’t help but balk at buy tickets, out of fear that my streak is going to come to end.

And, yes, I realize how weird that is. In the 34 games I attended last year, the Mets were 15-19, so I’m very, very used to losing, and I don’t think twice about it once I leave the ballpark, so why is this streak making me second guess purchasing Opening Day tickets?

I’m really not sure, to be honest. But it is pecking in my mind.

Of course, the other major issue is the price point.

I can get into most every other game for $10, and I’ll be paying close to $100 to get into Opening Day, a regular season game that is packed to the grills.

Generally, the ceremonies, atmosphere, and just the feeling of being back at the ballpark is worth it for me, so an uncharge is understandable, but paying for one game for the price of ten non-premium games? I have to at least consider that.

So, I’ll probably go to Opening Day, but I haven’t mentally convinced myself of it yet. Hey, baseball players have some weird superstitious quirks, why can’t fans have them as well?


MetsPlus featured on C70’s Playing Pepper

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Every year since 2009, my friends over at Cardinals Conclave have been doing a series called “playing pepper”. The name holds some historical importance to me, as long-time readers of this blog might remember that the original name of this blog was “Pepper: MLB Blog” and later “Pepper Mets Blog”, before becoming “MetsPlus” in 2015.

For the last few years, our lead writer Niko Goutakolis (speaking as if there are other writers on MetsPlus, which there aren’t) has been featured in the Mets version of the playing pepper series, and this year is no different. Other fantastic Mets writers were also featured, some of whom you might recognize:

Writer Site Twitter
Mack Ade Mack’s Mets JohnMackinAde
AC Wayne Second Class Citizens (podcast) publicrecord
Paul Hadsall Paul Paul_Hadsall
Greg Prince Faith and Fear in Flushing greg_prince
Matthew Lug Collect The Mets CollectTheMets
Michael Ganci The Daily Stache dailystache
Jon Lewin Subway Squawkers subwaysquawkers
Niko Goutakolis Mets Plus NikoMetsPlus
Chris McShane Amazin’ Avenue chrismcshane

I highly encourage you all to give the post a read here.

PATHETIC: 25 MLB Games to be Shown Exclusively on… Facebook?!?!

This is single handedly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever, EVER heard.

Yes, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, MLB has singed on to a deal with Facebook to have the exclusive broadcasting rights to one “national game” for 25 weeks. That generally adds up to two games for each team.

The Mets, however will get the first chance to be featured through this new deal, on April 5th.

I don’t remember there ever being a Mets game that wasn’t shown on local television, and as someone that doesn’t have Facebook (and doesn’t want to get one) I’m very, very upset about this decision, and I urge Major League Baseball to reconsider.

I have so many family members and friends that are big Mets fans, who live outside of the New York area (which rules out going to the game or listening on the radio) that will be barred from watching the game, only because they don’t have a type of social media.

I understand that MLB wants to create new and exciting ways to get more people into the game, but not letting a core portion of the fanbase watch the game, so some people that frequent on Facebook can tune into a live stream.

Here’s an idea, though. Why not allow both options?

Let those that want to watch via Facebook watch on Facebook, and let those that want to watch baseball game in their living room with their family do just that?


WATCH: 1986 World Series Game 6

Leading 5-4 in the 10th inning, just one out away from their first Championship since 1918, the Red Sox (much to the frenzied delight of the Shea Stadium crowd) watch it all roll slowly away from them… literally. Bob Stanley’s wild pitch allows Kevin Mitchell to score the tying run. Then, on the final pitch of a fabulous at-bat, Mookie Wilson fights off a fastball and dribbles a grounder up the first-base line that slips between Bill Buckner’s legs and into history. Ray Knight dashes home with the game-winning run, forcing a Game 7 and permanently adding Buckner’s name to the list of notorious baseball “goats.”

Courtesy: MLB Classics YouTube

WATCH: Mike Piazza Angry Over….. Italian Rent?

This is one of the stranger video’s I’ve seen.

The video, which features Mike Piazza, the owner of the AC Reggiana, a low-level Italian football (soccer) club, getting quite heated during a press conference, as he discusses the abnormal rent and un-fair criticism from the locals and from the local government, including the mayor.

Watch the video for yourself:


“I’m tired and sick of Reggiana being pushed around,” Piazza said. “I am frustrated, and I’m frigging pissed off.”

Do those sound like words Piazza would say? Well, maybe. Everyone has an angry side, but it really is surreal to see Mike, who was immortalized by Major League Baseball less than two seasons ago, seem so devastated by the issues plaguing his low-level Italian football team.

I guess you put your mouth where your money is?

Who Was Your All-Time Favorite Met?

Mets Plus

I get asked this question every time someone talks to me about my Mets fanhood. The conversation usually goes like this:

Random Guy: “Cool shirt. You a Mets fan?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve been a Mets fan all my life, how about yourself?”

Random Guy: “Eh, yeah, my father was a big Mets fan, so I’m kind of one too, who’s your favorite player?”

Me: “All-Time or Current”

Random Guy: “I don’t know….. all time?”

At this point I always stop and think. Typically, I only answer with players that I’ve actually seen watch, while Tom Seaver was a fantastic pitcher, and older fans that I’ve spoken to praise him to the ends of the world, I can’t call him “my favorite” as I never actually saw him pitch in real time.

So, I’m only counting players from 2004 and on.

For all time, the answer is tougher. It’s down to 

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#MetsPlus360: Matinee at First Data Field

Baseball is here, and I’ve witnessed it!

The exhibition version, at least.

Another year of Spring Training has come, and Mets fans have flocked down to Port St. Lucie, at the newly renamed First Data Field, in it’s last year before a massive remodeling that is planned.

Getting There:

Unfortunately, the only way to get there is by car. Parking a vehicle costs $10, which is what most people do, and there are a few others that take a taxicab or walk from Peacock Boulevard (the walk is about 30 minutes from most of the major hotels).

One you pay for your parking ticket, they make you wrap around the stadium only to park in a grass lot, about 500 feet from the ballpark gate.

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Ticketing and Security:

My intentions for ticketing were to go to box office and pay the $17 for berm seats. However, may plans changed when a scalper came up to me and offered tickets in covered seating for $12 bucks a pop, which I (reluctantly) accepted.

Security was covered into two sections, one with metal detectors, and another with wands. Naturally, I went to the less invasive one, with wands, and was immediately ushered in and had my ticket scanned.

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Ballpark Seating:

I sat in five seperate seating locations at the game this afternoon. My assigned seat (in section 201) was probably the worst, not because the view was inadequate, it wasn’t, in fact, it was phenomenal, but it was the most densely populated area with no breeze, which wasn’t pleasant on a dry 88 degree day.

I then spent another few innings out in the berm, and a few by each bullpen. The good news is that for the most part, you can enter any section besides the premium box regardless of if it’s your ticketed section or not.

Food and Beverage:

I didn’t really go all out today, mainly because you can’t do that at First Data Field, unlike some other stadiums. The only non-basic concession was Sonny’s Pulled Pork, which I tried, and was actually pretty tasty.

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Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed today’s game, especially when I interacted with people in-person and on Twitter. However, I especially enjoyed the game because it was my father’s birthday, and we spent some nice quality time together. Additionally, it was nice to see Jason Vargas in a Mets uniform, and see the crew on the playing field again.


I’m In Florida for Spring Training, but There is a Caveat…..

….. I’m sick.


And it’s a shame too. I’m thinking back at all those Winter days where I had nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs, when I was 100% healthy, and now, when I want to enjoy the warm air and the breeze, I’ll be watching the game under the weather.

Of course, I had been extremely lucky over the years. There have only been a few instances when I’ve gotten sick at a bad time, and I really can’t control it beyond washing my hands as much as I can, so I’m really just out of luck.

I’m still going to be going to the game tomorrow and the day after that, but I won’t be enjoying it as much, which is a shame for me, and a shame for the blog. Hopefully this is just one of those common colds that goes away in 24 hours (which I’ve gotten before) and not something more.

Anyway, I’m here, and I’ll be tweeting during the game tomorrow (@NikoMetsPlus) and posting a recap afterwards, so watch out for that!

Club Mets 2018 Memberships Available

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Since 2016, I’ve been a Club Mets member. The membership has cost $19 since I joined, and while there are a lot of pointless benefits, you do get two complementary tickets for any non-Saturday non-Opening Day game. So, if you use the ticket voucher wisely, that easily negates the $19 price tag, so a membership, in my opinion, is worth it.

This year, there is going to be a slight change for the Club Mets membership, instead of one membership, there will be two “tiers” of memberships. The regular membership, called the “Standard” membership, will cost $19.95, and will include all the basic amenities of the membership and will include Gameday Audio.

Additionally, there will be a brand new “Club Mets with At Bat Premium” level. This will include everything included in the standard level and a free At Bat subscription, for only ten bucks more at $30.95.

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I truly believe that the membership is worth it. You get a Citi Field Scoreboard message and two tickets, which is pretty much all you’ll get for the $19. I will renew for the $19 standard membership, as I already have MLB.TV.

If you do not have a Club Mets membership, I’d recommend getting one here.