#ThePlusInMetsPlus: How I got to see the Mets play in St.Louis

If you are an expert with redeeming Credit Card Points, and a master at using Chase Ultimate Rewards and or British Airways Executive Club, you’ll want to skip this post, as it doesn’t reveal any groundbreaking information that you wouldn’t have already known. 


Last week, my family and I were trying to figure out where we should go for a few days for a vacation. We didn’t want the trip to exotic, or for that matter to leave to continental U.S.

At the same time, we didn’t want to shuffle down to Philadelphia for a night, and, being the big Mets fans we are, we looked at the schedule to see where we could watch a few games. This roadtrip fell during the only acceptable time frame where we could leave, so we were left with three options, Arizona, Frisco or St.Louis.

Arizona and San Fransisco both involved a lot of travel time, too much for a two night stay, even if a lot of the transportation was free, and considering St.Louis was also in the Wild Card hunt, it seemed like the place to be.

Unfortunately, after pricing out flights through Google Flights, the best price I got was around $600 roundtrip (keep in mind this was 10 days in advance), so I had to get crafty if we were going to be rooting on the Mets in St Louis.

google-flight-search

I had a lot of United MileagePlus Miles and some Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Redeeming United Miles was not going to be a smart choice this time, as the flight was only two hours, and United charges 25k roundtrip for any Saver award ticket within the United states, so the lowest award price would be the same if I’m traveling from NYC-Boston, or Miami-San Fransisco.

Using Chase points seemed like the best choice, but not through their Ultimate Rewards channel, I redeemed them by transferring them to a partner airline.

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Chase allows for transfers at a one to one ratio with all of the above airlines, hotels, and other partners. The best option for me was transferring 15,000 points to British Airways Executive Club, and use their “Avios” points to redeem a round trip flight on American Airlines, a British Airways partner through the OneWorld Alliance.

With that set, we booked a hotel and went to St.Louis to see the Mets win one and lose one, something I will be documenting on MetsPlus360 tomorrow!

bush stadium pano 8243eree

Is that really Gary Cohen?

It might be a blessing in disguise that the trade fell through

This is an article I wrote last year, talking about how the Gomez/Flores deal fell apart.

I think it’s fair to say the Cespedes deal ended up being a much better one for the Mets.

Mets Plus

Yesterday, it was reported by Andy Martino that the Mets have traded Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler for Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers. I was initially floored that the Mets traded Wheeler, who by all accounts is an ace on 20 out of 30 MLB Teams, and Wilmer Flores, who we have under control for three years after Gomez was scheduled to leave. Then we have Carlos Gomez, who is hated by 30 percent of Baseball players? Why? Watch this video:

And this one….

Let’s watch one more…..

This guy is not a good clubhouse presence, I don’t care how fast he is, a guy that is hard to not call a “punk” is not a guy that  the Mets should be going after. This trade not going through will pay dividends for the Mets in the end, but then again, only time will tell.

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Mets Memories: Flores hits one into the PartyCity Deck

Mets Plus

The date in July 31st, 2015. Two days after Flores was in tears for being traded, the game was tied, the Mets were down in the division, the stage was set….

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The 2016 Mets bore me. Seriously.

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The title says it all. I’m bored watching this team. I don’t know why, but these Mets don’t feel like “the Mets”.

On my last post I talked about how the lineup has gone through a complete turnover since last year. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Next, let’s look at the lineup. Last year d’Arnaud, Duda, Murphy, Flores, Wright, Cespedes, Lagares or Conforto and Granderson, a very “Met” team, were the players we put on the field. Today, besides d’Arnaud, Granderson and Flores, guys like James Loney, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, T.J Rivera, Ty Kelly, Justin Ruggiano, Alejandro De Aza and other newbies comprise the team, and there is an overall lack of team chemistry.

And it’s very true, there is no chemistry, and for me, as a viewer, I have no connection to any of these guys. None of these guys, with the exception of Grandy and Flores, are players I love seeing succeed. That doesn’t mean I actively root against Alejandro De Aza when he comes to bat, but, for lack of a better term, there is nothing tangible about these guys.

These players look like MLB players in orange and blue, not Mets players that I want to watch play every single day.

And that doesn’t mean every player has to be homegrown or have a lot of history with us, when Juan Uribe came over last year, I immediately felt like he was a genuinely likable guy, that I got excited for every time he came to the plate.

While having better team chemistry wouldn’t necessarily catapult us to the top of the standings, it would allow for the fanbase to get behind their players. Lately, at least for me, I feel like watching this team isn’t fun, and it’s not enjoyable, even when they win. That’s something I’ve never experienced in my time as a Mets fan.

Hopefully things get better in the future.

I’m already looking ahead to 2017

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I’ve been thinking about the 2016 Mets for a while now, how they will be able to get back on pace, how they are going to be able to grab a postseason slot, how they are going to re-bound for the injuries that have plagued them all year, and I think I’ve finally figured out what to make of the 2016 Mets: A team that just didn’t work out.

No, I haven’t given up all hope yet, they are still 4.5 games back from a Wild Card spot, which makes them mathematically alive and then some, but not any team can come back from that big of a deficit.

Take a look at our rotation, which we were hoping would look like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and by mid-June, Colon would take a bullpen role as Zack Wheeler returns. Now, with Matz injured and strongly considering season-ending surgery, the rotation looks like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Logan Verrett, with Syndergaard also considering missing time due to bone spurs.

Next, let’s look at the lineup. Last year d’Arnaud, Duda, Murphy, Flores, Wright, Cespedes, Lagares or Conforto and Granderson, a very “Met” team, were the players we put on the field. Today, besides d’Arnaud, Granderson and Flores, guys like James Loney, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, T.J Rivera, Ty Kelly, Justin Ruggiano, Alejandro De Aza and other newbies comprise the team, and there is an overall lack of team chemistry.

I think that this year has just been a failure all together, and will go down as one of the low-years in Mets history. Too bad….

 

 

WATCH: Welcome to “Syndergaarden”

Before you hit the play button you should know that this commercial has terrible acting, and the jokes are terrible.

I don’t fly Delta, but they’ve arguably had the best advertisements on the market for a long time, with ads like “Lift,” “No Bag Left Behind,” “Way We Go,” and a personally favorite “On The Road.”

Anyway, this little Delta Dugout spot is nothing amazing, but it’s a good way to waste 88 seconds of your life.

 

The curse of the Blues?

The Mets are a season low four games behind a postseason spot, yet the thing that interests me right now are the Mets uniforms. Well, I’m not a superstitious man, but what I’m about to explain is getting weird, so bare with me.

Yesterday, the Mets lost to Arizona by a score of 13 to 5, while wearing their road blue uniforms, with their road alternate caps. I was expecting this selection for yesterday’s game, as Jon Niese was pitching. For those that don’t know, Niese, Harvey and Wheeler tend to select the blue uniforms whenever they have the chance to. Obviously that’s not always the case, Harvey has chosen the traditional home and road uniforms this year, and in 2014, Wheeler only chose the road blues.

Anyway, if you have been following me on Twitter the last few weeks, you may have noticed that I’ve been complaining about the Mets win-loss record while wearing their home or road Blue uniforms, and that’s because it’s the worst win percentage possible: 0%.

2016 regular rotation

The Mets have worn their Home Blues (the uniform all the way to the right) with the home alternate cap (also the right-most cap) four times this season. And if that sounds like light usage you are correct, at this time last year they wore them eleven times.

  • Monday, April 11th, 2016 – Mets 3, Marlins 10, Steven Matz pitching
  • Thursday, May 19th, 2016 – Mets 1, Nationals 9, Matt Harvey pitching
  • Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 – Mets 2, Cardinals 3, Noah Syndergaard pitching
  • Monday, August 1st, 2016 – Mets 5, Yankees 6, Logan Verrett pitching

Before we talk about why this uniform has been worn so infrequently this year, let’s look at the road blues, which is paired with the road alternate cap (both the left-most image on the diagram).

  • Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 – Mets 3, Royals 4, Matt Harvey pitching
  • Saturday, April 16th, 2016 – Mets 5, Indians 7, Matt Harvey pitching
  • Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 – Mets 1, Pirates 3, Steven Matz pitching
  • Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, Mets 3, Braves 4, Matt Harvey pitching
  • Tuesday, June 28th, 2016, Mets 0, Nationals 5, Matt Harvey pitching
  • Wednesday, June 29th, 2016, Mets 2, Nationals 4, Logan Verrett pitching
  • Thursday, August 11th, 2016, Mets 0, D-Backs 9, Jon Niese pitching

Definitely more use for the road blues, but the seven games are nowhere near the twenty-two times they wore them this time last year.

I’m not superstitious, but this is getting slightly strange. September is around the corner, and the Mets are still looking for their first win in one of their blue uniforms. In fact, the last time the Mets won a regular season game in their home or road blues was on Saturday, September 26th of last year, the day they clinched the 2015 NL East pennant.

New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds

So why haven’t we worn them often this year? My only guess is the material of the Mets home and road caps, otherwise known as Diamond Era. The Mets are the only team that have a regular (non-practice) cap made of Diamond Era, and they have two of them. When I covered a Brooklyn Cyclones game last year, some players told me they didn’t like the feel of the Diamond Era for in-game use, and preferred the traditional Authentic Collection caps.

This is pure speculation as to why the Mets haven’t worn them as much as we have in the past, but it’s the most plausible reason. Additionally, the Mets no longer wear their home blues every Friday like they did two years ago, which also limits their usage.

Ultimately, I love the Blue uniforms, and I think if they had the traditional Mets skyline patch on them, and were paired with the Primary Mets cap, the home blue would be one of the best uniforms in baseball, but the Mr.Met patch, and the Diamond Era Alternate seem extremely unnecessary.

 

#50CentFrostySCAM

If you are in New York like me, you know that it’s one of the warmest weeks imaginable right now. Also, my hometown Mets (while not in first place) are still in postseason contention, being only a few games behind a wild card spot as of this writing.

Anyway, as I was driving back to my house yesterday, I noticed everyone on Twitter was tweeting the hashtag #50CentFrostyMLB. And upon closer examination, I came upon these two tweets from Wendy’s and MLB:

When I saw this, three thoughts came into my mind:

  1. Where is the nearest Wendy’s
  2. How will tweeting a picture of a frosty give me free MLB.TV
  3. I’d hate to be the guy that paid full price for MLB.TV yesterday.

So, I followed the official prompts on the official website, which were very easy.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 11.50.09 AM

So far, this sounds like a great deal. I’m going to Greece in two weeks, and I’d love to have MLB.tv while I’m there, even if the start times are inconvenient. So, I did exactly as MLB asked, I tweeted the picture of the Frosty and am now waiting the 24-48 hours.

This is where things started to get interesting. You know the terms & conditions that most people swipe through and say agree? Well, I felt compelled to read them, as I had nothing else to do, and I came upon this important nugget of information:

Must have a public Twitter or Instagram account. Valid to the first 34,000 fans. Redemption period 8/15 – 8/31. Subscription valid until 10/2/16.

I knew the subscription did not continue into the Postseason, that’s why it said:

“WANT A FREE MLB.TV PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 2016 REGULAR SEASON?”

And I also knew the redemption period and part about having a public twitter account, because it left a note on Step 3:

 (note: accounts must be public – private accounts are not eligible)

But valid only to the first 34,000 fans? First off, fans is not the word they should be using, it’s not a ballpark promotion, but while we are talking about ballpark promotions, try imagining this at a ballpark promotion. Say there were 100,000 “fans” trying to get something (there would be more trying to get the free MLB.tv through the #50CentFrostyMLB promo, but it’s easier to work with a rounder number).

Now, let’s say those 100,000 fans were promised a bobblehead, but whoops, once you did everything they asked, purchase a ticket, go to the game (which is similar to going out of my way to go to a  Wendy’s and purchase a Frosty) they tell you, we actually can only give this to the first 34,000 of you, even though we don’t say it out right… Sorry!

There is a reason teams come out and tell you that only so many fans can get this promotion, because it’s the most fair way of carrying out a promotion, and it’s more clear cut. I’d expect things like having a public twitter account or having to follow a certain account be the things that get buried.

Luckily, this is a fairly small deal, it was 95 degrees, and I enjoyed the Frosty immensely, and I only gave up 50 cents on something I still might get and even if I do probably won’t use that often.

However, a mega corporation like MLB should not use the techniques that sound like they are selling points to an informercial. While this “scheme” of sorts has been around for a while, not telling you how many people are eligible is not only poor for the consumer, it’s poor for the company. While I did go to Wendy’s, it was not without some reservations of going out of my way to find a Wendy’s. If I had known that only 34,000 people were going to get one, my “snagging a good deal” instinct would have made me run as fast as I could and purchase Frosty’s for my entire family.

Just look at how the wording changes from initial promo to terms & conditions:

Promo: 50¢ Frosty is here! Tweet a pic w/ for a free subscription to !

Terms: fans get the opportunity to win a free subscription to MLB.TV Premium

Words like “opportunity” and “win” that make this seem like a lottery start to pop up all over the place. Again, nothing new, these tricks have been around for decades, it’s just very low on MLB’s part.

Do you have any thoughts on the promotion? Share them in the comments or tweet me @NikoMetsPlus!

 

Watch: Mets Clinch 2000 Wild Card Birth 


Armando Benitez strikes out Keith Lockhart of the Atlanta Braves, to clinch the National League  Wild Card spot, sixteen years ago.

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