Seven Days Until Opening Day: Uniforms (Pt.2)

Yesterday on the countdown blog we discussed the caps that the Mets wear, and today we are heading to the bread and butter: the tops.

The uniforms are un-changed from last year, with the exception of the elimination of the 1986 alternate. Overall, I think the Mets uniform set is one of the best in baseball, and I’m excited to review it.

First, let’s look at the primary home uniform:

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Robert Gsellman, #65

Rating: 9/10 (Since 2015)

This uniform is pretty good. Nothing distracting, solid pinstripes, blue lettering over orange, truly classic. The Mets skyline logo is also paired perfectly with the uniform. My only complaint is that it doesn’t look as nostalgic like the set did with the cream, off-white look that they had from 2010-2014.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

Zack Wheeler, #45

Rating: 9/10 (Since 2012)

This is probably the best road uniform the Mets have ever worn, with the possible exception of the 1987 scripted lettering. Unfortunately, a gray road uniform can only be so good for me, so I give this a very solid 9/10.

Some people might give this rating slack, as it’s another timeless look, and while I agree, there is nothing amazing about that would give it a 10/10 rating.

 

World Series - Kansas City Royals v New York Mets - Game Five

Matt Harvey, #33

Rating: 10/10 (Since 2013)

This shouldn’t be a big surprise. As someone that always wears a Blue Alternate jersey with “MetsPlus.com” on the back, this jersey is my instant favorite. I think the design is new, yet classic, the perfect match in one wants in a jersey.

Unfortunately, this uniform isn’t worn nearly as frequently as it should be, and, well, is cursed at the moment.

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Jacob deGrom, #48

Rating: 8/10 (Since 2013)

The road alternate is another good look, but is a second alternate uniform truly necessary? I’m not saying the home alternate (with it’s white outline) should be used on the road, but I just believe this uniform would be the one I’d cut if I was forced to cut one. I still like the jersey, and I’d buy it if I had the opportunity, but it hasn’t grown on me as much as I was hoping it was going to.

8 Days until Opening Day: Uniforms (Pt.1)

Ascetics have always been an important part of a baseball game to me. I’m very passionate about uniforms, caps and team logos, so much that I was one of the first to discover the Mets new alternate cap and batting practice uniform. So, as we inch closer to Opening Day (eight days!), I thought today would be a good day to showcase all of the Mets caps and uniforms, and give my personal rating on all of them.

First, lets look at the cap changes between last year and this year.

As you can see, the Mets downsized to three caps instead of four. The home alt was re-purposed as a practice cap, and the 1986 cap was cut altogether, though I’m sure we will see it again in the future.

The first cap I’m going to evaluate is the Primary Cap.

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Rating: 10/10 (Since 1993)

First off, I should mention that I’m taking the New Era Logo out of consideration for this one. I hate it as much as anyone, but if I criticized that, then nothing would get a good rating. So this cap is basically a 12/10 that went down to a 10/10 with the New Era Logo. Personally, I love the Orange squatchee, I think it’s nice for the time, and the interlocking NY is a timeless, classic look. I wouldn’t change anything about the cap, and I proudly wear it often. 

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Rating: 8/10 (Since 2017) 

I don’t think there is anything wrong with this look at all. I bought it at the Mets team store as early as it was available, and I think it’s a fine look. However, I do believe the design is messing with perfection. Does one really need the white underline? Can’t the Blue Uniforms just get paired with the traditional cap at this point? At least it matches the uniform, orange lettering with white background….

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Rating: 8/10 (Since 2015) 

I quite like this design as well, and I’m especially happy the Diamond Era is being phased out for the more regular and better fitting AC Polyester fabric. The reason this is an 8/10 however is that I believe the uniform it is paired with looks better with the primary cap, which should render this cap useless. Another issue with this cap (and the older home alternate) is that it was rarely worn in 2016. If this was worn a little more frequently, I think I’d be able to get behind it a little more. 

 

9 Days Until Opening Day: Ticket Availability

Opening is only 9 days away, and, unfortunately, there aren’t many tickets available. The game, which almost always sells out, has starting prices for $93 dollars online, and is even more expensive on the third party sites like StubHub and TiqIQ.

When one goes to Mets.com/Tickets, they see all of the games on the right. Most are at reasonable prices, and then there is Opening Day, with prices five times more expensive (which should be expected).

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When one clicks on the “Buy” button, they get the dreaded Check Inventory page, which usually means there is little to nothing left.

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After proceeding, you get directed to a newer version of Tickets.com main page, which I’m still a little new to, and don’t really like…

Strangely enough the lowest price available doesn’t match the price given in the original page, which is very confusing.

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Honestly, $249 + fees is way too much for a ballgame, especially a regular season one. Hopefully the StubHub market will take the price down to double digits, which would be a little more reasonable, at least for me.

1o Days Until Opening Day: The 10 Run Inning

Mike Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame and had his number #31 retired by the Mets last year. With 10 days until Opening Day, I decided to throw it back to one of Mike Piazza’s most memorable game, the comeback versus the Braves in June of 2000.

This game has been replayed countless times on SNY, and is honestly one of my favorite Mets Classics. At the end of the day, the game was a regular night game in June, but that is sort of the charm of the whole game, and the 2000 season. Nothing super remarkable, but a good memory when thinking about it in retrospect.

Last season, I wrote more about Piazza and my experience at his prestigious events. Here’s an excerpt from my “Top Posts of All Time” from last December:

#1 Piazza Induction & Number Retirement (July 2016) 

 

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I mean, how can meeting Mike Piazza not be at the top of the list? This is actually two blog posts, the first part was my time in Cooperstown, New York for the induction ceremony, and part two was the actual number retirement, which I enjoyed a little more.

This, without a doubt, is my top Mets related memory of all time.

11 Days Until Opening Day: What’s New At Citi Field?

Every year before Opening Day, the Mets invite some members of the press to Citi Field to see the ballpark before it officials opens. Typically, all of the new bells and whistles are showcased, and some of the new food options are offered. Today, the Mets hosted that event for the 2017 season, and we got an interested sneak peak.

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There are 11 days until Opening Day. The Section 11 signage was not on the “What’s New?” Tour…

12 Days Until Opening Day: The Exhibition Game

Yesterday, on this Opening Day countdown series, I talked about my first ever Mets Opening Day. Today, I’m going to talk about my first stadium opener exhibition prior to Opening Day, which was also the first Mets “game” at Citi Field, and how that is being replicated next year.

San Francisco Giants v New York Mets

Lagares Days until Opening Day….

The first Mets game at Citi Field was not a regular season game. Instead, it was a exhibition game versus the Boston Red Sox, on April 3rd, 2009. The starter was Livan Hernandez, brother of Orlando Hernandez, and the guy that closed out the win was K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez. I was at that game, and it got me really excited for the 2009 season.

This year, I will be able to go to a preseason exhibition game again, on March 31st versus the ARMY Baseball team. The game which was originally scheduled to be played on the field up in West Point, was re-scheduled to Citi Field when the playing surface was deemed un-playable due to the winter weather the upper hudson/catskills region experienced late last week.

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It’ll only be a seven inning game with all proceeds going towards the Mets Foundation. Additionally, the tickets are “general admission”, so one can sit where the please, per se.

Of course, a lot of people won’t feel like playing hooky do go to an exhibition game, especially if one is planning on playing hooky the following Monday (for a game that actually counts) so my guess is attendance will be relatively low.

 

13 Days Until Opening Day: My First Opening Day

Opening Day is only 13 days away, for these next two weeks, I’m going to write a daily post leading up to the 1:10pm start on April 3rd. 

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Opening Day is very special to me. While some kids wake up extra early on Christmas morning and run downstairs to see their presents, I wake up on Opening Day and get on the first train towards Citi Field.

However, when I was younger, I did this with Shea Stadium. My first Opening Day was in 2008, when I was nine (I had gone to games at Shea since 2003, but never an Opening Day until ’08) and, for the most part it was fairly overwhelming. The ramps that day, a 1pm Phillies vs Mets game, were as loud as I can remember, and the field was as green as I’ve ever seen.

The Mets were still sore from their NL East collapse the year before, and had lost 10 straight games up to that point. The booing of the Phillies players during Opening Day were so loud, and they were so passionate. Ultimately, the game was blown, in typical 2007-08 Mets fashion, by the teams bullpen (Aaron Heilman, Billy Wagner, Jorge Sosa, Scott Schoeneweis anyone?) and ultimately lost 5-2.

I wish I was smart enough back then to grab the camcorder and shoot some film, which would have been awesome right now….

 

My 2017 Club Mets Credentials have Arrived

Last year, I talked about the benefits of Club Mets, in my first year of being a member.

Ultimately, I cam to the conclusion that you are basically paying $19 dollars for two promenade tickets and a plastic novelty card, which, I believed was a good evaluation.

I also took criticism to the fact that they weren’t giving out Press Notes, but they did so after Memorial Day, so that became a non-issue.

And, while a lot of the other benefits were garbage, like “exclusive prices” and “members only forum”, which never surfaced, the tickets are worth more than $19 dollars, so I jumped at the opportunity to renew last January, and today the kit came in the mail.

The kit came in a regular envelope, with little fanfare, but was addressed to me correctly, which is better than what happened last year.

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Inside there were surprisingly few contents, just a basic leaflet informing me of the basic benefits, and a glued on membership card, which has a blue, basic design this year, with “Club” in a university style font, which I quite like.

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On the back of the card is the url that I had to go to for the ticket redemption, and, for the most part, it wasn’t much of a hassle.

Overall, this is a good membership, but has little perks. Stuff like priority security and space available seat upgrades would give this membership a higher yield, even if it was at a  more expensive price point. For $19 dollars, however, the Club Mets membership is a no-brainer.

 

Mets St.Patrick’s Day Preview

St.Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, which is always fun. The Mets, keeping with their tradition, will wear a special Green uniform set, and they (and some other affiliates) have some pretty cool merchandise for sale for St.Patrick’s Day.

So, I thought today would be a cool day to do a MetsPolice style post, going around the web, taking screenshots, and giving analysis on what’s out there.

First off, speaking about MetsPolice, Shannon Shark the founder, has been tweeting for a while about the old “Mr.O’Met” caps and how the could be perceived as a race issue, which, I didn’t see at first, but starts to make some sense, and I thought that considering that the Mets have gone away from it the last few years, they might have catched on to that, but, according to tomorrow’s gameday promotion, I guess not…..

This is a cool promotion, not something I would wear, but something that is festive and is St.Patrick’s themed.

On the field, the Mets will be sporting these Diamond Era caps:

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These caps are pretty cool, something I would actually consider buying one day if I found it on clearance for under $20 dollars. I kind of like the side patch with the clover, and the darker colored brim.

The uniforms haven’t been announced yet, but I’d assume it’ll be the same thing they usually wear with green everywhere there is blue.

There is also a lot of other miscellaneous green Mets apparel with the green swapped in for the royal blue.

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Aside from that, there is a pretty cool The 7 Line St.Patrick’s Day cap & hoodie combo for a great price. The combo features the Emoji Mr.Met in Hoodie form, with a New Era snapback cap, which for the price point, is a pretty good deal.  Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 9.40.06 PM.png

So that’s St.Patrick’s Day merchandise for 2017. Personally, I would highly recommend saving your money for something a bit better, like Opening Day themed products, or an actual Mets cap that they will wear more than once, but these styles are very good nonetheless.

Happy St.Patrick’s Day, and thanks for reading.

MetsPlus Minors Preview: The 2017 Columbia Fireflies

Today, as we inch closer and closer to Opening Day 2017 (even though the Blizzard makes me think we are still two months away). I wanted to preview the seasons for some of the Mets affiliates, specifically ones that some people might know a little bit less about, but will still root for even if they don’t know the roster by memory. The Columbia Fireflies fit that criteria, and without further ado, here’s a preview of the 2017 Columbia Fireflies season: 
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That logo is awesome, isn’t it?

Anyway, I first head of the Columbia Fireflies like most people did, during the announcement that the Savanah Sand Gnats, the previous incarnation of the franchise, was moving out of Savanah after 2015, and after seeing their name, uniform and cap combo, I was hooked, and wanted to see the team and feel the atmosphere up close.

I did so by attending one of their games and speaking to some of their folks last July, which I wrote about on the blog. Noticeably absent, however, were the Mets fans that one typically sees at a Brooklyn Cyclones, Binghamton Mets or even a St.Lucie Mets game.

Not that it is a bad thing, as the attendance was about right for a minor league game, so I was perplexed about what it was about the Fireflies that made them a unique minor league team that appeals to a wide demographic. Being a college town, there were way more than 20 year olds at the Fireflies game I went to, so I decided to get in contact with the Fireflies to ask them some questions.

Brad Shank, the Executive Vice President of the Fireflies was nice enough to answer some of them, from a question on Solar Eclipses, Tebow, to being in the ballpark in the Winter. Here is a condensed transcript:


 

Niko/MetsPlus: What was your favorite part of the Inaugural Season?

Brad Shank: Well, we didn’t really know what to expect, going into it, you have your goals and I think we were really able to hit some of those in a big way, but also some room for improvement down the road. A highlight for me was the July 4th game, in Famously Hot Columbia, with temperatures over 100 degrees, but we still had our largest crowd of the year with over 9,200 people in the ballpark. We were also able to honor four active duty military personnel before the fireworks with them and their families, and they were able to kick off our fireworks.

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Sprint Communications Ballpark on July 4th, 2016

N/MP: I took a look at the Promotional Schedule for 2017, what are some of the highlights this year?

BS: Well, you know, we have some of the classic promotions, like the days of the week promotions, which have started to really kick off down here. Thirsty Thursdays, which includes a happy hour, which, being in a college town, should be pretty popular. As far as the unique promotions, we have some theme nights coming up, the biggest one of the year will be August 21st, a 1:05pm game, only because there will be a total solar eclipse, and Columbia just happens to be right on the path of the total solar eclipse, which will happen just after 2:30. The game will be delayed for five minutes to allow fans and players to enjoy the once in a generation sighting of a total solar eclipse. We will also have a NASA night with an appearance of an astronaut who grew up here in Columbia.

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N/MP: A unique feature of Sprint Communications Ballpark (the home of the Fireflies) is that it is open 365 days a year, which is something I’ve never heard of before. Is there anything behind this? 

BS: It’s a community thing, but, as much as we try to get the word out on that, some people don’t realize that’s an amenity that they can come out and enjoy any time. The idea behind it is that this is a public-private partnership, and I’m sure everyone’s heard the debates over whether public money should be used on athletic venues, or if the ownership should pay for all of it. We are a public private partnership, so as we talked with the city of Columbia, we told them we don’t want this just to be a ballpark, we want this to become community asset. It’s also a marketing tool, as someone who might be doubting the ballpark, we can talk to them and invite them down, being open dawn until dusk. Fans can come out and check things out. Fans can also come out and have lunch, take a run, there are also even boot camps that have been coming down as the developments around us continue to grow.

N/MP: Why should a Mets fan come down to Columbia during an extended weekend to catch a game? 

BS: It’s one of those things where Columbia has a lot going for it. A family can come into town for a weekend, and it will be affordable, which is a big thing. Plenty to do, including a adventure-children’s museum, with a full sized fire truck, and all kinds of things for the kids. We’ve got the state museum, which has a lot of history. A great weekend can be made out of this town. And, for a Met fan, getting to see the stars of tomorrow. We just watched P.J Conlon pitch in the big-league game, and that’s a huge jump. Guys like him, David Thompson, and the other big time prospects that we are expected to have. You also get way more access when you are at a minor league park, so being able to get close, especially on Sunday’s when players sign autographs after the game. It just gives fans to have that access that you wouldn’t be able to have at a big league level.

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P.J Conlon

N/MP: How have the Fireflies been utilizing social media to captivate far away fans? 

BS: The power of social media for us is great. When we went on-sale with individual game tickets, we sold tickets to people in 15 different states, so, the majority of that is through social media. We have a full time employee that focuses on new media, social media, and as we got started with the grassroots campaign, social media was imperative to us. Getting those followers on-board when we were going around the community and selling merchandise after unveiling the logo was huge for us. The other thing being, in a college town, social media is very important for us, as they will go there when looking for something to do for the weekend.

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N/MP: Thanks Mr.Shank! Good luck with the All-Star game this year…

BS: Absolutely, it will, it’s going to be huge. Also, while the prospect watchers aren’t really to excited about it, but being in SEC county, people are going crazy asking us about Tebow right now, so we will see; we are ready to go, we’ve purchased some extra #15 jerseys.


Thanks to Brad Shank and Kevin Fitzgerald for their time and the insightful responses.