July 2017

Reed Out, Rosario In

Well, trading season is over, and, like Lucas Duda, Addison Reed is no longer a New York Met. And, as a response, Sandy Alderson said in a statement that Amed Rosario will be called up from Las Vegas to join the Mets in Denver on Tuesday, as the Mets face the Colorado Rockies.

The Mets also did not deal Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera, all of whom are free agents at the end of the year, and could have been an asset to a team making a playoff push, as well as a way to save some salary.

So what does this all mean?

Well, for starters the Mets have basically forfeited their season, if that wasn’t evident enough in their play the last few months.

However, I can’t say that I’m against the moves. Like MLB.com’s Michael Baron said, Addison Reed was phenomenal as a Met, pitching to a 2.09 ERA in 145 games, with 21 saves, and the returns that the Mets got are pretty decent prospects in the Red Sox organization, so that deal appears to be a win-win.

Additionally, the move to promote Rosario (and eventually Smith) is a way to see what we have and take stock for next season. With the older veterans out of the way, and the newer position players coming in, this team could truly be at it’s prime in 2018-2019, subject to health.

So, I think this was a successful deadline, and with two months left in the season (one month to the waiver deadline) it’s a good time to really evaluate the team and find the best course to success.

Thanks, Dude.

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You probably all know the news by now. Lucas Duda, one of the longest tenured Mets in the entire orginization, has been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for right handed pitcher Drew Smith.

Duda, now 31, played for the Mets since 2010, back when Jerry Manuel was the manager of the Mets, who were wearing black uniforms.

And, while Duda wasn’t a super-appreciated player here in New York, I believe most Mets fans will have fond memories of Duda at first (and some other kinds of memories of him in left field). Either way, I’d like to take the time to congratulate Lucas on his new opportunity, and wish him the best moving forward. Thanks, Lucas!

Watch: Mo Vaughn’s Home Run hits the Scoreboard

Anyone else wish Chase still sponsored the Mets? Just kidding….

Nice to see #42 in a Mets uniform, looks kind of weird, but nice.

Citi Field netting could be further expanded to the Foul Poles

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This is absurdity at it’s best.

Shannon Shark of MetsPolice.com, shared this New York Times article that came out yesterday over the state of protective netting at New York stadiums.

In brief, the article talks about how Terry Collins and Jay Bruce support their employers  decision (shocker), and how the Yankees have balked at the idea, as even preliminary discussions have prompted Yankees fans to write in and complain.

However, one very interesting point is this little excerpt that Shannon highlights on his blog, which has my head spinning:

As significant a move as the Mets have made with the additional screens, it does not meet what City Councilman Rafael Espinal is asking for in a bill that would require both the Mets and Yankees to extend protective netting all the way to each foul pole.

Now, we should all remember that there are hundreds of bills that are proposed every year that never come to surface, but the idea of netting extending to the foul poles is so preposterous.

Even the folks that support protective netting, who say that there are little kids and the elderly that do not have a quick reaction time, I’m curious, why not sit in the 25 sections along the field level that now have netting? And, also, who’s reaction time is so slow that they can’t get out of the way of a ball that travels 330 feet?

I’ve never been in support in any additional netting, and while, sure, I feel terrible for the occasional child that isn’t paying attention in the first row, this overkill is 100% linked to the increase in distractions prevalent in modern ballparks and advances in modern technology.

Don’t get me wrong, I check my Twitter feed and email several times during a game, but when I sat in a box seat behind the dugout, I was locked in to the action when the game was being played. And, if, you do want to be casual at the game and go for the experience instead of the game (which is fine, in my opinion) that’s what outfield seats, the Excelsior and Promenade levels, and seats behind home plate are for.

Even before the netting, over 80% of the ballpark seats were safe from ballpark netting, and those 15-20% behind the dugouts were subjecting themselves, which has always been prominently displayed as a disclaimer on Mets.com when purchasing those tickets.

When I used to go to Shea Stadium as a kid in those famous orange box seats, I remember the usher telling us that we should pay attention, as the ball comes fast, and that we might have a chance to get a ball. And, you know what? I payed attention, and I loved the game of baseball from that moment on.

Last week, I sat in similar seats when the Rockies were in town, and I felt totally distanced from the game, like I wasn’t a part of the action. I could reach out and grab a ball, and while that’s not important for me, I’m sure the younger kids in attendance, who will be adult Mets fans in no time, might not have the same connection with the game as my generation did when I grew up.

So, Councilman Espinal, I understand your concerns for safety, but at some point there has to be a line. Sure, safety is paramount, but we don’t go to the game to be safe, we go to have fun, root on your team, eat ballpark fare, play games, be with the family etc. People that care about safety have options readily in place. This isn’t an airport or an automobile, this is a ballpark.

Another MetsPlus Birthday in the Books! 

Introducing a New Blog?

I started MetsPlus as a general Baseball blog back in September of 2013. I thought it up on a whim over dinner one night, and forced a few of my friends into what would become a top blog on the MLB.com page.

I’ve announced a few times that I’m going to branch off MLB.com to start a new and add new and exciting features to the blog, but neither of those things really happened. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of thrilling and exciting features around here, but there are so many times I want to write about what is on my mind, and I can’t write about it because it’s simply not relevant and/or wouldn’t be interesting for the Mets-centric crowd this site is dedicated to.

Recently, a lot of those musings have been about travel, and my experiences with living in New York. I sometimes talk about travel here on MetsPlus, but I’ve come to realize it’s simply not the right avenue and it forces me to tie it in to Baseball, which sometimes I don’t want to do.

So, I’ve decided to set-up a new blog, Niko’s Travel Blog, which will launch sometime in late 2017 to early 2018 as a full-time blog, but there will be some light teasers in the mean time. I’ve even taken the liberty to create a small logo to share with you:

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This idea has actually been brewing in the back of my head for years now, and I want it to come to fruition before it’s too late, so I’m thinking, what the heck?

Now, a few of you might wonder what’ll happen to MetsPlus, and I’m happy to report, it’ll only get better, and, more importantly, it’ll be more Mets content.

I believe that with the introduction of the second blog, that’ll leave MetsPlus as the dedicated space for Mets news and information. Here’s a little timeline I have in mind, which is, of course, subject to change:

Late 2017/Early 2018: Long awaited website and brand refresh, formal break-up with MLB.com Blogs.

Opening Day 2018: New Contributors and fans will write some articles on here, as MetsPlus continues to grow as a “fan” page.

Mid-Summer 2018: Streamlined content with mobile application.


As you can see, there are some pretty ambitious goals listed on my timeline, one that I’m going to be instant on following. Frankly, in my dream world, I’d like to see MetsPlus evolve from being a standard edition blog to one with more digital content. I’m committed to print journalism (it’s going to be my major in college this fall….) but there is no secret media is evolving, so MetsPlus will be focused on just that in the coming months and years.

Watch: Millenuium Mets 

Here’s an inside look on one of the most memorable Mets teams off all time, the 2000 National League Champions: 

#ThePlusInMetsPlus: 2017 AAA All-Star Recap

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Another year, another All-Star Game. This year, in the 30th installment of the Triple-A game (the Seventh for MetsPlus), the Tacoma Rainers had theiR (more on that lateR)  moment in sun, as Cheney Stadium hosted the best from the Pacific Coast League and the International League.

It’s the best of both worlds: It’s a major league crowd with the national broadcast and cameras pointing in every direction, yet it’s a calm setting, very minor leagues, and accessible.

Our tickets were purchased in April, and I was already a little bit disappointed to see that the tickets for single-game ticket holders weren’t commemorative like they were in prior years, but commemorative copies were made for season ticket plan holders, and while I was disappointed as a single game ticket holder, I respect giving the guys that sit in the seats on cold April nights something extra special, so I hold no extra reservations against the Rainiers for that.

Unfortunately, one of my only gripes happened upon entry at the stadium. There are three main entrances at Cheney Stadium, one on the third base side, first base side, and left field. We arrived at around 4:40pm, about and hour and a half prior, and due to the presence of metal detectors, the security lines were somewhat long. One of the stadium’s security personnel in a bright yellow shirt directed me and a few other fans to the left field gate to reduce crowding, which I can understand,  as there seemed to be only one line open, and a hold up at the detector. I then walked all the way around the stadium’s parking lot to the left field gate, and found an even longer line (which we stayed in), and after getting our tickets scanned, we entered the stadium.

The girl that was greeting fans told us that she was not provided with any of the complementary lanyards, and that we had to go to third base to get them, as only they had them. I then proceeded to Third Base, my original line, and was told that they couldn’t give me a lanyard because it was only for fans who entered the stadium through that gate, but I could get one at First Base, or wait for the crowd to diminish until they could give me on from their stock, I waited, but after their stock expired, I went over to First Base, and they told me they had just ran out.

At this point, my inner New Yorker took over, and I went to Customer Service to complain, considering I had been running around to accommodate their crowd control, but didn’t get the giveaway  that fans arriving 45 minutes after us did. They called the stadium operations manager, who quickly defused the situation in the most professional way possible, and apologized. (I too should apologize, I travel for the game, not the lanyard, there are far more important things than a small memento). He was able to find some lanyards in the back, and gave one to me, which was very nice and not necessary. With that, I took my lanyard and my Dirt game program and went to my seat.

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It’s also not the first year there has been a lack of communication, in Buffalo in 2012, the already limited concessions ran out in the fifth inning, and that left a lot of fans angry, this was obviously a much bigger deal than this year’s incident, but it does show how  much preparation is needed to host such a big event.

I was a little suspicious of the entertainment during the Home Run Derby. Their were only three “games”, a fill in the lyrics game, a celebrity look alike camera, and a mascot home run derby, and aside from the fill in the lyrics game, they really fell flat for me. Again, I went for the derby, and it was a good one (the Rainiers fans were really behind their hometown slugger, Dan Vogelbach) but their were some issues with the in-between breaks that screamed minor leagues.

Luckily, in the All-Star Game, the Rainiers balanced the corny humor of minor league entertainment with something that is exciting to watch. The Conga Line, Sax and Harmonica guy, and This or That were all good games, and kept the game timed well.

The stadium itself had a lot of different seating areas, a berm, traditional seating, a homerun porch, and table seating. There was none of that annoying netting that extends beyond the dugouts that some stadiums have nowadays.

Other good feature of Cheney Stadium was their culinary options. There were no two concession stands that offered the same thing. Over the two nights, I tried the Pizza, which was probably the best stadium pizza I’ve had.

I also enjoyed the Pulled Pork Sandwich and Macaroni combo, which tasted just as good as the barbecue in Omaha two years ago, and was very affordable. For desert, there was a “cookie truck” with freshly baked warm cookies, which were delectable.

Lastly, I tasted Seattle’s famous burger, which came with fries and a Vanilla Milkshake. Also very fine, not quite Shake Shack but perfectly tasty.

Of course, I haven’t even talked about the main event, the game, which was a 6-4 win for the Pacific Coast Legaue, only their second win in the last nine years.

The only Las Vegas representative, Amed Rosario, looked a little shaky on defense, but stole a base and looked superior to the rest of the Triple-A All Stars. One interesting note that occurred this year was how passionate the fans were towards their home league, the Pacific Coast. Since it’s an All-Star Game, they had to be impartial, but the fans were behind the PCL.

There were a total of 7,024 fans in attendance, a sellout, but the lowest for any Triple-A All Star Game, even if it didn’t feel like it during the Seventh Inning Stretch.

Overall, this was a good week. Tacoma missed some things in the gaps, but they were a very strong host city, and I’m excited to come back for the All-Star Game in 20XX when Tacoma hosts it again. It’s was very special for Tacoma, a city going through a massive transformation, and since it’s such a tight nit community, I understood how the game wasn’t just for the Rainiers, but for the community as well. All of the folks I met, from the Valet, to the waiter at the Pacific Grill, to the transit workers on the Sound Transit, all excited to have the additional crowds from the All-Star Game. They used the hashtag, #ThisIsRMoment, with the R capitalized for Rainiers, but it embodied the feeling of pride of hosting such a prestigious event, one that I was very happy to be apart of.

For more content, check out @NikoMetsPlus on Twitter, and we’ll see you in Columbus in 2018! 

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2017 AAA Home Run Derby Preview

Today in Tacoma, Washington, Triple-A All Star Week kicks off, with the Home Run Derby.

The festivities begin with at 6:40pm with the Kids Home Run Derby in the Cheney Stadium whiffle ball center. And, after other formalities, the Home Run Derby will commence at 6pm Pacific (9pm Eastern) with 6 of Minor League’s best slugging it out.

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The format is fairly similar to the one going on the big leagues, with a total of 6 players, and a clock system to speed things up.

Here’s a quick look at the players that will be participating tonight in Tacoma, first from the Pacific Coast League.

1. Christian Walker, Reno Aces

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2. Dan Vogelbach, Tacoma Rainiers

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3. Renato Nunez, Nashville Sounds

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And from the International League:

4. Danny Hayes, Charlotte Knights

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5. Richie Shaffer, Columbus Clippers

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6. Bryce Brentz, Pawtucket Red Sox

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The winner of tonight’s contest will win a cool belt that reminds me of the Mets game winning belt use in 2015 and 2016.

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2017 Triple-A All-Star Week Preview

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It’s that time of year again! Every year since 2011, MetsPlus has covered the Triple-A All Star Game, which this year, will be held in the Pacific Northwest, in the smallest Triple-A Ballpark out there, Cheney Stadium, in Tacoma, Washington.

The home club, the Tacoma Rainiers, got the rights to hold the best non-major league game in pro-baseball, and it should be an exciting week.

The schedule of events is remarkably similar to that of previous years, with the exception of the All-Star Luncheon, which seems to have gotten the axe.

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Another interesting note are the unique start times. Instead of 7pm and 8pm, per usual. The All-Star Game starts at 6pm Pacific, most probably to accommodate MLB Network’s east coast viewers.

The stadium in itself should be interesting, Historic Cheney Stadium, virtually unrecognizable from it’s prior state, has beautiful views, is credited as an intimate but enjoyable place to watch a game, and should be a fine venue.

The only problems I see are with the Home Run Derby. Unlike prior years in Durham, Omaha and Charlotte, where there were plenty of outfield seats or a berm, Cheney Stadium only has a small left field party area (pictured above), and nothing anywhere else. This might be a challenge for fans with ambitions on getting a baseball.

Additionally, as was mentioned, the limited capacity of 10,000 is the lowest in the Minor Leagues, so tickets, I presume, are fairly limited at this point.


Tomorrow, MetsPlus will preview the 2017 Triple-A Home Run Derby, presented by AlaskaUSA