September 2017

The Mets Ownership is Pulling a Cheap Trick……

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I don’t usually talk about ownership here on MetsPlus, but after watching the drama over Terry Collins impending departure, I feel like I have to at least share my thoughts, even if it’s not pro-Mets in the least.

First, as I’ve stated many times to Twitter, I’m not a huge Terry Collins fan, I believe he makes many questionable in-game decisions, frustrates fans, answers some questions the wrong way from the media, and does make your head spin. Despite that, Collins has been able to rally the team to two postseasons, including a NL Pennant. On top of that, every player I’ve spoken to and everyone around the team has spoken extremely highly of him and his personality in rallying the troops.

However, if you were new in town and saw the media coverage and “leaks” you would think that Terry Collins is the worst person to ever step 100 feet from Citi Field.

In brief, the Mets seemingly blamed Terry for Familia’s injury, and also reported that they seriously considered firing him during multiple points in his tenure.

Quickly, the media seemed to back Terry:

So look, here are my thoughts in a nutshell via an analogy: When you own a bus, and the bus driver has been working the same route for seven years, and, despite some shortcomings, you don’t stab the wheels of the bus driver THREE DAYS before his tenure is over. And, to add insult to injury they are quietly doing it without saying that they are doing it.

Maybe I shouldn’t be this upset, but my frustrations with the Mets have been through the roof, and I question rooting for a team with owners of such poor morals.

 

Mets Intro Montage 2017

Here is the Mets Intro Montage for the 2017. This is played prior to the Mets taking the field.

#MetsPlus360: Meaningless Games in September at Citi

This past Friday evening, with absolutely no plans (yes, I do have a social life, I do appreciate your concern, though) I decided going to the Mets game (by myself) would be a fun activity.

Typically, I don’t go to games by myself, I’ve only gone by myself two or three times in my life, but when I do, I find that I actually really enjoy it. So, I jumped on the secondary market, and found promenade tickets for as low as $2, but decided to “splurge” for a $15 ticket on the Field Level.

I arrived to my favorite sight, no lines and no metal detectors. Instead, I was subject to a quick wand check, and spoke to a friendly security guard.

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As part of Fan Appreciation Weekend, a special scratch & win card and a Citi Rally Towel were given away to all fans. The Mets also advertised some other perks and special appearances (some players even scanned tickets on Saturday), but I didn’t see anything else.

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I then decided to take a quick walk around the field level, just to gauge the atmosphere at the game, and took note of the many food options that I’ve never tried.

While I do like new and unique food options, I pretty much stick to Shake Shack, Chicken & Fries from Nathan’s, and the occasional Fuku Chicken Sandwich or Lobster Roll from Catch of the Day.

So, I decided to try the “Mex Burger” without Avocado from Keith’s Grill. With the $11 burger, you get a bag of Wise chips and a Tootsie Roll, the only place in the entire ballpark that gives you un-advertised “extras” alongside your main.

There were no line’s at Keith’s, and it tasted pretty darn good.

While I had a Field Level ticket, I ate my meal up in the Excelsior Level. The views are far better up there, and you don’t have kids running across the aisle chasing their favorite player for an autograph.

I’m not saying I don’t like that, I was running around cutting people off when I was young too, but I enjoy the Excelsior Level considerably more most of the time.

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I then decided to head back down to the field level for first pitch, where I stayed for the first five innings.

My ticket was located next to a Nationals Fan who was amazed that I was keeping score. Supposedly it’s an extremely rare site at Nationals Park, and he commended me for rooting on the Mets even through the tough times. I countered with the fact that you have to watch the bad baseball to enjoy the good baseball, and he agreed.

I then decided to switch things up and head back to the Excelsior Level, I’ve always found the bathrooms to be considerably more clean in the Excelsior Level, so once I went up there to use them, I decided to stick it out up there for the rest of the game.

One of my favorite non-game moments was the Piano Man sing-along, something that is played during -most- home games at Citi Field during the middle of the eighth inning.

The good news was that after Billy Joel, and after the Mets went down in the bottom of the eighth, we were only three outs away from securing the win versus Washington, and, after three relievers came in, we got the job done!

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So this wasn’t the most important Mets game I’d ever been to, but it was an exciting day with the best fans in baseball, and I’ll look forward to cheering them on two more times before calling it a quits on the 2017 Mets.

Catch up on the SNY Veteran of the Game

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A longstanding tradition at Mets games is the Veteran of the Game, presented by FirstData. Typically, the Veteran of the Game is announced during the middle of the fourth inning, and is occasionally broadcasted on either SNY or PIX 11, if the time permits.

And while not everyone cares for it, I think it’s awesome that fans can recognize a veteran, and have them meet a Met and receive a commemorative flag.

If you’ve never seen it, SNY has a compilation of all of the veterans receive their gift. Obviously, I don’t expect anyone to watch all (or any) of these, but it is a very nice gesture that I rarely see outside of Queens in major league stadiums.

You can watch all of the clips here, on SNY.tv’s website.

#ThePlusInMetsPlus: Redeeming my Miles another way…..

On today’s #ThePlusInMetsPlus, we take a break from the Baseball to talk about Golf. Not to farfetched, right? Well, what does Golf have to do with Frequent Flyer Miles? Read on to find out!


 

Baseball is my favorite sport. Aside from Baseball, I like Hockey, Golf and Tennis, and Football when the time is right.

Last year, I went to the Barclays Black Course in Bethpage, and I’ve been intrigued by the PGA Tour ever since.

This year, through the MileagePlus Exclusives program, I got tickets to the Genesis Open, in Santa Monica, CA, but here’s the catch, I didn’t purchase any tickets, my Premier Status allowed me to redeem miles for the United Fairway Club, right in front of the 17th Green.

I simply logged into my MileagePlus account on the official MileagePlus Exclusives page, and everything was processed from there.

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Members without Premier Status could bid on these exclusive experiences buy using their MileagePlus award miles.

The VIP treatment started two weeks before the tournament, as I was given the tickets in a huge box via FedEx. The box included the tickets with nice United Airlines lanyards, parking passes, and a separate Calaway Golf “repair kit” with a tee, four golf balls and markers.

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This was a pretty awesome gift and a great omen for the trip!

Fast forward to Genesis Sunday, and the aforementioned parking pass really came in hand. The VIP pass gave us access to the valet lot right behind the 18th Clubhouse, which really helped us get in and out in a flash. The walk down the path was beautiful, with the sun starting to come out of the clouds just as the players started teeing off.

The club was next to the AT&T, Bank Of America and Mercedes-Benz tents. I was welcomed by the representative, given a wrist band and we were off.

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Upon entering, we were given a golf towel by a friendly check-in representative that made us sign photo release forms. There were outlets, flat screen TV’s, air conditioning, leather couches, a full buffet (more on that later) and those advertised views of the 17th Green.

There were three rows of comfortable seats, all overlooking the green with TV monitors showing the replays overhead. There was rain the day before, so there was pressure to finish play before sunset.

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The event lasted from 11am to around 5pm. The catering was pretty good, similar to what you would see at a great airport lounge. There were make-your-own Chicken Sandwiches, Salads, Brisket Mac and Cheese, Toppings, Pickles, breads, all in addition to a fantastic full bar, which served non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages free of charge, I stuck with the cranberry juice, but my parents quite enjoyed the alcoholic selection, which has delivered by the courteous bar tender.

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To start, I had some of the brisket mac & cheese, which was extremely tasty, and probably the most memorable food item on the whole buffet due to it’s uniqueness.

When the golfers made there way to the 17th hole, I made myself a delicious Chicken Breast Sandwich, with some toppings, accompanied by a thirst quenching Cranberry Juice.

This truly felt like a VIP experience, and something that should cost way more MileagePlus miles. Comparing it to something that I understand, a suite at Citi Field, which doesn’t come with any food, starts from $5,000 per game, so this was an incredible deal.

Here are some more candids from the day:

We were encouraged to share the experience on social media using #MPExclusives, which I did throughout the day.

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Towards the end, I had some of the dessert, thinking the culinary part of the day was over, but no, it was time for the snacks!

This time there was Seasonal Fruit, Chips, Mini Hot Dogs etc. which I continued to enjoy.

We might have just had the luck of the draw, but the weather was fantastic, and the fact that there was an overhang protecting us from direct sun was a huge plus. After the last group of players (Perez, Johnson and Triangle) finished playing, I said goodbye to the staff at the United Fairway Club, who were very nice and super friendly, and even gave us a few more towels before we left.

We then “followed” Johnson up the 18th Green and saw him finishing the tournament off with a great putt.

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Overall, this whole event was superb, and United did a great job putting it together. I would highly recommend doing something like this if you have a stash of United MileagePlus Miles that you aren’t utilizing.

Thanks to United Airlines and the Genesis Open for being amazing hosts and offering great hospitality.

Top 5 All-Time Posts on MetsPlus

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MetsPlus.com will officially be leaving MLB.com, in two days. And before that happens, I wanted to share with you my Top 5 all-time posts on MetsPlus.com, since we joined MLB.com in April of 2014.

There are a LOT of posts that I’ve written over the past few years that I’m extremely proud of, but after an extensive review and a lot of decision making, I believe I’ve settled on five posts that I’d call my favorite.

#5: Culinary Citi, Parts 1 and 2 (May 2016)

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Yes, after interviewing some of the games best, doing some amazing things, eating my way through Citi Field was one of my favorite memories. While, the PIG GUY NYC Bacon on the Stick was very memorable, I also enjoyed the Fuku Chicken Sandwich, Box Frites, Keith’s Burger and all the other places that we went around to see.

I might do a Part 3 of Culinary Citi in 2017 if the Mets add some new options to the ballpark fare this Spring.

4. 11 Questions with Branden Wellington (September 2014)

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This pick is most likely a sympathy pick, as over the years I have interviewed people a little more well known than Branden Wellington, however, I was amazed by the professionalism and the willingness of the first person I ever interviewed for Mets Plus, and, it was truly an exciting interview. In the interview, Mr.Wellington shares his game day routine, favorite experiences, and on-screen moments.

#3 – NL Wild Card Game Picture Blog (October 2016) 

Had the Mets actually won the NL Wild Card game, this would have been considerably higher on the list, maybe even at #1. This was the first time for me doing a personal recap of a game I attended, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Looking back at that game two months later, I realize how amazing that game actually was, and how close the Mets came from playing the Cubs at Wrigley in the NLDS.

#2 – Top 5 Winter Meetings Experiences (December 2016)

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You have to give me some credit for putting a Top 5 List in a Top 5, huh?

Well, the Winter Meetings truly was action packed, and there were a lot of moments that were extremely unforgettable. The Trade Show was probably at the top of that, but meeting some of my favorite TV Personalities, speaking to Job Fair candidates, and interviewing a guy that was holding a sign in the lobby. This was truly a memorable and amazing week.

#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.

Honorable Mentions:

1) Citi Field Tour Recap (November 2016)

2) Fall & Winter Fest Review (Fall and Winter 2014) 

3) 11 Questions with Art Shamsky (November 2014) 

 

Should you get a Mets 2018 Plan?

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Per usual in September, the Mets have been bombarding me with emails and flyers suggesting that I sign-up for a 2018 Mets ticket plan. During the last homestand, while making my way around the ballpark, two ticket reps openly walked up to me and basically pleaded with me to sign up for a plan. Obviously, I have no lack of respect for these reps that are doing their job, but I thought it’s time I address this head on.

At it’s face, buying a Mets ticket plan is a lot like Amazin’ Mets Fan Photo. It’s completely unnecessary, it’s annoying with the emails and in-person requests, and it’s more expensive, and the only real benefit of indulging in the product is to have tangible security that your memory will be in-tact.

Some skeptics still heckle me on Twitter suggesting I’m wrong about this, so here are my responses to some of the common frequently asked questions regarding Mets ticket plans.

It’s Cheaper…..

Take a look at this years plan breakdown:

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This year, I attended 28 games at Citi Field, with the expectation to attend two more in this last homestand, so I’d have attended 30 of the Mets 81 home games. I actually paid out of pocket for about 23 of them with five of those games being freebees (ClubMets, friends, Food Drive, corporate, etc). So, if I were to get a plan, I’d get the 20 game plan.

My favorite section to sit in is 308 or 329, in the Excelsior Box, with would cost anywhere between $26-80 depending on the game. On StubHub, even for the best games, these tickets are routinely available for less than $25, and in most instances (like the Friday game) I can purchase a ticket for $13, far less than the $50 I would be paying up-front.

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And more commonly, they are available for dirt cheap:

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Even when StubHub fails (which is extremely rare), I can always use one of the Mets many buy one get one deals to drag the price down by 50%, and the only blackout restrictions for those games are Opening Day and the Subway Series.

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You don’t have Guaranteed seats for games…..

Can someone tell me why I would want that? I don’t know when I’ll take a vacation in 2018, I don’t know when I’ll get ill, or have to run for a family emergency. Purchasing single game tickets guarantees that you go to games that you want to go to, not games that you feel you have an obligation to go to because you paid for it, even if you are under the weather.

Right, but what about Opening Day and the Postseason, I want those seats confirmed….

I get that, and, yes, Opening Day and the Postseason is far more complex than all the other games, so I think this is where one has to take an educated approach into their decision making. As my friend Jeremy Posner said on Twitter this morning, he would rather splurge on Opening Day than get locked in for the entire season, and I, personally, agree. Typically, you can get into the stadium for $45 on Mets.com or the secondary market, just ten dollars more expensive then a seat in Promenade Outfield with a plan. So, it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that it’s better to lose out on one game, but then win (price wise) on the rest of them than the other way around.

You didn’t mention the Postseason!

True, that is the one place where plans come in handy. Still, I think that with the allure of the Mets postseason less exciting as it was two years ago, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s smarter to lock into a plan than playing it day by day.  That being said, if the Mets were a winning ball club, I might have more reason to consider a plan….

If I went Single Game, I’d lose my perks….

I do understand this, even if it sounds deranged. I have relatives that hold on to credit cards that are counterintuitive to their financial life only so they can have a card that shows they were members “Since 1992”. So, while it’s completely meaningless to me, I do understand (in the vaguest sense) holding on to a season ticket to show off your seniority as a fan.

Mets Minor League Affiliates, by their Appearance

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Excluding the GCL Mets and other developmental leagues, the Mets have six minor league affiliates, all of which sport different, unique, colors. Those teams are the Las Vegas 51s (AAA), Binghamton Rumble Ponies (AA), St.Lucie Mets (A+), Columbia Fireflies (A), Brooklyn Cyclones (A-) and the Kingsport Mets (R).

And, while we often know that the minor leagues are known for the elaborate get-ups, I believe it’s fair to say that the Mets affiliates have some of the best uniform sets in the minors.

So, today I’m going to rank the Mets affiliates by their uniforms, caps and logos:

6. Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A) 

A lot of people love to hate on the re-launch of the Binghamton Mets as the Rumble Ponies, and while it’s at the bottom of my list, I actually quite like the look as a whole. While the name was part of a general fan contest, the name is not without significance. Without going into too much context, Binghamton (and the Tri-Cities in general) was at one time the horse carousel capital of the world, so this Rumble Ponies pays homage to this little known fact.

Unfortunately, the uniforms are not the best in the world, with mostly bland colors, and four completely different caps to match four completely different uniforms. While it’s not a necessity in the minors, I believe that at some of the uniforms should have uniformity. 

5. Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A)

Las Vegas is the furthest affiliate from Queens in terms of distance, but is most important  in terms of resources. The 51s are in the Pacific Coast League, and their players are often shuffling back and forth between New York and Vegas, so their name is frequently brought up.

It might be because I’m not a fan of Las Vegas or aliens, but the whole 51s brand doesn’t connect with me. I think that their alien cap is the ugliest cap in the minors bar none, but some people like that kind of thing, so I give it a pass. The uniform tops are actually fairly nice, especially the whites with Las Vegas and the red number, but it often feels like a Dodgers look, not a Mets one.

4. Kingsport Mets (Rookie) 

The Kingsport Mets are the only Mets affiliate that I’ve never seen play in person. Images and coverage is so scarce, and they play in a stadium that is comparable to a good high school park, but that’s rookie ball in Tennessee, what did you expect?

I do think it’s interesting how their uniform follows the Mets scheme very closely, with the K in place of the famous interlocking NY on their orange and blue caps. Their primary logo is the only thing that looks well, rookie. But again, it is rookie ball.

3. Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A) 

The Cyclones have one of the strongest brand presences in the entire Minor Leagues, and while it isn’t orange and blue, they pay homage to their older brothers in Queens frequently, and are an all around good club.

They do have a lot of them nights, some of which cause a one-day name change, with names like the “Brooklyn Slices” and the “Coney Island Franks”. All around, this is good fun, and a good brand to root for.

2. St Lucie Mets (Single A) 

The St.Lucie Mets often fly under the radar, but their 2013 re-design really screams Mets in Florida, or “Tropical Neon Mets” which is what I think the Minor Leagues should be, a switch-up of the big club. They are relatively simplistic, with only two caps and three uniforms, and it is very warm and inviting.

Until last year, this was my favorite uniform set and brand of any of the Mets affiliates, but after the Sand Gnats left Savannah, it was Glow Time…..

 

1. Columbia Fireflies (Single A) 

Yes! The Columbia Fireflies are my pick as my best overall affiliate in terms of appearance. First, look at the primary logo, and tell me that isn’t pure genius. Perhaps the best part is the use of neon green and grey, two colors that are almost never used in any minor league city. They have four uniforms and three caps, all of which glow in the dark. For a sport deprived of new unique brands, the Fireflies one is a very, very strong one, even if you wouldn’t suspect they were the Mets affiliate.


So that’s my list. Yes, I’m a sucker for the glow of the Fireflies green uniform, but overall, there are no bad designs in the Mets minors, and there are plenty of bad designs around MiLB. Do you have a different list, share it with me @NikoMetsPlus or leave your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

 

Nationals Clinch NL East in 2017


To end 2017 on the worst note possible, the Nationals won the NL East. The year that some predicted would be the best year in Mets history had turned into one of the absolute worst, and Daniel Murphy and the Nationals will be heading into the postseason with the National League East crown over their heads.

This obviously comes at no surprise, as it has been evident since May that the Mets weren’t up to the challenge, and the Nationals, while not perfect, had no issues claiming the title.

This has been a really tough year to be a Mets fan, one of the worst years I can remember. However, we have to go out there, root on the Mets, and go through these down periods if we want to enjoy the good times. That’s baseball, if it was predictable, we wouldn’t watch. So go out there and root on the Mets this last homestand, or root from your couch. It’ll be a long winter ahead of us, and over hald a year until we see the Mets play exhibition games in Port St. Lucie.

It’s time to throw 2017 out the window, and get behind #Mets2018. 

Citi Field netting could be further expanded to the Foul Poles

Mets Plus

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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…

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