October 2017

On Hiatus…. Officially

Happy Halloween!

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As you can see from the title, this is not a standard post; today I wanted to discuss my blog, and my in-activity throughout my platforms.

First off, I wanted to share that I’m not a fan of “personal” reasons. Whenever someone quotes “personal” reasons for their hiccups, I generally pass it off as laziness, but after this last week, I understand what “personal” means.

Outside of other super personal concerns, we are in the process of moving to Queens, specifically Astoria, which is nice, but is also a lot of work. Additionally, I have a great weekend job and a good amount of work for college, so I admit I’m a bit sidetracked.

I do have some great features coming up, including a review and interview with the staff of the Otesaga Resort Hotel, and MetsPlus will be at the Winter Meetings this year, and of course, the long talked about “MetsPlus 2.0 and Niko’s Travel Blog” launch is still set for January 1st, but that is becoming less and less firm.

I suppose part of the balance is trying to figure out what is more important. Obviously, my family comes first, so assisting them with the move and other arising concerns is my top priority, as is my job, but my college is where is gets tricky. I’m chasing a degree in the media field (journalism/tv/radio), so I obviously need to complete the requirements there, but that time is increasingly filling up the blog time. My hope is that when the move is complete, then I will devote that time to the blog.

However, there is an obvious hole there, which is the fact that if anything else arises, in order to keep up with the requisites, I will have to again temporarily slow down the blog, so, expanding the blog on January 1st becomes an impossible task.

Anyway, I bet none of you care about this, and I will bury this post once it is up, but it does help when you write it down, and, when you have 100% control over your own blog, one has that luxury!

Random Thoughts on the 2017 World Series and YouTube TV

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The 113th playing of the Major League Baseball World Series is upon us, and from the start, this has been a World Series like no other.

One reason it’s so different is because the World Series is no longer the “World Series”. Anti-cable internet TV streaming company YouTube TV has become the first “presenting sponsor of the World Series”, and, in doing so, any time the World Series is reference officially, it’s now the “2017 World Series Presented By YouTube TV”.

Annoying right? We even have a logo to go along with it:

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The YouTube TV is, however, the alternate logo, and the YouTube TV signage cannot be on the field of play or on the players uniform, so it’s not all bad.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the most annoying part of the YouTube TV sponsorship, that was left for the un-rotational signage behind home plate.

Before we get there, however, let’s take a look at how the rotational signage used to look during World Series games. These images are from 2011, 2013 and 2015.

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2011 

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2013

 

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2015

As you can see, the rotational signage behind home plate has never really been a problem. Prior to 2001, there was no corporate signage behind home plate, and from 2001 to 2016, there was one green screen that would show advertisements, and any other built-in signage would only show MLB messages. In 2011 and 2013, you can see how the second panel displayed “#WorldSeries”, and Kauffman Stadium, which has more signage behind home plate, displayed two World Series signs and a MLB Network sign.

Last night, however, with YouTubeTV gaining access to the permanent signage, we saw something like this:

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You have to hit the play button to watch the video.

Oh, no, wait, you don’t, because that’s a still image.

This drove people bonkers, which led to a great SB Nation post, which I recommend reading here.

So, what’s the point here? Corporate signage and advertising is getting worse and worse. Hopefully this will slow down in the future, but it is taking a toll on the game we love.

Anyway, Let’s go Astros.

Mets make it Official: Mickey Callaway to Replace Terry Collins at the Helm

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First we thought it would be Wally Backman, but after the Mets dropped Backman from his role as the manager of the Las Vegas 51s in 2015, that went out the window. Then, as the 2017 season came to a close, there were rumors that Robin Ventura, the man who hit the grand slam single, would be the man to take the bull by the horns. When Ventura tapped out, Alex Cora, former infielder, Kevin Long, current hitting coach, and even wild card candidates like Joe McEwing, Manny Acta and Angel Pagan were in consideration for the coveted spot.

Today, the 23rd of October, one day before the playing of the 113th World Series, Mickey Callaway, the well respected pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians, was announced as the 21st manager in New York Mets history.

Callaway is extremely young, he is the first manager in Mets history to have been born after the inception of the ball club. Being a 42 year old, he was born in 1975 and only eleven years old during the Mets championship in 1986.

Mickey will be introduced during a live SNY Press conference at 4pm, during which we should hear Callaway’s initial thoughts and opinions on the state of the Mets.

On behalf of the entire MetsPlus team, here’s a warm welcome to Mr.Callaway!

History & Legacy: The Mets Snow Whites

In their 55 year history, the Mets have had some of the best uniform designs in pro sports. That being said, there have been a lot of subtle small changes to the Mets looks that have kept it evolving throughout the history of the ball club.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at one of the more under appreciated uniforms, the all white pinned uniform, known informally as the “Snow Whites”

The History

 

The Snow White Uniforms debuted back in 1997, 20 years ago, on April 15th, during the first ever “Jackie Robinson Day”. Prior to the game the Robinson Family and Bud Selig proudly proclaimed that the #42 would never be issued to another player that didn’t previously wear #42. To honor the special occasion, the Mets trotted on in their Snow Whites, which resembled a classic Dodgers look, and were matched with a predominantly white cap (with a blue brim).

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The cap was not a hit, and was discontinued at the end of the year. The uniform top also had a subtle invisible white outline around the “Mets” word mark for the 1997 season, which was replaced with the black outline (known as the drop shadow) for the 1998 season. The drop shadow was invented by  Bob Halfacre (Uni-Watch did a whole story on this, so check out the full article here) Bob described his design in a way that I think most Mets fans had never even contemplated. “City of shadows” he told Paul Lukas in a 2015 interview. “You have all these skyscrapers, so everything has shadows. City of shadows.”

In 1999 and 2000, the snow whites were worn during the two famous postseason walk-off blasts at Shea Stadium, by Todd Pratt and Benny Agbayani, the only difference between the two tops were the lack of a name on the back of the 1999 version.

Paired with the more appropriate black hybrid cap, this uniform looked pretty good around the 2000 NL Championship year. The Mets even lost the World Series in their snow whites, technically an alternate at the time, instead of their pinstripes.

However, the most historical moment in a snow white uniform has to be Mike Piazza’s 9/21/2001 blast, giving the city hope after the tragic 9/11 attacks. I asked my Twitter followers which Mets game (in snow whites) was their favorite, and it’s no surprise that Piazza’s heroics in 2001 won-out:

If you’ve never seen Piazza’s homerun (how?), it’s worth checking out:

This home run, an example of how sports can aide at the worst of times, is undoubtably the best 30 seconds of any Met in a snow white uniform, and probably will always be, even if they decide to bring it back in the future.

However, I want to go back to something. Remember when I called the snow whites “technically an alternate?”

That’s because, in every season that the snow whites were around, the official home jersey was an identical white jersey (or cream after 2010) with blue pinstripes. However, the Mets rarely (if ever) took the field in those pinstripes, and the style guide (the internal design book of MLB Uniforms) listed the snow whites as “club preferred”, and was typically worn the the black trimmings (undershirt, helmet, socks etc.)

In 2007, following some use in the 2006 Postseason, the Mets pinstripes made a comeback, and returned to it’s real “primary home” title. However, the Mets still brought out the snow whites for big games, like the Home Opener at Citi Field:

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Even in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, Mets hitters Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran trotted out in their snow whites. Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.49.29 AM

This all changed in 2012, when, for the first time since 2000, the Snow Whites changed. This time, the drop shadow was cut (as it was for all uniforms to commemorate the 50th Anniversary season of the Mets).

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This was one of the best looks the snow whites ever had; unfortunately it ended up being the last, only worn from 2012 to 2014, before being cut in a “merger of designs” between the cream pinstripes and the snow whites. This version was typically only worn during dame games, with the only exception being night games when Johan Santana requested the snow whites. One of those days was June 1st, 2012. The day when Johan threw the first no-hitter* in Mets history:

Santana’s no-hitter wasn’t the only Mets moment in 2012 where a Met pitcher celebrated in snow whites. R.A Dickey got his 20th Win in Snow Whites during his CY Young season:

In 2013, the Mets introduced two blue alternates, and in 2014, camouflage was introduced for select Monday home games. This meant that, including the black, which wasn’t worn regularly since 2011 but remained in the internal uniform set, the Mets had six uniforms. So, after the 2014 season, in effort to simplify their looks, the Mets did away with the snow whites. They were last worn on September 28, 2014, when the Mets played the Astros.

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The Legacy:

The Mets snow white tops were a good look and were used during some of the most important games in Mets history, they never looked like the perfect Mets uniform, but in 2012, with only one alternate, they were a nice weekend shakeup. However, with the blue alternates, they became unnecessary, and led to poor use of the cream pinstripes.

I do think the Mets will bring back the snow white uniforms, unlike the black alternates, but it won’t be for a while. There is something very calming about the plain nature of the snow whites, which worked well during lazy summer day games. That being said, there isn’t a pressing need to revive them, so I doubt we will see them come back anytime soon.

The Plus In Mets Plus: Aviation with the AirlineFlyer, or Jason Rabinowitz

Ever since Citi Field was built in the year 2009, there have been many new features that Mets fans have had to become equated with. These mostly good features include two new high definition score boards, new seating options, Shake Shack (and multiple other new Danny Meyer creations), and views of the Flushing Bay and Willets Point. And if you have ever sat in any seat down the third base line, you’ve probably seen many  planes coming in for landing at LaGuardia, and just before doing that, flying right over right field. Back in Shea Stadium, planes used to cause delays to the game, as the noise of the aircraft was too loud and super distracting.

Two weeks ago, we had Zach Honig of ThePointsGuy.com on to talk about Points, Miles and how to turn  them into enjoyable  flights and vacations. Today, I wanted to end the points, miles and flights features of The Plus In Mets Plus with probably my favorite follow that tweets about Aviation on Social Media, @AirlineFlyer, or Jason Rabinowitz.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you probably hear me sharing my travel experiences to @AirlineFlyer all the time. Combined with good knowledge of travel and a good sense of humor that can be put in every tweet, he is a must follow for everyone who enjoys the travel scene even a little bit.

If you don’t know him, or are anxious to learn about his world a little bit more, he was nice enough to answer some of our questions that we’ve been wanting to know, and of course, there is a baseball twist!

1. For someone who doesn’t know you, could you give a brief synopsis of who you are, and what content you publish?
I’m Jason Rabinowitz a.k.a @AirlineFlyer, aviation blogger and over-tweeter. I follow the aviation industry with a focus on the passenger experience, writing for AirlineReporter.com, Forbes, RunwayGirl Network, and a few other sites. I’m also Data Research Manager for the site Routehappy.com
 
2. Personally, you and @ThatJohn (John Walton) are my favorite aviation reporters on Twitter, however if you were talking to someone wanting good aviation information on Twitter, who would you recommend to follow?
If you want the best breaking news about the industry, and Boeing specifically, you need to follow Wall Street Journal writer @JonOstrower. For news on the passenger experience, @RunwayGirl is the account to follow. These are two of the finest people in the industry. 

3. I’ve followed a lot of your trips on Twitter in the last year or so, and like my trips, things sometimes don’t always go to plan. When was the last time you made zero changes to an itinerary after booking (upgrade, change a flight, cut or add a segment)?
This is a great question. I misconnected at Amsterdamn on my last major trip. Ended up with an unexpected upgrade on the trip before that (the best of unplanned changes). Oh! Last week I flew down to Atlanta and back. Both my flights were on-time and uneventful. Does that count? Something always seems to happen to my plans when I take long trips.
4. What’s your favorite airport worldwide? (I was quite shocked when Zach Honig told me Newark was his favorite airport because of proximity. But something tells me the Central Terminal at LGA isn’t one of your favorites….)
Shockingly, LaGuardia  is not my favorite airport. I know, surprising. Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is absolutely, stunningly beautiful. The international terminal is brand new and more closely resembles an aviation museum than airport. There is a ton of stuff to do there, from flight simulators to massive observation decks. The shopping and dining areas are also really Japanese-centric, and the decor is spot on. Interestingly, I have never flown out out of Haneda. I only went there for dinner while in Japan earlier this year.

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5. What was the best flight experience you have ever had in your life?
Does it have to be on an airplane? Because I think my favorite flight experience would be the helicopter tour over Hong Kong I did back in 2013. I sat in the left seat up front as we took off from the roof of the famous Peninsula Hotel. It was totally James Bond style. If helicopters don’t count, then it would be when I hitched a ride on the delivery flight of a Fiji Airways Airbus A330. After the long flight from Los Angeles, we did a low altitude tour of all the islands of Fiji. It was amazing.
6. Do you have a points & miles strategy, or do you not stay loyal to one airline or hotel specifically?
Honestly, I really don’t have a points or miles strategy. I’m not specifically loyal to any one airline or brand, and I don’t have any airline or hotel status that maters. I fly too many random airlines to build up enough points on any one.
7. While I love aviation, I actually enjoy NYC Subways & railroads a tad bit more. Do you have a favorite NYC Subway car, or do you dislike the New York City Subway System? (I was always an R40 fan growing up)
I love riding the NYC subway system. I’m a huge public transit fan, and I make sure I take public transit as much as I can when traveling. In New York, my favorite type of subway car is probably the R32. They’re the oldest in the fleet and are way over their expected lifespan. They’re old, but they just refuse to die. They’re not packed with high tech things like automated announcements or dynamic destination signs, but that may be the appeal

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8. I can’t do an interview with an aviation fan without asking him or her what their favorite airplane is, but mine changes regularly. Do you have a favorite or a personal experience with a type of plane?
If I had to pick just one airplane, it would probably be the Airbus A380. It’s just massive, and doesn’t look like it should be capable of flight. It’s extremely comfortable in every class of service, and lets airlines get really creative with the space available. I just wish more airlines would purchase them. My favorite A380 experience is just when I spent 9 hours of a 12 hour Emirates flight at the bar. What other aircraft lets you do that?
9. Fun Question: If you had to fly one airline (and it’s codeshare/alliance partners) for the rest of your life using only it’s routes. Which airline would it be and why?
Opening this question to codeshare and alliance partners really makes this easy. I would pick United because its route network is the most impressive of the big three U.S. airlines, and they have so many partners that I might not every actually need to fly them!
10. Any experiences at Citi Field, the home of the Mets? There are amazing views of LGA landings at Citi, although they can be distracting…..
Although I do miss Shea Stadium (I sat in an obstructed view seat at game 4 of the 2000 World Series), Citi Field is a fantastic place. It has such a real ballpark feel to it. I’m a Yankee fan (sorry), but I’d rather watch a game at Citi Field every day of the week. And yea, sometimes those low flying planes get a bit distracting. That’s ok, though. I can multitask.

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11. Lastly…. Any predictions for the World Series this year?
As I said, I’m a Yankee fan. So far, it’s not looking like our year. Can I leave it at that?
Once again, the aviation fan evades the baseball predictions question…. but this was an amazing interview and I’d love to thank Jason again for answering some of the questions here. When I promote this, I’ll try not to use a 90’s picture of a Northwest Airlines DC-9 taxing. (And if you don’t get that joke, follow @AirlineFlyer on Twitter, SnapChat and all that jazz)
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Next week on The Plus in Mets Plus, we shift gears to a different element that can be seen throughout Citi Field: Cuisine.
Stay tuned for that and more on MetsPlus!

NYCFC to play their Season Finale at Citi Field

I have  little interest in soccer, but if I didn’t have work on that Saturday, I would make my way to Queens for this one. 

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Due to preparations for potential Yankees Postseason games, Yankee Stadium, the home the still relatively new MLS club, NYCFC (which is not the name of a bank or some elaborate gym, it stands for New York City Football Club) will not be available for soccer use, and will instead turn to Citi Field for their last home game of their regular season.

For what it’s worth, the club is 16-9-8, and has already clinched a spot in the MLS Playoffs, as have the opposition, the Columbus Crew, so you’d be watching good soccer.

The game will be held this upcoming Saturday at 4pm, and, in typical Mets fashion, nothing will be easy in the ticketing process. There are multiple release dates, depending on how loyal you are to either the NYCFC Club or the Mets. Season ticket holders of the Mets will be able to purchase their tickets tomorrow at 2pm, while general ticket seekers will have to wait until Tuesday in order to grab a seat. Here are the seating charts and various price points:

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#ThePlusInMetsPlus: Review of the Cooper Inn (Part 2)

Last time, on #ThePlusInMetsPlus, we were introduced to the Cooper Inn, the beautiful downtown inn in the heart of Cooperstown, New York. 

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Today, I’m going to finish the review, and give my final thoughts. 


The room itself was nice, and the views were even better. As previously mentioned, we got a front facing suite, thanks to Kenneth, and it was extremely cozy and welcoming.

The breakfast set-up was very nice in the morning. While it was described as a continental breakfast, it offered way more than just the basics. Waffles, fruits and an array of pastries and grains were on offer, and there was an impressive selection of juices and teas were as well.

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The service was also very charming, and attentive to any needs. The one main issue was the coffee. Instead of a typical drip coffee machine, they had single service Keurig coffee, which broke down every five minutes, which drew the attention of the attendant.

So, what are my final thoughts?

Well, the Cooper Inn is a beautiful small inn to stay at when in Cooperstown. Unlike it’s big brother, the Otesaga, it is open year-round, and has great deals compared to the Otesaga (mid-week rates start in the low $100s during the late Fall, with Breakfast and the Evening Wine service included).

That being said, if Cooperstown is a once-in-a-lifetime destination, then I recommend staying at the Otesaga. The Cooper Inn is a fantastic historical property, but there is so much glamour and intrigue at the Otesaga, that it would be a shame to not stay there during your trip.

 

Mets Purchase the Syracuse Chiefs Triple-A Franchise

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In what is being called a “Home Run for Central NY”, we have one of the most logistically smart moves the Mets have made in a long time. The Mets have purchased the Syracuse Chiefs, a community-owned team which is the Triple-A Affiliate of the Washington Nationals, and will move their Triple-A base to Syracuse from Las Vegas in 2019.

The move will bring the Mets Triple-A affiliate back to New York for the first time since 2012, when the Buffalo Bisons were the Mets Triple-A affiliate.

While it’s un-certain what the Washington Nationals are going to do, there is every chance they will get stuck with the Las Vegas 51s, and be forced to have the five hour trip to call someone up.

Overall, this is a great move for the Mets from a convenience standpoint, and a to-be-seen move for the city of Syracuse. Obviously, we expect the Washington Nationals esc-navy and red color theme to turn more Mets like, maybe even with Orange, an important color in Syracuse.

Do you think the Syracuse Chiefs will undergo a brand refresh, including a name change? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @NikoMetsPlus. 

#ThePlusInMetsPlus: Review of the Cooper Inn (Part 1)

One of the most unique challenges of a trip to Cooperstown is lodging. Outside of the CVS Pharmacy and Price Chopper Supermarket, there are virtually no chain establishments in the entire town.

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So, when you look for a place to stay, you are limited to smaller bed and breakfasts, a few inns, or the stunning Otesaga Resort hotel on the water. Unfortunately, while the Otesaga is a much visit, it’s not always the most affordable, and is typically fully booked on prime weekends.

However, there is one other property that is the perfect mix of the both. Located right in the heart of downtown, the Cooper Inn, combines the quaintness of a smaller inn and the professionalism and reliability of the Otesaga.

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We arrived at about 12pm, and noticed construction work being prepared on the left side of the property, which limited the parking spaces to just four or five. It is worth noting that parking is available on the street, but it is obviously more convenient to park in the dedicated lot.

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We checked in at the beautiful lobby; the check-in desk is at the other side of the entrance, albeit with a strange arrangement. The computer (where the gentleman, Kenneth, processed our check-in) is hidden behind the staircase, for whatever reason, so when they take your credit card and identification, they have to go to “the back” to process it.

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We were given the choice of two rooms, one rear facing and once slightly larger front facing. After we selected the latter, we were told that we would have to come back later as the room is being serviced, which was understandable considering our early arrival.

After grabbing some lunch in the town, we arrived back to check-in. All guests receive 10% of dinner vouchers for the Otesaga’s two main restaurants, the Hawkeye and the Glimmerglass, as well as a 50% off breakfast coupon for the Otesaga. In the Cooper Inn was an evening wine service, a red and a white from the Otesaga’s private label.

The room itself was very pleasant, it featured a little nook (a very small balcony) and three beds, one main room with a Queen and a Twin, and a smaller room with a Twin. In between the two rooms was the bathroom.

In Part 2, we look at Images of the Room, the Breakfast situation, and my Final Thoughts. 

 

 

 

#MetsPlus360: A look into a Mets Gameday