February 2018

I’m In Florida for Spring Training, but There is a Caveat…..

….. I’m sick.

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And it’s a shame too. I’m thinking back at all those Winter days where I had nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs, when I was 100% healthy, and now, when I want to enjoy the warm air and the breeze, I’ll be watching the game under the weather.

Of course, I had been extremely lucky over the years. There have only been a few instances when I’ve gotten sick at a bad time, and I really can’t control it beyond washing my hands as much as I can, so I’m really just out of luck.

I’m still going to be going to the game tomorrow and the day after that, but I won’t be enjoying it as much, which is a shame for me, and a shame for the blog. Hopefully this is just one of those common colds that goes away in 24 hours (which I’ve gotten before) and not something more.

Anyway, I’m here, and I’ll be tweeting during the game tomorrow (@NikoMetsPlus) and posting a recap afterwards, so watch out for that!

Club Mets 2018 Memberships Available

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Since 2016, I’ve been a Club Mets member. The membership has cost $19 since I joined, and while there are a lot of pointless benefits, you do get two complementary tickets for any non-Saturday non-Opening Day game. So, if you use the ticket voucher wisely, that easily negates the $19 price tag, so a membership, in my opinion, is worth it.

This year, there is going to be a slight change for the Club Mets membership, instead of one membership, there will be two “tiers” of memberships. The regular membership, called the “Standard” membership, will cost $19.95, and will include all the basic amenities of the membership and will include Gameday Audio.

Additionally, there will be a brand new “Club Mets with At Bat Premium” level. This will include everything included in the standard level and a free At Bat subscription, for only ten bucks more at $30.95.

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I truly believe that the membership is worth it. You get a Citi Field Scoreboard message and two tickets, which is pretty much all you’ll get for the $19. I will renew for the $19 standard membership, as I already have MLB.TV.

If you do not have a Club Mets membership, I’d recommend getting one here.

WATCH: Johan Santana Pitches a Shutout in the Penultimate Game at Shea

Leaving David Wright out of the equation, there is no one that I wish we would’ve seen more of than Johan Santana. The lefty ace, who is responsible for the Mets lone no-hitter, a warm June night in 2012, is still a cult hero in New York, and in Minneapolis, where he pitched for the first eight years of his career.

Surprisingly, though, the no-hitter with the famous asterisk is not my favorite Johan start in a Mets uniform. That honor goes to game 161 of the 2008 season, what would be the final weekend in the history of Shea Stadium.

With their backs against the wall, the Mets went out and gave the ball to Santana on three days rest, and, well, this happened:

Mets Baseball is Back!

Well, Spring Training at least.

If anyone else had the day off like me, you probably spent it indoors, away from the terrible weather, pretending like you were down in Florida, while listening to Gary, Keith and Ron call the game from Port St. Lucie.

Sure, Wheeler only pitched one (good) inning, random players that you’d never heard of took over in the fifth inning, but you can’t help but feel good to see the uniform come out of hibernation. It’s the first real tangible sign that baseball season is here, even if the weather outside tells you otherwise.


 

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Robles, Oswalt, Flexen, Wheeler and more all pitched, in fact, Oswalt was the only pitcher to get more than three outs.

On the offensive side, there was nothing really noteworthy, other than the debut of Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez and a nice applause during a Wilmer Flores at-bat.

Sure, the Mets won, but I was enjoying the game from all aspects, and while the shock factor will be gone tomorrow, I’m looking forward to getting back at it tomorrow with another game.

Of course, I’m super hyped for later this week, when I’ll be heading on down to Spring Training to cover a few things. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @NikoMetsPlus for more exciting coverage.

 

Spring Training Games Begin…. Tomorrow!

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Wow, that went quick.

All of a sudden, we are face to face with the Grapefruit League schedule.

First pitch? Tomorrow, at 1:10pm EST.

Starting for the Mets is Zack Wheeler, and around seven of the starting nine in the lineup are guys that will get considerable playing time this year, so it should be an entertaining game.

Like always, I’m looking forward to hearing the familiar voices of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, and the excellent SNY theme song. After all those nice little details (and a few innings) are in the books, my mind starts floating to March 29th, or Opening Day.

Of course, I will be going down to Spring Training in less than a week, so I’ll be getting a nice little preview of the beautiful weather and atmosphere tomorrow.

Will you be watching SNY tomorrow afternoon?

WATCH: David Wright on Wanting to Play

Mets make Slight Alteration to 2018 Uniforms

Back in November, the Mets (as well as the rest of Major League Baseball) announced the new caps that will be worn for all non-regular season game events (Spring Training, Batting Practice, etc.)

I even wrote a blog entry about it, which you can check out here.

Well, I was fairly confident that we were done with the modifications for the 2018 Mets uniforms, but it turns out there is one additional change that no one seems to notice, and it involves the batting practice (3/4’s) jersey.

Last year, the uniforms were introduced league-wide, with some teams putting names and numbers on the back, and some others using some alternate combination. For the Mets, they chose to leave the names off the jersey, but also include the numbers on the side of the jerseys.

This year, the Mets have removed the number off the back of the uniform as well, which leaves the back of the jersey empty, with the side being the sole location of the numbers.

What are your thoughts of the alteration? Let me know down below or on Twitter @NikoMetsPlus

Sights and Sounds: Spring Training Edition

If you haven’t already, I’d highly suggest subscribing to SNY’s YouTube page. They’ve been producing videos that have been making me want to call the airlines and have them switch my ticket to tomorrow (even if I’m under the weather).

There is something so calming about the sound of snap of a catcher’s glove, all while seeing palm trees wave in the background. It’s essentially the baseball version of the sirens from Greek mythology.

While I’m not down there to see camp through my own lens, there does seem to be a new mentality that Eiland and Callaway are directing. Even small things like letting the players wear shorts during batting practice shows how the coaching staff is trying to make player-friendly moves.

How are you feeling about the players’ mentality early on this Spring? 

My Spring Training Plans Revealed!

Finally! The news that everyone has been waiting for this offseason has come out. After months of lobbying from the fanbase, we finally know……

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….. that I’m going to Spring Training later this month.

(** crickets **)

Ok, so, maybe this is totally meaningless to you, but like I usually do around the beginning of the Spring Training, I announce that I’m heading down to Port St. Lucie, to bask in the sun, hear the snap of the mitt and the crack of the bat, and just enjoy some Baseball.

It’s the definition of hope springs eternal, and I look forward to it all offseason.

This year, however, I want to make my Spring Training trip slightly more engaging. I’m thinking about using the new Instagram function Instagram Stories. Most of the readers of MetsPlus come from Twitter, but I feel like I should probably expand over to Instagram, since it’s more informal, and that’s what I’m going to be sharing from Port St.Lucie, more images, less words. Not a trend I like, but one that fits the bill for Spring Training.

Are any of you heading down to Florida to watch some Exhibition Baseball? 

Best Case Scenario, Where Does David Wright wind-up?

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Picture this: The Mets have signed Frazier, and plan for him to be in the hot corner for the next two years. David Wright, who now no longer has the pressure of being the everyday third baseman, performs well in Spring Training, and is healthy enough to start the year with the Mets. Not only that, he gets off to a hot start.

What do you do?

Sure, there is a lot, and I mean A LOT of wishful thinking here. The chances of Wright being ready to break camp with the Mets is probably less than 15%, and the chances of him preforming well are even less.

That being said, this is Baseball, and David Wright is still the captain, so what would you do?

Surely a captain with a resume as big as David Wright’s wouldn’t rot on the bench if he deserved playing time, would he?

Well, there is a precedent to this.

You may remember Jason Vartiek, a life-long Red Sox catcher, and the last ever captain to  wear a “C” on his chest. Varitek, like Wright, was beloved by home town fans, and, after the Red Sox went out and signed Victor Martinez in 2010, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2011, Varitek stayed aboard as the backup, guiding the pitching staff with his words of wisdom, and when his contract was up, he announced his retirement.

Now, will David Wright stay with the Mets for another four years? Probably not, but it isn’t a crazy idea for him to be that clubhouse leader, or player/manager type guy. Of course, a clubhouse leader is not worth 20 million, but if he is determined to stick around, I firmly believe he will always have a place on the Mets roster.