Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

UniformLineup.com Mets May 2018 Uniform Recap

First, let’s take a look at the graphic provided by UniformLineup.com:

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Here is a breakdown of the Mets March/April uniforms:

  • Home White Pinstripes: 14 games out of 28.  Paired with Primary cap.
  • Blue Home Alternate: 1 game out of 28. Paired with Home Alternate Cap
  • Road Grey: 8 games out of 28.  Paired with Primary cap.
  • Road Blue Alternate: 2 games out of 28  paired with Road Alternate cap.
  • Holiday: 3 games out of 28 (Memorial Day)

And here is a breakdown of the Mets March/April Caps:

  • Primary Mets cap: 22 games out of 28
  • Home Alternate cap: 1 games out of 28
  • Road Alternate cap: 2 game out of 28
  • Holiday Cap: 4 games out of 28 (One Mother’s Day; Three Memorial Day)

Mets get Swept by Atlanta, Time for (Some) Heads to Roll.

Nelson sums up Mets fans’ frustrations pretty well there.

deGrom, once again, pitched well through 7 innings, giving up only one run, and lowering his league-leading ERA from 1.57 to 1.55.

Of course, credit has to be given to Braves 20 year old starter (and fellow Canadian) Mike Soroka, who pitched 6 no-hit innings, before giving up a very soft infield hit to Michael Conforto.

The offense, though, had absolutely nothing going for them. In the field, the team looked flat footed, and the Braves were running all over them. The Mets have now lost or split their sixth straight series, and there is virtually no one on the horizon to come in and save the team.

Beyond that, the ubiquitous 11-1 start has disintegrated to the point where we are 8.5 games behind the first-place Braves, and are seven games below five hundred.

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So what should the Mets do?

Well, for one thing, Callaway isn’t going to be fired today, tomorrow, or any time this year.

However, Mickey is under the microscope. He has made some truly dumb in-game decisions, refused to take accountability for plays that he has put on, and hasn’t been able to motivate his team after countless pleas to the press for patience.

Mickey might not get fired today, but his lack of leadership might limit him in terms of the length of his tenure. In other words, Mickey Callaway might not be the next Mike Scioscia.

That turns the spotlight on the coaching staff, whom collectively have little to no National League experience.

Gary DiSarcina, the bench coach with experience exclusive to the American League (who forgot to double switch yesterday after Mickey’s ejection) will probably stay with the team though the end of the year, unlike Pat Roessler, who might have to go the way of Dave Hudgens, back in 2014.

If you have forgotten, Hudgens, the hitting coach back in 2014, was fired after a bad stretch back in 2014, and was replaced, which energized the team for a few days, before the fizzle continued.

Of course, this is pure speculation, any possibility could happen, all with some merit, but something, and I mean anything, has to happen. You can’t just keep on grinding it out and watch the team fall into the cellar. If you want to sell, do that, if you want to re-energize the team, make some changes at the top, and get things going.

 

Mets Cut Two, Add Two

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The Met career of Jose Reyes has finally come to an end.

Hold on, I’m being passed a note.


Well, after two months of joy and a free fall, the Mets are finally deciding to switch things up. Gonzalez is gone, and Lobaton (who wasn’t given much playing time, at all) has been designated for assignment.

In return, we will finally get to see what slimmed down Dom Smith has to offer, and journeyman Ty Kelly makes his return to Queens, after spending a good portion of last year in Philly.

Overall, these are the right moves. Gonzalez gave you two months of buffer time, but nothing was left in the tank there, and Lobaton had really become a square peg in a circular hole, so there was no reason to keep him on the roster.

Of course, the future of Jose Reyes is still up in the air, and the Conforto Triple-A rumors continue to swirl, so there is a lot to follow in the coming days.

 

The Subway Series Has Lost it’s Luster? I Don’t Think So….

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Yesterday, I went to a Subway Series game with one of my friends (who happens to be a Yankee fan). We were sitting up in section 516, a section typically dominated by Mets plan holders, but was instead taken over by Yankee fans, causal baseball fans, and the corporate “suits”.

The game was a pitchers duel, and a great one at that, with deGrom getting no run support (per usual), dealing through 7.2 IP, until he threw a flat curveball to Brett Gardner, who turned on it and drove it out of the park.

Immediately afterwords, I heard some of the worst language from fans (of any sport at any game) of the Yankees, which motivated me to tweet this out:

Now, don’t get me wrong, every team has a few bad apples, and I’ve seen Mets, Marlins and Rockies fans get ejected for bad taste in their language, or simply being inappropriate in a family atmosphere.

The problem with Friday nights game, however, was how the heckling wasn’t an isolated incident. All around me, there were people that should never be allowed in a ballpark, let alone consume a drink in one, and it ruined the gameday experience for me.

There was, however, one other effect this had on me. It renewed my deep rooted hatred for the men from the Bronx. I’ve always hated the Yankees, but I loathe their fanbase even more, and there was nothing I wanted to do more in the bottom of the ninth than to give the orange and blue a standing ovation after they walked it off, instead I got more trash talk from the intoxicated Yankee fans.

So, no, I don’t think the Subway Series has “lost it’s luster”. There is still something special about these games, and there always will be.

The Mets and Yankees, wether it be in a friendly exhibition game, or Game 7 of the World Series, will never go together, and nor should they.

 

 

Citi Field Facts, Figures and Thoughts

One of the most popular questions I get on a daily basis from Mets fans is what to do at Citi Field. While most fans live in New York, a lot of fans live outside of the Metropolitan area or simply do not have the time or the means to visit. So, I decided I would write a small post, a beginner’s guide of sorts, with some brief history, facts & figures, and my personal opinion on the stadium that is turning eight years old this April. 


The first thing I will say about Citi Field is how every fan has a different opinion on the stadium. Some fans hate the stadium, citing a plethora of Dodgers references, and some fans love the stadium, stating that it’s family friendly activities make it a great experience for a Sunday afternoon.

This is a trend among stadiums in the 2000s, starting with Oriole Park in Camden Yards, is the movement of “Retro Modern” stadiums, something Citi Field follows to a tee, where a stadium will look rustic and display heritage on the outside, but look pristine on the inside with all of the modern amenities.

One of the biggest examples of this is the facade, known as the Jackie Robinson Rotunda:

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Like the title suggests, this rotunda, designed by POPULOUS (or HOK Sport like many call it), is designed after the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Some of Jackie Robinson’s best quotes and pictures are adorned inside a replica of the Dodgers fifth and most popular stadium, Ebbits Field.

So why is this entrance criticized so heavily? Well, Citi Field is the home of the Mets, not the Dodgers. When you walk into Citi Field, a lot of Mets fans would have preferred statues of Tom Seaver and Keith Hernandez, even the press has written about it at length.

And while the Mets haven’t added statues yet, they did listen in 2010, when, one year after the ballpark’s first game, they opened a “Mets Hall of Fame and Museum” with commemorative plaques, jerseys and even the World Series trophy.

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Another tactic the Mets have done to try to make the outside more Mets centric is the addition of fanwalk bricks, which is very cool to see in practice, as I’d much rather see quotes from Mets fans than Geico advertisements,  but is very costly for the fan.

Moving inside the stadium, we see another new ballpark trend. Team Stores. Two, to be exact, less than 50 steps from the entrance. This no-frills tactic, where you don’t pay much on a ticket, but are forced to pay a lot for merchandise and concessions is a truly brilliant move. If you are a fan that wants to watch the game and nothing else, you can buy a ticket for $6 dollars, and enjoy the game. If you want to have fun with your family, you can enjoy all of the concessions and fun games at Fan Fest (currently called Send In The Clowns Fan Fest, but that always changes….) like dunk tank, a fast pitch game and event  virtual simulator. Additionally, young fans can run the bases after Sunday Home Games (known as the Mr.Met Dash), which is extremely fun for the little ones, and is another example of how teams are becoming more accessible and interested in “opening up” their stadium. Ten or twenty years ago, when ballparks were considered “sacred” a post game dash would never be allowed.

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Another ballpark staple is food, and Citi Field doesn’t disappoint there. The New York Post and other newspapers have often called Citi Field the best stadium in the world as far as eats, and I don’t disagree.

Last summer, MLB sent me to Citi Field to do a “Culinary Citi” feature. (Well, two actually…. I like ballpark food) And, I completely understand why people feel this way.

From Blue Smoke to Fuku to PRESSED, to Taqueria to Shake Shack (where people will miss 3 innings of a game just to get a milkshake) there are nearly infinite options for dining. Fans that want an elevated dining experience can dine at the Porsche Grille with excellent stadium views or the Pat La Frieda Chop House (again, it’s officially called the Pat La Frieda Chop House presented by Delta Airlines, but, I fly United, so I don’t mention that.)

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While the food at Pat La Frieda’s looks good, I kind of question the idea of an indoor steakhouse at a Baseball field, but, I digress.

The actual baseball field has evolved as well (and yes, it’s very ironic that we have made it so far in a ballpark review without actually talking about the field), in 2009 the left field wall and parts of the right field walls was 16 feet high, which is double the size of a standard fence, eight feet high. Another criticism in the wall was the color of the wall.

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The above picture was taken in 2009. The black wall, a reversal from the Blue wall from the Mets previous home, Shea Stadium, was met with a lot of condemnation. In fact, the only similarity between the fields were the orange flag poles, something unique to the Mets.  Because of that, the Mets have changed the dimensions of Citi Field three times, in 2010, 2012 and in 2015.

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Today, the wall is Blue, and has two interesting areas in the space between the old fences and the new fences, both of which offer un-parralled views of the stadium, come with free food and drinks, and come with a hefty price tag.

Another thing that Citi Field improved on with the new fences was their capacity, which is technically 41,922, but is actually over 42,000 when you consider club level seating. The record attendance was the sole All-Star Game that the Mets hosted in 2013. In that mid-summer classic, 45,186 went through the turnstiles, which included a lot of standing room tickets, something the ballpark was meant to include.

Another feature of the stadium that is ultra fan-friendly (and great for fans like me that still keep score in a old fashioned scorebook) are these new ginormous Daktronics boards:

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These boards feature all of the statistics one could ever want, from batting average to WAR+, and yes, that is a baseball term.

Off the field, Citi Field hosts a lot of events through their Metropolitan Hospitality Division. A corporation that is owned by the Mets, and one that I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with in the past.

Some of these events include Tours, the Bacon + Beer Classic, The Color Run, various concerts and most notably the Meadows Concert, which, while it might have been fun for spectators, created quite a problem for the Queens Ballpark Company, which is the  company that owns Citi Field; and my hunch is the Meadows will be canned or re-located after this upcoming year.

Simply put, Metropolitan Hospitality does everything, from a birthday party to a lacrosse tournament, which, while un-conventional for a baseball stadium, is better than having the stadium stay closed all winter.

So, we’ve touched on all the elements of Citi Field. Most everything is positive, and all of the negatives have been rectified, but here’s the interesting thing. I personally wish Citi Field wasn’t built. 

I know, I know, that’s crazy, but I’ll explain.

Citi Field is infamous for being funded with $615 Million Dollars in Public Subsidies, and is privately owned. Furthermore, New Yorkers don’t have any attachment to something that they payed for, something that is very different from a lot of privately owned stadiums.

Citi Field was made without the fans input, and the owners paid for that. Attendance was very low the first few years, despite good transportation options with un-limited parking, the New York City Subway and the Long Island Rail Road. Many people were outraged by the lack of “Mets” in the ballpark, instead featuring nods to the Brooklyn Dodgers, the favorite team of Mets owner Fred Wilpon when he was a child.

Additionally, many people took objection to the naming rights deal, which was given to CitiCorp for $20 million dollars per year, the first major sports team in New York to have such a deal. T-Shirts were made reading “I’m Calling It Shea!”, and were worn by popular figures, like Jonathan Lethem, during occupy Wall Street.

Yes, Citi Field has grown on me, and has grown on many other fans, and I do realize that some children, teenagers and even adults need alternate forms of entertainment during a baseball game, citing the game is too slow, but there was something nice about Shea Stadium, a classic ballpark and a real marvel of it’s time.

It was no beauty, but with a renovation, I think it could have been a better solution. At the end of the day, however, Citi Field is a beautiful ballpark, and, you don’t even have to like baseball to attend a game, but wether or not that’s a good thing is something that has been bothering me ever since I walked into Citi Field for the first time in April of 2009. Unfortunately for me, owners have a different question nowadays: Wether or not an amenity is profitable.

Why I’m Not Interested in the MLB Draft

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Today is day one of the Major League Baseball first year player draft. The draft, which is ceremoniously held in MLB Network’s Studio 42 (the one that looks like a baseball field) every year, is a most interesting time for teams, who have meticulously planned out their future seasons from some of the scouting and legwork, all leading up to this draft.

The Mets alone have drafted David Wright, Ike Davis, Matt Harvey and Michael Conforto,  among others, in the first year draft since the turn of the century.

There has also been a fair share of duds in the first year player draft, like flamethrower Bradley Holt, Nathan Vineyard and Eddie Kunz.

It’s safe to say, like in the game of baseball itself, you win some, and you lose some. Basically, the MLB Draft is a strategic coin flip. 

And that’s the story. Don’t get me wrong, I think the draft is important, and I respect writers and fans that get really into it, but the implications of the Draft itself are not as important as the development of the player itself, unlike the draft in some other sports, where a player spends minimal time in minor leagues.

So, enjoy the draft. I’ll tune in for the Mets pick, and then quickly change the channel…

New Food Options at Citi Field: Raclette (Cheese Haus Sausage)

At the beginning of the year, in the “What’s New At Citi Field for 2018” event, the Mets unveiled some new food options for Citi Field.

As someone who likes ballpark food, I was looking forward to trying some of the new options from each of the vendors that premiered this Spring.

Getting There:

Raclette, the new Sausage joint in town, is located in the Promenade Level Food Court, next to the traditional Premio Sausages. To get there, simply take an escalator, staircase or elevator up to the top level, then head towards the food court behind home plate.

It’s easy to find with the signage located above the grill. The line is usually pretty short but moves rather slowly, and it isn’t covered, meaning it isn’t an ideal place to wait during inclement weather.

The Choices:

There are three options at Raclette, which can be further customized beyond the order.

There is the Alpine Bratwurst, without a doubt the most popular sausage, the Swiss Dog, essentially the same as the Alpine with a frankfurter replacing the sausage, and the Traditional.

I selected the Alpine Beat, with pickles. There are other toppings available upon request.

The Review:

First and foremost, this sausage is huge. I mean, absolutely huge.

This is one of those meals that tastes like a hidden gem when you first bite into it, and quickly realize that you’ll never finish it before your half way through, which makes for a disappointing feeling.

Everything is tasty, and reasonably priced, but it’s so huge that it fills you up so quickly. The silver lining is how premium the baguette is. It easily makes the sandwich, if the bread quality stays up, then it’s a good meal.

The Verdict:

Not bad for a new option. I expect this to stick around for a few years. 8/10

Mets Hire Two New Public Address Announcers; One Female!

 

 

This is very, very interesting news from the Mets.

After Alex Anthony (the longest tenured Mets PA Announcer, from 2003 until 2017) firing at the beginning of the year, it was PA Announcer Rob Rush who took over the helm as the voice of the stadium.

Rob’s voice was very similar to that of Anthony, and he had a similar style of voice. I had assumed that Rob would just slide in as the replacement, (he was previously the back-up) but he has now been reassigned, to make way for two brand new public address announcers, that will debut during this weekend’s Mets versus Cubs series.

The New York Mets today announced Marysol Castro and Colin Cosell as public address announcers for the 2018 season. Castro and Cosell will split duties for the team with Castro making her Citi Field debut tomorrow night and Cosell on Saturday night.

Castro will become the Mets’ first female public address announcer. She has spent the last two decades as a television journalist and host. Castro has previously worked at WPIX-TV, News 12 The Bronx and served as the weather anchor on Good Morning America for seven years. She has also anchored weather at CBS’s The Early Show and spent two years as a host and sideline reporter for ESPNCastro attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

First off, I think it’s absolutely phenomenal that the Mets are letting a female do the PA duties, and Cosell seems like a good fit as well; that being said, I’m curious to see how they are going to break up the time. It’s already a part-time gig, so breaking it up seems like an odd choice.

Also, was anything wrong with Rob Rush? I knew he was the interim to start, but is it really necessary to hire two new voices? I guess we will see this weekend…..

Exciting Opportunities With World Series Champion Art Shamsky!

This is very exciting news. Art Shamsky, a member of the 1969 World Series Champion Miracle Mets, author of “The Magnificent Seasons”, and an ambassador of the Israel Association of Baseball has very exciting opportunities for fans and supporters alike that want to learn more about the history and heritage from one of the game’s best players.

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Mr.Shamsky is available for many different engagements. From Motivational talks, to baseball clinics, to charity events, to personal appearances (how neat would it be to have the opportunity to take in a game with Art himself?)

A few years ago, I had a chance to interview Art Shamsky, and I understood why he was not only a good player, but also a humanitarian for the sport, which also became apparent after reading his first book, The Magnificent Seasons, which is available here.

More details can be found on ArtShamsky.com, or by emailing info@artshamsky.com.

My 2018 Triple-A ASG Tickets Have Arrived!

You know how some people have a day that symbolizes the first day of summer? For some, it’s Opening Day, for others, it’s Memorial Day, and some kick off summer with a personal day, like a birthday or an anniversary.

For me, it’s the day my tickets for the Triple-A All Star Game come in the mail.

For those that don’t know, I’ve been going to the Triple-A All Star Game since 2011, in Salt Lake City. The event has always been a staple of the summer, with many memorable moments, like Matt Harvey dominating in Buffalo back in 2012, or Amed Rosario’s speed in last year’s All-Star Game in Tacoma.

Well, this year the event is in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Columbus Clippers, who play their home games in Huntington Park, right in the heart of Columbus.

The tickets were on-sale as a three-pack bundle, including the Home Run Derby (which has been significantly modified this year), the All-Star Game, and the September National Championship game.

I ordered the tickets on Monday morning (it’s $75 for non-premium locations, and $90 for box seats and more premium locations.

To my shock, the tickets have already arrived at my doorstep, in this nice and big beige package:

Ready for the good news? All tickets this year are commemorative once again! I guess Columbus learned from the frustration of the fans in Tacoma, who printed out their tickets on regular old cardstock.

The tickets also come with a very descriptive schedule of events, and a lanyard to hold the tickets.

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Overall, this is a very nice presentation by the Clippers, and it’s a good omen for what should be a very fun summer event.

Of course, I’ll be providing a full preview, in-game coverage, and recap on the blog, and on Twitter @NikoMetsPlus.

Thanks to the Columbus Clippers for their work sending these tickets over so fast, I’m very impressed! If anyone else is going to the Triple-A All-Star Game, they can purchase tickets here