Results tagged ‘ #LGM ’

My fear with the 2017 New York Mets

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The Mets are heading into Texas to play a two game series with the Rangers, and for the first time in a while, I actually enjoyed Monday’s off day. Call me crazy, but there was something enjoyable about not watching four hours of disappointment and realization that this team that was destined to get to the World Series is a 24-31 team with a 15% chance at a Wild Card.

Sure, not every team that is built to win pulls through, but in the two short months of the Major League Baseball season, one can’t help but feel the lifeless atmosphere that surrounds this team. There is little chemistry, anything that can go wrong seemingly is going wrong, and despite the upcoming remedies in Seth Lugo and Steven Matz for the rotation, and Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup, there is this odd feeling that’s being emitted from the ballclub that none of these players will be the solution.

And in early June, two weeks away from my high school graduation, my greatest fear is creeping closer and closer, one that hasn’t prevailed since 2009, which, in all of it’s simple glory, is boredom.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post called the Mets “suckers”, talk radio is ripping the team to shreds, and frankly, I don’t want to listen to all of the negativity. Unfortunately, one of the key obligations of being a true fan is listening to it. I have to be there at Citi Field watching Neil Ramirez give up run after run, but the passion is being drained.

When watching the game changes from the enjoyable part of the day to an obligation simply because you’re a fan, the passion thins out considerably. And, I’m not saying bad baseball is always un-enjoyable. Every Met team from 2010-2014 finished in the bottom of the NL East but the storylines and likability of the players and the idea that the players are devoted to making things better made you want to stick around and commit to the players in return.

The 2017 Mets, at least so far, have not evoked a similar reaction to me. Every story line is depressing, players are putting themselves before the team, and there is a lack of leadership that is so evident.

So, sure, promote Amed Rosario, promote Dominic Smith and add the injured reinforcements, but unless something major changes to create a new culture, fans are going to change the channel real quick, if they haven’t already.

Hurry up, Mets, the sun is setting fast.

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.

Asdrubal Cabrera’s Opening Day Status is in Limbo

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One of the key additions to the Mets this season was the signing of credible shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, however, he is the victim of the first injury of the Spring. According to the New York Times, will visit with the Mets’ medical staff and get an injection of platelet-rich plasma to speed healing, General Manager Sandy Alderson said. Cabrera, who agreed to a two-year, $18.75 million contract in the off-season, said he might get a second magnetic resonance imaging test.

Cabrera got injured in yesterday’s Cardinals vs Mets exhibition game, as he was diagnosed with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee after running the bases. He is expected to “remain idle” for two weeks and is questionable for Opening Day.

Mets bringing back Racing Stripes as a Sunday alternate

Mets, swapping Camo for 86 Racing Stripes was the best thing you ever did.

According to the Mets official press release, “The 1986 Mets made an indelible mark on the baseball and New York sports scene, capturing the hearts of fans like few other teams,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “This 30th anniversary celebration provides our fans a way to re-connect their excitement to the historic achievements of 1986.”

If your itching to buy one, (or to stop reading this post) you can buy one at the MLB.com Fanatics Shop HERE.

Now, this is a great idea that the Mets had. Along with 1986 Weekend and Piazza Weekend, we can finally see the Mets are honoring and commemorating their roots.

The only issue I can see with the racing stripes jerseys are that they are going to look a bit ugly this year, considering MLB is adding a “tucked in” feature to the lower backs of their authentic uniforms, and, as always they have to be 100% authentic, which means the “tuck in” (which fans are dubbing the “diaper”) looks band “un-tucked”. Here’s what it looks like, according to UniWatch.

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Buy and large I love the throwbacks. I might just get one, and you should too. It’s the thirtieth anniversary of the 86 Mets, and hopefully this year we will be raising a World Series trophy, just like the guys did thirty years ago.

 

My thoughts on Terry Collins

I’ve been a Mets fan since 2006. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I’m only 15. It’s fair to say that a good portion of my day is consumed by the New York Mets. My entire evening is, six to seven days a week, and I spend a good amount of time reading my favorite Mets blogs out there, like Just Mets, Mets Merized, Mets Blog ESPN, Amazin Avenue, MetsBlog.com, and plenty others. And, of course, I have MetsPlus, which I devote a fair amount of time in to every day. Buy and large, the Mets are my team, and I’ve wholeheartedly invited them into a huge portion of my life. Since I’ve been a Mets fan, we’ve never been satisfied with a manager. Willie Randolph? People liked him in 2006, but the collapse of 2007 doomed him, I was surprised he was allowed back in 2008. Jerry Manuel was smart, but once the Mets moved into Citi, and the pieces didn’t come together, he too was doomed. Then came  Terry Collins, the man who has received more criticism then any Mets manager in a long time, and, come to think of it, a lot of it is justified.

My wise friend Shannon from MetsPolice.com wrote this amazing article before the Mets May collapse, talking about how the Wilpons got a “taste” of winning, and that the 11 game win streak could ultimately lead to Collins demise, and it could make them more anxious to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade. I have to agree with Shannon on both of those fronts, for the former, I agree with him because I personally believe that Collins can be held accountable for the Mets slump as of late. Lets take a look at the Mets lineups. Ruben Tejada has somehow made his way into five of the last seven games starting lineups, despite batting an abysmal 205. Why is that? Why was Juan Lagares not batting leadoff, like he was all of Spring Training? If the Mets hadn’t had such a successful April, I believe there would be a much bigger debate on that. John Mayberry Jr and Kirk Nieuwenhuis have seven combined hits, double that number for one hitter and you still have an unsuccessful bench player.

The Mets have a lot of problems. And we are only half way through the list.

Why is Curtis Granderson looking to walk in situations that call for a big hit? A 235 batting average is completely unacceptable for a man that has only hit three home runs and is payed $16 million dollars to do so. Why is it that Wilmer Flores makes an error in almost every game? Since MLB is the world’s biggest stage, you are telling me that Wilmer Flores is in the world’s list of 25 greatest shortstops? No, he isn’t, not even close.  Why has Daniel Murphy, Citi Field’s most consistent hitter, been bounced around in the lineup, and why was he benched on Thursday to accommodate Tejada, when the Mets had two days off the week prior? Where is Michael Cuddyer? Was he really getting a boost from Colorado, and is he ever going to hit above 250 again? When the Mets pitchers begin to slump, who is going to take charge? How many times are the Mets going to postpone David Wright’s date of resuming the slightest baseball activity? And finally, and most importantly why is it that Las Vegas, managed by acclaimed manager Wally Backman, maintains a league best 24-12 record, despite it’s roster being bounced around and being decimated to accommodate the MLB roster. Why is it that a lot of players happen to preform well under Wally Backman, but struggle under Collins? Well, one answer is that it’s the difference of AAA to MLB, but I think it’s something more, remember D’Arnaud last year? His problem was fixed the moment he went down to AAA. Are the #FireTerry guys right, and should we bring Backman here ASAP?

Well, let me truly scare Mets fans. Let’s say Backman comes up tomorrow after Collins screws up tonight’s game. Then, hypothetically, let’s say the Mets continue to slide after Backman is recruited. That will send Mets fans into total panic mode. But that could happen if Collins gets fired. The answer is simple. The Mets need to stop being stand-patters and become buyers, now. And when I say now, I mean before the Cardinals leave New York, and preferably before. The Mets have first place now, and they might not before the end of today, May 16th. We might be looking at a 15 month wait if the Mets don’t take urgent action. The blame does have to fall on the coach, but you also need good players. Operation Flores was a fail, and Cuddyer and Granderson have been as well. If I was the GM, I would get a big name in here, as well as Wally Backman. The Time is now for the New York Mets, they are blessed with great pitching, and it is a disgrace that they don’t back it up with proper hitting. I’ve never been so upset with this franchise, but I hope you believe that my reasons are justified.

Zack Wheeler in Opening Day consideration

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Zack Wheeler is in the running for the Opening Day nod. With him are Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and probably Matt Harvey. I would like to see the NL ROY get the start, but I feel like Harvey is going to get it, just because he wants it more than anyone else. Harvey vs Scherzer would be better than Wheeler vs Scherzer, but, then again, we have all of Spring Training before we can even get a list of candidates, so let’s take a step back……

Column: Trade Travis d’Arnaud and promote Kevin Plawecki

Kevin Plawecki is knocking on the Citi Field door, and the Mets can’t keep the door locked for too much longer. Plawecki tore up AA/AAA in 2014, hitting 11 homeruns and 64 runs batted in. Also, Kevin’s defense in very strong. Travis d’Arnaud struggled to avoid throwing the ball into the outfield.

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Travis d’Arnaud’s 2014 season was a very odd one. He started the season extremely cold. The season was going so bad that he got demoted in May. Luckily, Wally Backman restored confidence and d’Arnaud re-bounded to have a very productive second half. Eventually, one of the catchers are going to go. Which one will it be? While its hard to decide, I bet d’Arnaud will get the boot, but for a hefty price. You could trade Travis and Niese for Castro. But that honestly seems like giving up to much, however if d’Arnaud is the only proven player that we give up, it’s too little. Montero fits the bill as that second guy. Montero is sub-par pitcher with limited major league experience. While no deGrom, Montero will get the Castro deal done.

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Peppermlb.mlblogs.com is now MetsPlus.com

Great News! Peppermlb.mlblogs.com has a new domain! It’s Metsplus.com ! This is in a effort to convert the Pepper Mets Blog brand to the new Mets Plus. Nothing besides the name will change. We will be officially changing the name of the blog onNovember 12th 2014.

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Thank you so much for reading the new Mets Plus!