Results tagged ‘ Mets Plus ’

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!

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.

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.

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!