Long overdue Mike, you’ve been in my Hall of Fame for years. I look forward to a madhouse at Cooperstown this summer.
A poor weekend has led to the Nationals gaining a little ground in the NL East race going into what might be the biggest series of the year. The Mets would do well to put their foot down and not let the Nationals chip away at the lead and gain confidence.
This series will define how the rest of the season goes. If the Nats win it could start to be become a real race, but if the Mets win it’ll continue to be a ‘tread water and get games off the schedule’ month for the Mets. A 5+ game lead with only three more head to head is pretty substantial.
The Mets have struggled a little lately, but they’re also due to settle in again; especially the pitching. The Nationals got fat on Atlanta Braves pitching, but that’s almost the polar opposite of what they’ll face in this series. Cool those bats off and find ways to hit the Nationals pitchers. Mostly the Mets offense has been able to do that; capitalize on opportunity by putting up a lot of runs at once, and then hammering away at bullpens if they get the shot there.
The Washington Nationals are not that good. Winning this series keeps them with a big enough cushion that would make it nearly impossible to lose.
The Mets won on the field, and in the cooler. The beer selection at Citi Field is much improved, and last year was no slouch. While i was online the group behind me consisting of what I’d describe as an average Mets fan group of guys and girls was talking about the list and how they liked it. It’s always nice to be reminded just how far craft beer has penetrated into the norm. Citi Field is definitely keeping up with the times by not serving you the same boring hot dog with the same flavorless lager that might have been the norm even 10 years ago.
There still isn’t really a dark beer in the porter or stout sense, but there IS a dark beer. Upstate brewery makes a Kentucky Common Beer called Common Sense. This is a dark cream ale meant to be consumed fresh. It was the first beer I had when I walked through the doors to Citi Field, and it got my day started off right. Felt like a great ballpark beer, not too strong, some nice light roasted flavors and just a hint of hops. Think dark lager almost. Oh, and the can was pretty neat too.
Some IPAs, a few lagers, and a couple of fruit beers which I think is a nice addition. Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat is an excellent beer, and I had Great South Bay’s Blood Orange Pale later in the day. It’s a nice pale ale with a delicious blood orange kick to it. I like the additions of more New York breweries.
Worth noting is that the Empire Craft Beer stand in the Promenade Food Court–or as I call it, The Piazza–they have taps, and in this case Sixpoint Sweet Action, Blue Point Summer, Southern Tier Hop Sum and Oyster Bay’s Honey Ale.
Goose Island is everywhere, and this doesn’t just refer to Citi Field. Their ownership by Anheuser Busch-InBev gets them distributed to many places, including most ballparks. Usually that just means Honkers Ale, the 312 series, and IPA, but this year they’ve got two more. Matilda, a Belgian Pale, and Sofie, a Belgian Farmhouse, can be had at a few of the Goose Island stands around the park. They’re both excellent, well-regarded beers by Goose Island.
There is of course more to say, but those are the highlights. Check out the Citi Field Beer List for a little bit more breakdown.
I wrote up a beer review of Citi Field for BeerGraphs. Go check it out, it has maps.
It’s always fun to be able to chat about baseball in the middle of winter. There were autograph signings, mascots, panels with bloggers and Mets execs, great walk-off wins with Mark Simon who writes some great stuff for ESPN New York, an a host of other things. Trivia games, dunk tanks, and podcasts galore.
Here’s some pictures.
You can compare 2013 to 1973 all you want, but the only real similarities are that it’s 40 years later. The Mets miracle run in ’73 got a lot of help from the rest of the teams in the division; something that’s not happening this year. Right now the Braves are too far ahead for the division so that’s out. There are only three teams that they’d need to beat out for the Wild Card, but while the Nationals are catchable, they’d need the Diamondbacks to go 24-25 and the Reds to top that with 19-29 just to force a tie and that’s only if the Mets were able to able to go 30-20 to get to 82 wins.
Those things aren’t impossible, but they’re so unlikely it’s not something you can even dare hope for in early August. So what should we hope for?
Second place isn’t much, but it’s a step up over the last couple of seasons. If the Mets can finish strong, and there’s no reason to think they can’t, they can stay ahead of the Phillies and catch the Nationals who are only two wins ahead. It won’t be easy, as both teams do have some talent and equal ability to finish strong, but it’s something to shoot for. Any measure of improvement in the standings is a good sign.
Getting to .500 is another possible goal. They’d need to go 29-21 to do so. They’re 28-22 over their last 50 games, so that’s certainly doable too. Especially if Ike Davis continues to hit, and the rotation continues to dominate like it has. I think this is a bigger goal than just getting second place, because it says more about the Mets and less about the rest of the division. It also won’t happen if the Mets have a bad week or two where things fall apart, but perhaps the Mets of May, of Rick Ankiel and Collin Cowgill, are behind us.
Development. It’s clear the Mets have been evaluating guys all year, and while keeping Omar Quintanilla up instead of Ruben Tejeda makes little sense, the time they’re giving players like Eric Young Jr and Juan Lagares to really showcase what they can do is telling. Zack Wheeler is here now and starting to settle in, and Jenrry Mejia has looked good too. Jon Niese will return this weekend to prove that he can pitch with the slight tear in his shoulder and it’s creating a log-jam that necessitates a 6-man rotation. Travis d’Arnaud was just promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas and will probably make his Major League debut before too much longer. Wilmer Flores and Josh Satin are getting some playing time to prove they’re big league players.
Indeed the future is bright. The playoffs aren’t a realistic possibility this year, but have patience because things are certainly looking up.
And I’m right back out to Citi Field tonight and tomorrow. Here’s my rundown of the All-Star Game, with pictures!
My second actually. This is what I wrote about going to the game in 2006. I bought the tickets in Spring Training on a whim thinking maybe I could turn a little bit of a profit reselling them, but it wasn’t easy to resell a standing room only strip of tickets so the Sunday before we drove over to Pittsburgh.
Metspolice and The7Line have announced a plan to host something they’re calling The Queens Baseball Convention, which is basically an excuse to get together and celebrate baseball in Queens in a FanFest type environment. Metspolice invited people out to a bar last winter and gave away awards in a silly “Let’s get together and talk Mets” thing that was a lot of fun, so trumping it with this endeavor should be a blast.
Check it out while I try to fight off exhaustion from All-Star festivities to get some recap posts and pictures up.
Two more games with Pittsburgh that overlap with a full slate of Citi Field All-Star Week events. It’s going to be a blast. I’m going to all three events (And have been stuck with an extra ticket strip to them if you’re interested..) and am trying to work out how to enjoy FanFest. You can read about my previous experience at the 2006 All-Star Game here.
My fanFest tickets are for Monday and Tuesday, and I have to work, so I’m only getting 40 minutes at FanFest on Monday so that’l be a crazy whirlwind.
I will be attending the Parade/All-Star Game Red Carpet Show of players down 42nd street on Tuesday though, so keep an eye out on Twitter and here for some pictures of that. I passed over a sign on the ground yesterday that said it’d be on 42nd between 6th and 3rd avenues. Looks like it starts at 1pm, but I’ll have to figure out when Harvey and Wright are going to be passing by to time my lunch break correctly.
Sunday is the Futures game and it runs up against the Mets game, but I’ll have to miss one game to see future Mets Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Brandon Nimmo. I’ve never been to a futures game, am I supposed to root for one team over another? Am I allowed to boo Yankees and NL East prospects? I’m picking the U.S. to beat the World 9-5.
After that it’s the Celebrity Softball game, which should be good silly fun at least. You want predictions? Both Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza will homer. Rickey Henderson will steal a base.
Monday is the Home Run Derby. I know people have mixed feelings about a skills competition, and I do feel like it takes way too long, but there really is nothing like watching MLB stars absolutely crush baseballs live and in person. I considered standing, but there really isn’t any good spot to stand at Citi Field in home run territory. The bridge is probably the best and I’m sure it’ll be absolutely packed. I bet some lefties will hit it onto the Pepsi Porch concourse, but standers aren’t being allowed up there without a ticket. I’m predicting David Wright will launch a home run that will smack into the glass of the Acela club. Remember, the better David Wright does, the cheaper tickets are for the Phillies series next weekend.
The actual All-Star Game is Tuesday night. The beer selection is broken down here. The game in it of itself is basically a parade of All-Stars, and while I don’t really care who wins, I will enjoy watching my favorite players on the field playing a great sport. I’ll pick the National League to win 15-4. Why not?
Then comes what is perhaps the worst two days for sports because there is absolutely no games.
You should already be voting for David Wright for the All-Star Game, but you should also be voting for Brandon Nimmo to get the last spot in the Futures Game on the Sunday before. Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero will already be there representing the Mets.
Tonight starts the last home stand before the All-Star Game. It’s also Harvey day. Follow me on Twitter for some pregame batting practice pictures and anything else I random take during the game. I’ll be on the hunt for anything that may have showed up for the All-Star Game early..like any of this delicious food.