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.
I noticed this giant Apple in Grand Central Station during lunch today, only to discover it was part of something bigger. A Mets Apple Parade!
There are 35 apples around New York City, all in Manhattan sans the MLB All-Star Game apple that’s in front of Citi Field. There is one for each team, one for the National League, one for the American League and then two for the departed New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. (@fletch788 saw the Brooklyn one, also in Grand Central)
If you Instagram an apple, or 15 of them, you are entered to win a prize which may include World Series tickets.
My first instinct was obviously to look up where the Mets apple was, and fittingly it’s in front of/near the SNY offices, but when I got there it was nowhere to be found. Apparently they aren’t all set up yet. We’ll find out shortly if the one at Citi Field is there as the gates open in a couple of hours for tonight’s game. I was sort of hoping the Yankees apple was buried in a deserted alley somewhere, but no such luck; it’s just off Times Square. That may be fitting as Yankee Stadium closely resembles Times Square sometimes.
Some of the locations just seem odd though; why is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ apple way up at a T-Mobile in Harlem?
I’ve updated the Citi Field Beer List to reflect the changes I noticed on Opening Day.
Craft Additions: Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Kona Big Wave Golden Ale.
Craft Subtractions: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Magic Hat #9, Blue Point Cans.
Macro Additions: Redd Apple Ale. Third Shift Amber Lager, Budweiser Black Crown, Beck’s Sapphire.
This is a step back. The Bengali Ale is really nice, but the pushing of the more macro crafty imitations is poor when it seems to have come at the expense of some real beer. Still no dark beer to be seen.
I was very focused on baseball yesterday and haven’t gotten to do a full sweep of Citi Field or found my way into any of the clubs to see if there’s a hidden nugget. There are probably a couple of new additions I’ve missed, somewhere, and I’ll be back to find them.
Follow @Ceetar today while I share my observations and pictures from Opening Day.
Quick bullet point type list of things I”ll be scoping out today because I procrastinated this post and now it’s late.
Trackman thingy. I found this article very interesting, and am going to see if I can find the panel.
New Beer. Is there any new beer, and what is it?
New food. Most of the new food has been previewed some, but I’ll still be checking it out and getting a feel for what’s new.
There’s always new signs and kiosks and advertising. Subtle changes in the way Citi Field operates. I’m always interested in those things, the way the escalators run, how the security is behaving. That sort of thing.
Tailgate and Mets fan friends. Checking in with all the fun fans and bloggers that I rarely see anywhere but at Citi Field. It’s a new season, let’s have some fun!
And of course, most importantly, a Mets win! Let’s go Jon Niese!
We’ve got some World Baseball Classic games to keep us warm for now, but Opening Day is right around the corner. It’s staying lighter at night longer now, the weather is starting to warm a little, and baseball is less than three weeks away. It’s time to prepare yourself.
Catch up on television and clean out your DVRs. Once baseball arrives you’ll find a lot less time to watch those shows.
Get your fantasy drafts ready. If you’re planning on playing in one this year, now’s the time to start getting them settled so you have some headway to make trades and adjust your bench before the season starts.
Load up your fridge with beer (If you’re the drinking type/age anyway). Even if I’m not at the game I like to have a beer to open the season, it just seems natural. Opening Day at the park is usually pretty chilly, which is one of the reasons I’ve been advocating a nice porter or stout at Citi Field, maybe this year my wish will come true.
Remember your Twitter friends’ real names. If you’re like me you’re always running into fellow fans at Citi Field that you know on the internet. I always find it slightly awkward to introduce myself as Ceetar (but if I say Michael, how will you know who I am?), so sometimes it’s worth remember what people call themselves out there in that crazy real world.
What are some of the other things you like to get squared away for the start of the baseball season?