Last night I was lucky to be in the ballpark to see Matt Harvey baffle the White Sox hitters all night long. It was an amazing performance from the start, and a captivating one. I watched the game in awe; whether or not he would get the perfect game was immaterial to his dominance. You knew that he was pitching well enough to get one, and if he didn’t it would be that odd squib or perfectly placed grounder that broke it up. It was precisely that, a perfectly placed ball between third and short off the bat of the speedy Alex Rios that did it.
That didn’t take away from the greatness of it. That’s probably the best game I’ve ever seen in person, and it might just be the best game I ever will see in person and I’m only 31. Last season I saw Dickey spin a masterful one-hitter that had much the same feel as last night’s game in that you just knew the opposition had no chance. I also saw Johan Santana’s 4-hit complete game shutout the start before the no-hitter that was probably his most dominating game of the year. Before that I got to see Santana’s final start of 2008, that gutsy performance to flay the Marlins and keep the Mets playoff hopes alive. That was a great game too, but any of us would’ve taken a 12-10 slug-fest just as easily, the magnitude of the win overshadowed how it was achieved.
Watching Matt Harvey emerge..no, emerge sounds too timid. Watching Matt Harvey burst onto the scene as one of the best pitchers in the game the way he has is a feeling all it’s own. He leads the league in strikeouts and WHIP. He’s given up an average of only four hits per nine innings. He throws in the mid-high 90s with his fastball. He’ll pitch with blood streaming out of his nose. He probably juggles between innings to entertain his teammates and feeds and nurtures the stray cats that live around Citi Field.
Onlookers that remember have started to draw comparisons to Dwight Gooden and how his starts at Shea Stadium were events. Matt Harvey is certainly getting there, and fast. Just look at Twitter and see all the people after the game last night and today planning to be there on Sunday for his next start. As the weather warms up this will become very evident, but it hasn’t yet. Last night’s crowd was sparse and quite for the most part. Everyone got into it as they realized just how dominating he was last night, but for a nice night against a team that few Mets fans have ever seen the crowd was disappointing.
I understand that you feel betrayed by the Mets, or the payroll, or the record, or the Wilpons, or Beltran, but baseball is awesome and every Matt Harvey start, if not every game, is an opportunity to see something wonderful. So instead of muttering under your breath about wasted starts and commenting to me about firing the hitting coach as we watch the bottom of the 10th, enjoy what’s in front of us; a great Matt Harvey performance and a walk-off victory.
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!
There is no mention of beer, which is disappointing. Perhaps it’s just going unmentioned and there will be some new cool local options around, and I’ll certainly be looking for them, but I’m not holding my breath. They do mention an expansion of the frozen drinks stand that was around somewhere last year.
El Verano Taqueria will have a cantina menu with frozen drinks, and they’ll also be a frozen and mixed drink bar near section 414 on the promenade. That’s right behind home plate on what I call the Citi Field Piazza.
Blue Smoke will have pork rinds, as well as a delicious sounding brisket sandwich.
Shake Shack will get their vegetarian option, the ‘Shroom Burger. Also High Heat Cheese Fries, Cheese Dog/High Heat Cheese Dog, and a “Meet the Pretz” concrete (black & white custard, chocolate covered pretzels and malt powder).
The Mets Hall of Fame will get a Johan Santana No Hitter exhibit as well as a ton of All-Star stuff to celebrate the Mets hosting the All Star Game.
There will be various ticket deals as well. $10 student rush tickets, military tickets, and some others including a free ticket for your birthday.
As always I’ll spend a good chunk of Opening Day wandering the park to see what’s new and hunting for secret beer stands. I’m sure there will be a couple of interesting things here and there.
It appears that you have a chance to meet David Wright, get Mets tickets, and possibly watch batting practice from the field.
All you have to do is recreate your favorite Mets moment in a YouTube video. There are couple of rounds to the selection process, but the final round is apparently decided by David himself, so might I suggest you pick a David Wright moment to reenact? Perhaps the first home run at Citi Field?
Full details here.
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?
Shannon Shark of Metspolice.com has released an eBook entitled Send The Beer Guy.(Hey wait, aren’t I the beer guy?) I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, got a library book under the gun, but it’s on deck. I’ve heard it’s good, and Shannon was teasing some of the stories at the Mets Police awards in January.
I’ve joined Jeff Paternostro and Rob Castellano on the Amazin’ Avenue Audio the past two weeks. This week we talked about a whole bunch of stuff, from Sandy’s culpability for the current roster, the catchers, Stub Hub, some Mets prospects, and a bunch of other things. Check it out. If you haven’t been paying attention, I’ve been writing for Amazin’ Avenue a bunch too, so check that out as well.
Opening Day tickets will go on sale next Friday at 10am. There will be various pre-sales earlier in the week as well, and while most games won’t be that high in demand it’s still nice to get your tickets in hand sooner rather than later, especially if you know you want to get to one of the promotion dates such as Banner Day or David Wright Bobblehead Day. Of course, Opening Day tickets will be expensive as well given that it’s one of three premium games. Expect the cheapest seats to be at least $50. Dynamic pricing may make the price spike as tickets go on sale, and certain sections may drop in a couple of days after the initial rush dies down. Last year’s Opening Day was a record crowd though, so if you’re set on Opening Day or the Subway Series, don’t hesitate.
I’ve been kind of quiet this offseason, but baseball season is so close I can smell the Shake Shack so expect more posts, both here and at Amazin’ Avenue, which you can find a link to my posts on the right sidebar. Follow me on Twitter (Follow @Ceetar), and you can find Optimistic Mets Fan on Facebook and Google+ as well. I’ve also been known to post a lot of Mets pictures to Instagram.
I miss Citi Field, and Mets games.
Clearly I like to roam when I’m at the game alone, and this shot from last April reflects that. It’s taken from the Promenade corner in left field shot right over the foul pole. This is actually the first place I ever sat in Citi Field, way back during the St. Johns exhibition game before the 2009 season. You’re not close to the action, but you do get a nice bird’s eye view of the entire field, sans the left field wall which you need to lean forward to see.
Behind me is the only exit in the ballpark that resembles the Shea ramps, and doubles as the smoking section. You can also see the Manhattan skyline from there.
This weekend I got a chance to visit the new Queens brewery, Singlecut Beersmiths.
You can click on that link for my review, but the gist of it is that it was good stuff. Queens hasn’t really had any breweries at all until recently, and Singlecut fits right in. You should all know where I’m going with this now. The Mets should support a local business, and get (at least) a tap of their beer into Citi Field. They did a great job with the craft beer dugouts last season, and adding Singlecut to the selection would not be that difficult.
It’d be a great way to expand the beer selection to include a larger variety of local beer.
I like to call this spot the Subway Section because it’s reminiscent of view from the subway platform outside of Shea Stadium where you could peek into the stadium. These photos are taken from just behind the right field scoreboard, next to the entrance to the Excelsior level inside corridor. You can watch replays on one of the televisions directly to your left.
It affords you a view right into the Pepsi Porch as well and if you look down, the World’s Fare Market concourse. In my eye this section includes the walkway to the Pepsi Porch, which doesn’t afford much in the way of real viewpoints of the game, but still offers a tease as you walk between sections.
Here’s a shot of the original “Subway Section” from Opening Day 2007.