It’s here. The last weekend of Mets baseball before it slinks off into the off-season of unsubstantiated rumors and financial allusions.
I’ll be at two of the games. Tonight, the Mets are doing their Oktoberfest. I get a cool glass Mets boot stein, which is worth the admission to the event, but I’m not hopeful that they’ll have anything special in terms of beer. There are so many local Oktoberfest beers to choose from, and even some Anheuser-Busch InBev ones like Spaten, but chances are they won’t be specially acquiring beer for a small event on the final Friday of the season. Perhaps if the Mets were to clinch a playoff spot one day, we can rally them to add fall seasonals to the selection. Either way, I’ll write up my thoughts next week.
I’ll be rooting for the Mets. I know that seems to be a contrary opinion these days, as many are obsessing over the Mets losing to get a better and/or protected draft pick. Not me. I root for the Mets to win, and I don’t cherry pick one specific aspect as the only path towards competitiveness. Sure, getting the protected pick makes things easier this offseason, but one pick who may or may not ever play in the majors some years from now is not going to make or break the Mets. Certainly not enough for me to root against the Mets winning. The Mets might not target, or acquire, a free agent that requires sacrificing the pick. Draft picks are a consolation prize, not a goal. It ignores the short term enjoyment for the long term projections, something I never agree with. You can sacrifice the present for the hope of the future endlessly, and never get there. It feels too similar to the idea that you should lose as badly as possible as much as possible until you’re in the best position to get really good, really fast. That seems too much like the Marlins methods for me to like.
Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame Sunday, and I’ll be on hand for that too. Maybe the baseball Hall will get around to the same thing next year, but until then we’ll honor him as a Met because he’s one of our greats. They really should be retiring 31 too, and I’m not really sure why they aren’t. (And there’s a case for 15,16 and 17 as well) At least we’ll probably get another chance to honor Piazza next year when he’s inducted and then maybe the Mets have a retired number ceremony.
And then that’s it. The players go home. Citi Field goes dark. We start counting until pitchers and catchers.
The Islanders first game is next Friday.
I’m angry, Mets fans, and for once, it’s not because of the team. I’m angry about fangirls, and gatekeepers. Recently I participated (poorly) in a twitter discussion about the term “fangirl,” and whether it’s ever okay to use it. It’s not, and that was the consensus of the discussion, with a few exceptions. That was my opinion before the conversation started, but it got me thinking.
The idea behind “fangirl” is the possibility a person might like a team or player for the wrong reasons.
Go back and read that sentence again. People are appointing themselves arbiters of what the right reasons are for rooting for the Mets. This doesn’t just apply to “fangirl,” of course. The idea a fan hasn’t been loyal enough through the bad years when a team is good, or isn’t knowledgeable about a team’s history, or the stats (or even names!) of current players, is small minded.
Wil Wheaton touched on this topic recently, more eloquently than I, where he writes he’s “a little baffled that we need to keep having this conversation” in regard to the need for people be a gatekeeper for things we love. In particular interest is this comment, where the commenter writes of her husband belittling her Red Sox fandom, but his stance has softened. She writes, “It’s a maturity issue. The immature guys who have this behavior, it makes them feel superior to be gatekeepers.” There are plenty of other good points in the comments, and I suggest, contrary to conventional wisdom, you read the comments.
Furthermore, we should be embracing these fans, for two reasons. Firstly, the finances. Do you think that other team regularly has $200M payrolls because the loyal fans are buying tickets? Or because only people who care about Jeter’s WAR bought his jersey? If people want to jump on the Mets’ bandwagon because they’re winning (or will be soon), or if people buy Harvey or Wright jerseys because Harvey and Wright are sexy, then good, it’s all the better for the Mets and their fans.
Secondly, new fans are great. My goddaughter, age 6, loves the Mets. She doesn’t remember Jesse Orosco on his knees, fists raised to the heavens like I do. But she also doesn’t remember Kenny Rogers walking in the winning run, Beltran caught looking, consecutive collapses, or any number of things that may have jaded me as a Mets fan. She doesn’t know the infield fly rule, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care. She may learn of some of these things in time. She may not. Part of me hopes she doesn’t, that she keeps her child-like love of the game.
What she does know is how much fun it can be to gather with a few thousand strangers and cheer for the same thing. And that’s the only way I judge whether you’re a Mets’ fan or not: are you cheering for the Mets?
If you pay attention to these things you may have noticed that the Craft Beer Dugouts at Citi Field no longer have Blue Point, Sierra Nevada, or Magic Hat cans. This is a big blow that the addition of Brooklyn East India Pale Ale or Sixpoint Bengali Tiger cannot erase.
A discussion on craft beer broke out on Twitter, which let to this revelation by BluePointShane who works for Blue Point Brewery.
@brew_york to be fair, Citi has been very reasonable to work with. Cans must be 16oz, blue point, sierra pale, magic, abita, oskar all 12oz
— shane byrnes (@BluePointShane) July 23, 2013
I sorta get it; Having to deal with different size cans and hence the option for different size cups can be a layer of complexity Aramark and the Mets want to avoid in a ballpark where speed of sale is important. However, due to green initiatives you’re just handed the can of beer anyway and only get a cup if you ask. The Mets haven’t even raised the prices on the 16oz cans, charging the same as the 12oz bottles in Big Apple Brews. This year though they’ve raised the price on the Craft Beer Dugout taps to $12. I’m sure you’re getting at least 16oz of beer with these, and maybe a little more, but that’s a decent hike.
When Citi Field first opening there were four unique beers at the four food stands out in center field that created a base level of awesome beer. Since they’ve allowed Big Beer to price those options out of Citi Field, we’ve been stuck with these half measures. They’re nice measures for sure, but it’s an opening move that needs to be followed up by creative and innovative options for the Mets to get even to a league average beer selection.
For one, there are no dark beers. While dark beers are often less desirable in the summer, there’s still a demand for some bocks, brown ales, or even stouts and porters. You get cold nights in April and even some September nights can be chilly. Some darker styles would get enjoyed by many Mets fans even in the summer.
There is only one truly craft tap; Blue Point Toasted Lager at Catch of the Day. You can get a couple of others if you can get to the Excelsior level, and even more in the Delta Club, but there are so many good local breweries that would fit in great from Brooklyn, Sixpoint and Blue Point to more Ommegang. Singlecut, a new Queens brewery, would be a great fit as well. If the Mets need a way to offload the unused beer at the end of the year, perhaps they can work out something with McFaddens.
The Mets and Aramark are making progress in that they seem to at least recognize the desire for good craft beer at Citi Field, but they have a long way to go before there is a real selection of said beer.
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.
They got this fence up REALLY fast in my opinion. Must have practiced.
Here’s team USA starter Noah Syndergaard warming up before the game.
I created a little side game when I went to the All-Star Game in 2006, and it’s applicable at all of them. Whether you’re at FanFest or at the events at Citi Field, try to find a representation of all 30 Major League teams.
In 2006 I found all but the Colorado Rockies. I suspect with this being New York, there’s a fair shot finding all 30 should be easy, with bonus points for the Montreal Expos.
Keep in mind it can be a little tricky, because often times those fans will have bought an All-Star Jersey and you’ll have to try to remember what team Castro or Crain belong to. (Astros and White Sox respectively in that case)
So go forth and find all the baseball fans from across the country enjoying the festivities!
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.
There are plenty of people headed to Citi Field for the first time ever next week for the All-Star Week festivities. Plenty of those people will be looking for a good beer list while they are there, and as the Citi Field Beer Expert, It’s my duty to inform them of the selection at the park.
The best options are also local ones. Sixpoint Bengali Tiger or Sweet Action are available from a couple of locations, specifically the Craft Beer Dugouts and from the Pat LaFrieda steak shops. You can also get Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, and some other nice beers as well. The dugouts are located on field level by the foul poles, and on the first base side of the Promenade food court above the Rotunda behind home plate. Take a look at the map I’ve included for the location. Blue Point Toasted Lager is also a great local beer, and that one’s available on tap at Catch of the Day which is located on the right field side of the Shea Bridge in center field.
If you happen to be in the Delta Sky club there is a bar with a decent selection as well, including Blue Point White IPA and Victory HopDevil.
Otherwise the best place to get beer is at Big Apple Brews, which is a standalone island of beer coolers behind home plate on the Promenade level and out in center field on the field level. Everything in there is distributed by Anheuser Busch, but there are still drinkable options like Goose Island, Kona, Redhook and Widmer.
That’s your beer selection. It’s not the best, but there are acceptable and tasty choices. Another thing worth mentioning is the price. It’s $8.75 for premium beer, and that’s the same price whether you get the tap of Kona Longboard Lager, the can of Blue Moon, or the 16oz can of Sixpoint Sweet Action. The light lagers are discounted to $8.25 elsewhere, and some stands have a 24oz option.
July is here and the All-Star Game at Citi Field is just a week away. As such, there are logos and signs around New York City, besides the Apples on Parade, and traffic signs are warning about heavy congestion around Citi Field next week.
We’ve got the advertisements on the side of phone booths (you can look those up on Wikipedia if you don’t know).