The Mets, and Aramark, did a great job adding to the selection of craft beers available at Citi Field for the 2014 season. You can check out the Citi Field Beer List for a simple list of what’s available.
The main new focus is the two Empire State Craft stands. One is behind home plate in the Promenade Food Court to the left of the clubhouse shop where I believe a cocktail stand used to be.
This one has four taps, although one is Bud Light, and nine craft bottles from New York breweries. You can check out a chart of the nine new ones here. On tap as of the first home stand was Bronx Pale Ale, Sixpoint Sweet Action, and Blue Point Toasted Lager. (You’ll note the sign is wrong and the cashiers, at the moment, don’t really have a clue. Make sure you get what you ordered)
The second Empire State Craft stand is next to Keith’s Grill on the field level out in left field behind section 132. This one doesn’t have taps, but they have the nine New York beers.
The existing three craft stands are still open carrying Sixpoint Sweet Action and Crisp, Brooklyn Lager and East India Pale Ale, (and Brooklyn Summer?), the new Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale and the other usuals, plus four taps. These are located on the field left in the corners by the foul poles, and on the Promenade Food Court to the right of the clubhouse shop.
You can also get Blue Point Toasted Lager at Catch of the Day and the Sixpoint and Brooklyn offerings at the Pat LaFrieda stand in the Promenade Food Court.
Overall, this is a very good selection. I enjoyed everything I’ve had so far, particularly the tap of the Bronx Pale Ale. I’m not going to say it’s perfect, or that it’s anywhere close to the best in the majors, (I still miss the specific Brooklyn beers that paired with the center field food stands. They even make bottles of Shackmeister Ale now) but it’s a very very good beer list and a great step up from last year.
Every year it feels like there’s a new Anheuser Busch-InBev gimmick. One year it was those cups that fill from the bottom. This year it’s a Goose Island booth, that I would wager a guess is in just about every Major League Ballpark. This stand is in Right Field to the left of the Taste of the City place under the Pepsi Porch.
My initial thought was “ooh, will they have some of Goose Island’s other offerings?” which was silly. No. They have the same beers they have in the rest of the park, Goose Island Honkers Ale and Goose Island IPA on tap. I didn’t ask, but the menu on the stand only lists one beer price $12 souvenir cup.
I noticed this after the top of the 9th inning. Clearly they’re directing..something, but what? Security guys on the field? Cameras? Something else?
They also had a blue card and a red card. I’m sure it’s a standard Red/Yellow/Green-Stop/wait/Go type system, though I don’t know what the blue is for.
It feels the Mets are a more serious team this year. Serious doesn’t create wins, but I’m still excited about the start of this season, like every other season.
For a couple of days we can put aside season projections, depth arguments, and roster assignments in favor of actually watching baseball games and just enjoying the break of a curveball, the crack of the bat and the diving run savings abilities of Juan Lagares.
It’s a time for celebration, no matter where you’re watching the game. Whether it’s at home, or on the radio, or sneakily tracking it while at work. For me, I’ll be at Citi Field taking pictures of beer selection, new displays, and baseball players playing baseball. It’ll be a great time.
Where are you watching?
Yesterday the Mets released some of the new beers that will be available at Citi Field this year, and tweeted this picture.
These are nine beers from New York breweries of various quality, and luckily, various styles. They’ll be available at two Empire State Beer Stands; one on the field level near section 132 and the LF exit, and one in the Promenade food court. First, let me talk about what I like about this.
Nine new beers is great, provided this is in addition to and not a replacement to beers that were already present like Sixpoint Bengali Tiger and Sweet Action. I’ve had some of these and enjoyed them, and am excited to try others. I’m glad to finally see a dark beer, even if a black IPA isn’t quite a porter or stout, as well as some very drinkable IPAs. I love that there is a Kölsch in the mix because it’s a great summer style for drinking in hot weather. These nine beers added to the list will definitely make it so I actually have to consider what beer to get at Citi Field.
It’s not perfect though. I’m not thrilled with the Anheuser Busch-InBev connection to baseball in all stadiums and how they dominate the market, but their ownership of Goose Island now Blue Point Brewing Company is a great way to get those quality beers to my glass. I really like Toxic Sludge and the already present Toasted Lager. Ommegang is brewed in Cooperstown, making it a brewery that really should be a staple at every ballpark. I won’t go into the contract brewing debate here, which for now encompasses Queens Brewery and Original Sin, but it is something to think about.
My concern is what is, and what might be, missing. I’ll be sad if Sixpoint was displaced as Bengali Tiger is better than any of these beers, and the announced location of the Empire Beer Stand is also the location of last year’s Craft Beer Dugout where Sixpoint was served. The list is also missing a couple of notable New York breweries, though I”m sure there are business reasons for some of it. It’s not easy to negotiate things like this and I admittedly have no idea what goes into it. The decision to stick to bottles and cans bothers me a little, because there are some great breweries that are draft only. Singlecut Beersmiths, brewed in Astoria, is one of those although they’ve recently started canning. As is Greenpoint Brewing Company. There’s also Ithaca Brewing Company, Saranac Brewing Company and many more.
I’m not going to stop campaigning for a true stout or porter, and I’d like to add Saison as a style that’d be perfect for a baseball park. Still, I’m quite excited to get to Opening Day on Monday and explore and try some of these new beers. Below is a table compiled via BeerGraphs’ leaderboards detailing the nine new beers and their Beer Above Replacement values. None of these are world beaters by any stretch, but their is some quality there.
|Southern Tier Brewing Company||IPA||American IPA||2.075|
|Brewery Ommegang||Ommegang Witte||Witbier||3.258|
|The Bronx Brewery||Bronx Pale Ale||American Pale Ale||1.806|
|Blue Point Brewing Company||Toxic Sludge||Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale||-0.232|
|Original Sin||Original Sin Hard Cider||Cider||-0.364|
|Blue Point Brewing Company||White IPA||American IPA||-1.088|
|Captain Lawrence Brewing Company||Captain’s Kölsch||Kölsch||1.138|
|Queens Brewery||Lager||American Amber / Red Lager||-0.320|
|Coney Island Brewing Company||Seas the Day||Imperial / Double Pilsner|
An offhand and private statement by Mets GM Sandy Alderson suggested that he thought the Mets could, and perhaps should, win 90 games this season. The Mets online community being what it is, this was met mostly with derision and jokes. It’s an old meme: Mets do something and some segment of the fanbase mocks and criticizes it. Sure, 90 games is a big jump from last season and the Mets really haven’t made that many changes. However, the Mets do have the talent to win that many..or more.
90 wins certainly isn’t likely, but Spring Training is for dreaming. You can imagine all your players staying healthy and producing like they’re capable of. They’ll come through with clutch hits at opportune times, they’ll flash dazzling breaking balls past opposing hitters at critical junctures of the game, and every home run they give up will come in a game in which the Mets are already up by enough runs that it barely makes a dent. Travis d’Arnaud will win rookie of the year. Zack Wheeler will win the Cy Young. Lagares will get the Gold Glove denied to him last year. David Wright will finally win that MVP he’s just missed a couple of times. If everybody plays to the best of their ability the Mets will win a ton of games.
Most of these things are possible, but they’re improbable. Perhaps more good things happen than bad and the Mets do in fact look much improved. Maybe they’re on pace for 82 or 83 wins, a marginal but impressive improvement. That does leave the door open for midseason improvement via trade. A lot also depends on just how good, or how lucky, the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves are. If they’re on pace for disappointing seasons the division title might not even need 90 wins and a key series against either of them can swing the standings significantly.
The biggest, and less obvious, reason the Mets might be a fair tick better than last year’s version has to do with those things that might go wrong. The Mets have a lot more depth this year, and a lot more answers for when things go wrong. The Mets brought in two legitimate outfielders to pair with the defensive prowess of Juan Lagares and if Lagares doesn’t improve with the bat they at least have the serviceable if unremarkable Eric Young Jr around as well. There will be no Rick Ankiels or Collin Cowgills clogging up the lineup and the outfield this year. They’ve got more depth than they know what to do with at first base so that if Ike Davis struggles he’ll have an extremely short leash.
They’ve got a host of interesting players who can step in at various places around the diamond and not embarrass themselves. This means no automatic outs and no month long stretches where you watch rallies continually die at the hands of what’s essentially roster filler. With the exception of shortstop, depending on if you believe Wilmer Flores can at least hack it there as a backup, the Mets will likely have players on the roster that can help out in some way at various positions. This should help keep one or two players having horrific seasons from sinking the team for weeks at a time and provide fewer stretches where the Mets score only a handful of runs a week.
All this is without mentioning the pitching and defense. Both outfielders the Mets brought in are above average defenders which adds additional value and the Mets main area of minor league strength is pitching. If you slot in Jenrry Mejia as the 5th starter, the Mets have serviceable veteran major leaguers in Dice-K Matsuzaka, John Lannan and a couple of others making a somewhat gooey bridge to Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard who might still need a few weeks or months in Triple-A. Those are just some of the pitchers waiting to make a difference with this team this year.
So while 90 or more wins is not the most likely scenario, it’s hardly a crazy one. There is enough talent and potential on this team that we can root for to succeed that could get the Mets to a very competitive place. Maybe it all ultimately doesn’t quite come together for 2014, but there should at least be stretches where you can squint and sort of make out a competitive baseball team at Citi Field.
Old broadcast much like the new broadcast.
WOR rightly hired Josh Lewin and Howie Rose to continue on as the Mets radio broadcasters as they moved from WFAN to WOR and 660 to 710. A lot was said on this over the winter, but really it’s of little consequence.
The broadcast starts with highlight clips of Mets games and leads into Josh and Howie doing their thing. The signal is still decent, if not quite as strong as 660, and really the At Bat app with gameday audio is the way to go if you’re not in the immediate vicinity anyway.
The only real difference is that the 10 second station identifications are mostly news related rather than the sports updates that you’d get on WFAN. The programs around the game are non-sports too, but that has little relevance on the game itself plus WOR is looking for a sports show to put on after regular Mets games anyway, so you won’t even have to listen to the end of the Yankees post game waiting for the regular broadcasting if sports talk is what you’re looking for.
The longer the offseason goes, the more confident I’ve been that Stephen Drew has a good chance of ending up on the Mets. It continually feels like the Mets are the one team continually talking to him, and the one that seemingly has serious interest and a clear need and place for Drew to play. On the other side, Drew seems to be hoping for something better than the Mets.
The Mets, and most other teams, report to spring training next weekend. Time is running out for Drew to join a team at the start of spring, and if there was another team serious about giving him a better offer than the ones the Mets are hinting at, it would’ve come by now. Barring a crazy injury to a team that’s set at the position, it seems like Drew isn’t get that higher offer.
The most recent news is that Drew, and agent Scott Boras, are asking for an opt-out in the contract. That sounds an awful lot like negotiation. There are various reasons why the Mets should or should not be willing to offer an opt-out, but choosing to do so or coming back with a different option is also just negotiation. Would Drew be bargaining further with the Mets if he had other interest, or would he be trying to hold firm and let the teams interested woo him?
My guess is that Stephen Drew will agree to terms with the Mets after another round or two of back and forth. I’m going to guess he’ll be a Met before the next snowstorm Wednesday night finishes blanketing New York with very un-baseball like weather.
The Mets have never known a season without Ralph, and this feels odd. The Mets have crossed into this weird place where their original history is becoming beyond the memory of most.
Whatever the Mets do, whether it’s rename a corner of the field Kiner’s Korner, wear a patch, or anything else, it’ll never be too much. I’ve heard some fun ideas bounced around on Twitter, and I’d love to see the team adopt any or all of them.
We’ll miss you Ralph.
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.