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R.I.P. Ralph Kiner, Original Met

photo by CeetarRalph Kiner; original Met. He passed away yesterday at the age of 91, having lived a very full life. One of the few people that can unify a group as diverse as Mets fans, and he’ll be sorely missed.

 

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.

February 7th, 2014 by Ceetar in 2014, Mets
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Fun Day At The Queens Baseball Convention

It was a good day and it looked like everyone was having fun, so kudos to Media Goon and Shannon of MetsPolice , and Darren of The7Line for putting it together, and I’m glad I could help out.

 

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

January 20th, 2014 by Ceetar in 2014, ceetar, Citi Field, Mets
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Exciting Beer News For Citi Field in 2014

photo by CeetarI’ve been lazy in posting about..well, about much of anything lately, but there have been some interesting developments on the Mets front regarding beer, and the beer available to us in 2014 when we go to a Mets game.

 

First off, about two months ago I had a chance to ask the Mets new VP Lou DePaoli, the one involved with tickets, marketing, and sponsorships, a question.  I asked him about beer events like Oktoberfest, and about craft beer in general. The response was very enlightening.

 

He didn’t expect to see anything much more in depth than what we saw at Oktoberfest last year. Events, for better or worse, are not likely to become all out affairs. No 30 beer tastings type events, at least not by the Mets. An independent could probably organize it as a group outing fairly easily. That segued into a response about the beer in general, and DePaoli’s response suggested he understands what craft beer is all about. He also dropped a “Big Beer” reference too about the selection and availability, which only adds fuel to the fire about AB InBev doing sneaky things to push craft beer out.

 

However, the good news is DePaoli also referenced something he did in other cities before this, such as Pittsburgh, called beer passports. The funny thing is the way it’s described in Pittsburgh is precisely what he seemed to imply we wouldn’t be getting with Oktoberfest type events.

“BEER SAMPLING of great local craft beers for 90 minutes in Club 3000 starting when the gates open (5:35 p.m.) and concluding at the start of the game”

So yeah, that’d be great. The Pirates featured at least Tröegs, a great local brewery, and Bells, a great brewery in general, at one of their events, and something similar at Citi Field would be awesome. Another year mentions Erie Brewing, Flying Dog, Church Beer Works, Victory, Tröegs and East End. They’ve been doing this since at least 2009, and frequently they’d have beer passport nights several times a season. The Mets already have a relationship with Sixpoint, Blue Point, and Brooklyn breweries inside Citi Field, so expanding this shouldn’t be hard. They also have an Ommegang brew inside the Delta Club. Ommegang, which is brewed in Cooperstown, is a brewery that should be inside all 30 stadiums almost by MLB rule.

 

But wait, there’s more! Shane Byrnes, who works for Blue Point Brewery, tweeted this:

 

Thank you ARAMARK and @Mets for meeting today! Look forward to a great season and the best craft beer selection at any of NYC stadiums!

— shane byrnes (@BluePointShane) December 19, 2013


Well, that sounds promising.  Also a subtle dig at other stadiums, which I appreciate as well.  I’m excited to see what we’ve got this year, both on the field and in the beer cooler.

 

I’ve been writing a bunch about beer over at BeerGraphs, and you should definitely check it out.

 

January 16th, 2014 by Ceetar in 2014, Baseball, beer, Citi Field, Mets
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QBC Can Be Your Winter Baseball Fix

The Queens Baseball Convention is taking place on Saturday at noon, and I invite you all to come out and enjoy it.

 

It’ll have a little bit of everything for you.  History, mascots, execs, trivia, prizes, games, fun…

 

Here are some highlights for you:

 

Mr. Met will be making an appearance at 3, and Sandy the Seagull earlier.

 

Steve Cohen, the Brooklyn Cyclone’s GM will be doing a Q and A.

 

Ron Darling will sign autographs and do a Q&A. So will Ed Kranepool.

 

There will be trivia games, family feud style games, a dating game with The7Line Calendar girls, and more.

 

Mark Simon will host a “Most unusual wins in Mets history” panel at 5 that sounds interesting.

 

And much more besides. There will be Mets, fans, bloggers, and a lot of fun. Check out the trailer!

 

 

 

January 14th, 2014 by Ceetar in 2014, bloggers, Mets
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Mets Fill In The Blank

If the Mets announce ______ I would praise them and think it’s a good step towards a successful year.

 

Currently it seems like no matter what the Mets do, whether it’s express interest, express dismay at prices, suggest that a guy’s not a good fit, or ponder giving a current Met off a bad season another shot they get resounded mocked and killed for it.

 

Sure, they’ve earned it. The results speak for themselves and whether or not you trust the plan, they’ve reached the point where they really need to put the money where their mouth is. That said, they do HAVE a plan, and it’s one they’re not articulating, no matter what rumors and leaks you hear. Talking about the plan hurts the effectiveness of the plan.

 

Of course, no matter how much money the Mets say they have to spend, they have all offseason to build the roster. Whether or not they spend $20, $5, or even $40 million on the payroll is irrelevant to the actual makeup of the team on 3/31/14. If that team looks like a team that can win more than 81 games, then perhaps they’ll earn some good will. It’s silly to criticize the entire painting when the artist has only drawn two lines on a piece of canvas. You may be extremely skeptical that it’s going to turn into anything resembling art, but until it does, it has the potential. Until Sandy Alderson has crafted the entire roster, it’s silly to judge each individual move, or even each rumor, as some sort of disaster. As much as you like or dislike the Mets decision makers, they DO know more about baseball and player evaluation than we do.

 

As with all teams, it’s winning that matters. If the Mets are winning consistently and fighting for a playoff spot, the fans and interest will come and people will at least momentarily forget about payroll numbers and financial crises. The offseason provides little else to talk about, so that’s what we get. You don’t have to believe in the Mets, but baseball tends to turn out way differently than anyone expects. Every year players succeed where everyone assumes they’ll fail, and fail where fans are comfortable in them succeeding. No one really thought much of Scott Hairston, or Marlon Byrd, or R.A. Dickey when they were signed, but they ended up making big contributions.

 

If you want to roll your eyes and make jokes, that’s fine. It’s a long offseason and the hot stove season is often full of lots of silliness. Just remember that there are a billion rumors and most of them mean nothing. GMs, owners, “persons with knowledge of the situation” all have their own agendas and telling you the truth about every plan they have is not one of them. Sometimes a lot of small moves that seem meaningless end up working together to make a fairly solid team. Other times seemingly solid moves end up in injury or poor production and the money is as good as not spent. There are a lot of moving parts to the Met roster this offseason, and it just seems silly to assume where they’re going to land, how they’re going to do, and then mock them for it.

November 22nd, 2013 by Ceetar in 2014, Baseball, Mets
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Read This Book: Hang A Crooked Number

Fellow Amazin’ Avenue writer Matthew Callan wrote a book about baseball and spies. It takes place in the near future with the main character being both a struggling minor league catcher and a struggling spy.

 

The world is a darker place and The Backstop, the nickname he’s known by, is just trying to find his way. He gets caught up in something bigger than himself and spends the novel trying to keep his head above water as everything seems to be crumbling around him.

 

It’s dark and filled with a bitter humor that really brings the story to life. The protagonist is flawed, but you can’t help but emphasize with him as he struggles along. There are perhaps elements of Kafka in the main characters struggle in an oppressive world.

 

All in all a very enjoyable read, and a quick one too. It’s only $2.99 on Amazon, so give it a read and support a fellow Mets fan.

October 22nd, 2013 by Ceetar in Baseball, Mets
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Mets Oktoberfest Recap

photo by CeetarOktoberfest at Citi Field was basically exactly how I expected it. Better than nothing, but nothing special.

 

The line to get in was really long. You could only pick up tickets at the ticket booths outside the Bullpen Gate and it took us about 20 minutes to do this. We received two vouchers each for beer, and a voucher for our Mets boot, to retrieve on the way out. No glass inside Citi Field. The lines for beer were particularly long, mainly because they sold tickets to more people than should probably stay in the Bullpen Plaza. There was very little in the way of entertainment, just one DJ with a German music playlist. None of the food options were any different than anything you can get in the main area of the park, in fact I don’t even recall what the three or four items for sale were.

 

And of course, the beer. Ideal would’ve been a handful or two of local seasonal options, with perhaps a tasting glass so you could try many of them. Even just two or three local craft options would’ve been special. Worst case was that they’d simply provide the generic Bud Light and Coors Light options that they provide to groups that buy Party City seats. The Mets went with the barely acceptable option; they provided Oktoberfest beers from Anheuser Busch InBev owned breweries Becks and Spaten. This isn’t horrible; after all, Spaten is a storied brewery and one of the six that’s poured in Munich, but because it’s owned by AB InBev, it’s the easiest possible option they could’ve provided. You also had the option of St. Pauli’s Girl and Bud Light.

 

I ordered my two beers at once because there was little reason to wait on the line again, and we ended up just heading into the park. The area was open from 5:30 until first pitch, but there was really no reason to stay.

 

The Mets boot was a nice touch, it’s glass and says Oktoberfest at Citi Field and all, but it’s very cheaply made and one of ours was actually chipped. It’s so obvious that it’s just two simple pieces of glass fused together, and the top of the boot isn’t even rounded like a glass for drinking. It’d probably make a nice vase though.

Das Boot!

I like the idea of Oktoberfest at Citi Field, but I don’t know that I’d make a special excuse to come out again next year if there aren’t any real changes.

October 1st, 2013 by Ceetar in 2013, Baseball, beer, Citi Field, Mets
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Mets Final Weekend, Oktoberfest, Piazza

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.

 

September 27th, 2013 by Ceetar in 2013, Baseball, Citi Field, Mets
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Ode To The Mets Off-Day

There are lots of off-days throughout the year.

 

The first is the most frustrating, usually coming in the form of a rain date for Opening Day after just one game has been played. This is torture akin to someone giving you a slice of chocolate cake and taking it away after one bite.

 

Early season off-days are hiccups. You’re still getting the hang of baseball every day, trying to find your rhythm and they go and interrupt it. It’s rather frustrating, and while you might flip on another game to watch, it’s too early in the season for you to know who to be scoreboard watching against, making the emotional investment rather small.

 

As the weather heats up off-days become less of a hassle. You see the need for players to have a travel day, or a recovery day, to keep everyone fresh. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and a day away from the Mets makes the next game all the more fun.

 

The ultimate off-day is the All-Star Game. The Mid-Summer Classic occurs near the half point of the season, giving everyone the perfect opportunity to take a breather and assess the situation. With no competitive games on what better way to utilize the time than some celebration of the players that make this game great?

 

After that off-days become strategic. It’s all about lining up the rotation to match your best guys up against your best competition if you’re competing, or getting guys rest and limiting the workload of young pitchers if you’re not.

 

Then you come to yesterday.  The last off-day of the year. The baseball season is dying, and yesterday was a spooky preview of life without Mets baseball.

 

Which means tonight’s game might be the highest rated Mets game in September. The appreciation for life that comes just after a near-death experience. A cold night without the Mets that has us clutching to our Travis d’Arnaud‘s and Lucas Dudas.

 

The final off-day is also a window into the future of our time after baseball. Monday night football is on and the NHL preseason has begun. Many network television shows start debuting in September to start filling your DVR with non-baseball broadcasts.

 

13 baseball games remain over 13 days. Let’s enjoy every last fleeting moment of Mets baseball, because it won’t be long before we’re counting the days until Spring Training.

September 17th, 2013 by Ceetar in 2013, Baseball, Mets
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Losing To Good Teams

Losing to good teams is just as bad as losing to bad teams, it’s just a different bad. The goal of baseball is to be the best, and anytime anyone asserts themselves as better than you it should hurt.

 

Losing to crappy teams is usually a comedy of errors, or running into the handful of good players the opposition has or the crappier players you’re still forced to play. It’s usually a sloppy affair. Getting so soundly slaughtered by the best teams in the league however is demoralizing because it makes it seem you’re so far away from being good. Even when you play pretty well you can lose pretty soundly.

 

The Mets, presumably, are trending upwards with young talent, playing .500ish baseball since the break, and looking to finish a place above where they did last year with maybe a better record as well. It’s hard to remember to that when you’re getting so summarily trounced by the Detroit Tigers or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

August 26th, 2013 by Ceetar in 2013, Baseball, Mets
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