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.
There is a 2013 MLB All-Star Wine available from Purlieu Wines. This is fine, I’m all for specialized products celebrating the 2013 game at Citi Field. Of course, this product was put together with about as little effort as one could manage. The URL for the site still reads 2012, and it’s just a simple bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with the game logo on the label. The description doesn’t even mention the Mets, or New York. Additionally, it’s from Napa Valley. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there are a ton of nice wineries on Long Island that are local and would probably love to sell one of their wines for this event.
And there is no beer. You can specifically tailor a beer to the event and it takes much less time to brew for production than wine. There are dozens of appropriate breweries in New York that could provide something fun. Even Ommegang, the brewery located in the same town as the Hall of Fame, would be a great choice. They brew a special beer for Game of Thrones, I imagine they could spare a couple of barrels for the Midsummer Classic. Think about how neat it would be for the baseball Hall of Fame to feature a collection of bottles from each game?
Regardless, there seems to be no All-Star Beer. Citi Field’s beer selection isn’t horrible, but it has about as many All-Stars as the Mets do. It’s disappointing that the event seems so corporate sometimes it’s hard to get some of this personalization. Never mind that Budweiser is a huge MLB sponsor and would probably do their best to nix any non-Budweiser beer being celebrated anyway.
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?
The Mets are not this bad, nor were they as good as they looked against the Yankees, although in my opinion they didn’t look that great in that series.
Daniel Murphy. Yes he made an error at a costly point in the game, but he’s played pretty solidly all around this year.
They’ve already started rectifying some of the problem by getting rid of Rick Ankiel, a bad player. Kirk Nieuwenhuis showed some promise last season, and it’d be silly to give up on him at this point. He looked good in the minors this year, limiting the strikeouts and drawing a fair share of walks. Him bringing this improvement to the majors would go a long way towards the Mets scoring runs. Ike Davis has been sent away to figure things out, perhaps he’ll also return with less strikeouts.
Lucas Duda. He’s not perfect, and he’s not the prototypical slugger his build suggests he is, but he’s drawing walks and hitting the ball hard.
Juan Lagares has shown some signs lately of shaking off the struggles he showed when he first came up. Perhaps he’s gotten settled in and will start driving the ball and contributing to the offense. He’s a good defensive center fielder, so some offense would go a long way towards adding value.
Bobby Parnell, despite being a bit off recently, has been a very solid reliever for the Mets for at least a year and a half now.
Zack Wheeler is eminent. Whether development, arbitration status, or outstanding debts at a Vegas casino was keeping him down, Wheeler’s time in the minors is coming to a close. It’d be unfair to hold him to the standard Matt Harvey set on his debut last year, but all accounts have Wheeler as an extremely talented pitcher, and slotting him into this rotation will have a positive effect.
Travis d’Arnaud is out of his boot and ready to being the rehab process towards getting back into games. He’s missed a lot of time over the last two seasons, so likely he’ll need some time in the minors first, but the Mets have a huge hole at catcher that he will fill quite nicely.
There are a lot of problems, but don’t let them blind you. There’s some good things too. Sure, they don’t make up for the issues this team has, even if all goes right from here on out. Still, the Mets are taking further steps towards identifying the problems, and knowing the problems is the first step towards finding a solution.
Whether from jealousy, frustration over media sycophants, or over-exposure to obnoxious fans, it’s easy to be a Yankee hater. With the Subway Series this week, it’s important to maintain the proper amount of hatred. This is sometimes hard to believe, but there are actually good Yankees fans out there, and some of them might even be friends and family.
So it’s always my goal to check my level of Yankee hatred and keep it just below the love of a true fan. Also it should be clearly below your love for the Mets, because honestly if you hate another team more than you love your own, why are you even bothering? Don’t engage the bandwagon fan that just wants to yell “27 rings!” but doesn’t know who David Phelps is, and don’t go out there with the intent to drink too much and try to start “Yankees Suck!” chants at every hit. There’s real actual baseball being played that should provide plenty of opportunity for fans of both sides to needle each other and gloat.
Trash talk can be fun, but it’s always more fun when it’s based on knowledge, reality and this season. If Ike Davis strikes out, then sure, we’ve gotta take it. If Lyle Overbay is slow getting around the bases and gets thrown out, then sure, make a joke about how old the Yankees are. Grumble about the short porch (On Wednesday and Thursday) when someone hits a pop-fly that leaves the yard but be prepared to take it when someone jokes that Daniel Murphy has warning track power because he hits it to the deep part of Citi Field.
What we don’t need is hatred and venom for the sake of hatred and venom. Those rings won 4, 13, or 90 years ago don’t give the Yankees any advantage this season nor does it make them more deserving. Just because Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera were parts of PED infested clubhouses doesn’t mean every other word out of your mouth should be to call them cheaters. Keep it on the game. Joke about how Jeter’s not healing like he used to and his range will be even further diminished, or how the amount of saves Rivera has already, and hence the workload, might be a red flag down the road. Bring up how the Yankees seem to be relying on Andy Pettitte too much and that he hasn’t pitched a full season in ages.
Overall, just keep it civil. We’re all New Yorkers here. You can toss barbs and insults around if you like, but remember it’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun to watch, not an excuse to get angry and yell. Nothing conclusive is ever decided by four games in late May.
Mumbling the old adage “You’re never as good as you look when you’re winning, you’re never as bad as you look when you’re losing” to yourself while remember how the Mets have played over the last couple of weeks is small comfort, as true as it is. I promise you, they WILL score a boatload of runs again, they will start hammering the ball like they did early in the season and they will string good pitching performances into a winning streak.
No, really. They WILL score double digit runs again. Ike Davis WILL have a multi-hit game. Maybe the 11th outfielder is the charm. Lucas Duda WILL hit a home run with people actually on base.
It’s not that the Mets are a collection of bad players, because they’re not. If the Mets were to be disbanded tomorrow, most of the roster would find jobs in the majors on other teams. The problem is they don’t have enough talent across the board to balance out random bad luck and the ups and downs that all players experience. When you have a great player, a couple of good ones, and some decent ones you can win plenty of games..when most things go right. Most things don’t usually go right in baseball all at the same time, and when they don’t the team loses too many games to make up for when things are going good. A couple of players drift over the line from decent to bad for a week or two and the other mediocre players aren’t good enough to make up the deficit.
That’s where the Mets are now. Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada have been slumping fiercely, Ike Davis is mired in a ridiculous bad slump and while Duda’s managing to limit the outs he makes by walking a lot he’s not hitting much lately either. There’s only so much David Wright can do with that. Davis will eventually get hot, or someone else will, and the Mets will start scoring runs again. Perhaps they’ll have found another outfielder besides Duda and Baxter that can at least approximate positive value, or Travis d’Arnaud will be ready for the majors and the team will improve. The Mets considered signing Michael Bourn, and while many of us weren’t thrilled with the idea, there’s no doubt that another good hitter would have done wonders for this offense.
So that’s what we have in front of us; watching a struggling team flounder on offense. It’s not fun, not at all. It’s a long season though, and they will be watchable again. It could happen as soon as tonight or take another week, but they WILL draw us back in.
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.
Teams slump. The Mets were leading the league in runs per game and suddenly the offense slumped and they started losing. They’re now 6th in runs score in MLB. The Mets are still auditioning center and right fielders with no one standing out, Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis have under performed, and we knew John Buck was not that good.
All teams slump, good ones, great ones, and horrible ones. It’s too early to say which the Mets are, and it’s certainly silly to take the results of the last week as more meaningful than the first couple just because it fits better with what you expected, but good teams should find a way to win at least some games while they’re slumping. The Phillies are probably not a great team, and getting swept by them is not a good sign. There were plenty of opportunities that the Mets let get away, and while it’s possible to do everything right and still lose, it’s also possible to steal games when you’re struggling.
John Buck, Ike Davis, and a couple of others muffed a couple of foul outs that could’ve been converted. Not all of them led directly to runs, but all the extended innings and extra pitches lead to things like tired arms or more bullpen. Pitchers made a couple of poor pitches on top of poor pitches that led to runs. Perhaps Terry Collins could’ve been more aggressive, or less aggressive, in pitching changes or lineup changes that ended up costing the Mets a better shot at winning. Like most losing streaks, there are a billion second guesses of the players, the manager, and the overall strategy.
Sometimes the bounces go the wrong way, the pitcher you choose has a bad day, or the pitch you guess is simply wrong. Those are the breaks, the notorious 50 games that every team loses and there is nothing you can do about. Teams destined for the playoffs will find ways to minimize the damage while they’re slumping. Sometimes a pitcher will pitch a gem and stifle the opponent enough to steal a win with only a run or two, other times a batter here or there will capitalize on the one bad pitch the opponent throws for a 3-run home run to win the game 3-2 even though the offense only managed three hits. This avoids sweeps and turns 1-2 series losses into 2-1 series wins. When the slump end the team will only have gone 4-6 instead of 2-8 and can use a surge in fortune to get ahead of the competition instead of making up for the ground they lost during the slump.
So far the Mets are not doing this. That’s not to say they can’t. Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, and David Wright are all talented enough to have game-changing at bats even amidst personal or team slumps. Matt Harvey and Jon Niese are talented pitchers, both capable of pitching a gem that wins a game despite slumping offense. Jon Niese came close Sunday, and perhaps Terry Collins should’ve left him in to finish the seventh instead of going to the bullpen to face Ryan Howard. I’m always a fan of having the top players on my team on the mound or at the plate during the critical points in the game, and that was certainly one of them.
It’s early yet, and the teams that win in April are not a lock to get to October. If the Mets are going to grow into a competitor, they’re going to have to find a way to minimize long losing streaks and win some of these games when things aren’t going perfectly.
Only a couple of games left this year, and really ever, for the New York Islanders but the beer selection at Nassau Coliseum ain’t half bad.
This picture is blurry, sloppy work on my part, but it’s a chalkboard inside a little bar area that’s right near the entrance by the box office. This is the best place to go if you want something special. Top drafts include Kelso Nut Brown, Blue Point Hoptical Illusion and Toasted Lager, Goose Island IPA, and Fire Island Lighthouse Ale. Except for the Goose Island, those are all local beers to Long Island (Brooklyn and Kelso are physically on Long Island, yes). I remember this list being different last year, and if you browse Google Images you can find chalkboard pictures featuring different beers.
Also available around the coliseum were Blue Point Blueberry Ale, Goose Island 312 Wheat, and both Sam Adams and Brooklyn lagers, including the seasonals. Of course you can also get the standard macro stuff, as well as the Shock Tops and Blue Moons of the world.
I had the Kelso Nut Brown ale, which is the same brown ale they serve at 5 Napkins locations around the city, and while it wasn’t my favorite, it was still tasty. To top it off the Islanders had a fantastically dominating game against the Philadelphia Flyers and continue their playoff push.
Hopefully when the Islanders move to the Barclay’s Center they continue to provide quality craft and local beer. I haven’t been to the place, so I can’t attest to what they’re serving now to Nets fans.
Watching the Mets last year it became increasingly evident that R.A. Dickey’s book was incomplete. The title, Wherever I Wind Up, ended up going unanswered, or at least understated.
He ended up a successful, and well-paid, pitcher for the Mets happy to have his own parking spot, but that’s only the start of where he’s going. After the book was written, and despite saying he’d never lead the league in strikeouts, he did in fact lead the league in strikeouts and won the NL Cy Young award as well.
Well Plume has published a new paperback version of Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for truth, authenticity, and the perfect knuckleball with a new epilogue where Dickey breaks down the 2012 season including Johan’s no-hitter, the All-Star Game, the reaction to his book, and the Cy Young Award. If you haven’t read it yet or want to see what else he has to say, check it out.
Of course, Dickey has already continued on further, being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and getting an extension. Maybe one day he’ll write another book, or a followup, because I suspect he still has a lot of story in him.