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.
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.
Pitcher wins mean next to nothing. They’re a factor of the offense, defense, the opposing pitcher and often times the bullpen. The best way to accumulate wins as a pitcher is to play on a team that scores a billion runs. That team is not the Mets.
The Mets are 13-12 in Matt Harvey starts. He has nine wins and four losses, which is actually a pretty good percentage. The Mets are then four and eight after he leaves the game, suggesting that they are a team with a really good player and aren’t as good when he leaves the game. Additionally, they’ve been playing without their best hitter and best reliever for a couple of weeks now, the guys they’d need most in those post-Harvey innings. The Mets don’t score runs, and when they do they often do it in bunches. That is why they don’t win more Matt Harvey games. The less runs you score as a team, the less likely those runs are going to be scored for your ace. This is especially true when you’re trying to build a cushion of runs to preserve a lead with the bullpen pitching at least two innings for even the best of starters in the league, of which Matt Harvey is one.
The Mets won 52% of Matt Harvey’s starts so far this year and 44.3% of their games otherwise. Over 162 games that means they’d win 84 games if Harvey started everyday, and just 72 if he wasn’t on the team. That’s quite a difference, in fact it’s 17% better. Just for a reference point 17% better than a .500 team would get you to nearly 95 wins.
Of course, there’s a lot of randomness and luck in there because the Mets score runs independent of who they’re starting, so running into a lot of weak starters on one day, or a hitter happening to have a great day another can greatly skew these results, which is why a pitcher’s record mean so little. If Daniel Murphy gets hot and goes four for five with two home runs one day, that has nothing to do with how well Matt Harvey is pitching. There is no rhyme or reason to which batters happen to hit well on a given day, and it’s just luck if it happens on one pitcher’s starting day more than another’s. It’s safe to say the Mets aren’t quite wasting Matt Harvey starts, because he is making them much better. He’s helping them win games they’d have no business winning otherwise given how many runs they scored. In some ways, if they scored six or seven runs on a day Harvey started that could more be considered wasting his start, because they’d rarely need so many to cover what he gives up to the opposing team.
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.
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.
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).
Happy 4th of July! Be safe and remember, there is nothing more patriotic than watching baseball with a craft beer and the most patriotic song around is Take Me Out To The Ballgame.
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.
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.