The second half of the season is often time for change at ballparks, and Citi Field is no different. There is now a new cider stand located on the field level in the right field corner. Cider is a popular drink, and a growing one in popularity too. I wrote about some of the best ones over at BeerGraphs last year.
Obviously, some of these are macro brews masquerading as well-crafted ciders. The two taps, Johnny Appleseed and Stella Artois Cidre, are not good beer/ciders and are both brewed by large breweries. So is Smith and Forge.
Original Sin is a New York brewery, though technically it’s contract brewed in Florida, and I’ve enjoyed their cider from time to time. Angry Orchard ciders, both the apple ginger and crisp apple, are pretty good, and they’re brewed/owned by Sam Adams.
The most interesting one there though is McKenzie’s Original. McKenzie’s Hard Cider was founded in 2011 in Buffalo so they’re the most authentic New York cider on the list. I’ve never had the original, but I tasted both their Seasonal Reserve (which has the best BAR rating of any cider on BeerGraphs) and their black cherry, both which were delicious. The Seasonal Reserve tastes like apple pie. Delicious apple pie.
You can also find 16oz cans of McKenzie’s Original at the Empire State Beer stands and also Ommegang’s Cooperstown Ale, an American Blonde, that’s new as well.
You’ll notice the Shock Top HoneyCrisp Apple Wheat beer logo on the Cider Stand, but I didn’t actually see that one anywhere so I won’t comment on it.
Really. The best thing the 8-2 homestand did for us was save us from obscurity and create a chance, however slight, that the Mets could compete in the second half. While the Wild Card always remains an option, it’s the division you have to focus on, at least until September.
I’m not suggesting we start a magic number count or anything, but it’s okay to imagine the Mets running off a couple more 8-2 stretches over the next couple of months and thinking about how it could get them back into things. Especially if those winning stretches coincide with the 12 games left against the Nationals and the six games left with the Braves.
Right now the Mets are still chasing a number. They have to get above .500, and then they have to set a pace that gets them as many wins as will likely win the division. That number is currently very variable, and if perhaps the Nationals or Braves are flawed, struggle, or face injuries in the second half it’s an attainable one for the Mets.
The Nationals currently are on an 89 win pace on top of the division. The Mets would have to go 44-23 to reach that. That’s a .657 winning percentage, which would be 106 games over a 162 game schedule. That’s pretty high, although not impossible. Last year the Dodgers were 47-47 and went 45-23 (.662) to win 92 games. In 2012 Oakland finished 48-24 to win 93. Baltimore went 47-25 (.653) to win 93. Every year there is a team or two that plays ridiculously well over the last 60 or 70 games, and sometimes they’re teams that were wallowing around .500 at the All-Star break that no one though were that good. So why not the 2014 Mets?
The math changes if the top NL East team doesn’t win 89, and the Mets have the ability to change that themselves. Let’s say the Mets beat the Nationals in nine of their 13 meetings. Now even if they continue the rate of winning they’ve displayed so far this year in the rest of the non-Mets games, they’ll only win 86. Now the Mets would only need to go 32-22 (.593) in the other games to get to 86 wins. They have less games left against the Braves, but I believe the Nationals are the better team and that Atlanta is more likely to slip to a mid-80s, or lower, win total already.
I personally believe the Nationals and Braves aren’t great, and that it’s possible a mid-80s win total could win the division. There is also always the wild card of injuries, or more injuries than to the Mets, to the teams on top lowering their record.
Obviously good things need to happen for the Mets to play even the 36-31 ball that would get them to .500 and their first non-losing season in what feels like ages. Luckily there are plenty of good things you could see happening. David Wright could play more like he’s played of late and less like the powerless guy he was early on. Travis d’Arnaud really could have turned that corner and continue to hit like a major leaguer. Ruben Tejada needs to continue to get on base. Juan Lagares needs to hit more like he did early on this year, and/or the Mets could find another bat to play left field. The pitching is key, because the Mets seem to have plenty of talented pitchers already and plenty of depth available to them. They’ve got talented young arms they’re using in the bullpen and as a result the bullpen has been very good. If they can continue to pitch as well as they have, it’ll lessen the burden on the weaker offense and allow them to win more games with fewer runs.
Unlike previous years, this Mets team is poised to take a step forward in the second half of the season. It’s still unlikely that the improvement is big enough to step over the Braves and Nationals into October, but it’s not out of the question either.
Remember this? June 14th, 2008. The game would ultimately be rained out and the Texas Rangers would play Slip ‘N Slide on the tarp. Some WFAN callers would then criticize the Mets for not getting out there.
Banner Day is this Sunday, but Banner Day existed back in 1988 as well. Recently my aunt shared with me some photos she took of her banner that year and it’s a great look back at the Mets and Mets fans of 1988.
Can’t go wrong with a crossword.
Click the picture above to head over the MetsPolice where I’ll have more non-familial banners and Shannon will have other Banner Day info.
After that they go three weeks never playing farther away than a weekend trip to Washington. First they play the Phillies at home followed by the home and home with the Yankees. After the trip to Washington they have a day off and another long homestand with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Pirates.
Even after that they have a five game series in nearby Philadelphia before they head to Cincinnati and San Francisco.
Baseball players are used to odd hours and lots of travel, but the daily grind of travel and weird schedules can still take its toll. The Mets have a rather relaxing couple of weeks of no red-eye flights and no day games after night games in a different city. It would be nice to see them capitalize on that comfort, especially since they only have eight home games in June.
The Mets are 12-10, and that’s great. That puts them right in the thick of things and there are a lot of encouraging signs too. The hitting, particularly established veterans like David Wright and Curtis Granderson, haven’t really started hitting yet. That means more offense is to come and that can only help. The Mets are doing it on pitching and defense, which is a great formula when it works, and is refreshing to watch. The Mets aren’t throwing games up the right field line and having soft fly balls drop in for doubles and are instead turning well struck balls into outs.
Still, 22 games is a very small sample in the grand scheme of things and this wouldn’t be the first time the Mets got off to a good start. It’s great to be encouraged, especially with the way the rotation looks and the reinforcements in the minors, but we’ve still got a long way to go. Let’s enjoy this stretch and see if we can even improve on it a little bit playing some lower quality teams than those we’ve seen so far. Whether it’s fleeting or not, let’s enjoy the success we’re seeing and worry about what it means and what the Mets should do about it later on in the season.
I’ve been complaining about the out of town scoreboard at Citi Field since 2009, and it’s about time I wrote out my complains in full pictorial glory.
Mainly that 0 outs in an inning comes after 2 outs in that inning. Here’s the scoreboard suggesting the Phillies are up with 2 outs in the top of the 6th inning.
If you’re like me you spend a lot of time tracking the other games. I love that, unlike Shea Stadium, we can track the games by out. As it turns out the next Phillies batter made an out and the inning was over. As all baseball fans know the Rangers would now bat in the bottom of the 6th.
Now wait just a second. Why are the Phillies up again? There are no outs and the light indicates it’s the top of the inning. If I hadn’t just been watching it, I’d assume that game was in the top half, which we know is not true because a minute ago there were two outs.
A couple of minutes later the inning flips and the Rangers come to bat.
This is what it should’ve displayed to begin with. We went from Top six two outs, to Top six no outs, to bottom six no outs. That doesn’t make sense. Flipping the inning marker should be a step in the end of an inning process. Some places do ‘Mid-6′ but Citi Field has no way to portray this, and it’s redundant. If there are no outs and no runners, it makes the first batter has yet to resolve. We don’t know to know whether he’s actually batting yet or not, the out of town scoreboard only needs to show us the result.
It seems like a simple fix to my techie mind, but it’s been lingering for more than five seasons and I can’t be the only one to have noticed.
Another thing that I noticed last year was that if there were multiple interleague games, they didn’t all show up. You’ll notice the scoreboard only has room for American and National League with eight games a piece. Every once in a while there are three interleague games with six intraleague games and if all three interleague games are either in the NL or AL, that makes nine games for eight slots and one gets lost, despite the extra room on the other side.
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.
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|