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?
Follow @Ceetar today while I share my observations and pictures from Opening Day.
Quick bullet point type list of things I”ll be scoping out today because I procrastinated this post and now it’s late.
Trackman thingy. I found this article very interesting, and am going to see if I can find the panel.
New Beer. Is there any new beer, and what is it?
New food. Most of the new food has been previewed some, but I’ll still be checking it out and getting a feel for what’s new.
There’s always new signs and kiosks and advertising. Subtle changes in the way Citi Field operates. I’m always interested in those things, the way the escalators run, how the security is behaving. That sort of thing.
Tailgate and Mets fan friends. Checking in with all the fun fans and bloggers that I rarely see anywhere but at Citi Field. It’s a new season, let’s have some fun!
And of course, most importantly, a Mets win! Let’s go Jon Niese!
We’ve got some World Baseball Classic games to keep us warm for now, but Opening Day is right around the corner. It’s staying lighter at night longer now, the weather is starting to warm a little, and baseball is less than three weeks away. It’s time to prepare yourself.
Catch up on television and clean out your DVRs. Once baseball arrives you’ll find a lot less time to watch those shows.
Get your fantasy drafts ready. If you’re planning on playing in one this year, now’s the time to start getting them settled so you have some headway to make trades and adjust your bench before the season starts.
Load up your fridge with beer (If you’re the drinking type/age anyway). Even if I’m not at the game I like to have a beer to open the season, it just seems natural. Opening Day at the park is usually pretty chilly, which is one of the reasons I’ve been advocating a nice porter or stout at Citi Field, maybe this year my wish will come true.
Remember your Twitter friends’ real names. If you’re like me you’re always running into fellow fans at Citi Field that you know on the internet. I always find it slightly awkward to introduce myself as Ceetar (but if I say Michael, how will you know who I am?), so sometimes it’s worth remember what people call themselves out there in that crazy real world.
What are some of the other things you like to get squared away for the start of the baseball season?
The Mets spent more time and energy and research on ticket prices than you did. Their research suggests this is the best way to maximize revenue and push customers into committing to packs and getting more people into the ballpark for the other games. That doesn’t make it suck any less. The problem is it’s Opening Day and the demand is still high.
It’s one thing to say you’re annoyed with it in November and not going to buy, but once Spring Training kicks in and we hear about people planning to finally get out to the park again and see live baseball many people are going to be looking to find tickets. I’d be surprised if the stadium looks less than 95% full.
It’s a business first for the Mets, and it’s hard for me to get too up in arms at any specific tactic to maximize profit on the high-demand times, but it doesn’t bode well for the future. It’s not just baseball either, or just the Mets. Fans in this same market complained and moaned about personal seat licenses in the NFL, but the Giants and Jets both sold a ton of them. Movie tickets are going up, and if you think $63 for 3-4 hours in the sun watching baseball is rough take a look at the prices of some of the Broadway plays.
Revenue sharing money from MLB is going up too, and it’s only going to lessen the percentage of revenue that ticket sales is. As that happens more and more teams are going to make decisions to milk every last dollar out they can, with no regard to actual turnstile attendance. Take a look at the Marlins fire sale. The Marlins flat out don’t care about the fans, but the franchise itself is making a ton of money from other sources. Actual fans in the park aren’t at the top of their priority list.
It’s unfortunate. Many fans remember the days before the late nineties when payrolls skyrocketed causing ticket prices to follow suit when going to a baseball game was one of the most affordable activities in the city. As prices have rocketed, fan salaries haven’t followed suit and the economy crashed creating less disposable income in general. As a result everything is crazy expensive. I can’t ever legitimately afford to sit in the good seats at a game in any of the other three major sports, and every year it seems I get further and further away from the Mets field as well.
Dynamic pricing was designed with this Opening Day situation in mind. It was always a way to maximize the revenue of the top games, no matter when they happen in a season and was never really meant to lower prices to bargain basement levels to get the place packed. The Mets know, as everyone in sports knows, that take advantage of the few high-demand games you have, and let winning take care of packing the park for the other ones.
Unfortunately for us, the baseball market in New York is huge. The big Mets games are going to sell, and as they do better and better, those games are going to sell too. There’s no boycott that’s going to work. Clearly you shouldn’t back down from voicing your opinion at some of these frustrating aspects of fandom, but know that the only person you hurt by not going is yourself. It’d be great if we could drive market value, but the truth is we don’t.
I sucked it up and bought Opening Day tickets. I want to be there, it’s pretty much a holiday in my eyes, and I’m not yet willing to miss it. Maybe I skip another game or two depending on my situation, but I’m going to check my stubbornness at the gate about the pricing and go. Maybe I’m just resigned to the idea that everyone is out to take every last cent from me, but once Opening Day gets here I’m going to be excited no matter what I paid.
Yesterday the Mets took a turn towards the regular season and it’s becoming time to start making sure everyone is getting the work they need. It’s less than three weeks until Opening Day.
The Mets pared down the camp size by sending many of the minor leaguers back to minor league camp. This move is in conjunction with the regular players getting more playing time instead of coming out after 3-4 innings. The pitchers will also start pitching deeper into games, as they stretch out their arms towards being able to throw 100 pitches or so once the season starts. This means the games start resembling real games again, and that means getting rid of the DH. Starting yesterday with R.A. Dickey, Mets pitchers will bat as normal for the rest of Spring Training.
Which is why it’s important for David Wright to heal quickly. The Mets aren’t quite at the stage where he’d be rushing to be ready to play on Opening Day, but that time is drawing near. If he’s not playing by early next week, it’ll start to be a real concern that he’ll miss Opening Day. Ultimately if he’s a week or two late it’s not going to make that much of a difference, but there is something to be said for having your best players healthy and ready to go when the bell rings to start the season.
It’s time to get serious. Let’s work towards rounding out the roster and getting all the regulars healthy and ready to play some baseball!
The Mets now have their dynamic pricing guide online on Mets.com. Tickets first went on sale to certain presale codes Monday. I got Opening Day tickets at face value, but just three hours later they were $10 higher. Btw, at 10am today the Mets blogger presale begins. More details here.
This ultimately sucks, although it won’t quite hurt the true fans. Dynamic pricing does not change the prices of packs and plans. If you want a particular promotion or banner day, you have an incentive to buy ahead beyond just getting better seats. As more fans get exciting about specific events, the price will go up. This will have a fairly catastrophic effect on suddenly popular games. Clinchers, Dickey’s first home game after his no-hitter, and late season divisional matchups during pennant races can suddenly become very expensive. Staying ahead of the hype will save you money.
On the flip side, it’s unlikely tickets will plummet that far for unwanted games. The Mets set up an artificial floor so that a fan will never pay less than a season ticket holder paid for that section. Reading between the lines to me means that it’ll never be less than the 10% discount they get. Prices are fairly reasonable for value games as they are, but it’d be nice if the more expensive games become affordable if the Mets are eliminated early or if the weather is supposed to be really bad.
Another interesting use for dynamic pricing is tracking the popularity of games. It can give us insight into tickets sold that previously only the Mets knew. If you want to know how Banner Day is doing for example, you can check out the prices for that game against a similarly valued game and see if it’s inherently more popular or not. As we get a feel for it, we’ll probably be able to tell how close it is to sold out, even within specific sections.
I’ll also be curious to see how the secondary market reacts. Sites like Stub Hub and Seat Crew that deal in second-hand tickets may not be able to keep up with the fluctuations. If a game suddenly takes off in popularity, it will take a while for people to unlist and relist their tickets. If ticket prices drop, the secondary market will suddenly be overpriced. This may also kill day of game sales. If fans really want to go to a game, chances are the prices will increase past the secondary market…unless it’s raining.
Unfortunately, the worst part of Opening Day was the play on the field. Hopefully that doesn’t continue. There are a handful of changes at Citi Field to note.
The bad first. There are no longer Brooklyn Beers on tap at the Taste of NY center field concourse. No Shackmeister Ale, no Blanche de Brooklyn, no Blue Smoke Ale and no Sabroso Ale. Not even a Brooklyn Summer Ale. You can still get the Brooklyn Lager around the park, but the loss of these specialty brews is disappointing. I haven’t even seen Brooklyn’s Pennant Ale anywhere, which you think would be a given for a ballpark, never mind a team with Brooklyn roots. I’m going to try to keep a full list of the Mets beer selections at Citi Field, and hopefully one day will add the stuff that’s hidden behind club doors this season. If you know a blogger and beer lover that roots for a different team, I’d love to talk with him or her about creating a beer list for other stadiums.
The highlight of the changes to me was a new concession stand on the field level in the left fielder corner called Keith’s Grill. It features a Gold Glove burger which is described as having been created by Keith Hernandez.
“Exactly how Keith eats his burger; A 6 oz. Brooklyn Burger on a toasted sesame bun, w/ cheddar cheese, topped w/ lettuce, tomato, two dill pickles, raw onions mayo & extra ketchup on top, mustard spread on the bottom bun. Burger served with house made kettle chips & Keith’s favorite candy; a Tootsie Roll Pop”
I didn’t try it; the line was too long and I figured I’d go back on a less crowded occasion, but it sounds yummy. I heard that their was a new Pastrami on Rye sandwich somewhere, but I think I remember seeing that at the Kosher cart last year.
There was two new beers from Hometown Brewery. A New York Lager and a light. the NY Lager wasn’t bad, but didn’t seem like anything special. They were available from a couple of different carts around the park. It seems like it might be contract-brewed by the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Which is where the Yankees AAA team plays and is in Pennsylvania, so don’t be too excited by the NY name.
Two new menu items at Blue Smoke. Chipotle wings are back after a 2010 absence (I learned in 2009 that eating wings in cold weather when your hands are chapped is a bad idea) and also a fried chicken sandwich.
There’s an organic dark chocolate frozen yogurt bar at the Burgers and Fries concession from Stonyfield, and also a chipwich at the same place.
Box Frites has a sauce, rosemary ranch, which I think is a new choice.
There appears to be knishes available at more locations this year.
There are probably a couple of other changes that I missed, so be on the lookout!
As usual, plenty of advertising turnover.
Tags: advertising at citi field, Baseball, beer and baseball, beer at citi field, big apple brews, brooklyn beers, brooklyn beers at citi field, Citi Field, citi field beer selection, citi field changes, gold glove burger, hometown brewery, Keith hernandez, keith's burger, keith's grill, knishes, mets beer, new citi field concessions, opening day, stonyfield, tootsie roll pop, what's new at citi field
Despite six games in the books, baseball doesn’t feel real until I return to a baseball stadium for a real game. (Spring Training was nice and all, but it’s not the same)
Starting at noon today, I will trek out to Citi Field for Opening Day against the Washington Nationals. First order of business: Read the Apple tailgate! Following that, I intend to do a lap around Citi Field on the outside, and then a lap around Citi Field on the inside. I like to take in the tiny minutia that changes from year to year. Ralph Kiner will throw out the first pitch. The Mets will bat in the bottom of the order. Hopefully the Mets will win.
Tomorrow’s high is 53 degrees, and with the usual wind at Citi Field it’ll probably feel colder than that. I’ll be wearing my Dickey shirt, covered by an orange sweatshirt under my cream colored Pagan jersey. And a blue cap.
One of the things I intend to focus on is the beer selection. I’ve heard there are some new brews at Citi Field, to complement the nice selection that already exists. I floated the idea that Citi Field has the best beer selection in the majors, but I”m thinking that’s probably not entirely true. After I do Citi Field’s list, I’m going to do some research on other parks I attend, and other parks I don’t attend, and try to come to researched opinion on beer at baseball stadiums.
I’ll have a lot of pictures from Opening Day to share this weekend, and perhaps scattered among posts throughout the season. And to top it off, I get to go back to Citi on Sunday!
To follow my tweets and updates directly from Citi Field before, during, and after the game, follow me on Twitter.
Tags: angel pagan jersey, Baseball, beer selection, best beer in the majors, Citi Field, home opener, Mets, mets home opener, mets opening day, MLB beer list, mlb beer selection, New York Mets, opening day, pagan, pagan jersey, pictures, read the apple, tailgate
The Mets lost on Opening Day for the first time in years yesterday. This seems like the first sign that things are different this year.
Really, it’s just one game. One game doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of a season. There were plenty of good signs.
Emaus, in the middle of a rally in his Major League debut, worked the count and drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate.
The Mets offense, the second Josh Johnson got a little tired, jumped all over him.
Carlos Beltran looked fine in right field, better than some of the Marlins looked defensively at positions they’d played for years.
Watching the disaster that the Astros closer was yesterday makes me happy that the Mets look to have a good bullpen, particularly one of the best relievers in the game.
This team had a lot of turnover from last year, and a new managing core. It might take them some time to get their legs under them. It may take a little while before they learned all their own strengths and weaknesses, and how they work best together. Reyes and Emaus haven’t worked together up the middle that long. Pitchers are still building up arm strength, and the bullpen will settle into more defined roles as they get some innings in.
Okay, time to fry some fish. Still plenty of opportunity to win this series.
Joe Mathews on Zócalo Public Square wrote an interesting article about optimism in baseball, and also in America.
It speaks to the doe-eyed optimism we usually experience on Opening Day, the time when all teams are still tied for first and anything is possible. And then it tears it down as a sort of “ignorance is bliss” fairy tale. Mathews suggests we stop holding the game up on a pedestal and instead embrace it and all it’s flaws. In a way, I think this view has been forced upon us lately, with all the cheating and steroids and looking the other way. You see some stick their head in the sand and try to forget Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez were, or are, cheating and you see others desperately cling to their innocence and claim their favorite player, whether Piazza or Jeter or someone else, was clean the whole time. Perhaps it’s better to accept the flaws and the corruption and stop pretending it’s a game played between gentleman and instead a battle of players doing anything they can, against the rules or not, to win.
A point he makes about the Mets that a lot of people don’t seem to be bringing up is that a lot of the Mets actions over the past couple of decades have been funded via Madoff profits. This is perhaps a simplistic look, as the Mets certainly would’ve invested elsewhere and still signed players and make moves, but it’s not a stretch to say that Tom Glavine’s acquisition was funded by Bernie Madoff.
Anyway, it’s an interesting read and it’s not that long. Check it out.