Anticipating the Bedlam of Opening Day at Citi Field

Opening Day is finally just about here. It’s always a fun time out at the ballpark, but this year especially there is so much to see and do.


Besides the usual catching up with friends and tailgates, there’s the new Mikkeller NYC brewery to check out. 60 taps and a cool space just outside the gates? That’s a must see.


Once inside I need to allow myself enough time to to a loop of the stadium, check out what’s new, what’s changed, what looks different, and any unreported new food items.  With a sold out crowd that’s more in the hangout mode than a game-watching mode, that’s harder to do efficiently than usual.  I’m particularly interested to see if there are any new Mikkeller options INSIDE the stadium, or any other new beers in general.


Then it’s just taking in the atmosphere, enjoying being back at a baseball game, and having a good time. Watching the Mets crush the Cardinals and get this season off to a roaring start will just be a bonus. I’m predicting a Todd Frazier home run.


Let’s Go Mets!

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Opening Day Brings Anticipation

This is a different Opening Day than we’re used to. Two seasons in the playoffs has the season kicking off with anticipation in a way not seen since 2001. There’s heavy expectations on this team, and while we’re all thrilled Mets baseball is back and the games count, it’s in a “Let’s get on with it” way, as we await the summer to see how the team looks, and what needs to be done to win the division. Opening Day is always one of the highlights of a Mets season, and maybe sometimes it’s one of the best, but this year it’s going to be little more than a footnote.


Even though it’s going to be silly for a while yet, scoreboard watching is going to begin real early. In 2015 the Mets shocked the Nationals who were falling apart. Last year they kept it close for a while and still managed to make the playoffs as well. This year is a full-on battle. Each team knows the other is serious, capable, and dangerous. We’re going to get rotations being lined up to face each other. DL stints and roster moves made with upcoming Nationals series in mind.


The Mets and Nationals square off for six games in the second half of April. In a way this is a practice Opening Day, because everything really gets started April 21st when the Nats arrive at Citi Field.


So enjoy your tailgates, settle into your seats. Flip on your tv or radio and listen to Gary, Keith, Ron, Howie and Josh. Let’s get this season started, because it’s going to a fun ride.

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NOW It’s Baseball Season

1364825095130We’ve chased the disappointment of the first loss with Harvey Day, and now the Mets move on to their second series and we really start settling in.


With the excitement of Opening Day, and the disappointment of a rain delay and a loss, our first series win, and Matt Harvey’s return the Mets have packed a lot into the first week of the season. Now it’s time to settle in for the long season and make the Mets a part of our routine.


Next week the Mets return home, we get Citi Field noises and visits, normal 7:10 start times and the flood–might still be a trickle–of Mets caps and jerseys representing people headed to the game that evening. The Mets play everyday. It becomes a routine. Arrow, Jeopardy and iZombie episodes pile up on the DVR. We’ll have seen every NL East team by next weekend, and we’ll get acquainted with new heroes and villains.


Baseball is back!


Monday is Opening Day. I’ll be doing my usually stroll through the stadium looking for what’s new, cataloging the new beer selection, and just generally tweeting and sharing interesting observations. Make sure you follow along on Twitter.

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Another Opening Day Arrives

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?

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Things i’m looking for on Opening Day

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!

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Opening Day Is Coming: Prepare Yourself!

photo by CeetarWe’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?

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Opening Day Ticket Price Hike A Troubling Sign

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.

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Now We Get Serious

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!

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Some Thoughts on Dynamic Pricing

The Mets now have their dynamic pricing guide online on  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.

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What’s New At Citi Field? Keith’s Grill and More!

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.



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