Dickey Gets Win No. 19

September 26th, 2012 Posted in Citi Field, Mets, Mets games, R.A. Dickey, Road Trips | 2 Comments »

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

I try to make one game a year at Citi Field, and this year’s happened to be at the end of the season when very little was on the line other than seeing R.A. Dickey pitch for win No. 19. When I planned to attend this game during our trip to New York with Nik, we had no idea who might be pitching, but we got lucky that Dickey was on the mound. For a dismal Mets season, Dickey, along with Johan’s no-hitter, has been one of the lone bright spots.

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Some of my fellow bloggers have had the opportunity to get special access to pregame player interviews, batting practice and press conferences before and after several Mets games. Knowing that, I took a chance and reached out to the Mets office to see if they might be able to accommodate me with something similar. Shannon Forde* of the Mets Media Relations Department was incredibly kind to grant me a field pass for the Saturday game against the Marlins. There was no batting practice since it was a day game after a night game, so I relished the opportunity to walk on the field and capture the scene around home plate and the Mets dugout before the first pitch.

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

There were many events taking place around Citi Field that day, most notably Bark in the Park, where fans could purchase special tickets and bring their dog to the game and sit with them. A portion of the ticket sales benefited the North Shore Animal League. Several pitchers were on the field for stretching, autograph signing and puppy holding! The players and pups were super adorable. Other highlights from pregame included finally meeting Ellie, sitting in the dugout and just generally enjoying the sunny day at the ballpark.

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12 Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12 Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

The game itself was great. Good friend and fellow blogger Coop hooked us up with her tickets in section 138. We spent about two innings there before moving to stand behind first base. It wasn’t because of the view, but rather the 50 cheerleaders in attendance that couldn’t stay seated for more than five minutes. I ate the Pat Lafrieda filet mignon steak sandwich, and oh my goodness, was it delicious.

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12 Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Dickey cruised through the game and almost hit a grand slam. Jason Bay and Scott Hairston both went deep. Jon Rauch made it interesting when he came in, but ultimately closed it out. The Mets won 4-3, and Dickey got the win to move one step closer to No. 20.

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12 Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

Following the game, we stopped into the Mets Hall of Fame. It was my first time in there and it was very nice. Great displays and many images from throughout the years.

Marlins-Mets 9/22/12 Marlins-Mets 9/22/12

The season is coming to a close, but I hope I don’t wait until the end of next season before I get back to Citi Field.

*I didn’t get the chance to meet Shannon or her colleague Danielle Parillo since there were numerous other events taking place at Citi that day. Since my day at the ballpark, it has been revealed that Shannon is battling Stage 4 breast cancer. To help offset the medical and other expenses her family will face during treatment, a fundraiser will take place Thursday, Nov. 1. Many former Mets will be involved, and Ron Darling will be the MC at the event. Please visit http://www.hopeshinesforshannon.com/ to see how you can help.

View my full set of pictures from the game at my Flickr page

Schedule Release Day is the Best Day

September 12th, 2012 Posted in Mets games, Road Trips, Schedule | 5 Comments »

Whether it’s baseball, hockey or football, I always get excited when a season schedule is announced, especially since I don’t live in the city of my main team. I like to circle when NHL teams from the East come to Chicago. In baseball, I have wild dreams of making a bunch of road trips to here, there and somewhere inbetween. The Mets schedule for 2013 does not disappoint.

I intially looked over the schedule at Mets.com and I went month-by-month looking at the road games. The trip to Minnesota for the Twins in April stood out instantly. Target Field is one of the new stadiums I’ve been wanting to see a game at and the series is over my birthday weekend. It works perfectly for a road trip.

My next bit of excitement was for a weekend Cubs series at Wrigley in May. This is the one time a year I know I step foot in that stadium, and it’s finally over a weekend. No need to take days off at work.

A few weeks later, at the end of June, the Mets return to Chicago for a two-game series against the White Sox. This might excite me more than the Cubs series. I absolutely love seeing games at US Cellular Field, and it’ll be great to finally see the Mets play there.

I next noticed a July weekend where the Mets travel to Milwaukee to face the Brewers. Admittedly, I’ve only seen the Mets play there once in my five years of living in Chicago, so it’s low on the priority list. Next season might be different because it’s conveniently over a weekend.

Moving to August, there’s is the possibility for a fantastic West Coast trip starting in Arizona, continuing to Los Angeles and concluding in San Diego. I’ve been to Dodger Stadium once, about seven years ago. Nik has never been, and I want to go again. We’ll keep this trip on our minds, but it wouldn’t be cheap to do.

The last road series that really caught my eye is in early September, when the Mets visit the Indians. I know the city and stadium aren’t much to get excited over but I’ve never been. If I’m going to make a trip there, I’d like it to be for when my team plays. This series is a little tricky because of busy season at work, but I’d like to make one game if timing allows.

Previously announced is the All-Star Game at Citi Field in mid-July. Tickets will be pricey, but at the minimum, I hope to be in New York during the festivities. I’m sure it’ll be a great time for the players, teams and tje city.

I really think this 2013 schedule excites me more than any in recent history. It probably helps that each league has an equal number of teams now and interleague play is more spread out through the season. Now we just have to hope the Mets field a strong team.

I believe. Do you? And what series are you looking forward to the most?

Previous Mets road trip posts:

Pittsburgh

Cincinnati

Washington DC

San Francisco

Non-Mets related road trips:

Cubs at Rockies

Mets Are Grand in Finale

June 28th, 2012 Posted in Mets, Mets games, Wrigley Field | 1 Comment »

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Wednesday’s Mets game is why I, and I’m sure many others, have stayed loyal to the Mets. Each game is a new one and you never know what to expect. I was being questioned if I was going to go to the final game of this Mets-Cubs series. Of course I was! It was never in doubt. The Mets only come to Wrigley Field once a year, and if my schedule allows, I’ll go to all of the games.

We all know how the game went, home runs galore from Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and Scott Hairston. RBI galore from David Wright and the aforementioned players too. It was just amazing. I really could not believe what I was seeing. Would have been nice to have some of that offense in the first two games, but oh well. Better late than never. 17-1 was the final. Go get ‘em in LA!

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Some other notes from the game:

  • I got to the game early to watch warmups and batting practice. I claimed a standing spot by the Mets bullpen and saw Chris Young do his bullpen session. He then signed autographs for almost everyone that was lined up along the wall. I moved down the line a little towards first base and got a Tim Byrdak autograph. Both guys were genuinely nice.

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012 Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012 Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012 Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

  • Nik and I sat in section 134 which was in the shade the whole time. Boy did we get lucky! I bought the tickets on Craigslist – $65 for the pair!

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

  • After the game, I high-tailed it over to the Wrigley Field exit where the Mets leave and board the bus. Sometimes some of the guys will sign autograph’s, but I just love seeing them all dressed up. We have one good looking team! In yesterday’s case, Terry Collins, Justin Turner and Omar Quintanilla all signed autographs. Quintanilla has one adorable smile.

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012 Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012 Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

Mets at Cubs - 6/27/2012

*Click on the images for a larger view

**More pictures from the game and postgame are on my Flickr

Tired, Sloppy Play Leads to Loss

June 26th, 2012 Posted in Johan Santana, Mets games, Wrigley Field | No Comments »

Panoramic view from my seat in section 429 at #WrigleyField for #Mets - #Cubs

It seems that over the last few years whenever the Mets come to Chicago to play the Cubs, they always struggle. Monday’s opener in the series was no different. The team arrived to Chicago at 4am following their Sunday night game in New York against the Yankees. I’m sure the Mets were dealing with the hangover of the Subway Series and a late flight, so I’ll chalk this loss up to that.

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The night started out just right. A sunny evening, pregame gathering at the bar with a few friends, great seats at the game and Johan Santana on the mound. The Mets might not have been getting hits early on, but neither were the Cubs. Until Joe Mather went deep with a two-run homer in the 4th. It was the 7th inning where it seemed like error after error for the Mets defense ultimately costing them the game.

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I absolutely love Ronny Cedeno’s high socks and bright orange shoelaces (as seen above.)

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In perhaps another sign of Ike Davis getting out of his slump, he did go deep in the 9th. Too little, too late as 6-1 was the final.

If you’re not familiar with Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, there is a Miller Lite billboard situated on a rooftop just outside the stadium on Sheffield Avenue. It’s appearance changes with every visiting team (or, in some cases, when a concert) comes to Wrigley Field. Here is the billboard for the Mets series…which for Monday’s game was pretty accurate:

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Nik and I are back at Wrigley tonight and hope for a better outcome. Let’s go Mets!

*Many more pictures on Flickr

Mets-Cubs Pre-game Meetups

June 24th, 2012 Posted in Mets games, Wrigley Field | 8 Comments »

Monday is the day. The day the Mets open a three-game series at Wrigley Field and I will be at each game. Like years past, I encourage Mets fans to gather before the games. The locations I’m thinking:

Monday – Murphy’s Bleachers at the corner of Sheffield and Waveland

Tuesday – Dark Horse Tap and Grille at 3443 North Sheffield, just south of Addison

Wednesday - Murphy’s Bleachers at the corner of Sheffield and Waveland

Hope to see you. Let’s go Mets!

Johan Santana Makes Mets History

June 2nd, 2012 Posted in Johan Santana, No-hitter | 1 Comment »

I clearly started this blog for a reason when I moved from New York, to chronicle different experiences as a Mets fan living in Chicago. The Mets have been the one professional sports team I’ve been a fan of the longest. And last night made it so worth it. Never giving up. Never getting down on the team or players. Always staying with them and watching into September when seasons were long over.

It’s hard in the day and age of Twitter to be a Mets fan and not living in New York. It makes me want to go to more games than I can get to. I follow a bunch of fellow fans, some who have become friends, that live in NY and can follow the Mets a little more easily with SNY on their local cable. Here in Chicago, it’s not so easy. But last night, Friday June 1, a day that will never be forgotten, I was at work and was able watch SNY straight through without the channel being blacked out upon completion. (That’s what happens when watching on MLB.tv.)

Just a few weeks ago my dad and I were talking about how great this 2012 Mets team is. There is something special about them. We thought this would be the year the Mets get a no-hitter and we thought it was going to be by R.A. Dickey. But then in the 7th inning I called my dad to make sure he was watching and we were both hopeful it would happen on this night with Johan Santana pitching.

There were so many defensive plays that helped Johan along in the game, most notably, Mike Baxter’s catch in left field in the 7th. He injured himself on the catch and had to leave the game. (Really hope he’s OK, because he has been so solid this season.)

When it was in the 8th inning (I think) I tweeted something about butterflies in my tummy. Soon enough it was the 9th inning and my eyes were glued to the TV on my desk at work. It happened. Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history!

It truly was so amazing and though I was sad to not have been able to watch the game live with Nik, it was really awesome to go through it with so many fellow fans through Twitter.

Nik and I happened to see a no-hitter last year. It was Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano against the White Sox. While it was amazing to see that in person, nothing beats my most favorite team from finally getting one.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to watch the archive of the game with Nik and continue to enjoy this milestone.

Let’s go Mets!

 

Mets Game Watches 2012

April 9th, 2012 Posted in Mets Watching | 3 Comments »

At @finley_dunnes where my #Mets pennant proudly hangs

I’m trying something new this season by picking one Sunday a month for a game watch. This way, people can have it on the calendar now and if you can make it, great. If not, no big deal either. I think trying to plan ahead of time might get more turn out than a last minute get together. (Of course, I’ll still probably send emails for those as well.)

I started by picking a game for April, May and June that fit into my schedule. There is a weekend series in May vs. the Marlins which would make for a great meetup, but I already have something else scheduled that weekend. I’m planning these meetups for Finley Dunne’s, since I know they’ll put the game on for us, Sunday is typically a slower day for them and it’s conveniently located by an El stop – the Paulina Brown Line. (The above picture is from Finley Dunne’s. They hung a Mets pennant for me, so you know they are good people.)

The games:

Sun. April 15 – Mets vs Phillies, 12:35 CT

Sun. May 20 – Mets vs Blue Jays, 12:07 CT

Sun. June 10 – Mets vs Yankees, 12:05 CT

Hopefully none of the games get flexed to ESPN Sunday Night baseball. And the only thing that would prevent me from making any of these dates is if the Blackhawks have a home playoff game. Let’s see how these go before picking the next batch of games to plan for.

Hope to see you. Let’s go Mets!

Spring is in the Air

February 14th, 2012 Posted in Mets | 4 Comments »

I haven’t posted anything Mets in a long time, but that’s my way my around here. I’m not a daily blogger, there are many good ones out there already tackling the day to day news.

Hands down though, I always post around this time when players start reporting to spring training. There’s something in the air that really gets me excited. Maybe it’s the lull of other sports going on. I was hoping to make a trip to Port St. Lucie this year, but some other plans came up and so a trip there will have to wait again. As it stands now, I’ll first see the Mets when they come to Chicago at the end of June. I can only hope it’ll actually be warm by then and I won’t need to wear layers like last season. Not too many other plans to see the Mets on the road. Perhaps a game in Milwaukee, but we’ll see. Being a new home owner, I have to save a little money and so I’ll probably be watching more games at home on my TV. Thankfully the MLB.tv subscription offers both home and away feeds, so I’ll almost always get my Gary, Keith and Ron.

In any case, let’s go Mets! I’ve never given up before and I’m not about to start now.

The Sports Room

February 11th, 2012 Posted in Blackhawks, Mets, Sports Room | 5 Comments »

Nik and I recently moved into a new condo and wasted no time making on of the bedrooms a sports room. The room was already painted red when we moved in and since most of our frames and shelves were a dark color, we decided to leave the paint color alone. (Note: click on any of the pictures to view as a larger size.)

We immediately got to work on decorating the room. My seats from Shea Stadium served as the centerpiece and we worked around them for the rest of the room. The Mets rug is the most recent addition to the room and it fits perfectly. What follows is a guided picture tour of the room.

    Shelf full of goodies

The shelf. I’m known to collect and save things from time to time.

One item that I have a lot of are bobbleheads. I’m working on putting more of them on display in this room, but for now I have a few of my favorites on the top shelf, along with a picture of me with Mike Piazza. At the very top is a bat we had made in honor of our wedding day. (Other bobbleheads are on a shelf in the living room.)

Shelf closeup

The second shelf has a picture of a Diamondvision message that says ‘The Mets Welcome the Rubinstein Family’; two hockey pucks that I got signed by Bobby Hull and Jonathan Toews; a batting practice ball that David Wright threw to the fans in Milwaukee that Nik caught; Mini bobbleheads and a giant Penguins button. (Also randomly on the shelf is a candle from my senior prom in the back corner.)

Shelf closeup

The third shelf has a stack of travel books; a Don Larsen signed baseball; a Mike Piazza signed baseball; Stanley Cup Final 2010 patch; Season ticket holder gift: picture of the four Blackhawks ambassadors- Denis Savard, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito and Bobby Hull; Couple Mets Bud bottles and mini helmets.

Shelf closeup

The fourth shelf has a football signed by former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel; the basketball is signed by former Ohio State great Jim Jackson; and a few mini football helmets, one of which is signed by Jim Tressel. Not sports related, but equally as cool, is a set of drumsticks from Levon Helm that he gave me when I met him in 2005.

Shelf closeup

The wall above the Shea seats has a custom framed picture with our souvenir tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals and to the home opener/banner raising game. I bought the team picture that is at the top, but the bottom picture is one I took at the home opener when the team raised the banner. To the right is a Mets neon clock and below is a picture of me with Jonathan Toews that I was able to have him sign. In the mounted bat case is the broken bat of Mets minor league player Allan Dykstra that I got when I saw the Binghamton Mets play in Portland, Maine.

The small side of the room has a Pearl Jam concert poster that I bought several years ago on eBay. It fits perfectly in this room. The other wall has a few team logo banners of the teams Nik grew up rooting for. Penn State, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The highlight of that wall is the puck case.

A closeup of the puck case. Some are autographed by several Blackhawks players including Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Adam Burish. The other pucks have been collected over the years.

Last, but not least, the Mets rug.

There is more to come for this room, including some panoramic pictures that we need to get framed, so stay tuned for more updates!

You can view a full set of pictures on my Flickr page.

A Look at Mets Interleague Opponents

September 14th, 2011 Posted in General, Interleague Play | 1 Comment »

Today the 2012 MLB schedules for all of the teams were released and with it always comes a lot excitement and criticism. Excitement to plan road trips (more on that in another post) and criticism for the interleague match-ups. Interleague play began with the 1997 season for reasons that can be read on Wikipedia.

In 2012, aside from two Yankees series, the Mets will play at Toronto, at Tampa Bay and at home vs. Baltimore in interleague play. Baltimore, really?? Didn’t we just play them like last year? All of this got me thinking about a list of Mets interleague games since interleague play began. I wanted to see if there was any rhyme or reason to the opponents and to see how many times they have played each AL team.

For the Mets, the first five years of interleague play was always NL East vs. AL East:

1997: vs. Boston, @ NYY, @ Detroit, @ Baltimore vs. Toronto (All AL East. Detroit was in the East before baseball expansion/realignment.)

1998: @ Boston, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Baltimore, vs. NYY, @ Toronto (All AL East)

1999: @NYY, vs. Toronto, vs. Boston, vs. NYY, @ Tampa Bay, @ Baltimore (All AL East)

2000: vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Baltimore, at NYY, vs. NYY, @ Boston, @ Toronto (All AL East)

2001: @ Tampa Bay, @ Baltimore, vs. NYY, @ NYY, vs. Boston, vs. Toronto (All AL East)

Aside from the Yankees series being a mainstay, from 2002 – 2006, things got a little more mixed. For the most part play alternated between the AL Central and AL West, probably since there were just 5 straight seasons of playing the AL East.

2002: @ Cleveland, @ White Sox, vs. NYY, vs. Minnesota, vs. Kansas City, @ NYY (4 AL Central, 2 Yankees)

2003: vs. Seattle, @ Texas, @ Angels, vs. NYY, @ NYY (3 AL West, 2 Yankees)

2004: @ Minnesota, @ Kansas City, @ Cleveland, @ Detroit, @ NYY, vs. NYY (3 AL Central, 2 Yankees)

2005: vs. NYY, vs. Angels, @ Oakland, @ Seattle, @ NYY (3 AL West, 2 Yankees)

2006 brought interleague play back to full-on AL East:

2006: vs. NYY, vs. Baltimore, @ Toronto, @ Boston, @ NYY (5 AL East)

And now we’re back to no rhyme or reason in 2007:

2007: vs. NYY, @ Detroit, @ NYY, vs. Minnesota, vs. Oakland (2 AL Central, 1 AL West, 2 Yankees)

2008*: @ NYY, vs. Texas, @ Angels, vs. Seattle, vs. NYY (3 AL West, 2 Yankees)
*Civil Rights Game vs. White Sox in Memphis. I initially forgot about this game, but I don’t count the game same since it was only one game, in a neutral site.

Oh look, AL East. Again:

2009: @ Boston, @ NYY, @ Baltimore, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. NYY (5 AL East)

What’s interesting in 2010 are the games against a few Central teams and Baltimore. Really? Mix it up!

2010: vs. NYY, @ Baltimore, @ Cleveland, @ NYY, vs. Detroit, vs. Minnesota (3 AL Central, 3 AL East, incl. 2 Yankees)

A little AL West and 1 AL Central opponent for this season:

2011: @ NYY, vs. Angels, vs. Oakland, @ Texas, @ Detroit, vs. NYY (3 AL West, 1 AL Central, 2 Yankees)

So here we are at next year’s interleague opponents:

2012: @ Toronto, @ NYY, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Baltimore, vs. NYY (5 AL East, incl. 2 Yankees)

I accept Toronto since they haven’t met since 2006. But Tampa Bay in 2009 and again in 2012? And the Mets will now be playing Baltimore in 3 of the last 4 seasons. c’mon! I get it, the cities are close and fans will travel.

As it appears, interleague series do get varied, but on the surface it seems the Mets always play the same few AL teams more often than other AL teams. I’m sure there’s a lot that goes into the scheduling of these games. But, instead of back to back Detroit series, how about a White Sox series? Instead of the constant Baltimore games, how about one more against Cleveland?

Lastly, here is a straight up list of how many times the Mets have played each AL team. I’m discounting the first 5 years of interleague play since it was a constant AL East matchup. Also not included are the games against the Yankees or the White Sox Civil Rights Game.

AL East:
Baltimore – 5 times
Boston – 2 times
Tampa Bay – 2 times
Toronto – 2 times
Again, not counting the first 5 years of interleague or any Yankees series

AL Central:
Cleveland – 3 times
Chicago – 1 time
Detroit – 4 times
Kansas City – 2 times
Minnesota – 4 times

AL West:
LA Angela – 4 times
Oakland – 3 times
Seattle – 3 times
Texas – 3 times

What do you think? Does it make sense? What would you like to see stay the same or change?