Howard stressed that he’s not running against Omar Minaya, and he in fact hopes Minaya’s dynasty continues in an upward climb to the post-season even many times over. He’s a Mets fan. We all hope that. But when Minaya and the Mets are ready to part ways, Howard wants to be the one who steps in and fills his shoes.
And he wants you to help him get there.
For the next ten days, Howard’s conducting a listening tour over at Baseball Think Factory. The dialogue has already started, and Howard seems deeply invested in what the fans have to say. He wants you to give him a vote of confidence. That’s his whole goal, I would say–to become the first fans’ GM. And in that spirit, he’s hoping you’ll join the discussion and let him know what you want.
New York Magazine has already announced Howard’s bid for the GM in the last paragraph here, and fellow Metsy online folks Ted Berg and Mike Silva joined me in asking questions on the fans’ behalf at Howard’s announcement presser. See our questions below, and for Howard’s full announcement speech, visit him at YouTube.
Although not an official GKR event, yesterday a bunch of hearty GKR revelers gathered in the bridge terrace cafe-style seats to watch Johan Santana pitch the day game. Of course we didn’t realize what a gem Niese would pitch later in the evening, and it was a shame the boys couldn’t pull off a phenomenal sweep, but we still had a blast in our cozy little private terrace.
Dana Brand and his daughter kept me lovely company in our choice seats directly above the Mets bullpen. I remained endlessly fascinated throughout the game by the rare, unhindered view from above. Although the pitcher threw from a spot hidden underneath the terrace, the catcher squatted just a stones-throw away, and if you’ve never seen–or heard!–a hard-pitched ball hit a catcher’s glove, I assure you it’s loud and impressive. When Mejia was warming up, the sound reverberated. You never hear about a catcher’s wrist problems, but man it looked like he’d have some.
We got to enjoy a Henry Blanco two-run dinger (home runs by our catchers–so routine! And yet still so awesome!), but for me the novelty of the day was watching the activity down below. Here’s a video of Blanco catching Johan while Warthen looks on, simulating a batter and nodding. You can also see in the video how eagerly the rest of the bullpen was watching Johan warm up.
And then Warthen moves to the other side of the plate.
Before each game, it seems, the bullpen forms its own high five line, which you can enjoy below along with Dana Brand and his daughter, me and GKR’s Lynn, and a somewhat sad shot of Frankie Rodriguez in what I’m assuming is his no-save-opportunity-for-me seat beside the bullpen.
And guess whom we ran into at the ballpark? SNY.tv’s own (and The Perpetual Post’s own) Howard Megdal. Howard’s got some very exciting stuff in the works, and you can stay tuned right here for coverage of his hot press conference on Monday. Oh, the suspense!
I don’t boo my team. On rare occasions I do in my head–like for Aaron Heilman or Steve Trachsel. But I never have out loud. Booing won’t help the dude pitch any better. So on opening day this season when Oliver Perez was introduced to resounding boos, I clapped. “No, let’s give him a shot!” I yelled. “Come on, Ollie, let’s see what you got.”
Well Ollie? I HATE what you’ve got. I’m not alone, I know, but come on. Oliver Perez is being so ridiculous, so selfish, so dedicated to doing anything he can to help the team lose, that if I ever see him in person on the mound again, I am booing my head off. Hell, I’d even boo at the TV. Oliver Perez, you get a boo forevermore. BOOOOOO.
Here’s why I’m going to boo you, Ollie. It started with going to arbitration. What a greedy sonuvabitch, the fans thought. Milking whatever he can to get more money. He better friggin’ perform. And you did perform. Sometimes well, more often terribly. I would have been happy to see you go after ’08. Good riddance, you greedy, inconsistent jerk. Of course I say that now. Back then, I was willing to continue rooting for you. I wasn’t a fan of yours, but you were a Met. And I root like heck for my team.
Guess what, Ollie. It is now impossible to root for you. You have made it impossible for even the most devoted Mets fan to have your back. Partly, this is because you failed as a pitcher. But mostly it’s because now you’ve failed as a teammate and quite frankly as a man. You’re sitting in that bullpen as the bump that might upset this team’s barely balanced log. The Mets are now handicapped against every team they face because they’re one man down. You are unusable. Dead weight. A burden. Taking the spot of a reliever who could otherwise help the team win.
How dare you not do the right thing, Oliver. How dare you not go to the minors for even a brief time to work on your mechanics. How dare you make it harder for your team to win. How dare you be both the problem and the obstacle to finding a solution. How dare you ignore what’s best for the other 24 members of your team.
You are crappy at your job. But now it’s personal. Turns out you’re just a crappy guy.
It can’t hurt to focus on the positive from last night’s first game of the year against the Yanks. Hold the vocal criticism–this is for kicks, not for American Idol 🙂
He’s on the mound
He’s c-coming out
For the orange and blue
Oh, his aim will be true
For giving us this steadfast man
His pitches he’ll mix
He’ll choose them from six
From fastball to curve
Or a slider with verve
From off-speed to ferocity
From the bullpen or to start…
I’m your biggest fan
I’ll follow through outs one to three
Baby you’re a superstar who gives us consistency
Promise you’ll stay well
Without you our rotation goes to hell
Baby you’ll be famous
Someday even get the victory
The field and fans were sun-drenched, and with D-Wright giving us a lead right off the bat, the energy was electric. Even when Johan passed the ball to Fernando Nieve, the path remained free and clear. A great game. A great day. Great Mets fans. Everything we hoped for.
Then the game ended. The wind picked up. And I headed to McFaddens. It was the opposite of glorious.
But no. While other friends were already inside, having left the ballpark in the 8th inning to watch the rest of the game at the bar, I was on line outside the makeshift entrance. Oh my God, that line. Worse than the most annoying NYC clubs. I even told the head security guy that I was here to review the establishment for my Mlblog. And when I asked politely, “Is there a manager I can talk to?” he literally said to me, “Who do you know?”
Half an hour later, I made it into McFaddens at Citi. Let me show you how empty most of the bar was–just so you know what it looked like while people were waiting for ages outside.
Meanwhile clustered around a raised bar were pretty much the fans I tend to avoid at the game. The obnoxious super drunk douchey ones. My heart sank. This was our new Citi watering hole? The homey Mets-loving spot I had anticipated with excitement? Ugh. Boo.
As my friend texted me while I was on the interminable line, “It’s coyote very ugly.”
I did get a kick out of this guy, though. Here he is about to be thrown out. His friend had been on top of him moments earlier. Alas my camera wasn’t quick enough for that.
So let me leave you with these, the pics from earlier, when all was still bliss. In that last pic you’ll see a sea of raised hands waiting to congratulate our David Wright, who’s buried somewhere within the happy Mets welcome wagon.
And there are always Mets friends to see at the ballpark. Matt Cerrone, Dana Brand, and Jason Fry, and from far away gal pal Julie Alexandria posing for a pic with Matt on the field, and Michael Baron, whom I’d briefly meet later. Always a joy to see familiar faces at Citi!
Before I post about the wonderful, sun-drenched opening day we Mets fans got today, let’s first cover the gastronomic bases. Ownership seems to know we’re coming to the ball park in part for the food, and perhaps for that reason they have made our goodies rather pricier. But there are some great new options, especially for non-beer drinkers like me!
New Shake Shack prices are up from last year, as you can see. Old prices at left, new at right. A single shack burger is up $.50, double $.50, and the fries are even more, up $.75 for regular and $1.00 for the cheese.
The tacos are up a dollar per individual and $1.50 for the combo platter. And I will have to try the new addition: “Perfect Patron Margarita!”
Also at Blue Smoke (left) we have new dessert options and a Makers Mark and Ginger cocktail. At right, see the Box Frites menu, with the new Disco Frites option and the “Absolute Lemonade” cocktail.
Changes too at the Catch of the Day stand. Gone is the shrimp cocktail salad (’09, left), and now there is a crab cake sandwich (’10, right). You can also get the Absolut Lemonade cocktail at the Catch of the Day.
Here’s my new favorite: The Rum Bar by the World’s Fare market. I’ve bee wanting frozen drinks forever! Options include Frozen Bacardi Mango and Frozen Don Q Pina Colada. The mango was delicious (they were out of pina colada, alas!). These drinks are unfortunately pretty pricey: $12 for alcohol, $8 virgin.
For gluten-free folks, there’s a new, much talked about Kozy Shack stand also by the World’s Fare. I saw some yummy onions and peppers being grilled up, likely for sausages. I also noticed bags of gluten free bread buns. And, of course, tons of pudding.
I LOVE fruit. But I ain’t eating fruit at the ballpark. Still, here it is, a healthy option that’s good to have. Also, beer. Apparently this stand popped up for the first time last year. It’s still there in the halls of field level.
Also new? Cinnabon. Not having grown up with malls, I am not that fami
liar with the Cinnabon, but I hear they’re very yummy.
Here’s the Carvel/Cinnabon menu and also the outfield food court Mama’s menu–notice the new buffalo chicken and chicken parm pizzas.
And finally, a refreshing yum, Sno Cones! Ah, brings back memories of that amazing Snoopy Snow Cone Machine…
The Mets are BACK!
P.S. Okay, yes, I also took a picture of the new Korean fried chicken at the World’s Fare Market. I hear it’s supposed to be spicy, which sounds good to me!
Finally, no one puts Apple in a corner!
For pics of Work Out Day and many of the Metsy new changes to Citi Field, check out the full album here.
What a joy it was to marvel at the new Hall of Fame Museum. Some of the best goodies you can imagine are now displayed for all to see. Gil Hodges contract, Casey Stengel’s own informative notes, 60s memorabilia, Tommy Agee’s 1969 World Series Game 3 glove, the famous 1969 shoe polish ball, Tom Seaver’s 1966 minor league contract, Daryl Strawberry’s scouting report, Gary Carter’s first game, home run game-winning bat, one of Keith Hernandez’a Gold Gloves, the original Mr. Met, the World Series Championship trophies and rings, rows of commemorative plaques, and more. Please don’t miss it!
Also notice the lineup cards now positioned exactly where they should be, prominently over the escalators at the top of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
And oh, there were players too! Our actual Mets, working out on the field. Jeff Francoeur is officially one of my favorite Mets now, if not my very favorite in 2010. Not only does he play all out, but he’s just so joyful! He’s a joy to watch, to have around (it seems), and just the best addition to that clubhouse since Johan Santana. He threw ball caps to the fans, and he was one of the few to make eye contact with us.