Archive for the ‘ AL Central ’ Category

5/25/13 Braves at Mets: Citi Field

So after the adventure I had gone through the previous game, and the state I awoke in, I feel as though I shouldn’t have been in the mood to go back to Citi Field any time soon, but so I did. I woke up at about 11:00 in the morning, and since the Mets had announced when the game was postponed that the gates would be opening at 4:10 and trains/buses run less regularly on the weekends, I almost immediately headed up to the apartment of a friend I was staying with this week in the Bronx, showered, got changed in to clothes that were more suited for the 50-degree temperatures, took all of the stuff I didn’t need in my backpack out, and headed off to Citi Field.

The way this game would work is the resumption of the previous night’s game would begin at 6:10 and the regularly-scheduled game would start soon after that. People who had tickets could exchange them at the box office for tickets that were that same dollar amount or lower. But since I was hopefully not going to be back at Citi Field after Sunday’s game (this entry you’re reading about is of a Saturday) and I had picked up a collective three ticket stubs the game before, I exchanged them in the following way: Two tickets for this game and one for the Sunday game:

52513 Opening Picture

The two tickets for this day’s game were behind the third base dugout and in left field, and the Sunday ticket was for further down the third base foul line. I figured that I would want more flexibility for this day’s game, and the next day’s game I already knew would be full of ballhawks, so I wanted to stay away from behind the dugouts and left field, which are the two most popular spots for ballhawks during the games at Citi Field. Also, it was John Franco bobblehead day, which Ben Weil was coming to specifically for the bobbleheads, so having two tickets to this game would enable him to get an extra bobblehead. (Even if I was stupid and gave him the ticket I already scanned to get in.)

I learned when I got to the stadium, though, that the bad-phrasing Mets had changed the gate opening time from 4:10 to 5:10 somewhere between me sleeping on a fleece and getting to the game, so I now had to wait for another hour, and it would also be another hour that I wouldn’t have inside the stadium I wasn’t worried about my streak because I would have 10+ innings with a dugout seat, but it was just annoying to know that I rushed to the game when I could have been relaxing on an actual bed for that extra hour. The Mets actually then changed that *while* I was waiting at the gate and made the new opening time 4:45. Unfortunately, when I got in, there was still a whole lot of nothing going on:

52513 Nothing going on

Since there was nothing of the players going on, I went and saw some other interesting things going on in the stadium:

1.

52513 Tarp cover thingy

The groundscrew put the thing that covers the tarp in the stands down the third base line.

2.

52513 Ladder

Mets employees for whatever reason had a ladder going from the second to the third deck in left field.

3.

52513 Winning Seat

The random “lucky seat”s that the Mets have throughout the stadium in section 123 was two seats from my ticketed seat in that section, which was seat 4 in that same row.

I quickly got bored with these things, so I took a peek inside the dugout:

52513 View in the dugout

When I didn’t see anything going on in there, I decided to take pictures of the top of the visitor’s dugout:

52513 Dugout 1 52513 Dugout 2

Like I said, I was bored.

At around 5:15, Ben arrived in the stadium, so I talked to him briefly but then quickly became designated bag carrier as he made several trips in and out of the stadium to get the extra bobbleheads. At the end of his many trips, he had a ton of bobbleheads. I think he said he had gotten ten by the time he was done. I mean here are just a little over half of the bobbleheads:

52513 Bobbleheads

Normally Ben only gets two of a bobblehead; three if he really likes the player. But in this case, he came across some extra tickets that came without people wanting the bobblehead, so Ben ended up keeping seven of the ten bobbleheads for himself.

When it came time for the first game, here was my view of the action:

52513 View for the game

See the only kid in the picture on the seat all the way to the right? His name is Harrison, and he approached me during this game and asked me if I went for baseballs often. Through our talking, he remembered that he had actually first talked to me over a year ago at this game (I apologize in advance for the awful writing) and I remembered that he was the one who had taken the picture of me in my poncho outside the rotunda in the entry before this one. It turns out he is an autograph collector who has gotten 1,000+ autographs at games, and usually sits in the seats you see him in, which is how he has seen ballhawks a lot before. I ended up talking with him and some guys who arrived in the second game for the majority of the game.

In the first inning of the game (or the ninth inning, if you will) the Mets struck out to end the inning, and although I was on the outfield end of the dugout, the stands were empty enough for the resumption game that there was an empty row of seats that I managed to get to the home plate end of the dugout through, and so I got Brian McCann to toss me a ball. On my way back to my seat on the outfield end, I saw a kid with Braves gear, so I gave the ball to him.

When the first game ended, I stupidly forgot for a couple seconds that the umpires would be exiting the field, and this hesitation may have cost me a ball as I was out of position at the umpire tunnel and didn’t get a ball from the home plate umpire. The time between the games wasn’t all bad, though. It was in this time that I had pre-arranged a meet-up with fellow MLBlogger, Bryan Mapes of the popular blog, Three Up, Three Down. He was in the club level of Citi Field, but came down to meet me in the concourse of the field level:

52513 Bryan Mapes and Mateo Fischer

Despite having conversed many times over Twitter and our respective blogs, this was the first time we had ever met in person. So there’s that.

I then headed back to my seat where I enjoyed the same view–except darker–for the rest of the night despite not snagging another ball:

52513 Dugout view 1 52513 Dugout view 2

And so that was it. The Mets lost both games, which made Bryan, a Braves fan, very happy, but I pretty much just sat, enjoyed the games, and got to cross another thing off my baseball bucket list. Even if I probably never would have thought to put this exact scenario on my bucket list ever.

The Mets even had the firework that were supposed to go off the previous day go off in honor of my 1-ball performance:

52513 Fireworks

I would go back to the Bronx knowing that the next day would be just another day back at the ballpark, but with a lot more batting practice and ballhawks than I had been seeing the past two days. And I would have one mission: snag two baseballs to get to 100 all-time at Citi Field.

STATS:

  • 1 Ball at this game (not pictured because I gave it away
  • Number 524 for my “career”
  • 78 Balls in 18 Games= 4.33 Balls Per Game
  • 1 Ball x 27,622 Fans= 27,622 Competition Factor
  • 80 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 98 Balls in 37 Games at Citi Field= 2.69 Balls Per Game
  • 37 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Citi Field
  • Time Spent On Game 12:02-11:49= 11 Hours 47 Minutes

Re-view of the Preview: Kansas City Royals

First of all, here is the link to the first entry. By the way, I always put the link to the previous entry on the word “here” just because it would be tougher to link a whole phrase of words.

 

Predicted record: 68-73 wins

Actual record: 71-91

 

This prediction I pretty much got right, which in the AL Central is the equivalent of throwing a strike to the Home Plate at Yankee Stadium from the upper deck. I didn’t really get the prediction right, though, as to how exactly the Royals would win their games. I really predicted, because it was mostly an entry on the offseason moves, that the Royals would win their games through all  of their newly acquired pitching. However, I failed to look at what they already had on their team. The Royals offense, was their main asset.

 

I failed to see their offensive potential, because they really didn’t have much. The main reasons the Royals succeeded so were: Billy Butler doing what he always does, Alex Gordon finally living up to some of the hype, and Eric Hosmer coming up and helping. There were other people, but these were the main reasons, as far as I can tell from what I watch of the Royals during a typical baseball season (I really don’t watch them much at all).

 

Whatever the case, I’m glad that I’m starting to go to the AL East in this series of entries where I (hopefully) did better on my predictions than I did in the AL Central. This was just brutal. I truly messed up on these.

 

The first entry in the AL East will be the Red Sox, I believe. Maybe not. I can’t remember if I did it in order of the last season’s record or of the predicted record. If it was the former case, it will be the Rays that come first.

Re-view of the preview: Cleveland Indians

First off, here is the original entry detailing the Indians 2010 season, their offseason, and predictions for their 2011 season, which is now over.

 

If you are new to the “Re-view of the preview” entries, they are entries looking back at a series of entries I did last season called “Offseason Recap and Preview”, which were entries that examined teams’ free agent signings and trades during last offseason. I then went on to predict how the moves would affect the respective teams and their records for the 2011 season. First, I attach a link to the initial entry as you saw above. Then I go into how well I actually predicted that team’s season now that the season is over and I can actually see the discrepancy in record.

 

Predicted record: 73-78 wins

 

Actual Record: 80-82

 

Although it may seem like the two records are pretty similar, I really underestimated the “Tribe” they started off really well and cooled off from then. When I saw them play in Chicago, I think it was the first time I really had a look at their entire lineup and I do believe their first half record was closer to the mean and their second half was a *bit* of bad luck and they could easily have won in the 84-ish range.

 

My mistake in looking at this team was that although they had a tough(er) 2010 season, they had some prominent players injured and the return of these players made them a better team than the net gain from their “Notable” additions and subtractions during the offseason would suggest. Their pitching pretty much stayed the same, if you ignore the addition of Ubaldo Jimenez.

 

Overall, I kind of, sort of pegged this team.

Re-view of the Preview: Detroit Tigers

First of all, here is the intial entry.

Predicted Record: 84-89 wins

Actual Record: 95-67

For an AL Central prediction, this was surprisingly… not terrible. I *was* off by 6 to 11 wins, but I didn’t account for the surprises in this group. I would take any of my AL West predictions over this one, but it was the best prediction save Kansas City and Cleveland because they reverted to their self of  awfulness.  I attribute most of the 6 games I was off by to Justin Velander and Miguel Cabrera playing above what they had shown to this point last year. I actually did put in this provision. Usually what happens, is that Cabrera and Verlander have years where they’re on. Maybe I’m especially focused on them, but for whatever reason, this has been true of these two. Verlander had not put together 3 “good” years together yet. So I thought he would regress. Kill me on that if you wish. I really don’t know what else to attribute me being off by so much to, except for the late season pick-up of Doug Fister that addressed the rotation depth problem I detailed in the original entry.

 

Overall, I got the gist of this team but failed to accurately predict how they would do.

Re-view of the Preview: Chicago White Sox

Here, is the link to the original entry.

Predicted record: 85-90 wins

Actual record: 79-83

Here’s to another completely wrong prediction. I really have no explanation for why this happened besdies the underacheiving of Adam Dunn among others. They didn’t lose anyone THAT important to the any part of their team. I know Dunn not perfoming was indeed a big part of their underacheiving, but one man does not 15-20 make, even if he seemed horrible enough.

I conceed to the fact that I got this prediction completely wrong, whateve the reason behind this mal-prediction may be. I think I may have just been a bit too optimistic. I guess I added the value of Pierzinski and Konerko to the team even though they had already been on the team the year before. I think I made so big of a deal in the fact that Ken Williams kept both of them that I lost the fact that they weren’t going to add wins to the total, but maintain the total at where it was. After all, they did only really add two impact players, one of which turned a spot in the lineup into a black hole of nothingness where hits against lefties go to die.

Re-view of the Preview: Minnesota Twins

I’d rather forget this entry , but here is the original.

Predicted Record Range: 91-96 wins

Actual Record: 63- 99

So I was only off by about 30 wins. I really have no words to describe how bad this prediction truly was or how the Twins got to this point. All I can do is break down where they downgraded.

Bullpen: They definitely downgraded in the bullpen as most of their bullpen help from 2010 were mid-year acquisitions. In addition, their established set-up men like Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier also left and their injured relievers like Joe Nathan and Pat Neshek underachieved according to what their past said they should be doing. I think that this bullpen has to be completely re-done.

Rotation: It pretty much stayed the same,but would have downgraded if Francisco Liriano did not improve like he did. The main thing with the rotation this year is that they were injured too much. Rick Anderson has his fingerprints on the organization in such a way that throwing strikes will get you to the show and any talent you have past that is just icing on the cake, but I don’t think that having your best pitchers get injured is the best way to win because of the inconsistency it causes. I think the rotation is best run with the laissez faire  approach because this farm system turns out consistent pitchers like there’s no tomorrow.

Outfield: It was just two years ago when playing MLB 2k9 that I remarked to my dad that the Twins had too many Outfielders who would be starters one other teams. This year, (no disrespect to him) they had Ben Revere among others playing in the Outfield. Jason Kubel certainly has dropped off. He used to be a player you could count on for 30 HR and 80+ RBIs. The same coudl be said for Michael Cuddyer except when he did it this year he was an exceptional player on the Twins instead of being one of the background players he usually is for putting up his usual numbers. This needs be completely re-done with the losses of Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Carlos Gomez (yes I know he left a few years ago).

Infield: As far as defense goes, the Twins will never have major issues because they take 1,000 ground balls a day, but as far as the offensive production goes, they have fallen off. I think we can attribute this to Justin Morneau not coming back to full strength. Like Starting Pitchers, the Twins produce solid middle infielders because of the aforementioned 1,000 ground balls a game. I think they are pretty well set with Danny Valencia, but that 1st base situation must be stabilized by one way or another.

 

Overall, I completely failed with this prediction. The only worse thing I could have said is: ” they will win the World Series.” I am still trying to forget this season in general when it comes to twins baseball because as you might remember, my consecutive games streak came to a close at Target Field in August.

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