There is a big ball of hype and excitement surrounding the 2016 New York Mets, and for very good reason. This year’s squad is centered on an extremely talented quartet of ace pitchers along with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and if healthy this club should find themselves in the thick of a pennant race this fall. The starting rotation comprised of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz is one of the most lethal combinations ever assembled in baseball. Each of these four pitchers is talented, young and throws a very hard ball. While the set up spots in the bullpen are a bit uncertain, after just one season under his belt, Jeurys Familia has developed into quite the dominant closer for the Mets.
Two newcomers will make up New York’s middle infield with Neil Walker at second base and Asdrubal Cabrera playing shortstop. Walker has knocked at least 16 home runs in his last three seasons and will be an upgrade defensively at the position while Cabrera will add mostly on offense. The Met’s corners will be anchored by the solid and consistent Lucas Duda at first base and David Wright at third. Team captain Wright could potentially be out several games a week due to a lumbar spinal stenosis diagnosis, however should still be able to hit for average if not more. Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson create a healthy outfield with solid depth on the bench in Juan Lagares. When healthy, Travis d’Arnaud is one of the best catchers behind the plate and New York hopes they can get a full season out of him in 2016.
With just their pitching alone, this Mets team is a contender in 2016. Lucky for them, the NL East is one of if not the weakest division in baseball so they should have no trouble obtaining a playoff berth. The question remains if they can grab that elusive World Series title that fans have been waiting 30 years for. Be sure to secure your New York Mets tickets for all games this summer and come out to see this talented team live and in person.
For over a half of a century, the Mets have called New York City home and 44 seasons of that were played at Shea Stadium, where fans either loved or hated the venue. Starting in the 1990’s the Mets sought to construct a new ballpark as Shea Stadium lacked the modern conveniences of the newer aged parks.History of Citi Field
Finally in 2006, the club unveiled plans for a new stadium and were granted approval for $632.1million in bonds for the construction. On November 13, 2006 the Mets officially broke ground in the parking lot beyond the outfield of Shea Stadium and Citigroup, Inc. purchased the naming rights for $20million per year over 20 years.
The exterior of the building evokes memories of Ebbets Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers with its red brick, limestone and arched entrances. Perhaps the most striking feature of Citi Field is the Jackie Robinson rotunda, located at the main entrance. It features nine ideals associated with Robinson engraved on the floor and flat panel televisions playing highlights of his career.
With the ability to seat 42,000 Mets ticket holders, Citi Field has an intimacy that Shea Stadium just could not provide. Close to 42% of the seats are found on the lower deck. Over 50 luxury suites are found throughout the park including ones right behind home plate below the main concourse. Several group seating areas are also located at Citi Field providing a unique perspective on the park.
The famous “Big Apple” at Shea Stadium has been replicated at Citi Field and is now located behind the centerfield fence. It rises each time a Mets player hits a homerun. Fans have the ability to take their picture with the old Apple, as it is located just outside of Citi Field. Also moved from Shea Stadium is the famous skyline that was atop the scoreboard, now sitting atop the restaurant in centerfield.
Due to the lack of homeruns at Citi Field, prior to the start of the 2012 season the club altered the dimensions of the ballpark. The Mets moved the fences and lowered them form 12 feet to eight feet. They also moved left field four feet. The area between the existing and new fences created a new limited seating area for fans. Also part of the renovations, the fence colors were painted royal blue with an orange line, similar to the outfield fence at Shea Stadium.
New York Mets History
The New York Mets have been playing professional baseball since the Giants and Dodgers left the city for the West Coast. The fact that they played in the same city as the Yankees did not make those first few seasons in the 1960s any easier. The club was going to struggle, but the struggle was amplified by the championships being won in the Bronx.
The franchise had its first big season in 1969. This would be the first year the Mets would finish the schedule with a winning record, but this is not why this season is so memorable. The Mets played inspirational baseball in the last third of the season, catching and surpassing the NL East-leading Cubs and ending the year with 100 wins. It seemed each player on the roster chose to play at a career-best level over the course of the last 49 games. Tom Seaver won the Cy Young Award and led the club to the World Series, where the Mets beat the Orioles in five games.
This caliber of success would not become commonplace for the Mets, but the team did begin to put together consecutive winning seasons. The club even reached a second World Series (but lost) despite only winning 82 games in the regular season.
The true evolution into contenders came a decade later when Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and Dwight Gooden became nationally recognized names. The NY Mets highlights during this run in the late 1980s are the 1986 World Series win over the Red Sox and the 100-win 1988 season.
In the years since Mets fans have had players like Mike Piazza to cheer on, but a third World Series win escaped the high-priced free agent-laden rosters. The 21st century has been one in which the front office has tried to rebuild the farm system. Only time will tell if the prospects are able to lead the charge and deliver another MLB title.