Alex Everett is a junior math major at Quinnipiac University and doubles as my full-time research assistant. He also works as my teaching fellow tutoring my students in the evening. Yes, Alex wears several hats. Alex is also a diehard New York Mets fan. In the blog that follows Alex talks about his week this year at the Mets spring training site in St. Lucie, Florida. See why he feels so optimistic and excited about the 2015 season for his Mets.
Every year, I have a tradition of going to spring training during my spring break and attending as many Mets games as possible. Unfortunately, every year I have done this, the Mets have had a subpar team. They were always in rebuilding mode and I was more excited to see their prospects than their regular players. This year, however, everything changed. The whole team had a different vibe than in previous years. They were confident and ready to win. In previous seasons, the Mets had lost almost every game I attended; they were playing like they didn’t want to win. This year, they were having fun and winning games.
The biggest take away from this spring training were the pitchers. There was a buzz about all of the pitchers in camp, especially Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Even when they would warm up before the game people (including me) would flock to the bullpens to watch them throw. When they entered the game, everyone would be in their seats not wanting to miss a second. These two pitchers mesmerized Mets fans. There was almost a playoff atmosphere when they pitched. Fans would chant and sing at the games that didn’t even matter. They were just excited to get to see two of the best pitchers in the league throw. DeGrom and Harvey will be the key players that dictate whether or not the Mets can make the playoffs. They made the game look easy.
The best part about the spring training is how close one can get to all the players. Tickets for the front row right next to the field are as cheap as $20. Every day I would get to the stadium as it opened, stand where the Mets warm up, and talk to the players. Most of it was small talk, however, as the week went on some of the players began to recognize me, the younger guys especially. Players such as Dilson Herrera would stand and talk to me for a long time because instead of harassing him I just wanted to talk to him about the game of baseball. It is the only time and place you can talk to so many players and get so close to the team. Spring training has a feeling and an atmosphere that cannot be replicated during the regular season.
Another overlooked aspect of spring training is watching the professional baseball players interact with little children turning them into life-long fans. Even giving a kid a baseball could make them a life-long fan. I remember at one point there was a kid who was too shy to ask for an autograph. A player saw this and called the kid over to sign his baseball. Although the player wasn’t a high-end player or even a high-end prospect, the excitement on kid’s face as he was running to his parents to show off his new autograph was unforgettable. Those types of small acts can turn a kid who was forced to the game with their parents into a life-long fan.
After attending 6 games in 8 days, and watching the Mets play to a 4-2 record, I am fully confident that they will surprise and impress this season. Overall, spending a week interacting closely with the Mets brought me closer to the team I love and made me very optimistic about the 2015 Mets.
– by Alex Everett
Framingham Jim said…
It was great going to a Red Sox/Mets game with you Alex. Happily my team won. Enjoyed your assesment of the Mets this year. I to agree they’ll have a good year. The Red Sox look exciting this year and look to rebound from last year’s disaster. Already Pedroia shows a return to form from his pre-injury years and the added offensive power they added this year should serve them well. Taking the 19 inning game from the Yankees yesterday shows how resiliant they are. I see good things for both our teams this year. I will follow Harvey and deGrom to see how close your predictions are. Your uncle Jim
April 11, 2015 11:36:01