The blog below was written by my research assistant Alex Everett. Alex is a senior math major at Quinnipiac and has been doing Sabermetric research with me for about three years. Our latest research is involved with creating linear formulas for the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL to predict a team’s winning percentage based on the difference between their runs (points) scored and runs (points) allowed. He will soon graduate and then either work at ESPN or go to graduate school. Alex is a real big Mets fan. If you have never had the opportunity to attend a spring training game and wondered what it was like you will get the answer from Alex’s posting which follows. Alex also gives his MLB predictions at the end. I have the Cubs winning it all, see who Alex picks as the 2016 WS champion.
Spring training is a once in a lifetime experience. It is the only place where one can see Major League Baseball players and the game doesn’t matter. Personally, I have attended Mets spring training every year for the last 6 years (around 40 games total) and I leave with the same experience every time. The experience of spring training is a one on one interaction with players and the ability to get closer to the action of the game than at a regular season game. There is truly no experience like spring training.
This year I was able to attend 2 games, both of which were against the Miami Marlins. During the first game, although it was unbearably hot, I was able to sit in the first row directly next to the Mets dugout. This allowed me to have to opportunity to speak to many of the players as they were walking by along with even taking a picture and having a longer conversation with Wilmer Flores.
As all the fans were yelling at Flores about his crying on the field and walk off home run the next day, it was clear to see Wilmer was getting tired of it all. After standing with the fans for the national anthem, Wilmer was agreeing to take photos with all the fans in order to make everyone happy. Also sitting in those seats, the fans could hear and get a front row view of pitchers warming up. This usually isn’t a big deal unless you are a Mets fan. Fans were lined up 15 rows deep watching Noah Syndergaard warm up. The sound the catcher’s mitt makes when a 100MPH fastball hits it is indescribable.
Day 2 involved sitting directly behind home plate and getting to sit right behind the entire Marlins on deck circle and coaching staff, including Barry Bonds. As it took every fiber of my being not to scream at him about steroid use, I was mostly shocked with how skinny he was. When he was playing he was a giant, and now Giancarlo Stanton makes him look like a child. Once Barry stopped taking, it seemed that all of his muscle went away. The other takeaway from day two was seeing Ichiro prepare to bat. Ichiro has been in the league for 15 years (plus around 7 more in Japan) and has the same routine before every at bat. He crouches down and bends over with his bat horizontally the exact same way every single time he comes to bat. It was mesmerizing to watch. Overall spring training was a wonderful experience as always that I would trade nothing for. My predictions for this year are as follows:
NL East – Mets
NL Central – Cubs
NL West – Giants
NL WC 1 – Pirates
NL WC 2 – Nationals
AL East – Toronto
AL Central – Royals
AL West – Astros
AL WC 1 – Red Sox
AL WC 2 – Yankees
ALCS – Astros over Blue Jays
NLCS – Mets over GiantsWS – Mets over Astros
– by Alex Everett