Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Training 2013 - Day 6

Day 6 - March 11, 2013 - Mets-Tigers @ Lakeland

Monday brought me out to Meet the Mets in Lakeland in a game against the Tigers. I did a ballpark review of Sarasota, but I will skip it for Lakeland because the complex, known as "Tiger Town", is due a $50 makeover starting next year. The Tigers have been in Lakeland since 1934 and playing at this ballpark since 1966.

So instead, I'll say that I stood next to the Mets dugout during batting practice, asked for a few autographs, got none (players said they would sign once they were finished working out, which is fair, but we were kicked out of the area before that happened; then players exited the field in RF to the clubhouse while their dugout was at 3B), and watched the Mets with a blowout win by a score of 11-0. One interesting thing is that the Tigers allow fans to purchase a pass as part of their ticket for an extra $5 to come into the park an hour early (10am instead of 11am for a 1pm game) to see the Tigers take batting practice. For fans of the visiting team, that's not worth it, and I didn't get a real sense of what type of extra autograph access you get that early since I was held outside the ballpark until 11am. The ballpark itself is a nice park, but I could see that it's not quite up to the new standards of Spring Training (especially on the concourses). It is a good place to watch a game. And of course, the new renovations should make it an even better experience.

On to the game. Jon Niese started for the Mets, went into the 5th (no hits through 4, and I didn't see the 5th), but didn't pitch as well as those numbers would indicate. He had a lot of walks but manged to get out of trouble. Justin Verlander, the ace for Detroit, started for the Tigers and did not fair well at all. A couple of homeruns, including a leadoff HR by Valespin did him in, and the HBP on Valdespin's sensitive area (I think it was in the 5th and the 3rd time through the Mets lineup) was it for him. And the Mets kept hitting against the Tigers bullpen, posting runs in 6 of the 9 innings. I wouldn't say the wind aided every home run. And Matt den Dekker made a couple more awesome catches in CF. I would give him the job even though they say he can't hit. The Mets bullpen pitched well, holding the Tigers to only a couple of hits in total and no runs. Mejia and Familia were two of the relievers that I saw (I know there were others, but I think I was getting ice cream and shade).

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