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July 29, 2014

BBQ State of Mind

In the Citi

by Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman

Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman, the proprietors of Cespedes Family Barbecue, are taking another baseball trip and chronicling their travels at Baseball Prospectus.

The world we live in is full of amazing natural wonders. Anybody can go to a computer and find a picture of the Grand Canyon or Mount Everest or even Mount Everth. But experiencing these things in person elevates you to an entirely different level. Live viewings provide a deeper appreciation for the physicality of these amazing sites. While on a computer or TV you can only utilize your eyes, but in person you can smell, hear, touch, and even taste the magic. Last night, we watched Bartolo Colon hit in person and it was downright beautiful.

Before actually going to the park, we went to the Parks; Professor, that is. We hopped on the L train (usually reserved for losers) and met the Professor for lunch in Williamsburg. Williamsburg feels like all the merchandise in an Urban Outfitters has come alive and is trying to kill you. The Professor expertly navigated us through the land of neck tattoos, behind-the-ear tattoos, and absurdly overpriced hats, to a taco place that quieted the storm inside our intestines. Besides coming up with a solution for the situation in the Middle East, we talked about Joey Gallo’s power, the Orioles’ treatment of Kevin Gausman, and the future of baseball Twitter. On our way out of Brooklyn we bat-flipped at the subway station as Jason looked on in disappointment. After stopping off at our apartment to put on our “scoutfits”, we boarded the 7 train toward Citi Field.

Game Notes
There are a lot of cool things about being on the field for batting practice, but the one that continues to get me is the opportunity to see up close just how big or small some major-league players are. It’s one thing to read on Baseball-Reference that Ben Revere is listed at 5-foot-9. It’s another to have Ben Revere walk right in front you and make you completely understand why he has only one home run in 1,780 career plate appearances. Other Phillies players of notable size: Ryan Howard—really big! Phillippe Aumont? Even bigger! Cody Asche? Exactly as big as you think he is!

Of all the remarkably strange friendships that we’ve established through the magical, terrible world of Twitter, one of the more random ones was fulfilled last night when we met and spent some time talking to former major-league left-hander Glendon Rusch. Rusch retired in 2009 after 12 seasons in the big leagues. Besides being a plus-plus follow on Twitter, Rusch turned out to be a very personable guy with endless stories from his lengthy big-league career. Rusch told us of his insane connection to Bartolo Colon; they were co-pitchers of the year in the Carolina League in 1995. The numbers back it up!

As mentioned earlier, it was Bartolo Day at Citi Field, which meant free food and drink for everyone. We stumbled upon a particularly amazing situation because we got to see Bartolo pitch in the horrible Mets camouflage jerseys that they apparently wear every Monday home game. Bartolo wasn’t hidden, however, as the whole stadium, nay, the whole city, was able to bask in his powerful, otherworldly glory.

After talking to Rusch we didn’t want to return to actually watching the game, because Phillies/Mets, so we decided to spend some time in the team store. Naturally we made our way over to the shirsey section. We are shirsey aficionados, which is exactly as lame as it sounds. We spent about 20 minutes discussing the details of Mets shirsey decision-making with a friendly store employee who appeared to us like an angel in the dark night. Welcoming, kind, and helpful, she explained how the higher-ups in the Mets retail department are the ones who decide which specific shirseys will be available for sale. Together we lamented the lack of Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, and Eric Young Jr. shirseys and laughed over the surplus of Chris Young shirseys lying around. This particular store employee was amazing and we can’t wait to see her again at the game tomorrow.

What’s Next
We are having lunch with my (Jake’s) grandmother who absolutely despises spicy food. Hopefully we’ll mix a few more batflips into the agenda. For some reason, we are going back to Citi Field to watch more unwatchable baseball. This time we might even try to go into the clubhouse and talk to some players like David Wright and Jacob deGrom.

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