The Brokester’s guide to rooting for the Mets in the playoffs (and the best bars to watch them)

If there's more of this in the Mets' future, make sure you're along for the ride. via Facebook

If there’s more of this in the Mets’ future, make sure you’re along for the ride. via Facebook

The last time the New York Mets reached baseball’s postseason, this website did not yet exist and all of you still lived in Ohio. On Friday night, our city’s most lovable team will begin the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets are an exciting young team headlined by excellent pitching; Citi Field promises to be rollicking with its first taste of playoff baseball. This handy Q&A will help you enjoy New York’s only remaining postseason baseball team on a budget. Want to know our favorite bars for watching playoff baseball? Debating whether or not to buy some new Mets merchandise or making the big leap and going to a game? Jumping on the bandwagon and need to brush up on your Mets facts? We’ve got your handy Brokelyn Mets playoff guide right here.

I’d like to go to at least one playoff game and not sacrifice my rent and entire yearly Narragansett budget. How can I do it?

Firstly, go as early as possible, and buy your tickets as soon as you decide to make the plunge. The longer you wait to attend, the more high-stakes the games will be, and the higher the ticket prices will raise. Prices will skyrocket each round, as well; any potential World Series games will be in the neighborhood of one thousand dollars. If you decide to go, purchase your tickets early, as secondary market prices will increase as games get nearer. To save money on ticket costs, do two things: spring for standing room only tickets, and attend a non-primetime game if possible. Games in the 8pm television sweet spot command higher prices; any 1pm or 4pm start will be a notch or two cheaper.

A look at StubHub shows that the cheapest ticket you can get at the moment is a $230 standing room only ticket, which is a tough pill to swallow. If you are a die-hard Mets fan, I would strongly recommend pulling the trigger though. Donate plasma, sell a bunch of old records on Craigslist, pick up extra shifts at your serving gig, go busk on a G train: do SOMETHING to get into the building. Playoff baseball games are an incredible outing and every baseball fan should get to enjoy this experience at least once. This recommendation is even more urgent considering the franchise’s recent depths have been overcome by dominant starting pitching and general good vibes; these games should be fun. (There is, of course, the risk of sports trauma. Good luck.)

So I’m going to the game! How should I distribute my meager dollars into MLB’s already massive coffers?

Don’t waste your money on ballpark food. (If you dole out mucho dinero on baseball tickets just to spend your time in a Shake Shack line… well, you’re not the only one, but may Yoenis Cespedes have mercy on your soul.) Luckily for you, the Mets’ notorious anti-lunch policy is strictly policed only by overzealous players and not their security guards: Citi Field allows fans to bring food into the ballpark, as long as it is not in a hard-sided cooler. Skip the 2 Boots and bring your leftover Roberta’s. $15 soggy chicken tenders and fries or a $4 bodega turkey hero?

If you want to drink at the game (and who doesn’t?), there’s no way to do so on a budget without a little casual rule-breaking. Sneak in a flask at your own risk, but just remember that Citi Field does have metal detectors for all fans entering the stadium. You could also choose to tailgate for the game; just make sure to do your boozing discretely, as alcohol is prohibited in the parking lots. (Booze responsibly, kids. You shelled out for expensive tickets, at least make it until 7th inning stretch.)

Those tickets are too expensive; I’m skipping the games. What are the best bars in Brooklyn for watching the Mets playoff games?

The first two games of this series are on Friday and Saturday night, so buckle up for a weekend night at a sports bar. For a rowdy crowd keen on high-fiving, doing celebratory shots, and chanting “Let’s Go Mets!”, head to Mullholland’s (312 Grand Street) or 4th Down (750 Grand Street), both in Williamsburg. On the other hand, the best experience for watching a Mets playoff game will probably be found watching in a divey spot that’s full of locals who’ve been watching the team their whole lives. For that experience try:

Montero (73 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Heights): The best bar in Brooklyn Heights has been around since before the Mets even existed, and has a couple TVs that are always showing games. While you’ll find cheap drinks and people watching the game, just keep in mind that the Friday and Saturday are karaoke nights at Montero, so you probably won’t get sound. On the other hand, maybe you’ll be able to get a crack at doing a celebratory rendition of “Meet the Mets” or “Let’s Go Mets.

706 Bar (706 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights): 706 isn’t as old and grizzled as the other bars on this list, but what it lacks in experience it makes up for with big screen TVs, $6 beer and shot combos and bar food like wings, tater tots and chicken tenders. Fortunately, the food doesn’t approach ballpark prices.

Half Court (446 Park Pl, Prospect Heights): This no-frills sports bar provides you with the two most important things you need to watch a game: cheap beer (between $4 and $6) and plenty of TVs behind the bar and in a room off to the side of the bar. There’s no food, but you can bring food in or have it delivered (local standouts Little Miss Muffin ‘N’ Her Stuffin and Kimchi Taco are right across the street). The place can get packed with devoted fans and casual sports lovers, but we don;’t consider that a downside since it lends the place an electric energy. The only downside is that sometimes Half Court just doesn’t decide to open, so try calling ahead just to be sure.

Rocky Sullivan’s (34 Van Dyke Street, Red Hook): Rocky Sullivan’s is a great sports bar for many reasons, but most impressive to us is that this is a Mets bar through and through: they don’t hedge their bets and display propaganda for both NYC baseball teams in an attempt to appeal to all people. In addition to drawing Red Hook locals who’ll happily talk to the TV/you about manager Terry Collins’ latest risky bullpen decision, Rocky’s has fantastic pizza from a wood burning oven, tap beer from nearby Barrier Brewing and plays the sound for big sports moments like this. Ask for George behind the bar and tell him that Dave and Tim from Brokelyn said hi.

Alibi (242 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene): In fancy Fort Greene, it’s nice to know you can go to a place with cheap beer and a lack of a focus on fancy cocktails. If the game has a moment that’s just too damn tense, you can pop in the back yard for a breather and relax for a second, which is important for the white-knuckle tension that playoff baseball can deliver on. You’ll definitely run into real sports fans here, but it might mean encountering one with the completely insane idea that Derek Jeter isn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so maybe don’t ask for deeply held baseball opinions unless you’re ready for an insane argument.

Turkey’s Nest (94 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg): Margaritas aren’t traditionally thought of as baseball drinks, but margaritas also aren’t traditionally served in giant styrofoam cups for the bargain price of $10. Of course, that’s a reason to go to the Turkey’s Nest every day. Of particular note for why you should go to watch the Mets in the playoffs is that the bar has a bunch of TVs and grizzled old baseball-watching veterans as a regular crowd.

Rosemary’s (188 Bedford Avenue): Rosemary’s is a rarity in Williamsburg, the kind of place where a regular will talk with the bartender about how she’s probably bad luck because things had gone downhill for the Mets since she’d walked in the bar. You don’t get that at a place unless you get some baseball-loving regulars, and while Rosemary’s is a little smaller than the Turkey’s Nest, it draws just as many old-timers who’ll be able to tell you if Jacob deGrom reminds them more of Tom Seaver or Jerry Koosman.

Hank’s (46 3rd Avenue, Boerum Hill): Hank’s is the kind of bar where Mets fans should feel right at home: perpetually disregarded but still hanging on, the home to moments of abject “what is this town coming to” peril (mostly now that Islanders fans drink there too) but also a rush of come-from-behind shining-with that old New York glory, a haven for cheap PBR and dirty TVs. And also Mets fans should feel most at home there because odds are most of the decor and people haven’t changed since 1986 either.

Saturday night’s Game 2 will coincide with a full college football slate, so it couldn’t hurt to call ahead to your favorite sports bar to ensure the Mets will have big screen & full sound privileges.

Any recommendations regarding purchasing 2015 commemorative gear?

Unless you are getting playoff gear right now this very second, you should wait to make a purchase. I can not be more clear on this point. Any purchase to celebrate the 2015 division title and playoff appearance — modest achievements, but still worth savoring for sure — must be maximized right friggin’ now. Wear that joint every day, especially if you go to the game. Sleep in it. Will it’s very existence into new status as a lucky shirt.

Otherwise: wait. Why spend $30 on a “Postseason 2015” hat when the Mets might end up winning the pennant? You will want souvenirs celebrating the team’s most robust achievements. If elimination arrives early for the Mets but you are still moved to commemorate an unforgettable campaign, wait a few months for the items to hit clearance.

Believe in the power of the paRALLYkeet

Believe in the power of the paRALLYkeet

My friends and I are jumping on the bandwagon and enjoying this new outpouring of New York pride. What important points should we know about this Mets team?

Beyond all this? The Mets are one of baseball’s feel-good stories, a team that has been a laughingstock in recent memory that has arrived ahead of schedule. General Manager Sandy Alderson recently stockpiled young pitching talent with the goal of competing in 2016 and 2017 or later. The young prospects — Noah Syndergaard, Jake DeGrom, and Steven Matz — have arrived early, joining lightning rod/fan favorite Matt Harvey on a team that bullied the underachieving Washington Nationals out of the NL East’s throne. Savvy midseason trades for relief pitchers, veteran hitters, and superstar Yoenis Cespedes also bolstered the team. Future Hall of Fame third baseman David Wright is still here, looking to add a championship ring to his resume for the title of Best Met Ever.

What do I need to know about the Cubs, the Mets’ second round opponent?

When it comes to down on their luck franchises, the Cubs definitely take the cake. They haven’t won a World Series since 1908, or even made one since 1945. That 70-year pennant-less steak is due to an alleged curse a man put on the team after they ejected a man who brought his goat to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Baseball is weird. The last time they were this close to a pennant was 2003, when this happened:

After poor Steve Bartman kind of maybe got in Moises Alou’s way, the Cubs collapsed in Game 6 and lost Game 7, adding more evidence to their curse. Cubs fans, who could go toe to toe in sports-based neuroses with Mets fans, went as far as blowing up “the Bartman ball” in 2004 in an attempt to reverse their juju.

That was then though, and this is now. NOW the Cubs are led by an incredibly powerful offense, with young sluggers Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo leading a home run parade out of Wrigley Field. They were 5th in the National League is home runs with 171, and hit a single-playoff game record six home runs in Game 3 of their NLDS. They don’t have the terrifying pitching duo of Kershaw and Greinke, but they have a Cy Young favorite of their own in Jake Arrieta who had a season for the ages with a 1.77 ERA and a veteran World Series winning pitcher in lefthander Jon Lester.

The Cubs and the Mets are linked by a strange piece of history as well. The 1969 Miracle Mets team that won a World Series was helped by black cat that ran into the Cubs’ dugout at a game at Shea Stadium while the Cubs were busy blowing a 9.5 game first place lead over the Mets in the regular season. So should you flood Citi Field with black cats? Animal control and the NYPD would say “No, that’s illegal” but we say “Hey, ya never know.”

What do I need to know about the Dodgers, the Mets’ first round opponent?

UPDATE: THAT THE METS BEAT THEM BABY, YEAH!

The Los Angeles nee Brooklyn Dodgers are one of the sport’s premier franchises, the bicoastal home of luminaries such as Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey, Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax, and Vin Scully. The current iteration of the team features Clayton Kershaw, a left-handed starting pitcher destined to be remembered as an all-time great. The big Texan sports a curveball that defies the laws of physics and is the best pitcher on the planet. Kershaw piles up wins, strikeouts, and Cy Young awards at an improbable rate, but shares top billing on his team alongside fellow ace Zack Greinke. Together the two will make life miserable for Mets hitters. The Dodgers also have a deep, powerful offense which hit the most home runs in the National League this season (187; the Mets were third with 177). First baseman Adrian Gonzalez does the lion’s share of the slugging; explosive outfielder Yasiel Puig has had an injury-plagued 2015 but is a threat to go supernova at any time. Mets fans who have been in a coma for the last year might be surprised to see themselves rooting against old nemeses Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley again; the ex-Philadelphia Phillies have reunited in Los Angeles for the twilights of their impressive careers.

Should I support NYC by also feeling bad that the Yankees lost their playoff game?

Good lord, no.

Follow Dan for more tweets about food and sports at @keegsdotcom

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