no-hitters

so I’ve always sort of liked the idea that within the communion of saints there the Heavy Hitters, the Career Saints who are invoked widely and in situations of grave need—I’m talking your Catherines and Francises and Theresas, the Twelve Disciples and Michael; the Big Time Major League saints who intercede on behalf of so many, and so are always in conversation with the divine, case managers for the sick and dying and hurting and faithful of the world.

but that also means that there’s a bunch of saints hanging around who are just—minor holy women, lesser martyrs, incidental virgins, doctors of the church who never managed to find a publisher. They’re not prayed to very often, and rarely called on to manage the difficult cases; they have a lot of free time.

so what do you do, if you’re a saint with some free time on your hands? You answer all the not-quite-prayers, the “jesus, don’t turn red don’t turn red’ muttered by cab drivers and the “christ, can you just try it to see this from my point of view?” spat out by a furious girlfriend and all the “oh god please let me make this meeting in time” “please don’t let me fail” “I’m so tired I hope I can get home”

or maybe I just like the idea that every time you mutter “god, let me be okay” there’s some girl killed in 9th century for refusing to marry who falls into step beside you—and though no book or chronicle or living person remembers her name, she squints up at you and says with holy authority, “yeah, you’re going to be fine.”

Citi Field Eats: Starting Lineup

Citi Field has the best food in the majors. We put together the ultimate lineup filled with the best food options the stadium has to offer.

1. Box Frites Mac and Cheese Frites

The ooey gooey goodness of these mac and cheese fries from Box Frites are a game changer. Everything you love about the classic french fry filled with delicious mac and cheese. You have to have these lead-off your lineup.

2. Pressed Slow Braised Black Angus Grilled Cheese

You can pretty much always count on this to be a solid and reliable choice.  A grilled cheese with a little something extra is exactly what you want in your 2-spot.

3. Blue Smoke Bratwurst & Box Frites Sweet Potato Fries

An obvious classic, brat and fries will always be a satisfying choice. Consistency and solid flavor are key traits in this ballpark big hitter. Including some of Box Frites sweet potato fries and you’re in business.

4. Shake Shack Burgers

Here’s your power bat…the superstar in any lineup. This is the one-of-a-kind talent you’re happy to have on your team. The double with fries and a shake is no doubt home run!  

5. Rao’s Brick Oven Pizza

This lineup could go back-to-back! Rao’s brick oven pizza is a new classic on the Citi Field roster and it sure adds some legitimacy to an already stacked team. A solid off-season pick-up you might want to grab at your next game.  

6. Mama’s Special Italian Hero

Mama’s is a first ballot hall of famer! A Queens classic that is known and respected. The major league portions are perfect to extend an inning. 

7. Daruma Sushi

Daruma provides variety to the lineup. They have an impressive selection of fresh favorites you wouldn’t expect to see at a ballpark…and provide a different look to a solid squad.  

8. Catch of the Day Lobster Nachos

Catch of the Day provides a solid threat to go deep. These lobster nachos take a gameday classic and add the power of fresh toppings that will put a drive into your taste buds. A must try!  

9. Pig Guy S’mores Bacon on a Stick

It’s like having a second lead-off hitter! The sweet taste of a campfire s’mores over the salty deliciousness of bacon…all on a stick. If you are not ready for the s’more version you can simply call-up the original bacon on a stick…both will get the job done. 

DL: Treadmill 

I mean have you seen this lineup? It’s a beast. You’re going you’re going to want to skip the gym but recall it from DL before your next visit to Citi Field…home of the best food lineup in baseball. 

Which is your favorite Citi Field snack? 

Congratulations Jake Arrieta on your incredible no-hitter! Few pitchers in baseball are as talented as you are, and you earned this! Enjoy your Joe Maddon-planned pajama party as a celebration!!

Hammer Time

By Ethan Wilson

He stands 6 feet 6 inches. He weighs 240 pounds. He has long blonde hair that flows from underneath his hat. His legs are thick – like two tree trunks. His arms unleash lightning bolts.

So how did peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a Halloween costume transform Noah Syndergaard into Thor - The Norse God of Thunder?

Syndergaard was always big – almost 10 pounds at birth. Growing up in the hotbed of Texas pitchers, Noah had heard about the legendary flamethrowers including Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.

“In Texas, it’s hard not to know about the long history of hard throwers,” Syndergaard noted. “They take pride in that I’ve only seen highlights of Nolan Ryan. I never saw him pitch live. But he’s a beast. I love the way he attacks hitters. That’s the mentality I want to have when I’m on the mound.

In the football crazy state, Noah never took to the sport despite his size. He played soccer, which helped add to his agility, and of course baseball.

“I really didn’t stand out,” Syndergaard said. “I wasn’t throwing 95. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I really started growing. Then everything came together so quickly.”

Entering his senior year at Manfield Legacy High School, the team had a new baseball coach, David Walden. He had an interesting training regime for his prize pupil.

“He wanted me to eat two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a large glass of milk every night before I went to bed,” the Mets righthander remembered. “We went through a lot of peanut butter and bread. But, I really felt like I was putting on weight and getting stronger.”

Syndergaard learned firsthand from his family about hard work and overcoming obstacles. His mother, Heidi, suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease where the body’s white blood cells attack some of its glands. She recently completed a half-marathon. Noah’s father, Brad, is a horse trainer.

“I get my work ethic from them,” Syndergaard said. “They always told me that you can’t control outcomes, but you can control how hard you work for them. My grandfather’s favorite saying was ‘No excuses. Just do it.’”

Syndergaard has always had a special bond with his mother. He has had a habit of nicknaming his gloves. The nickname is stitched on the glove – some examples: “Lion,” “Drago” – the Rocky IV character who he has also been compared to and “Heisenberg” after one of his favorite TV shows “Breaking Bad.”

He has raffled off old gloves with his signature nicknames to raise money for the Sjögren’s Foundation. Noah also got to present his mom a very unique Mother’s Day gift this year. He was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 9, one day before Mother’s Day and was told he would make his Major League debut at Wrigley Field three days later.

“She said it was an awesome Mother’s Day present,” Noah smiled. “That was cool. I’ve been waiting to tell them that ever since I could pick up a baseball.”

Syndergaard discovered the weight room around his junior year in high school. He would work out twice a day, once with his teammates and then again on his own. Noah would also do yoga and crossfit training.

“That’s when I hit a growth spurt,” said Syndergaard. “Things started to come together.”

Syndergaard suddenly was popping fastballs at 95-97 mph. He guided the team deep into the Texas state playoffs. Six weeks after graduating from high school he was the 38th overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

He was acquired by the Mets along with Travis d’Arnaud in a trade during the winter of 2012 that sent R.A. Dickey north of the boarder.

Syndergaard continued to have a love affair with weightlifting. In the offseason, he returns to the same Texas gym. A few years ago, the gym had everyone dress up for Halloween while working out. Syndergaard arrived dressed as Thor – a few Twitter photos later – and a nickname was born.

“We were just having fun,” said Syndergaard, who squatted 460 pounds this offseason and dead-lifted 525 pounds. “Lifting is important to me. When I don’t work out, I feel like something is missing from my day.”

Thor, the hammer-wielding god associated with thunder and strength, is the perfect description for the 22-year-old.

He got to show off his strength on May 27 vs. the Phillies when he tossed 7.1 shutout innings and crushed a 430-foot home run to dead centerfield at Citi Field.

His father, Brad, who would celebrate a birthday in a few days later, got this gift.

“The home run ball had his name written all over it,” Syndergaard recalled.

On July 3, Syndergaard outdueled Clayton Kershaw, a fellow Texan, in Los Angeles in a 2-1 Mets win . Even though he didn’t personally register a win, he kept the team in the game allowing one run on two hits over 6.0 innings and earned high praise from the Cy Young Award winner.

“I was really impressed,” Kershaw said. “He commanded everything. Just another Texas kid – what do you expect?”

Manager Terry Collins has called his curveball the ‘Hook from Hell’ so it’s fitting that Noah’s character Thor welds a hammer.

He was welding everything on July 10.

Syndergaard followed up the Dodger Stadium outing with a 13-strikeout performance while allowing one run over 8.0 innings against the Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 10. The 13 strikeouts were the most for any pitcher in his first 11 career games since Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 in 2010. Syndergaard had three double-digit strikeout games in his first 11 career games, tying him with another Texas fireballer, Nolan Ryan, and teammate Matt Harvey for the second-most such games in team history.

In Norse mythology, Thor was a relentless warrior ready for fierce battles against foes. Sounds like a comparison that would suit Syndergaard just fine.  

vine

Jake Arrieta first no-hitter of career. sixth MLB no-no in 2015