FBBs loves almost all the Mets. He loves Beltran, Keith, Doc, Darryl, deGrom, Captain, Petey, Agbayani, Timo, Rick Reed, Wilmer and many others with equal aplomb. Yet, FBBs holds a special spot for Mr. Gary Carter, aka “The Kid”. FBBs played Little League at the time and The Kid was his idol and the reason he got behind the dish. He despises Oliver Perez.
Much akin to his love of most Mets players, FBBs loves most beers with a similar fervor. Whether it be a second and third with no outs situation (an ice cold canned brew on a hot and muggy southern afternoon) or our pitcher not making it out of the second inning (a bottle of a Winter Lager on an ice cold Vermont January eve), beer is divine. To choose one is to err….yet, thems the rules. FBBs will roll with a Magic Hat #9 if the proverbial beer gun is held to his head.
With a lifetime of Mets in his blood starting in his fifth year on this planet in 1982, there are plenty of penultimate Mets moments to choose. A hot day at the park with his brother when Mike Jacobs hit his first homer at Shea making the faithful believe in the prospect? Nah. Timo? Amazing, but no. 2015? Close. No, Game 7 of the 1986 World Series is the moment. I hope that all of you reading will get to experience the floating sensation you will get when the Mets win one for the past two generations.
FBBs has many a great beer memory. One sticks out though. While in London, the family FBBs made a trek to one of the finest Indian restaurants in the The Big Smoke. The bartender rolled the keg of fresh Kingfisher to the table plenty of times as we refilled our cups of this great brew while munching on some of the most delicious Indian food they had ever consumed. Any beer at a Mets game comes in a very close second, though.
Flushtown was born in Flushing, Queens – 3.5 miles from a newly refurbished Shea Stadium, complete with godzilla-sized neon baseball players, whose NY Mets would go on to become the 1986 world champions. The future seemed bright, but reality turned out to be dimly lit; Flushtown’s formative years of baseball fandom occurred in the dark shadows of the Braves and the Yankees. Flushtown was able to maintain his loyalty despite fourteen losing campaigns and seven second place finishes since he was old enough to enjoy the game. The first decade of Flushtown’s journey with the Mets was aided by childhood dreams of becoming a cross between Rey-O and Olerud – a super slugging defensive wizard who would carry the team to victory and recapture the city. His rebellious teen years closed the door on those fantasies, but it was during that time that he was first exposed to the wondrous world of beer. He no longer could find comfort in his daydreams, but solace was found in a frosted mug (note: don’t frost your mug – it will water down the taste beer as the frost melts). Unlike most of his friends – Flushtown quickly abandoned commercial beer brands at the tender age of sixteen, spending the little money he could scrounge up on Mississippi Mud when his friends were drinking Coors. This early stand against Beer Incorporated was likely influenced by a connection he felt to the micro-brewery; the underdog, the NY Mets of the beer world.
Flushtown’s favorite Mets include Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, and John Olerud. Mike Piazza because he delivered what should be high-up on any Mets fans top moments list: a September 21st home run that reminded Mets fans that we can be happy again. He will also will always have a special place in his heart for David Wright.
Flushtown loves IPAs in the spring, wheat beers in the summer, amber/red ales in the fall, and stouts in the winter. His favorites of each include Stone’s Ruination IPA, a local grapefruit wheat that is not available outside the small town he lives in, Mac & Jack’s African Amber, and Guinness (sorry to disappoint – but when it comes to nitro beer this is still the pinnacle).
Flushtown lives in Washington State with his wife and a dog named Mookie.
Growing up, bjk’s favorite Met was Todd Hundley, but he has since been supplanted by Captain America, David Wright. It’s an easy pick and it’s popular, but there’s a reason it’s such a popular pick. The guy is just impossible not to root for. From all outward appearances, Wright seems grounded and enthusiastic and passionate about the game.
bjk has been fascinated by pumpkin beers for many years now. There’s a delicate, almost fickle, balance between the malt base, alcohol bite, pumpkin, and spice blend in a pumpkin beer. Truly, no two are alike. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is, hands down, the perfect beer. It tastes like liquid pumpkin pie, with a robust, darker body that tempers the sweetness. The 8% alcohol is nearly undetectable. That is, until you stand up after finishing one on an empty stomach.
It’s hard to isolate one truly great Mets moment, but a few stick out that induce a warm smile. bjk’s first recollection of really enjoying Mets games came on Friday nights around 9-10 years old, dozing through the middle innings to the dulcet tones of Fran Healy on the call for Channel 11, WPIX. In 2008, while he and his then-girlfriend (now wife) were at the Shea Stadium players’ exit after a triumphant win, Mrs. bjk struck up a conversation with someone nearby. Only minutes later did it occur to her through context and observation that she had been unknowingly kibitzing with David Wright’s brother. Finally, on September 9, 2015 at Nationals Park, the Mets were fresh off two straight come from behind wins, overcoming two largely Nationals leads by beating up on the Nationals bullpen. Following a relatively dominant Steven Strasburg start on this day, Matt Williams came out to give him the hook in the eighth inning. Many Nationals fans around me immediately starting groaning and congratulating me on the win, despite the tie score. Two batters later, the molten-lava-hot Yoenis Cespedes crushed a two-run shot to left-center field, assuring the eventual sweep in enemy territory. bjk’s smile did not fade for hours.
His favorite beer memory comes courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery, in Frederick, MD. They hosted an 80’s party in their taproom in 2012, which was a blur of good times. bjk and Mrs. bjk got chummy with the bartenders, who just stopped accepting their beer tokens and kept the suds flowing. Towards the end of the night, the bartenders were pouring the incredulous couple their twisted take on a black and tan – Horn Dog Barleywine and Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout. The next morning, bjk woke up with several more beer tokens in his pocket than he had originally purchased; surely the sign of an epic night.
Jeff grew up on the rough streets of suburban central Connecticut. Born to a Bostonian father and a mother who grew up in New York, yet was bent on cheering for the wrong NY team, it seemed he was destined to follow the Mets if for no other reason than to find neutral ground in a house divided. Luckily the Mets provided Jeff with many fond memories in the late 80’s and early 90’s when he was forming a love of the game…is what he would like to say. One of the first teams which he clearly remembers watching is the accursed ’93 Mets, a team that largely set the bar for futility for Mets fans of his generation. However, Jeff has always been one to enjoy the bitter with the sweet, and found the Mets the perfect team to accent that balance.
Much like his choice in baseball teams, Jeff also enjoys beverages that combine bitter and sweet seamlessly. As such, a good malty IPA is always cause for celebration. His favorite beer, Racer 5 (Bear Republic), seems a fitting tribute to this personality trait, as well as the speedy Mets outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo who once bore that number. Jeff’s zeal for hops is only matched by his enthusiasm for the oddest flavor combinations he can find, which he will often brew on his own (Mint IPA anyone? The correct answer is apparently “no” for those keeping score, but on the other hand a Skittle flavored wheat beer is to die for.)
Jeff’s all-time favorite Mets to watch reflect that oddball nature, and have included Al Leiter, Todd Zeile (If anyone has an authentic Zeile Mets jersey, name your price), Tsuoyshi Shinjo, Carlos Beltran, and R.A Dickey. Forced to name a singular Mets moment that stands out in his mind, he would recall a fateful day in May of 2009, when he went to Fenway Park to watch the Mets and the Red Sox battle with his sister and brother-in-law. In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets were trailing 2-1 with Jonathan Papelbon on the mound to close things out for the Sox. Mets backup catcher and resident god of lightning, Omir Santos, stepped up to the plate and against all odds proceeded to launch a 2-run blast into the section to the left of where I was sitting putting the Mets ahead for good, as all the Mets fans in my section went wild hugging and high fiving each other. That moment of watching the ball heading towards the stands, where the world stood still for a brief second as we all collectively held our breaths and waited to see if it would go the distance, had a surreal quality to it that is hard to explain, and impossible to replicate.
Haji grew up in upstate New York, and the Mets have been a thread running through his entire life. He was first taught the ways of the blue and orange as a small boy by his mother and grandmother, who both attended the Amazins’ division clinching game in 1969. Bob Murphy and Gary Cohen provided the soundtrack to his formative childhood years. As he grew up, he crafted an adequate high school career as a right-handed pitcher, relying heavily on a “fosh” changeup modeled on the grip used by Robert Person for the 1996 Mets.
Despite being a pitcher himself, Haji’s favorite Mets have always been hitters, starting with the legendary Howard Michael “HoJo” “Haji” Johnson, and continuing on to such colorful characters as Rico Brogna, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Jose Reyes, and Juan Lagares. His fondest Mets memories include collecting autographs from Mets b-squaders at spring training games, jumping around with his brother like lunatics when Todd Pratt’s homerun snuck past Steve Finley’s glove, and going hoarse cheering for Matt Harvey at Citi Field during the first 8 innings of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.
Though it came a bit later in life, Haji also has a longtime fondness for beer. Much like an intense baseball fandom, beer has a way of marking the passage of time as it brings people together and helps to celebrate life’s moments, big and small. Some of his most memorable beers include a Cantillon St. Lamvinus consumed outdoors on a beautiful spring day to celebrate his final law school exam, rounds of Westvleteren bottles split between old friends at an impromptu reunion in Amsterdam, and the numerous beers consumed during memorable afternoons imbibing at Hopleaf in Chicago, Naja’s Place in Los Angeles, and Ashley’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is currently waiting for the right occasion to pop a ten-year-old bottle of Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek, which briefly went into the fridge during this year’s World Series but is now earmarked for October 2016.
Haji honed his Mets knowledge working in the research library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but currently does much more boring work in an office in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, his mlb.tv subscription, and a closet full of beer.