Fenway regulars: how do you deal with the place?

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I have never been to Fenway Park. I want to go, desperately. I want to sit in the Monster seats, actually, because those look pretty fantastic.  Also: because everyone I know who has been to Fenway tells me that the rest of the park — while historic and beautiful and all of that — is something of a pain.

The say that the seats are small and the legroom is poor. Many seats don’t face the infield. The tunnels and concourses, for lack of a better term, are dark and crowded.  It’s totally expected in a park that age, but it certainly makes for a big disconnect between comfort and coolness. The latter is in great abundance and can overcome a lot of problems, but the former is in short supply, I’m told. So I guess I’m looking forward to going someday, but I’m kind of thankful that I don’t have an 81-game package. Because I fear that, once the novelty wore off, I’d find it a bit miserable.

I know a lot of you have weighed in on this in recent threads, particularly that Luke Scott “Fenway is a dump” post. But what I really want to know is how regular Fenway goers feel about the place. In all honesty, as a baseball-going destination, not as a historical thing. We know it’s cool and great and a gem from that certain perspective — I love seeing it on TV too — but what is it like to go there a lot?

Are the complaints I listed above overblown? Is it one of those things where it’s great if you don’t know any better but if you’ve spent time in more modern parks it’s hard to go back? How do you make it work?  I ask because while history and novelty would cover it all for me if I went there a few times, I’m guessing it doesn’t outweigh the inconveniences if you go there a dozen times a year.

Have at it.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.