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Hot Stove LIVE!

Hot Stove LIVE!

Hot Stove LIVEDuffy’s Sports Grill in St. Lucie West is a fairly typical sports bar. It’s got a group of regulars, it’s noisy, there are countless TV sets, and the food is quite good. This restaurant, that has a loyal clientele, experiences six weeks that are particularly wild and noisy.

When the Mets start Open Workouts in the middle of February through the Spring Training season in March, this is the “bar of choice” for Mets fans. Its location, which is just down the street from First Data Field, makes it the perfect place for fans to gather before and after the games. As crazy as Duffy’s gets for those six weeks, there is one night a year that surpasses all the others... It’s the Hot Stove Live broadcast!

Hot Stove LiveFor baseball fans, the term “hot stove” refers to the chilly off season when fans gather around a hot stove to discuss their team. Major League Baseball leaves us in the Fall, but for real fans, it‘s always a presence. There are never-ending issues to discuss and argue about. Who should the team keep? Who should be traded away? Who would you love to acquire? What’re our chances this year? Why is ownership so annoying? How do the other teams in our division look? These are the questions which keeps baseball alive for fans during those dark winter months.

Hot Stove LIVEThe Mets television network, SNY, broadcasts a weekly show to discuss these issues. Instead of being broadcast from their studios in New York City, the last Hot Stove show before Spring Training games begin, is broadcast live from Duffy’s. Every NY baseball beat writer is there, most of the SNY broadcasters are there, and I was there, all joined by hundreds of rabid Mets fans. The last few years, the fan group called The 7 Line Army that I wrote about last year, has been there, too.

Hot Stove LIVEThe dress code for the event is simple: Orange and Blue! The broadcasters interview players and coaches in an area of the restaurant set up with lights and cameras. It’s so loud that the fans can’t possibly hear those interviews. The “Let’s Go Mets” chant is deafening. We eat our burgers and wings. We chant for our guys. We bond with other fans. It’s a time for hope and optimism.

Hot Stove LIVEBeing Mets fans, we always hope. Spring Training is all about hope. It’s about seeing how the pitchers look, it’s about seeing if the hitters can catch up with the fastball, it’s about seeing the young phenoms. It’s about keeping players healthy and off the Disabled List. It’s February and March… everything seems possible. Mets fans know that our obsession is often one which results in heartbreak. Being a Mets fan is never easy, but every so often, our team is magic. There’s always hope. February at Duffy’s and those March games allow us to hope. Maybe this will be our year. Maybe 2018 will be magic!