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Wrapping up a visit to Citi Field

Posted by Sean Rowland on August 4, 2010

We spent the weekend in Long Island for a family function and the weekend started with setting a personal record for longest car ride. It takes 1:50 with absolutely no traffic and a typical ride is 2:15. On Saturday, try 3 hrs and 40 minutes. And there were no accidents, just congestion as we spent an aggravating hour and a half going two miles to get to the GW bridge. I still can’t get used to city traffic and I loathe approaching that bridge and crossing the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Anyway, Sunday was spent taking in a Mets game at Citi Field. The weather was as perfect as it could get on a mid Summer afternoon: Cloudy with temps in the low 80s. Rain held off as any stationary showers didn’t venture into our area. The majority of the time it is just my wife and I at a stadium, but on this day we ran into a bunch of people. We briefly hooked up with my brother-in-law’s family and some out of town cousins as we found out they would be there the day before. Then I also enjoyed meeting up with Gary Herman and the King, who run the blog: Royalty Tours USA (http://royaltytours.blogspot.com). These guys who live in NYC are probably the pioneers of attending sporting events as they attend around 350 games a year and have been to every pro facility as well as a ton of other stadiums. We chatted for an inning or so and I got to hear the King’s signature strikeout call.

As for my thoughts on the ballpark (click here for the full review)…this is why I like waiting a year or two (or more) to go to a brand new stadium. In the first year, of Citi Field complaints were widespread about how the Mets did not do enough to celebrate their own history. To address those issues, a terrific Hall of Fame & Museum was added, they’ve added more pictures and Mets touches and they moved the old Shea Apple from a hidden corner to in front of the ballpark. However, I can certainly see how Mets fans do not like how a lot of this ballpark pays homage to a team not their’s: the Brooklyn Dodgers. The outside is designed almost exactly like Ebbets Field and the entrance brings you to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, dedicated to an unbelievably terrific man, but he’s not a Met. On a personal standpoint, ignoring what it represents for a second, I think the exterior is absolutely stunning and the rotunda is fantastic, especially with the addition of the Mets Hall of Fame.

Inside, I’m mixed. I’ll get the bad out of the way: There’s nothing too new with the design (and why couldn’t they make those seats Mets blue instead of green). And while I like the Pepsi porch and the intimacy of the new park…I just can’t stand all of those luxury seating areas. I know this is too be expected with a new stadium in the biggest city in the world, but this should be the most affordable sport. There are six club seating areas and you can’t get anywhere near home plate on field level because of some of these clubs. In addition, pricing is crazy with 38 different pricing tiers. 21 of those are for non-club seats and of those 21, there were 10 priced over $70 on this day. My other biggest complaint is too many seats with overhangs that obstruct your view. This is a game where you need to see what’s going on in the air and I know a lot of new ballparks have these, but it seemed a lot here. Maybe it’s just because I moved around more than I usually do.

Now there were certainly some aspects I really liked. For instance, the Pepsi Porch seems like a great section and I was very happy to see that the Outfield is built up, so you don’t have to look out and see those junkyard eyesores. It’s too bad though that you couldn’t see the bay more. Though I’m glad those big scoreboards are there, I actually like the old scoreboard at Shea better. The outfield concourse area is a great aspect of the park. Not as good as Ashburn Alley in Philly (especially because the view of the field is blocked here)…but still very well done. There’s a huge area to congregate and so many different food options with the “Taste of the City” and “World’s Market Fair”, the types of food seemed endless. I sucked up waiting 30min in line before the game to have one of those “Shake Shack” burgers and I will say that is one awesome burger. The nearby beer selection at Big City Brews is tremendous. If you go outside this area for food though it seems like every other stand is for Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Burgers or Fries. The other great aspect in the outfield is Shea Bridge, which is designed to look like and represent NYC’s many bridges that connect the boroughs.
So, overall despite some of it’s flaws, I do like this park, especially the beautiful exterior and the rotunda. I’m glad management listened to complaints last year and made it more Mets-like…but I can certainly still understand how Mets fans are not pleased with the overall concept.

As for the game…the Mets took a big fat dump in the middle of the field. 14-1, against the worse team in the league, on a day when they inducted four people into the team hall of fame. This loss gave the Mets a 1-5 record against Arizona  in the last two weeks as they get ready to embark on a road trip to division front-runners Atlanta and Philadelphia. Adam LaRoche blew the game open with a pair of 3-run homers in the fourth and fifth. The pre-game ceremony was very nice and well done as Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson and stars (but troubled stars) Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were inducted to the team hall of fame.

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