|Chronological Tour: Stop 341|
The entrance rotunda to Citi Field, Jun-2009.
The ball field and seating bowl, from the right-field bleacher porch.
From the next-to-last row of the upper deck, a view as close as from the lower boxes of the upper deck at Shea. This photo is from Mar-2009.
The first base hit in park history came at 1:19 in the afternoon, when Hoyas shortstop Tom Elliott singled to center off Red Storm starter Brendan Lobban with one out in the home first inning. Georgetown catcher Greg Pustizzi knocked in the first run in the history of the park in the second inning, with a single to left scoring first baseman Dan Capeless. An inning later, Sean Lamont followed with his ninth home run of the season and the first ever at Citi Field, a solo shot to left.
As I arrived at the ballpark, I tried to figure out what was different, in comparison with the now-demolished Shea Stadium:
1) The old scoreboard was gone. That thing was a classic. In its place are two large matrix boards, both of which usually display the score, and I think it's rather redundant for them to be as close to each other as they are. Then again, much of the other information differs between the boards.
2) The simple outfield wall is gone, replaced by an irregular monstrosity that could be at home in any number of other MLB parks of recent vintage. At the college game, the distance markers were missing, but they were in place by the time I got there in June for a Met game.
3) The out-of-town scoreboards, which used to flank the main scoreboard at Shea, are now mounted atop the left-field bleacher. They show the runners on base and the number of outs, as at many new ballparks. At the college game, the dot for which team was batting was missing; again, it was fixed when I saw a Met game.
4) There arenít too many escalators in this building. Shea had them all over the place. Again, though, a lot of the new parks rely on stairwells. Iím sure design engineers have concluded that this is a more efficient way to move people into and out of the park, but the walk from the upper deck to street level was excruciatingly long after a crowded MLB game.
5) The multicolored seats are gone. Instead of a different color for each seating level, which I admit is so 20th century, Citi Fieldís seats are forest green. Green is probably the most common color for stadium seats nationwide, but itís not a Mets color. They could have done just as well with royal blue. To its credit, the tread (room between seating rows) here is much wider than at the old park.
Most importantly, though, Shea was missing. This place doesnít look anything like Shea Stadium, and thatís certainly deliberate. It even has a new home-run apple (the old one, originally inside the park near street level just inside the bullpen entrance gate, is now in the plaza outside the home plate entrance). They seem to have incorporated design features from many parks, old and new, into this park. The main entranceway, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, is modeled after the home-plate entrance to Ebbets Field. The bullpens are adjacent to each other in right-center field, copying several new parks, and they jut out into the outfield, creating a short porch that pays inadvertent tribute to Kinerís Korner at Forbes Field (Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner went on to be a Mets broadcaster for over 40 years).
I ran into an old friend and Shea denizen in the eighth inning, and he turned around, looked at the pile of rubble that remained of Shea (and which was gone by opening day), and said, ďSo much of my childhood ... itís gone now.Ē Am I that emotional about not having Shea? Hardly. And the commute to this park is exactly the same as the commute to Shea. The look is different, but the feel is similar because they put this park in the same place as the old one, give or take 600 feet.
For the 2012 season, the Mets adjusted the outfield walls, shortening some of the distances and fence heights in order to make it a little easier home run park. The field had gained a reputation as a pitcherís park in its first three seasons.
The stadium is on the northern edge of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which has had service on the IRT Flushing line (NYC Subway No. 7 train, Willets Point Boulevard station) and the Long Island Rail Road since at least the late 1930s. Flushing Meadow was home to Worldís Fair expositions in 1939-40 and 1964-65, and Shea opened in conjunction with the later event. The park is 30 minutes from Times Square on the subway and less than 15 minutes from Penn Station on the LIRR.
In addition, the Grand Central Parkway runs right past the park, and it is also close to the intersection of the Van Wyck and Whitestone expressways. There are sufficient parking lots, which arenít cheap; there is also limited street parking in the neighborhood to the west of the Grand Central Parkway and you can walk to the stadium on Roosevelt Avenue.
Field views are good here from just about anywhere in the park, including most of the concourse area. The only exceptions are directly behind the plate, where club areas on both the lower and upper decks obscure views from the downstairs rotunda entry area and the upstairs food court.
The mascot, Mr. Met, is instantly recognizable: nothing more than a big baseball head. This simplicity has endeared Mr. Met to generations of fans. These days, he typically appears during a T-shirt toss after the fifth inning and during the seventh-inning stretch. (The Cincinnati Reds have a similarly simple mascot.)
Concessions are varied, especially on the main concourse, and priced in line with most MLB venues, which is to say overpriced but not necessarily outrageous. Expect to pay premium prices for premium items at specialty stands like Brooklyn Burger and Shake Shack.
The stadium is not in a neighborhood, so there are no outside dining options surrounding the park, but mass transit (above) makes it simple to enjoy a pre-game meal in midtown Manhattan and still make it to the game. This being New York, there are also numerous eateries in the neighborhoods along the No. 7 subway line.
|55||Sun 29-Mar-2009||Big East||Div I||GEORGETOWN 6, St. Johnís 4|
|991||Fri 19-Jun-2009||National *||MLB||NY METS 5, Tampa Bay 3|
|1030||Fri 4-Sep-2009||National||MLB||NY METS 6, Chi Cubs 2|
|1042||Fri 18-Sep-2009||National||MLB||Washington 6, NY METS 5|
|1043||Sun 20-Sep-2009||National||MLB||NY METS 6, Washington 2|
|1044||Mon 21-Sep-2009||National||MLB||Atlanta 11, NY METS 3|
|1102||Wed 15-Sep-2010||National||MLB||NY METS 8, Pittsburgh 7|
|1105||Sun 19-Sep-2010||National||MLB||Atlanta 6, NY METS 3|
|1108||Wed 29-Sep-2010||National||MLB||Miilwaukee 8, NY METS 7, 1st|
|1109||Wed 29-Sep-2010||National||MLB||Miilwaukee 3, NY METS 1, 2d|
|1110||Sat 2-Oct-2010||National||MLB||NY METS 7, Washington 2|
|1112||Sun 3-Oct-2010||National||MLB||Washington 2, NY METS 1, 14 inn|
|1115||Sun 24-Apr-2011||National||MLB||NY METS 8, Arizona 4|
|1166||Thu 8-Sep-2011||National||MLB||Atlanta 6, NY METS 5, 1st|
|1167||Thu 8-Sep-2011||National||MLB||Atlanta 5, NY METS 1, 2d|
|1171||Sun 11-Sep-2011||National||MLB||Chi Cubs 10, NY METS 6, 11 inn|
|1178||Mon 26-Sep-2011||National||MLB||Cincinnati 6, NY METS 5|
|1182||Sun 8-Apr-2012||National||MLB||NY METS 7, Atlanta 5|
|1238||Tue 11-Sep-2012||National||MLB||Washington 5, NY METS 3|
|1242||Mon 17-Sep-2012||National||MLB||Philadelphia 3, NY METS 1|
|1244||Fri 21-Sep-2012||National||MLB||NY METS 7, Miami 3|
|1246||Tue 25-Sep-2012||National||MLB||Pittsburgh 10, NY METS 6|
|1254||Thu 4-Jul-2013||National||MLB||Arizona 5, NY METS 4, 15 inn|
|1294||Mon 9-Sep-2013||National||MLB||Washington 9, NY METS 0|
|1295||Fri 13-Sep-2013||National||MLB||NY METS 4, Miami 3|
|1297||Wed 18-Sep-2013||National||MLB||NY METS 5, San Francisco 4|
|1302||Mon 31-Mar-2014||National||MLB||Washington 9, NY METS 7, 10 inn|
|1305||Sun 20-Apr-2014||National||MLB||NY METS 4, Atlanta 3, 14 inn|
|1362||Tue 9-Sep-2014||National||MLB||NY METS 2, Colorado 0|
|1364||Mon 15-Sep-2014||National||MLB||Miami 6, NY METS 5|
|1365||Wed 17-Sep-2014||National||MLB||Miami 4, NY METS 3|
|1386||Fri 24-Jul-2015||National||MLB||LA Dodgers 7, NY METS 2|
|1437||Mon 14-Sep-2015||National||MLB||NY METS 4, Miami 3|
|1438||Wed 16-Sep-2015||National||MLB||Miami 6, NY METS 0|
|1442||Sun 20-Sep-2015||National *||MLB||NY Yankees 11, NY METS 2|
|1443||Wed 23-Sep-2015||National||MLB||Atlanta 6, NY METS 3|
|1449||Sun 4-Oct-2015||National||MLB||NY METS 1, Washington 0|
|1450||Sat 31-Oct-2015||National *||MLB||Kansas City 5, NY METS 3|
|1451||Fri 8-Apr-2016||National||MLB||NY METS 7, Philadelphia 2|
|1452||Tue 3-May-2016||National||MLB||Atlanta 3, NY METS 0|
|1464||Mon 4-Jul-2016||National||MLB||NY METS 8, Miami 6|
|1466||Wed 27-Jul-2016||National||MLB||St Louis 5, NY METS 4|
|1469||Mon 1-Aug-2016||National *||MLB||NY Yankees 6, NY METS 5, 10 inn|
|1478||Wed 10-Aug-2016||National||MLB||Arizona 3, NY METS 2, 12 inn|
|1480||Sat 13-Aug-2016||National||MLB||NY METS 3, San Diego 2, 11 inn|
|1524||Sun 18-Sep-2016||National *||MLB||NY METS 3, Minnesota 2|
|1525||Wed 21-Sep-2016||National||MLB||Atlanta 4, NY METS 3|
|1529||Sun 25-Sep-2016||National||MLB||NY METS 17, Philadelphia 0|
|* Interleague play.|