Chronological Tour: Stop 341

Citi Field

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.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
Citi Field opened 29-Mar-2009, a cloudy day featuring occasional drizzle and fog, with a college baseball game between Georgetown and St. Johnís. Georgetown was the home team despite St. Johnís being in the backyard of this park because the entire series had been scheduled for Washington, D.C.

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.

In September 2017, a three-game Tampa Bay Rays series against the New York Yankees was relocated to Citi Field while St. Petersburg dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, a powerful storm that impacted nearly all of the Sunshine State.

Getting to the Game

One benefit of Citi Field (and of Shea Stadium before it) is its proximity to major transit arteries. Despite being in an Outer Borough, this is an easy park to get to.

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.

Watching the Game

Itís not unique to Citi Field, but the dayís lineup for the Mets is posted on the concourse in baseball-card-style photos directly behind home plate, seen by fans who enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. At least one of the team lineups, the one for the team at bat, is generally posted on one of the outfield video boards throughout the game; both lineups are frequently displayed. The boards otherwise show photos and statistics for the batter and pitcher when they are not showing commercial announcements.

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.

Enjoying the Game

As at most Major League Baseball venues, the game is the thing. There are a few in-game promotions, like the video board hat shuffle, but they are limited. Music is about as loud as in any other park; the Mets have also employed an organist on rare occasions, and some organ selections have been canned as well. The public address announcer is efficient and not bombastic.

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.

2007 construction photos: Rotunda | From Shea
2008 construction photos: Rotunda | From Shea
Game # Date League Level Result
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
1552 Mon 29-May-2017 National MLB NY METS 4, Milwaukee 2
1610 Mon 11-Sep-2017 American MLB NY Yankees 5, TAMPA BAY 1
1618 Mon 25-Sep-2017 National MLB Atlanta 9, NY METS 2, 1st
1619 Mon 25-Sep-2017 National MLB NY METS 3, Atlanta 2, 2d
* Interleague play.
Return to the Stadiums page
Return to Charlieís home page

Site and images Copyright © 2007-09 Charles OíReilly. All rights reserved.
This page updated 25-Sep-2017