If there was a stadium I grew up with it was Shea Stadium. I grew up 10 minutes from the stadium, I was there in 86, have attended over 200 games at Shea in my lifetime and even called Shea my office in the summer of 98. My first day of work was the day Mike Piazza was traded to the Mets, May 22nd, 1998. I came to work and then I was sent home because the Mets were so overwhelmed with season ticket requests because of the trade, they didn’t have time to train me. True story. As we all know, Shea Stadium is no more and the Mets now call Citi Field home. So when my brother had an extra ticket to the Padres vs Mets game and asked me to go, I was immediately said yes.
Here is my Citi Field experience for the Padres vs Mets game on 4/16/09.
Well, it’s not Shea. Shea, by any way you measure it was a dump. Citi Field has a nice exterior, very reminiscent of Ebbets Field. I also like that when you walk in there are bricks that families and people sponsored. It’s a good way to leave a memory and feel like you are a part of the new stadium. I sat in section 5o6 and I was able to see any ball that was hit in play. Why am I mentioning this? Because the talk of NY sports radio this week was that many seats at Citi Field have obstructed views to the field. I can tell you Mets fans that in section 506 you can see the whole field. The seats were very comfortable and all the seats at Citi have cup holders for your beverage of choice. Very nice feature.
Anyone who has been to Shea will tell you that the food options were terrible. Your options were dirty water dogs, dip n’ dots and Foghorn Leghorn’s Chicken in right field. Citi Field has a wide assortment of food choices. Anything from Nathan’s to Shake Shack to Blue Smoke BBQ. Now I didn’t try any of the specialty options such as Shack Shake or Blue Smoke because I wasn’t going to wait on line for 45 minutes and miss the game for 2 places that are 5 minutes from my apartment (one of the benefits of living in Gramercy Park). I did go to the regular concession stand and thought the food was much better than it was at Shea.
2 other pros of the new Citi Field are 1. the bathrooms, at least the men’s bathroom are very nice. Something always important to my friend Justin and myself. 2. I know it was only the 3rd game at Citi Field but it was by far and away the cleanest stadium I have ever been to. The place was spotless.
Okay, the biggest single issue with this stadium is that it is not a Mets stadium, it’s a Citi Group stadium. There is nothing, I mean NOTHING that says the Mets play here. There are more ATM’s for Citi Group than there are Mets logos in the stadium. If I was from let’s say London and took a trip to Citi Field as a tourist, I would have no idea the Mets played there. I walked into the stadium and I was greeted by a security guard who was wearing red. The security guard was wearing red, the ushers were wearing red and the food service workers were wearing green. Hold on a second, the Mets colors are orange and blue. Why are all the employees of the stadium wearing red and green? This will be a recurring theme throughout this post.
Next, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Note to the Wilpons…YOU OWN THE METS, NOT THE DODGERS!!! No one, including myself will ever question Jackie Robinson’s contributions not only to baseball but to this country. They are unparalleled. However, Jackie Robinson never played for the Mets. You walk into Citi Field through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and all you see are Brooklyn Dodgers highlights playing on 2 flat screen tv’s. Nowhere will you find anything that says home of the Mets.
The seats at Citi Field are all dark green and the outfield fence is black. The seats and the wall should be orange and blue. I have no idea why the Mets went with the colors they did. It makes the stadium look dark and gloomy. Finally getting out of the stadium is a disaster. Everyone is forced down this dark stairwell. If you have ever been to Madison Square Garden you know what I am talking about. God forbid if there was a fire, everyone walking down those stairwells would be in big trouble.
Overall Game Day Experience
Anything is better than Shea and Citi Field certainly is. However, the fact that there is such little reference to the Mets at the stadium itself is a turn off for me. Where are the references to the 2 World Series championships, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Mike Piazza? Maybe they are there, but I didn’t see it. From now on I am referring to Citi Field as home of the ? I would say the overall game experience was a 6.5 out of 10.