Archive for the ‘Stadium 411’ Category

Coors Field: Welcome To The Great Outdoors

October 19, 2009

For the most part, the stadiums that have been reviewed in our Stadium 411 series have been east coast stadiums. The furthest west we have gone so far for a stadium review has been St. Louis, Mo (Busch Stadium).

Well, today we are going out west. We are going to Denver, Co for a review of Coors Field.

This review was given by our first female contributor and a girl who has no love lost for Armando Benitez–Debra Herlica.

Take it away Debra…

Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies

Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies

Coors Field Critique

During my recent trip (not so recent now) to Denver, I had the pleasure of visiting the Colorado Rookies Coors Field and felt obligated (if not pressured by my friend Tom Spirakis) to give commentary on my impression of the park.

Let me first say that Denver is a beautiful small city where almost everything is located in a very condensed area.  Those of you familiar with Denver know too well of the tourist trap known as the “16th Street Mall” which is the city’s “main drag.”

All of the bars, restaurants and hotels are located here. The “mall” is actually a section of 16th street which is blocked off to general traffic and is only accessible by free electric buses and handsome cabs.

I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel which is located at one end of the “mall” and seemed to be very convenient to many attractions.  The Sheraton was also hosting the “Denver Tattoo convention” when I was there, so it made things very interesting.

The Rockies hosted the day game against my New York Mets on Thursday, September 3, 2009.  I left my hotel and jumped on the electric bus, where an observant rider, noticing my New York Met paraphernalia offered directions to the stadium.

Although my New York instincts made me suspicious, I noticed that there was a crowd walking in that general direction. The stadium is located on the edge of downtown, walking distance from everything and is surrounded by nice, clean bars that offer great drink specials.

Pros:

The first thing you will notice about this stadium is that there are vendors ALL OVER the place selling discounted water, peanuts and snacks OUTSIDE the stadium…all with the assurance that the snacks are allowed in the stadium.  Bottled water – ice cold and half frozen (on a 90 degree day) – was $1.00.  Peanuts were $1.00.  Soda –  $1.00.

Well, you get my point.  So as my first bit of advice, stock up outside because they do let you bring the snacks into the stadium. I’m not sure how many stadiums do this but it was a great idea in my opinion.

Ticket prices are very reasonable, ranging from $30 – $50 for the majority of the seats.  Our tickets were $30 for the second row of the third tier right behind home plate.  (Take note-–if walking up the stairs to get to your seats, remember that you are 5280 ft above sea level and you will have a heart attack.)

From my seat I had a great view of the stadium and the Rocky Mountains through the opening between the left field and right field seats.

The "Rockpile"

The "Rockpile"

The outfield is also home to the “Rockpile.”  This is the area right behind centerfield that is landscaped with boulders, pine trees and the “dancing water fountains.”

The Rockpile adds a bit of the great outdoors…well….outdoors.  It is very beautiful in person.  The fountains are normally not visible from most of the ballpark until a Rockies homerun causes them to erupt.

Denver is well known for being an offensive ballpark so they get a lot of action.  On this day in September, perhaps it was also due to the fact that it was a Mets vs. Rockies game, and the Mets gave up 3 homeruns.  In any event, the fountains don’t compare to the Apple, but they are nice none the less.

One of the more entertaining aspects of the stadium was the announcer.  This guy was hilarious.  When the Rockies were up to bat he announced their names with the enthusiasm of Michael Buffer yelling “Let’s get ready to rumble!!!”

When the Mets came to bat, the music was turned off, his voice became lower and he stated the player’s name in a voice that oozed of contempt and disdain.  It was not subtle.  I did, however, find it quite comical.

Once we settled into our seats, we did have the opportunity to see Josh Thole, the Mets rookie catcher, start his first major league game.  Thole picked up this first major league hit and caught an amazing game that also gave Pat Misch his first major league win.

It was a fine outing by both that helped the Mets avoid being swept in the three game series.

Cons:

As for inside the stadium, I did not have the opportunity to peruse the culinary options, but did make several observations.  The chicken sandwich (which my friend said was not bad) looked less than appetizing.  The chicken was obviously a frozen cutlet made of compressed chicken parts (and less unmentionable items) and had a grayish hue to it.

The concession stand carried the basics, but I was surprised that in this outdoorsy city, there were no vegetarian options. (At least at this one particular stand).

The field also “lacked any personality” other than the purple line that distinguished the 5,280 line (big amongst the locals).  Other than the line, the team mountain emblem was the same as the Coors’ beer emblem, so I guess commercialism beat out team identification…or did it?

I have to admit that when your team emblem is the same as the corporation that owns you its a little unsettling and confusing.

More disappointing was the attendance for the game.  I realize that it was a day game the Thursday before Labor Day…but COME ON!!!  It was a beautiful day and the Rockies were in the lead for the Wild Card!!!

Still, the stadium was less than half full.  Really disappointing.

Overall Game Day Experience:

Overall I would give it a 7.5 out of 10, with a strong thumbs up to Coors field for still allowing outside food.

Advertisements

Miller Park: A Spaceship In The Middle Of Milwaukee

September 28, 2009

Next up in our Stadium 411 series is Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers. A couple of weeks ago my friend and I visited Milwaukee, WI and had a chance to see the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Brewers.

This critique was given by yours truly. A man who still can’t believe the NHL hasn’t folded yet. Does anyone even know the NHL season starts next week? What a poorly run league.

The great spaceship in Milwaukee

The great spaceship in Milwaukee

Miller Park Critique

Pros

Due to the fact we arrived in Milwaukee rather early, it gave us the opportunity to get to Miller Park early and check out all the stadium had to offer.

The first thing I noticed coming off the highway is what an unusual looking stadium it is. It looks like a giant spaceship in the middle of this dreary city. I have never seen anything like it.

The second thing I noticed right off the bat, is when we drove into the parking lot people were tailgating. For someone who lives in New York, where there is no tailgating at baseball games, this was an awesome sight.

Actual tailgating at a baseball game

Actual tailgating at a baseball game

People weren’t just tailgating with a Miller Lite in one hand and a hot dog in another. No, these people were tailgating like it was a Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings game. There were generators, tents, and Gantner’s Garden.

You can rent out a Gantner’s Garden space so you and your friends can tailgate together in a private space. I also liked the fact that there was a restroom outside the stadium. That is clutch.

As for the stadium itself, there were two things that really stood out to me that I really liked. First, I loved the fact that you can go anywhere in the stadium for batting practice.

Our seats were right behind first base, but we were able to stand in the right field bleachers for batting practice and not a single person hassled us. That is awesome.

The second thing I liked was that the stadium looks “hitterish.” I got the same feeling walking into this ballpark that I did when I walked into the new Yankee Stadium. You can see why hitters like hitting in this ballpark.

Cons

The biggest gripe I had with Miller Park and it still bother me today — is the merchandise. All I wanted was a Paul Molitor or Robin Yount throwback player tee-shirt. One of those sweet powder blue ones.

I couldn’t find one — anywhere. I went to both team stores and both teams didn’t have anything. That is awful. How do you not have the tee-shirts of the only two superstars these franchise has ever had?

They had more Chorizo tee-shirts than Robin Yount shirts. That can’t happen.

Here is another con. And this is more of a baseball con than a Miller Park con. If a player is shagging fly balls in the outfield and fans ask for a ball — give it to them.

I am talking to you Jason Motte. This scrub must of had 50 balls hit to him in right field and he completely ignored every fan — including little kids. If a little kid or a fan asks for a ball and they are five feet from you, give them the ball.

It was completely ridiculous.

Overall Game Day Experience

I would say Miller Park was a seven out of 10. Strong points for the tailgating scene.

Citizens Bank Ballpark: A Vegetarian’s Paradise

September 24, 2009

Next up in our Stadium 411 series, is Citizens Bank Ballpark, home of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. This will be our second Citizens Bank Ballpark critique. The first one was given by Jon a couple of months ago.

This critique was given by a 32-year-old man who has more St. Louis Cardinal paraphenalia than any eight-year-old boy living in Missouri — Tom Spirakis.

It’s disturbing, I know.

Citizens Bank Ballpark

Citizens Bank Ballpark

Citizens Bank Park Critique

This past July the family and I drove down from NYC to Philadelphia to catch a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the defending World Champion Phillies. The drive wasn’t bad and roundtrip from NYC can be done in the same day.

The stadium is right off the highway and there is plenty of parking around the stadium.  All the major Philly teams are housed in the same area.

Pros
The stadium was real nice and reminded me of Nationals Park and Citi Field. I was pleasantly surprised that the Phillies fan did not live up to their reputation as the meanest fans in sports.

I proudly wore a Cardinals tee with not so much as a dirty look. The concession stands offered an array of choices. PETA lists Citizen Bank Ballpark as the most vegetarian friendly stadium in the majors. I enjoyed a veggie burger and a veggie dog.

Much to my surprise I was not annoyed by the Philly Fanatic. I actually thought he was pretty entertaining.

Cons
The stadium was having a Christmas in July promotion. Alright, I can handle that. What I couldn’t handle was the non stop Christmas carols all day long.

It was relentless, sitting in the blistering sun listening to Winter Wonderland. Another thing that annoys me is throwing back a homerun ball hit by a visiting player.

I think this is one of the dumbest traditions in baseball.

Up until a couple of years ago, I thought this was reserved for the Wrigley faithful, but now it seems everyone is doing it. I just missed catching a Rick Ankiel homerun and it pained me to see it thrown back onto the field.

Overall Game Day Experience

Overall game day experience was 8 out of 10. From NYC it’s worth a drive down to catch a game.

Riverfront Stadium: A Hidden Gem In Newark, NJ…

August 13, 2009

For the most part the New York and New Jersey is a pro sports area. The Giants, Yankees, Rangers, Devils, and Knicks all reign supreme. Sure St. John’s Basketball is popular when they are good and now Rutgers’ Football is gaining in popularity, but sports fans in New York and New Jersey love their pro sports.

So when I had the opportunity last night to go to Newark, NJ to see the Newark Bears, I was very excited. It’s not very often I get to see a minor-league baseball game. As a matter of fact, this was my first one.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Newark Bears, they are an independent team that plays in the Atlantic Coast League of Professional Baseball. Independent teams don’t have an affiliation with a major-league club.

One of the benefits of going to a Newark Bears game is that their roster has plenty of former major-league talent on it. D’Angelo Jimenez, Carl Everett, Rob Mackowiak, Tike Redman, Ramiro Mendoza, Scott Williamson, Willie Banks, and Armando Benitez are all on the Newark Bears and all have solid big league experience.

Last night the Newark Bears played the Lancaster Barnstormers. Here is my take on Newark Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

Pros

For those of you who have never been to Riverfront Stadium, you are missing out. For an independent team stadium, this place is a gem.

Riverfront Stadium in Newark, NJ

Riverfront Stadium in Newark, NJ

Riverfront Stadium is located in Newark, NJ and is a 6,200 seat state-of-the-art stadium. The stadium is very small, so you are right on top of the action. You can hear the catcher’s glove pop nomatter where you are sitting in the stadium, which is awesome.

As you would expect, the Stadium has a very old school baseball type feel to it. Lot’s of advertisements in the outfield, some odd dimensions, and brick wall in the outfield, which I loved.

Thanks to my buddy Matt who’s client just happened to be the Bears’ team physician, we sat in one of the suites at the stadium. For those of you who entertain clients – renting a suite for the night is the way to go.

The suites have every thing you would want. Comfortable couches, a bar, a flatscreen TV with HD, great service, and a great view of the game. It’s really worth it if you want to entertain some clients or get a group of friends together to watch the game.

Not only is this stadium good for the business world, but it is great for families. The game itself is very kid friendly with contests that involve the kids. After every half inning some type of promotion is going on. Their mascot – Ruppert is a kid and fan favorite as well.

Cons

It’s hard to pick out a con with this stadium because you know what you are getting when you walk through the door. I know I am going to get a lot of cheesy and annoying kid stuff. It comes with the territory.

However, there is one thing that drove me crazy throughout the game – the scoreboard.

To have a scoreboard that doesn’t tell you the batting lineup, who is pitching, or what that player has done during the game or throughout the year is frustrating to me. As a baseball, I like to know these things.

It also would help considering that I didn’t know 90 percent of the players who were playing in the game. Give me some background or at least let me know who is pitching in the game. That is all I ask.

Overall Game Experience

Overall, I was pretty impressed with Riverfront Stadium. I would give it an eight out of ten.

On a side note to this game, the highlight of the night for me was seeing Armando Benitez come into the game in the ninth inning to try to nail down the victory for the Bears.

For old time’s sake, I was hoping Benitez would have a meltdown on the mound. Maybe he would see the ghost of Pat Burrell or JT Snow, but alas, this was not the case.

Benitez looked impressive to be honest, as he got the side in order one-two-three to save the 5-4 win for the bears.

Wrigley Field: After All These Years Still A Perfect 10…

July 28, 2009

Over the last couple of months we have reviewed a lot of new stadiums for our Stadium 411 category here on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham. Well, now it’s time to look at some of the old shrines of the game.

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs is one of the great stadiums in the game today. It’s a must see for any baseball fan.

Today’s stadium critique is given by a man who is salavating over the thought of Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols in the same lineup, a man who once personally watched former WWE wrestler Dr. Tom Pritchard’s bags, and a man who once dominated the handball courts in Queens, NY…Tom Spirakis.

Wrigley Field Critique

Last September, a couple of friends and I flew out to Chicago to visit a friend and catch a game between my beloved Cardinals and their arch rival Cubs. Of course the game was played in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

Welcome to Wrigley Field

Welcome to Wrigley Field

It was an odd game to catch because the Cardinals were still hanging in the wild card race and the Cubs clinched the National League Central Division the day before and sent out a line up of September call ups.

The stadium lived up to its reputation. It was amazing to walk around before the game and just stare at the ivy covered outfield walls and the bleachers on the near by roof tops. Even wearing enemy colors (Pujols t-shirt) the Cub fans and Wrigley staff treated me with respect and showed great hospitality.

Pros
The stadium is awesome! It lives up to the cliché “Cathedrals of the Game”. There’s a feeling inside the stadium that’s different then other stadiums. As a baseball fan you need to see a game there.

The streets around Wrigley are a festival like atmosphere so whether its hours before the game or hours after the game the near by bars are packed with Cub fans. Seeing Hall of Fame Cub Billy Williams walking around the stadium seemed normal to everyone.

Cons

The Cards lost to minor leaguers that day. The fans hold up silly “W” signs and sing a terrible song after the Cubs win. Getting out of the stadium took a long time but its 100 years old and totally worth it.  
 
Overall game day experience:

Wrigley is a perfect 10.

Citi Field Critique…

June 25, 2009

Citi Field seems to be a hot topic amongst people living in the Tri-State area these days. This now the third Citi Field critique in our Stadium 411 series.

This Citi Field critique is given by a lover off all animals, a man who has more Cardinal apparel than anyone I know, and a man who got attacked by an old lady at last night’s Met game (she was trying to get to her seat in the row above us, tripped and landed on him. He suffered a scratched neck, but there was no permanent damage. It was quite funny)…Tom Spirakis.

Citi Field Critique

Yesterday I had the opportunity to catch my first game at Citi Field. Having lived my whole life in Queens, Shea Stadium was where I saw professional baseball for the first time and countless times after that. However, last night was my first game at Citi Field and it was a dandy. Joel Pineiro pitched a 2 hit complete game shutout, as the Cardinals beat the Mets 3–0.

Pros

The design is beautiful and I didn’t mind the Dodger stuff inside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. People lining up to take their picture in front on the giant number 42 seemed a little odd to me and provoked memories of Mo Vaughn, but to each their own.

Getting from the subway to the stadium was much easier then it used to be. The food options are plentiful and the prices are about the norm.  They had ample vegetarian options. I had an upper level Promenade seat, which provided decent sight lines.

Most importantly, this place is not Shea Stadium! Shea was a dump, anything would have been an improvement and Citi Field is a huge upgrade.

Cons

The more specialty / higher end concession stands are out behind center field for obvious spacing concerns, but the crowds back there, and the lines for some of these stands were unbelievable. I felt a little claustrophobic walking through the crowds prior to the game starting.

Unfortunately, once the game starts and you’re in your seat, the lines die down a little. But who wants to venture back there for a specialty snack when the old standards are all around the stadium? 

This next “con” may be unique to my game experience but it was the talk between total strangers on the subway ride home. In the 3rd inning the rain came and boy did it rain. With 2 out the bases loaded and a 2 – 2 count, the players were ordered off the field and the grounds crew sprang into action. Unfortunately, they had a little trouble with the tarp… It didn’t cover home plate.

You would thing if the stadium is the universe home plate is like the sun. You need it. However these guys could not get it covered. They had to completely remove the tarp, further soaking the rest of the infield so they can re-position the tarp to cover home.

After the 30 minute display of incompetence the field was covered and of course the rain stopped. Off with the tarp, an extra 30 minutes were needed to try and get the field playable. 

Overall Gameday Experience
 
Overall my game day experience was 7 out of 10. If you had a more reliable grounds crew you could probably get up to an 8. I’m sure this was a fluke and in the future the tarp will cover the whole field.

Overall I enjoyed myself.

If you would like to submit a critique of a stadium you have been to, please send it along to abernacchio77@hotmail.com.

You can also now follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theghostofmlg

Citizens Bank Park Critique…

June 11, 2009

In the next installment in the “Stadium 411” series, we are going to take a look at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.

This critique was given by a great defensive first baseman, a man who faced Carl Pavano in high school and a man who drank all my iced-tea in college…Jon Liberatore.

Jon also gave a Citi Field critique, which you can find here.

Last summer I had an opportunity to check out Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia while the Mets were in town over July 4th weekend.  As a lifelong Mets fan I’ve enjoyed watching the rivalry escalate between the two ballclubs when they’ve played each other over the past several years, so I decided to venture down the Turnpike and check things out for myself. Especially since I heard several positive reviews from other friends who had gone there.

For a 7:05pm start, we arrived at the park around 4:00pm or so to take advantage of the McFadden’s Bar and Grill (which by the way was the largest I’ve seen – and I’ve been to the ones in NYC, Providence, and downtown Philly).  From the moment we walked through the door we were immediately greeted by a hostess (very good looking I might add) and she showed us the way to the main bar area, which is a giant rectangle in the center of the venue. 

There was one-level to the place (and a outdoor patio area where there were TVs as well), very spacious and with high ceilings.  Everywhere you turned there was a flatscreen TV in view, tuned in to various programs (MLB TV, ESPN, etc.), and the place already had a decent sized crowd. I was quite impressed with the ratio of staff to patrons – you couldn’t walk three feet without bumping elbows with a busboy or server, coupled with the number of bartenders that were working (I must have counted at least six or so). 

Bartenders were very pleasant and you can tell that it wasn’t their first day on the job.  So after finishing our last Yuenglings (seems to be the official beer of Philly), we headed down this narrow alleyway off in the corner, which let straight to the entrance to the ballpark. We didn’t even have to walk outside and then ‘back into’ the place.

The design of the ballpark followed the trend of the other retro-style themed ones. The city skyline was visible off into the distance and a huge replica of the Liberty Bell in centerfield, which lights up and ‘rings’ when a Phillies player goes yard (in this case it was Ryan Howard, shocker I know). 

Once we got to our seats (RF upper deck) we found ourselves amidst a sea of orange and blue. Amazing how many fans from New Jersey trekked across the Delaware River for the game. Literally half the upper deck area of the entire park consisted of Mets fans. 

Around the third inning or so we headed down to check out Ashburn Alley, probably my favorite part of the game.  Ashburn Alley is the outfield concourse area consisting of several places to eat, plenty of standing room to watch, and some picnic table areas/barstools to hang out. 

There must have been a two to one cheesesteak to person ratio.  If you’re not a cheesesteak aficionado (or happen to be vegan for that matter) there are other non-meat based options to nosh on as well. 

Shortly after we continued to walk around the park to really get a feel for what it offered. While doing so I noticed a couple interesting things on the lower level: 

  1. All the concession stands have their ‘backs’ to the walkway, so when your in line/ordering food you have an unobstructed view of the field.
  2. If you are sitting in the lower level area, the usher won’t let you head down to your seats until the batter has either been retired or reaches base (something you’d NEVER see in NY), which I thought was a great display of etiquette to the fans.

Pros: The intimacy/retro-feel of the park, food/drink prices are reasonable, Ashburn Alley, McFadden’s on-site, and not a bad seat in the house. 

Cons: It is quite a hike from downtown Philly (especially if you’re looking to go out in the city afterwards), and hailing a cab after the game is a daunting task.

Overall Gameday Experience:  I give this park a 9 out of 10.  Everything from A thru Z was done with baseball etiquette in mind for fans of the game.  Had the ballpark itself not been built on the outskirts of town and had it not taken us about 30 min to hail a cab, I would’ve given it a perfect 10.

 Thanks to Jon for this great critique. If anyone else would like to give a critique of a ballpark they have been to, email me at abernacchio77@hotmail.com

New Yankee Stadium Critique…

May 7, 2009

On Monday I had the opportunity to go to the Red Sox vs Yankees game at the new Yankee Stadium. I had originally purchased tickets in section 300, however thanks to my friend Jared and his connections, we were able to sit in section 113. Despite the 2 hour rain delay and chili weather, it was worth the wait as I did get to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees.

Here is my thoughts on the new Yankee Stadium….

Pros

New stadium, old stadium, one of the better parts of going to Yankee Stadium are the bars that surround the stadium. It is what makes Yankee Stadium Yankee Stadium, Fenway Fenway and Wrigley Wrigley. You can’t beat it. We decided to go to Stan’s for a drink. After the drink, we decided to head into the stadium.

If you want to look at the bright side, one of the benefits of a 2 hour rain delay is that I was able to see everything the stadium had to offer. I think the first thing you notice when you walk into the stadium is the size of the stadium and in particular, the concourse. It’s HUGE!!! It’s a football stadium with a baseball field inside of it. The other thing you notice right away are all the tributes the Yankees make to their past. You can’t walk anywhere and not see a picture of Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio.

The new Yankee Stadium has a ton of food options. Everything from The Hard Rock Cafe to Brother Jimmy’s BBQ to The Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. They also have a sushi station, slider station and even a farmer’s market. Believe it or not, the food was reasonably priced. Which is odd because everything else, including tickets is disgustingly overpriced. I went to the slider station and had the 3 chicken slider with fries combo (man am I fat). It was $10 which I thought was a pretty fair price. I didn’t get quarter sized chicken. The portion was pretty ample.

Cons

This stadium was clearly built for Joe Hedge Fund, Joe Park Ave and Joe CEO. Joe Average? Sorry, you are not welcome here. If you are Joe Average you get to sit 400 ft away from home plate. I mean what stadium has a high end art gallery in it? What stadium charges $2,650 for a seat? It has become class warfare in the Bronx.

The people working at Yankee Stadium had no clue about anything. I asked 4 different people what would happen with my ticket in the result of a rain out? I got 4 different answers. I didn’t think it was that hard of a question. I also couldn’t believe that during the entire rain delay there were no announcements of what was actually going on. No announcements that there was an actual delay (even though common sense told us there was) and no announcements as to what time they were shooting for the start of the game. Ridiculous.

Overall Gameday Experience

I would give the new Yankee Stadium an 8.5 out of 10. Too many empty seats in the lower section and the stadium caters too much to the wealthy. Takes away the experience for an average fan.

One other thought about the new Yankee Stadium. Someone will hit a ball out of that stadium. I don’t care what the dimensions say, RF looks like it is 200 feet away. If one of those big lefthanded hitting sluggers like Hamilton, Fielder, Howard or even Delgado get a hold of one, I think they could hit one completely out of the stadium.

Nationals Park Critique…

May 4, 2009

Our latest stadium critique comes from the land of politicians….Nationals Park. This critique was given by a man who despite the Swine Flu, despite the threat of rain and who ignored other “threats” that his friends suggested he might face traveled 5 hours by bus to see the Cardinals vs Nationals on Saturday. Yes, he is your friend and mine….Tom Spirakis.

National Park Critique

This past weekend I took a trip to our Nation’s Capital to catch a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals. I got there nice and early and was able to get down near the field to watch batting practice. I had a great seat on the field level adjacent to third base. I was about 10 rows from the field. Aside from Albert Pujols sitting out and the Cardinals losing it was a great game experience.

The stadium is really nice and although I didn’t expect huge crowds I was astonished at how few fans showed up for the game. Cardinal fans out numbered the Nats fans.

Nationals Park

Nationals Park

Pros
The stadium is nicely designed and felt pretty compact. Without sitting in the upper level seats I can’t really comment on the sight lines, but if your seat is in the upper level I think you can safely move down into any number of empty seats on the field level. I was really impressed with the score board. It provides a ton of in game info including adjusting the pitcher’s ERA after each out. The food at the concession stand was very impressive. I enjoyed a veggie burger and parmesan garlic fries (perhaps the best stadium food I ever had) They have a cool area behind center field for kids with the Play Station Pavilion and the Exxon Strike Zone. They also have a Build a Bear and a Jungle Gym. I though it was especially nice when the crowd was directed toward members of the Armed Services sitting behind home plate, they received the loudest and longest ovation of the day.

 

Cons
The empty stadium was disappointing. I realize that the Nats are new to the market and have not put a winning team on the field but people need to start showing up. I was also surprised to see nothing relating to the franchise’s years in Montreal. The pillars as you walk around the stadium are decorated with images of former Washington stars such as Walter Johnson and Frank Howard but I didn’t see Gary Carter or Andre Dawson anywhere. There also were about 5 mascots too many for me. Although the Presidents race was somewhat amusing I don’t see the need for George, Abe, Teddy and Tom (Mt. Rushmore) to be walking around during the game. Add to the mix Screech the Bald Eagle and the Geico Gecko and you really have had enough.
 
Overall Gameday Experience

Overall game day experience was 7 out of 10. If you want to see your team on the road it’s a great city and stadium to check out. I really enjoyed myself.

Citi Field Critique…

April 18, 2009

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.

citi field

citi field

Pros

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.

bricks that were sponsored

bricks that were sponsored

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.

Cons

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.

The only place you will Mets at Citi Field

The only place you see will Mets at Citi Field

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.

Citi Field, home of the ?

Citi Field, home of the ?