Apr 14, 2009

Opening Day at Citi Field - the centerfield maz Citi Field Guide & Ball Park Review

At last there is a new Ballpark for my team and a place I can call home for 21 games of my season ticket plan partnership. Having been to 24 ballparks in my travels, I have seen some of the best that baseball has to offer. On the historic Opening Day at Citi Field for the NY Mets & the City of New York, I am proud to say that this is one of the best stadiums in baseball. Citi Field is beautiful from the outside to the entrance ways, to the seats, landings, clubs and great food. This is a first class Stadium, and was a long time coming.
EXTERIOR: The brown brickwork that makes up the outside of the Stadium is magnificent. A fantastic piece of architecture like something out of the past with all the modernism's of the future. It looks even better at night under its lights. The arches around the front resemble the old Ebbets Field and the Roman Coliseum. The main front entrance is surrounded by beautiful flower arrangements and a long wide concourse here"the Fan Walk" is located. This is where bricks are assembled with the fans personal inscriptions laid out in 18 different sections. It's kind of like Grumman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, except with a personal touch. The fans all search their bricks then take pictures of themselves, sitting or laying down next to their bricks. Mine is located in Section 8 but I gave up looking for it after the game, a job for the next game. There are alot of bricks there folks.

Outside the ballpark walls on the third base side, there are a bunch of large banners honoring old Mets along the Stadiums arched exterior. This was something I haven't heard anyone mention, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it.

The outfield entrances have silhouettes on gates lettering depicting 3 classic outfield catches in Mets history. Right field has an image of Ron Swoboda from Game #4 of the 1969 World Series, left Field has Endy Chavez's catch from 2006 NLCS, and center field has an ode to Tommie Agee's spectacular catches in Game #3 of the 1969 World Series.
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I entered through the Bull Pen Gate and instantly saw the old Shea Home Run Apple. Not a favorite of mine but everyone was posing taking pictures of in front of it, so it seems to be a big hit in it's new home. Looking up I saw an arched bridge walkway which takes fans across the outfield area. I also got to look into the two bullpens which are right along side each other and right below the fans in the right center field seats.

The concourses are pretty wide, and there's alot of room to walk a
s you pass all the food concession lines and team store lines. There are plenty of clean restrooms and no long lines like the old Shea nightmare.

There are also plenty of elevators with pretty girls operating them taking you to each level. If you care to walk, there are cement stair cases, with plenty of signage on each level to let you know where you are. Like in most new ballparks, you can now walk around the whole stadium and take in its spectacular views from all angles. The ushers don't yell at you to move, as long as your not trying to go to the wrong seats, and aren't interfering with people in their seats. _______________________________________________________________


SEATING: On Opening Day I was in the Ceasars Club which were an mid priced ticket. Expensive yes, but what form of entertainment isn't these days? There was a covering from the top deck which was a little to low for my liking but all in all a good seat. From all the places we strolled that night, you do feel like your right on top of the action. Much different than Shea. Alot of people are complaining, about obstructed views, and that they are unhappy with their seats. Part of this, is people have to complain and part of it is did they do their home work. I searched high & low through all those computer generated seat views upon finding my seats with my ticket plan. I saw them in person on Opening Night and can't wait to sit in them Better than the higher priced seats, I could have had at a lower lever, with obstructed views & 30 rows up. There is nothing to complain about in this ball park, even if you dont like your seast. You can always go to a club, bar or porch section to view the game.

The seats have alot more leg room, something Shea didn't and they are alot wider. They all have cup holders too!! Finally!! There is also alot of designated areas for handicap seating.


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Theres plenty of porches and standing room areas to view the field.The Bridge Terrace (as I mentioned earlier) features an arched bridge walkway which takes fans across the outfield area. The bridge is reminiscent of the Hell Gate Bridge which is a freight train & Amtrak rail road bridge connecting Astoria with the Bronx. I love this little bridge, very cool idea. There are tables here and its not far from the "Taste of the City" Food Court. It's another great spot to stand up, hang out & peek at the game. Standing room was tight but we stood here and saw David Wright hit the 1st Mets home run at Citi Field. It was followed by plenty of high fives from all our new friends.

THE PEPSI PORCH: This has already become a popular spot in right field. It hangs over the playing field by a few feet and a long fly ball can end up being a home run. I am tired of people comparing it to Tiger Stadium, this is reminiscent of the 1st Mets home & NY Giants home the Polo Grounds. Although right field was much closer to the plate, there was an overhang there that many fly balls ended up being home runs. By the way the Wilpons have said the green seats are also a homage to the old Polo Grounds. Now if we van just get some honor to Willie Mays here, we may all feel a little better. There is also some great standing room up here overlooking the whole stadium, with concessions, tables and of course beer. Out here you feel like the scoreboards are right on top of you. Of course there's the big red neon Pepsi Cola sign which (for you real New Yorkers) is a replica of the Queens landmark, Pepsi Cola sign on the East River facing the Manhattan. The site of the old Pepsi plant, the original sign dates back to 1936 has been moved a few hundred feet from its original spot.

There's another great spot in the lower section of left field just off from the Danny Meyer Food group concessions, a wide area with rest rooms and some tables. Here is where I caught the 1st 7th inning stretch at Citi Field, singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game' And yes it was followed by "Lazy Mary" to the delight of a few fans who cheered upon hearing its made its way to Citi Field.

THE ROTUNDA: We walked around 3rd base to the area behind home plate, which is where you get off the escalator coming up from Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Strangely I think this is the worst part of the Stadium. The concourse seems smaller here and the fire systems sprinkler pipes are visible over head on the low ceiling. (Maybe this is to remind us of Shea?)As for the famous Jackie Robinson Rotunda. You can over look the Rotunda at each level and watch the fans enter the arched gates. From the lower level you can either come up the long escalator or the stairwells. It is a great view and no matter what your opinion, it's different than any other park, making it unique. The Rotunda displays inscriptions & pictures of Jackie along the walls & floors. Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity. Robinson’s famous quote: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” is engraved into the upper ring.A large TV screen shows a constant running video, and there's a large #42 statue. Fred Wilpon owns the team and can do what he wants. I think its great to honor New York's National League past, but they should spread the wealth with some New York Giants history as well. More Mets history needs to be honored. Is there a Mets Museum in the works? Maybe an ode to Willie Mays who actually played for the Mets? (another topic for another article)




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SCOREBOARDS: The new scoreboard is huge at 150 feet high in ceterfield. Then Not one, but two high-definition LED displays. The main center field screen, 50 feet high by 70 feet wide, is used to display player information and replays throughout the game. The 40-foot by 90-foot HD board in right-center is used to for more player info, a running line score, lineups and defensive alignments.

The out of town scoreboard is located on the left field roof, high above under the arched light towers. The lighting by the way is much more brighter than Shea was.

The Mets also installed one of the longest ribbon boards in baseball, stretching 850 feet around the Promenade Level of seating. That board displays scoring info, & captioning of the PA system.
Balls & strike boards are located high above the field beyond the bases, there is also a red dot board for strikes & white dot board for balls on the sides of the field. One of the only things I missed from Shea were those old classic big black Strike/Balls/Outs boards.

PRESS BOX: The press boxes are located behind home plate on the second level. They are housed inside beautiful light brown bricks, and enclosed if needed. All the broadcasters are easily visible as well.

The new outfield dimensions should make it a pitchers park, but there should also be alot of doubles & triples. 335 down the lines, 408 dead center with a deep center field gap toward right at 412. Going to 383 in right center & 379 left center. The wall changes height 7 times which should be fun, left field is 12 ft rising to 15 ft, its highest point if right center at 18 ft under the porch, right field is its lowest at 8 ft. The foul poles are orange, ode to the Mets, with a NY Giants & center field maz feel to it as well!_________________________________________________________________
GOOD EATS!! I love all the great food at Citi Field, and its probably the best fare I have seen at any Stadium in the country. Baseball isn't just hot dogs & peanuts anymore.Though there are plenty of hot dogs and those great Sausage & Pepper heroes cooking on grills located through out the Stadium. One of my favorite places already is behind the huge score board in centerfield. 1st off there's a tremendous TV screen on the back of the scoreboard where you can watch the game. There were a few high tables to eat on, a beer garden with beers from around the world, and then the food. This is where the Danny Meyer Food group has it location.

A Taste of the City: This is already One of my favorite places, located behind the huge score board in centerfield. 1st off there's a tremendous TV screen on the back of the scoreboard where you can watch the game. There are a few high tables to eat on, a beer garden with beers from around the world, and then the food. This is where the Danny Meyer Food group has it location. 1st there's NY's famous Shake Shack for those great burgers, shakes, and fries. Then Blue Smoke BBQ which has great Kansas City style Ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and wings.

El Verano Taqueria has what people are sayin are "the best tacos they ever had", some great Mexican foods and Box Frites which serves nothing but fancy french fries.
How about some sea food? Catch of the Day has flounder sandwiches with their own home made tartar sacue. Shrimp and those lobster rolls evryones talking about.
Over the arched bridge and into right field's "Worlds Fair Market" you have Italian heroes from Mammas of Corona, love those Canolli's with orange & blue sprinkles. Theres a classic Nathans Famous, a Brooklyn Burgers, and Daruma of Tokyo. All places are cafateria style, where you pay on the way out.
CITI FIELD RESTAURANTS & CLUBS : The Delta Sky360 Club is the most exclusive place at Citi Field & only Delta Club and Sterling Suite holders can enter. It is located directly behind home plate, on the Sterling Level, high-end dining and two full-sized bars.
Ebbets Club - 1st and 3rd Base at Field Level (Ebbets Club & Delta Club seat holders only)as has high-end concessions & full bars with TV's.
Caesars Club located on the Excelsior Level (Delta, Ebbets and Caesars Club seat holders) We went into this unbelievable place and it was great. It is located directly on top of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, with incredible views through the giant arched windows of the New York Skyline, Queens, and the outside of Citi Field. This modern space features a large circular bar, concessions serving Pizza, slads, burgers, and sanwhiches on ciabatta breads. TVs all over the place, leather chairs, couches, high tables and a believe it or not a DJ playing music.

Acela Club is on the Excelsior Level (Delta, Ebbets & Ceasars Club, Metropolitan & Field Box ticket holders) is a fine dining restaurant with full views of the field, the New York City skyline, and the World's Fair Marina, by the Myriad Group of Tribeca Grill fame.
\Promenade Club is on the Promenade Level (Delta, Ebbets, Caesars and Promenade Club seat holders) is an intimate club offering casual bistro dining and cocktails. There's a full kitchen & bar with high top tables.
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METS TEAM STORES: There is certainly on shortage of Mets shops to buy stuff in. The Mets Team Store (Adjacent to Jackie Robinson Rotunda) is the largest at Citi Field and will be open all year round.

The Mets Team Store by Majestic is at Field level, the Nike Dugout Shop (left field at Field level), The '47 Shop (right field at Field level), Mets Team Store by New Era (Promanade level), The Players Clubhouse (left field- Excelsior level), A collectible type shop in the left field Promenade level called Heroes & Heritage Collectibles. For the ladies; a Touch by Alyssa Milano, Ladies Boutique (Excelsior Level - Right Field) and for the kiddies; Mr. Met's Dugout Shop (Field Level - Center Field) located adjacent to Mr. Met's Kiddie Field.

The 2K kids Fan Fest area is located in centerfield and features Mr. Mets Kiddie Field; a scaled down version of Citi Field where kids could hit wiffle balls of a tee and run the bases. Then they can play the field as others hit. A DJ plays music, Mr. Met makes the rounds, and there are video game tents set up complete with those old leather Met seats from Shea. ________________________________________________________________________
There seems to be plenty of parking available, since all that remains of Shea is pile of dirt near the Rosevelt Av. side of what was right field. Still plenty of us who prefer the old Northern Blvd. lower parking level under the Highway. As for all those auto repair shops along 126th St., they must go. They should be gone already, relocate them some place unless they want to make their storefronts look like Citi Field. The Stadium is to beautiful to have an eye sore like that across the street.
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As for the game Tom Seaver & Mike Piazza the two greatest Mets of All Time threw out & caught the ceromonial first pitch. Always a touching moment when Seaver is on the mound, this was a perfect way to begin the new era.

Unfortunatley the Mets lost due to a Pedro Feliciano balk, Mike Pelfrey fell off the mound, a cat ran onto the field ala 'the black cat game" 1969, a Padre hit the 1st HR at Citi Field, 2 former Mets who werent worth a dime out of our pn shut us down in the 8th & 9th, and Shef made his home field debut. On the Mets bright side; David Wright again proves how good he is by getting the 1st NY Met hit at Citi Field, the 1st NY Met Home Run. Brian Schnieder was the 1st Met to cross the plate and Luis Castillo got the 1st Met RBI. I had my 1st beer, my 1st turkey sandwich & KC style ribs, and booed my 1st player- Duaner Sanchez, now a Padre, my 1st cheers went to Seaver & Piazza.

4 comments:

Jon said...

ward to seeing it myself Thursday.

Lori said...

I can't agree with you more..the new stadium is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to opening day, but was here for the workout day last Sunday. We walked around the stadium for 2 hours, loving everything about it. Our brick is in section 13... it took almost an hour to find, but when we did, my parents, brother and I got on the ground to take a picture with it. I thought the fan walk was a great idea.

We got a 15 game plan this year. I must admit I'll miss our regular crowd in section 10 on Sundays. We definitely have to meet up in the new stadium.

danny boy said...

It definitely looks better than yankee stadium from all the pictures. i'll see for myself next weekend. citifield is so nice overall its a lot easier to overlook problems like obstructed seats.

Franchise 41 said...

What better way to start out than having Tom Terrific throw out the 1st pitch to Piazza! It is a great ball park for sure.