I had a different blog that I was going to do for my weekly piece but since last night was the first official game played at Citi Field and I attended the game I thought our readers would like an inside account of my experience at the new field. For the last couple of years now we have been hearing from the Mets about the future home of the New York Mets. I was very upset to say the least that Shea Stadium would not be home to the New York Mets. I’ve been lucky to have gone to many games played at Shea, some good, some bad and then some of the most amazin’ games played at Shea such as Robin Ventura’s grand slam single and the game to this day that I will always remember was the Piazza home run game after September 11, 2001. I remember tears just started coming down my cheeks after Piazza hit the home run. I felt a little foolish but I looked around and saw there were others crying and hugging as well as screaming and it’s a feeling that is still hard to describe. I was there last year for the last game at Shea which was bittersweet to say the least.
I’m somebody that does not like change, in fact I hate it. Ask anyone who knows me and they will say that I like things to stay the same for as long as possible. I understand that change is an inevitable part of life and the Mets were going to change what they considered home. It was with much trepidation on my part when I heard that the Mets would be calling a new park home and that Shea was going to be demolished and used as a parking lot for the Mets new home. As the last few years progressed and I saw the computer models of what Citi Field was going to look like I was to my surprise excited about the idea of a new ballpark even though I was sad knowing that every game that I attended at Shea meant that it was getting closer to be demolished. Over the last year SNY had been airing specials on the progress of Citi Field and giving tours of the work in progress park I was looking forward to attending ball games in this new home. I was worried however that I would disappointed once the park was done and I attended my first game at this new home.
I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed. Citi Field is beautiful. It did feel strange as we got close the ballpark and Shea Stadium was no longer there. I had not been in the area since the last game of last year. I saw the deconstruction of Shea on the news as well as on the Internet. I’m man enough to admit that when I saw Shea Stadium come down I shed a few tears. I had seen Strawberry, Hernandez, Wilson, Carter, Gooden, Darling, Piazza and the beginning of our future stars in Wright and Reyes play so many games on that field it was unavoidable that I was going to be emotional. I got to the park early so I could walk around it and get a feel for it. The first thing I did after we parked was walk over to where home-plate was at Shea and touched it for a couple of seconds. I’m happy to say many others were also doing this.
Outside the park is beautiful. The bricks give the idea of an old time field which is what the Wilpons wanted. The fans were very excited and energized for our new home. Inside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is very impressive. There are pictures and quotes of Robinson and really makes you appreciate what Jackie Robinson had to endure to break the color barrier. The restaurants are plenty and the lines move very swiftly. There are TV’s everywhere so you never miss the game. We went over to Bullpen Plaza and looked at the old apple from Shea. Touching it really made my day. I remember being a child going to Shea and wanting a Met to hit a home-run not to win the game but to see the apple rise up, it was the biggest thrill for me.
The seats are very comfortable. My back did not hurt me, they were a little wider, not much but I was more comfortable. The leg room was much better. I don’t really like the green, I would have preferred orange and blue seats instead. The field is beautiful, the grass looks very green, the dirt is really brown.
The opening ceremony was well done. It was not overdone, we got to see our team out on their new field. Seeing Piazza and Seaver walking to the mound for the first pitch was really special for me. Two of the most respected players in Mets history who played in different generations opening the new field just felt right. I knew Ollie was going to get booed but I was actually surprised that Castillo got a favorable reaction. The flag covering that very large outfield was a sight to see in person. The sound of the F-18’s flying overhead was a sight that I cannot really describe, you had to be there to get the full effect.
When Jody Gerut hit his home-run there was a very large gasp it seemed from the entire crowd. I think everyone in attendance was stunned that the leadoff man from the opposing team would hit the first home-run out of Citi Field, I know I was. Pelfrey falling was met with concern at first but once we saw he was fine people were laughing. The crowd got really hot when David Wright hit the first New York Met home-run in Citi Field. The crowd was electric, you honestly could not hear yourself think when the new apple rose for David’s homer.
Unfortunately we could not walk away with the victory in our first game in our new park but that didn’t seem to really effect the mood. The fans walking out of the park still seemed excited as we walked out of the park, taking everything that’s new in, ready to play another night. I’m still not a fan of change but I’ve become a fan of Citi Field.