Since this will be my first post on Mets Merized Online, I figured it would be only fitting that I share with you my “first” visit to the amazing Citi Field. I am sure many of you have visited Citi Field numerous times and the luster of it has most likely faded, but I encourage you to read along with me while re-living your own first visit to Citi Field.
A Little Background:
I have never lived close enough to ever consider myself a local NY Mets fan, growing up in Lancaster, PA and eventually moving to East Texas where I currently live. Despite the physical distance between me and my Mets, I have always kept them close to my heart. I have dozens of memories of Shea Stadium: the Mets beating the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2006 NLDS , Dollar Dog Days, walking up 4 flights of broken escalators to reach our seats; but I have no memories of the Mets new ballpark, Citi Field. With the recent crash of the economy and gas and flight prices skyrocketing, the ability to visit Citi Field in it’s inaugural season seemed impossible, and thus I had to resort to embracing our new “pad” through Gary and Ron’s descriptions and comments through their game broadcasts. At the time it was difficult to understand how much of an influence a ballpark could possibly have on a lineup when you have never set foot in the building. I could only imagine what a Shake Shack shake or a pulled pork sandwich tasted like through Keith’s witty yet extremely detailed descriptions of the wonderful ballpark food. With the 2009 season ending on a sour note for local and distant fans alike, I felt that my inability to attend a 2009 game maybe in some way was a contributing factor to the Mets plagued 2009 season. Obviously I know that the Mets ability to win games has no bearing on whether or not I am at Citi Field, but I am a person who believes in jinxes, curses, and superstitions enough to not discount them. Thus, 2010 was going to be different and if I ever wanted to see Citi Field in the next 5-10 years, I was going to have to act fast since I will be getting married in late July and free money to fly up and see a Mets game will all gone.
An Opportunity Presents Itself:
As my wedding was approaching, it became apparent that a Bachelor party was in order and what better venue for a thrilling Bachelor party, then to go to two Mets games at Citi Field. Since this was going to be my first visit to Citi Field, I told my brother I wanted to do it right, first class all the way (except the plane flight which I flew in coach). The morning the Mets made single game tickets available, we went online and purchased the best seats money could buy for the Friday evening game on May 7th, 2010. Knowing that this may in fact be the last time I get the opportunity to see a Mets game in Citi Field, we spared no expense, around $300 a seat to be exact, for tickets in Section 115, Row 6, Seats 7 & 8 (Right behind Home Plate). We also planned on getting cheap tickets for the Saturday matinée, which would serve as the actual bachelor party date. The Friday night game was to be just me and my younger brother, just like the old times at Shea.
A Day of Firsts:
Friday, May 7th started differently than my normal Friday would, mostly in part because I woke up on an air mattress in my brother’s tiny 3rd floor apartment in Astoria. In preparation for the magical day, one important task needed to be completed prior to heading off to the ballpark for the game… buy an authentic Mets Jersey. So my brother and I got into the car and headed over to Roosevelt Field Mall to buy my new NY Mets Jersey from where else, the “Mets Clubhouse”. Being a rather large man, obviously I knew going into the Jersey purchase that my options (regarding player names) was limited to available jersey sizes. Low and behold there was a David Wright jersey in the off-white pin stripes gleaming down at me like a message from up above, telling me to buy this jersey. Well I did, and after laying out the hefty price tag of $305, I was finally ready to take on Citi Field.
We took the train to the game, just like Johan told us too, and as we were pulling into the Willets Point station, you could see the majestic brick facade of Citi Field glowing in the mid-afternoon sun. It was simply breath-taking! Exiting the station, my eyes were immediately drawn to one of the most iconic symbols in New York Mets history, the Home-run Apple. I had no idea how large and bruised the apple was until I was standing next to it, and despite all the dents and wear the apple had it was still quite impressive to see.
Next on the agenda was to locate our fan brick amid the hundreds of fan bricks that comprise the sidewalk surrounding Citi Field. When we ordered our Fan Brick, it was within the first week they became available and we were able to land a nice spot in front of the main entrance. My brother has seen the brick numerous times, but for me it was going to be a first, and after 1+ years of only being able to look at the replica in my office, I was really excited to finally see it firsthand.
After an extensive photo shoot with me and my fan brick, we proceeded to enter the ballpark and my brother than game be the five star tour of the facility. We walked the concourse, saw the Mets hall of fame museum, saw batting practice, and since our tickets were in the Delta seats, we visited the Champions club to have a beer.
Eventually we made it to our seats by the start of the game. The billing was going to be Mike Pelfrey vs. Todd Wellemeyer which I was excited to see big Pelf pitch. I’ll tell you what, Mike Pelfrey is one tall dude, especially from field level. Our seats were fantastic, you could hear the ball smack the mitt after every pitch, see Ike go yard up close and person, and the seats included waiter service at your seat and access to the hidden Delta Club which had unlimited hot dogs, chips, soda, peanuts, etc.
The night was going great with the Mets leading the Giants 4-3 and with Frankie coming in to put a cap on the evening, I figured the night couldn’t end any better… I was WRONG!
The Perfect Ending to a Perfect Day:
As you already know, Frankie went on to blow the save allowing the Giants to tie up the game at 4-4. Ike Davis makes a spectacular catch 20 feet from me to prevent the Giants from taking the lead, and then in the bottom of the inning draws a key walk. Then to end a wonderful day of firsts, Rod Barajas stepped up to the plate and jacked the Mets first walk-off home run of the season to win the game for us. It truly was an experience I will never, ever forget.
By the way, the Saturday matinée game we went to for my bachelor party ended with the other Mets catcher cranking a walk-off home run. Unfortunately, I was in the restroom when it happened.
Well that is my story of my first visit to Citi Field, and I hope my story brings back great memories of your first visit to Citi Field (hopefully they were as memorable as mine). The sad part is reality setting in and the fact that my first visit to Citi Field could in fact be my last, but I can always have hope that someday in the future I will have the opportunity to go back and relive it all over again. My message to all of you who live near Citi Field and are fortunate enough to attend several games a year, I consider you all to be lucky and don’t ever take it for granted.
Thank You and See you next Friday…