Celebrating Shea?

shea night

On April 18th during a home series versus the Braves, the Mets will honor Shea by reducing tickets to 1969 era prices. For $3.50 you can get a ticket in the promenade outfield and for $19.64 you can plop your fanny into a baseline box seat!  $3.50 is about what you might expect to pay for a slice and a soft drink nowadays so it’s a sweet deal no doubt. You could conceivably take a family of 4 to the game, (stuffing a few bags of chips and juice bags into the kids’ pockets if you’re really cheap), all for 14 dollars – that’s about the cost of a Walking Dead boxed set, or a Millennium Falcon bottle cap opener … Shoot, you can even get a plastic shark with a frickin laser beam ($12.99) for only slightly less!

It is a killer whale of a deal no doubt, but like a lot of things these days this rollback confuses and perplexes me. Box seats to a Mets game are supposed to cost what an inflatable R2-D2 remote controlled droid costs, (foot pump included) — $47.99, but apparently, that’s also the price of a cup of coffee. Oh sure it’s a venti 48-shot mocha frappuccino soy, mocha drizzle, protein powder, caramel brulee topping with strawberry, two bananas, caramel drizzle, with frappuccino chips and vanilla bean ($47.30) at Starbucks, but still, it’s a cup of coffee!

So maybe regular priced box seats at Citi are not such a bad deal? Have I been away from N.Y. too long? By the way, that amount is also more or less the price of 4 ounces of quality tea in China … But what does any of this have to do with the price of baseball in Queens? Lots. The Wilpons are still scrambling to bring fans to the ballpark, and they’re getting desperate from the looks of it. Celebrating Shea? If you loved Shea so much Mr. Wilpon why did you tear it down?

new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson

You see, if I understand this correctly, the Wilpons need our support so that they can buy better baseball players. It’s a reasonable request I suppose, it’s our duty as Mets fans right?

That’s how it works, we trust the Wilpons with our hard earned cash … (trust – that’s a loaded word isn’t it?). They then take our money and in their infinite wisdom apply it to improving the team through the most prudent and exceptional means available to them.

They will not invest in ponzi schemes, they will not take players on meaningless helicopter rides, they will not sign players like Jason Bay or Bobby Bonilla, or Kaz Matsui, they will not gamble our money away or use it to buy waffle chips and beer or a brand new schooner for Jeff. I mean, just look at Jeff Wilpon he’s got a face you could trust if I ever saw one.

See the Mets are a blue collar organization … some of them even live in Queens. There are even indications that Mets ownership encourages their players to live in Queens, you figure the less they pay in rent the less the Mets have to pay them right? Makes sense. As reported by Gary Busio in the Post last spring, unlike Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez,  many Mets actually reside in Long Island City (for thousands less per month than what they would pay to live in Trump Tower or the Aldyn) …

instead of paying up to $18,000 per month (more or less the price of a new 2014 Toyota Prius) to live in a Manhattan penthouse, many of our players (and Mr. Collins himself) live in a Queens high-rise called the Avalon Riverview for a far more reasonable $2,300 to $5,200 per month (the price of a 2001 Ford Focus).

There is even a  Salon and Spa for player wives and girlfriends, where manicures run $15, a leg wax is $50, and a men’s haircut starts at $30. “The guy with the gray hair — the manager — he just came back,” a hairstylist at the shop said. “He’s a good customer!” So for the price of a box seat at Citi, Terry Collins can get his legs waxed! That’s not a bad deal at all.

caesars citi

I admit that many of our new fangled MLB venues are appealing to the eye and nose (and taste-buds), but not so much to the pocketbook. The problem is that Mets marketing has been trying to sell tickets at Manhattan penthouse prices without considering their stadium is located in Queens. Know your target audience, business 101 right?

As the National League’s blue collar descendant of the Giants and Dodgers, the Mets, from their inception, drew a working class clientele. Someone in the Mets hierarchy with a business acumen above 10th grade economics obviously realized the error in their approach and convinced the Wilpons to scale back prices.

They appear to have doubled special offers, and they instituted “dynamic pricing” intended (from what I gather) to unload tickets against low-interest opponents at low-interest prices. But one problem that remains is the blatant “stratification” of the crowd itself. so many “special” nooks and crannies reserved for the beautiful people, so many luxury boxes set aside for the jet set, so many “exclusive” clubs with the stanchions and the fuzzy ropes out front, so many “sterling” options dividing the poor slob from the rich, the really rich, and the ludicrously rich …

Sad really. One thing I miss about Shea was the feeling that we were all in one big rocking Mets melting pot.

But for a day at least you can forego the leg waxing or the most expensive cup of coffee in the world and not only take yourself to a game but bring the family and maybe even have some cash left over for that pedicure. You never know, you might even get to sit next to Terry Collins.


About Matt Balasis 149 Articles
A Met fan since August 1969 when the Red Cross placed my family on the 6th floor of a building in Willets Point because of a fire. I could see Shea from our balcony. I missed the fall of 86 because I was in Boot Camp and I've been serving penance ever since in Minnesota. I write about the Mets to share with a tradition that made much of my childhood worthwhile. Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewBalasis
  • Metropolitan

    Bobby Bonilla was actually a productive player…the problem is we expected him to be Barry Bonds but we got..ummmmm Bobby Bonilla

  • Schnitzer’s Marble Rye

    I miss Shea Stadium. Awesome place to see a game. No frills, just green grass and blue walls. I’m 32, and have been a Mets fan since I was 3 or 4, and some of my favorite memories have been going to games since almost before I can remember, and sneaking under the turnstiles, and enjoying baseball with my dad and my grandpa — 3 generations of fans sharing the experience together.

    I’ve been living on the West Coast for almost a decade now, and have really no connection to Citi Field. Been there only twice, and the Mets lost both of those games. Seemed like a fan-friendly place, and I’m sure once the Mets eventually start winning there, it’ll develop more of it’s own identity and aura, so to speak.

    My biggest issue with the place more than anything is it’s name. I dislike corporate names in general, and especially in the wake of the Madoff mess, I wish the name wasn’t related to banking and finance. Hopefully, someday the Mets will have new ownership who will do the right thing, and re-name the place something more appropriate, be it “Shea Field” or “Mookie Wilson Park.”

    But when I think about Shea’s legacy, I try not to think about the end of ’07 and ’08, but more of the great moments I was lucky enough to be there for with family and/or friends, which included the Ventura grand slam single game, the Todd Pratt GW homer vs. the D-Backs, and yup I was there for Game 7 of the 1986 World Series.

  • Metropolitan

    I never liked Shea stadium myself and glad we have Citi field an actual baseball park.It makes no sense to celebrate a half of a cement doughnut stadium that does not exist anymore but the Wilpons are trying to tug at the sentimentalist hearts of this fan base to try to get butts in the seats.

  • CJM

    I liked Shea because I got to see the Mets win a few times at Shea. I have no complaints about the Wilpons building a beautiful new ballpark that is fit for a great team. Whether or not they could actually afford that park is another story. So what if there are extra frills to the park? The place is great. If the Mets were a winning team from ’09-’13, the general opinion of Citi Field would be far different than it is right now. And when they do eventually win, fans will love Citi just like they loved Shea.

  • mattbalasis

    I remember how the entire upper deck used to shake when the crowd would jump up and down to various prompts … it was scary as hell when you think about it because it felt like it might collapse but we were all usually having too much fun to care … And boy was it loud.

  • mattbalasis

    Yeah but you don’t build a ballpark in Queens with an overarching focus on equipping it with amenities that only a select few could afford, your target audience is decidedly more middle class ordinary folk that (at least initially) felt left (priced) out. They’ve amended their pricing to some extent, but that error didn’t help at the gate that’s for sure.

  • AJF

    Shea is an ugly stadium I love Citi and think it is a beautiful park I still think the SF Giants and the Pirates have a nicer Park but Citi comes in 3rd in my book

  • AJF

    If Citi Bank wants to pay me 20 million a year for me to put a Tattoo of there logo on my arm I might do it too

  • Metropolitan

    My favorite is the Giants ballpark no doubt about it, picturesque to say the least! The only thing I don’t like though is it is waaay too pitcher friendly ,with big dimensions and on top of that the marine layer effect all west coast stadiums have ,they need to move in the fences there .

  • CJM

    None of that would be a concern if the team was filling the stadium on a nightly basis. Also, I don’t believe the overarching focus in building Citi was to provide lots of luxury options. Are there luxury options? Yes, but guess what, those exist in every park. It is only when the team is not winning and the stadium is half empty that we concern ourselves with such things. Here are a couple things to consider. 1) Citi is significantly smaller than Shea, so tickets will naturally be more expensive. 2) Although tickets are more expensive, you are afforded a very good view of the game from everywhere, even in the upper deck. I’ve sat all over that field, from some of the best seats to the worst, and the views are good from everywhere, so more expensive upper deck seats offer a better experience than cheaper upper deck seats at Shea.

  • mattbalasis

    But you wouldn’t be able to display it on the field if you were a MLB player! There’s actually a clause in the new CBA that prohibits just that.

  • AJF

    I agree with that

  • WilponsNeed2Go

    Watch out for the $2.75 in hidden fees per ticket. I bet that was Jeffy’s idea.

  • mattbalasis

    I remember at Shea there were times when the entire upper deck used to shake when the crowd would jump to various musical prompts, it was scary but we were usually having too much fun to care. The place was a dump to be sure, but the memories were what made it so great, and it was cheap — Shea wasn’t “exclusive” in any way — it was accessible to everyone (even 5th graders cutting school) … that gave it a certain charm lost in the posh restrictive edifices of so many of the newer venues.

  • HillsideAve

    Maybe they can channel the ’69 Mets team to go with the prices. The excitement of the stadium in those years was the result of what happened on the field. What rings true in the post is that Shea did feel like one big corral of Met fans, not stratified by some caste system.
    But there were lots of lousy teams and lousy years in that stadium. Many times I was one of maybe 2,000 masochists in dark years of ’78 – 81 watching the likes of Willie Montanez and Frank Taveras. No excitement there then, even when they told everyone to move down to the box seats, gratis.
    I have some issues in principle with CitiField, but it’s a helluva nice place. If the home team can actually win there, it will be a much better place. I don’t have a coherent theory on why the Mets can’t win there, but it probably has something to do with the players. The bad Met teams couldn’t win at Shea, either.

  • Metropolitan

    They should not have built the new ballpark in flushing Queens period they should have built it in Hunters point or moved the team to Brooklyn and built the new ballpark there

  • Donal

    I’ve heard a lot of people tell me AT&T Park is the nicest stadium out of all the sports. Also, of note about it: Almost no public funding went into it. They got something like a $10 million tax abatement for the stadium and the public funds went directly into building up the water front area, including several mass transit stations.

  • Donal

    My fiance and I have discussed this before and I’ve convinced her that we should name our first born Verizon Cisco

  • mattbalasis

    If the team was winning it would probably be even harder for families (and youngsters) to find a way in … that was NEVER the case at Shea. Look I’m not saying I’d go back to Shea, but they could have added an additional 5,000 seats or so, maybe scale back some luxury features with an eye on expanding access for people who might not go if tickets cost even 5 bucks more because they have 4 kids or because maybe they just can’t afford it. It appears that that was never a consideration in the planning of the place … and that was a mistake.

  • WilponsNeed2Go

    The ownership made the decision to cut out 12,000 seats from the new stadium, which of course has an effect on raising the price of tickets. But this was by design not accident.

  • CJM

    It was by design because in this day and age, having a 55k+ seat stadium makes no sense. I don’t blame the Wilpons for building a great park, which quite frankly, Citi Field is.

  • HillsideAve

    I disagree about your first point. The overarching focus, and the actual business plan for Citifield was driven by the luxury seating product. The design was part of this, and having 12,000 less seats was based on a supply assumption regarding what the market could bear for pricing. Team Wilpon thought that 15,000 Met fans were ready to fork over $300 for one ticket to ball game. Then park. Then drink. Then eat. They were not alone. The world was drunk on easy money, and the initial pricing of most of the seating was insanely high. Even if the team were any good, I don’t think you’d see many true sell-outs.
    I like the stadium, but I like it a lot better when I can seat in the lower deck for $50. At least then I have enough left to by the most expensive hot dog in MLB and a $7.00 beer.

  • ParisWilponCOO

    I would have been one of the masochists if I had stayed local- first thing I did every day was check the paper for the Mets boxscore. Game winning RBI for Mazzilli, save by Skip Lockwood… good times. I went to see them whenever they came to Montreal’s cold, concrete Olympic toilet bowl- it was worse thean Shea. People let nostalgia cloud their judgement- like the filthy, dangerous, graffiti-filled subways or the 42nd street peep shows, Shea needed to go.

    As I’ve said before, the reason the team loses at home is the Devil’s Triangle effect (aka Jeffy). I bet if you graph the team’s record vs. proximity to Jeff Wilpon you will see it’s inversely proportional to wins.

  • mattbalasis

    Exactly …

  • mattbalasis

    Why does it make no sense? Because it’s not as lucrative as luxury seating that comes at the expense of options providing access to thousands of additional cheap seats?

  • RS

    it depends how many tickets you buy. I picked up 8 tickets for the Friday Reds game at $5 a pop. Worked out to $1.50 per ticket in fees. Not bad when compared to ticketmaster and the like…

  • RS

    Increased luxury seating is common to all modern stadiums, not just citi, and not just baseball. Pepsi porch is always around $30 or less, there’s plenty of cheaper options. Why would the wilpons want another 5000 empty seats?

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Well, the stadium was designed and built when those 5,000 seats could’ve been filled (during our “glory years of 2005-08). So it was a choice to cater to wealth and marginalize the working-class fanbase.

    And if they weren’t “rich guy” broke these days, and could have a reasonable payroll, they might even be filling those 5,000 seats now.

  • RS

    Fair. Wilpons thought the cieling was limitless until the sky came crashing down.

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Bravo, my friend–well done!

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Paris, great to see you over here–thought we’d lost you!

  • Sylow59

    “Shea Field”
    You do realize William Shea was a rather wealthy lawyer.

  • Sylow59

    The cheapest seat at Busch is $56, best seats are $425. Bleachers are $63. That’s before fees. Parking near the stadium is $30. Berr is about the same. And the Cost of Living here is a lot lower than the NYC area.


  • Pedro’s Rooster

    I tend to be extremely unforgiving about Wilpon decision-making, so I’m far from impartial. So many self-serving choices at the expense of their fanbase.

    It’s like they have zero idea of what actual, real-life Mets fans are like. (You know, the ones who’ve been devoted to the team since birth, not corporate douches who show up for four innings, talk on their phones, and don’t pay attention.)

  • jason bay

    You could certainly say the same thing about the Yankees in the Bronx and how that’s working class too but they’ve developed their brand from all these homegrown stars they’ve produced like Mantle, Ford, Dickey, DiMaggio, Berra, Rizzutto, Munson, Guidry, Mattingly, Jeter, Mariano, Cano…..

    Even though all that at one time New York was referred to as a National League town but all that went in the toilet when the Wilpon Method of importing other teams past all Stars came in vogue, the team tanked, went bankrupt and now has more Amway distributors in the building then Met Fans.

    You have to build the brand and then you can price gouge.

  • jason bay

    Bobby Bo had a poor first year and was widely remembered for being the face of “the worst team money could buy” Part 1, arguing with the press, calling the official scorer about an error and playing cards during a playoff game.

  • omar minayass

    sandy and freddie still don’t understand why noone is coming to the ball park. they are playing above .500 baseball the last 115 games!

  • Sylow59

    Sorry about the format.

    The decrease in seating for Citi is pretty much the average of stadiums built over the past 15 years. I’m excluding Miami since they played at a football stadium and had several capacities for baseball.

    New / Old


















  • Sylow59

    Bleachers in St Louis are 63.80 before fees and taxes. Cheapest seats are $56

  • Sylow59

    A lot has to do with the baseball only vs multi-use stadiums. For teams that played in multi-use stadiums and went to baseball only stadiums seating capacity went from 57,232 to 42,313. The Mets went from 57,333 to 41,411. They lost 492 seats more than average.

  • Sylow59

    re. Seating Capacity

    For teams that played in multi-use stadiums and went to baseball only stadiums seating capacity went from 57,232 to 42,313. The Mets went from 57,333 to 41,411. They lost 492 seats more than average.

    Now continue to complain for no reason.


    The cheapest seats at Busch are $56.80. bleachers are 63.80, max price is $425 and box seats are $181. Parking near the stadium is $30 and there is no public transportation to speak of.

    Also, the cost of living in St Louis is 60% of Queens. Salaries reflect this. Thus, a $56.80 ticket in St Louis (their cheapest) and $30 parking is about $95 for the ticket and $50 for parking in NYC. Try to remember that when you complain.

    Now continue to complain for no reason.

  • ParisWilponCOO

    Thx! Mostly lurking, not posting much. Trying to have positive energy in my life; every time I write the name ‘Wilpon’ I get mad…

  • mattbalasis

    They charge that because they can get it.

  • Sylow59

    point = ?
    You also need to adjust for the cost of living: $1.00 StL = $1.67 Queens

  • ColoradoMetsFan

    Not sure if you visited Shea in 1964, but to me, it was as beautiful as it could be. Yes, it fell on hard times, but it could still be electric, as evidenced by Endy’s catch in 2006. Shea Stadium had soul. In fact, it was more like Ebbets Field than Citi Field could ever be…

  • Duffystaub

    You keep posting this and it’s not true. Go to the Cardinals website. They have tix from $16 escalating to $33 then jumping higher.

  • Duffystaub

    Is that you again, Jeffy?

    1) If there are 20,000 people at Citi and 20,000 at Shea, what difference does it make that Shea holds 12,000 more seats?

    2) The views are good everywhere? Are you serious? Have you’ve sat in the LF upper deck and not see 25% of the entire outfield? Have you sat near one of the plexiglass barriers at the portals? Some of those “views” are downright criminal.

    3) The entire focus, 100%, was from the start to charge as much as possible for everything. The “luxury items” are cash-cows compared to regular tickets.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Sylow59

    I will actually go out on a limb to say that going to a Met game has in fact become more affordable for those on a tight budget with, for example, all promenade seats for Saturday night’s game against Atlanta no higher than $35 for behind home plate in the front row boxes to nothing more $15 for the reserved seats past the infield – albeit with those along third base blocked out of about a third of left field. Of course, the prices are inflated by the add-on costs but still, the cost of getting in and limiting one’s self to food and drink doesn’t make the cost too steep. I don’t for a minute think this was done out of kindness by the Wilpons, it’s due to the lack of attendance, a lack of which I think is only partially due to the average fan being out priced.

    When Joe D. wrote about the Mets special promotion celebrating the
    50th anniversary of Shea Stadium by cutting back a limited amount of
    ticket prices to $3.50 and $19.64 I was surprised, though not shocked,
    to come across some expressions of anger stemming from a pent up
    feeling of betrayal similar to what many know I feel. Not betrayal
    in the sense of a team finishing below .500 five years in a row but a
    betrayal by an ownership that forgot all about the average working
    fan. As metsfan79 put it last week: “they run this team like a business with no emotion or heart they have not a care in the world about the fans and it’s blatantly obvious by the product is it on the field.”

    This is what I meant regarding the long-term damage created by the
    Wilpons and Sandy Alderson due to their indifference to what
    constitutes the real fan base that sustains the life of the sport. The problem is that the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson represent a new
    breed and not the new breed that some of us were a part of beginning in the Polo Grounds back in 1962. What they represent is that corporate breed which I have mentioned many times before. A corporate breed that has little knowledge of the game but a great deal of knowledge about running a business.

    And thus we now have in charge of the Mets not only those who don’t understand what the game is all about but who are also so out of touch with the ones whom identified itself with the team and made it the special, amazin’ Mets that it was – the blue collar people and the while collar ones who identify with them.

    And this is a problem that is not secluded to the Mets but with MLB which can come back to haunt them for despite baseball now being an $8 billion dollar industry I see possible trouble down the road because of the Wilpon, Alderson and Selig types now running it. This has nothing to do with baseball decisions that turn out bad teams or the debate over sabermetrics as it does with “good faith” – or the lack of it – that goes way beyond the Wilpons and the Aldersons but with what they represent.

    What is representative of most current owners is that like the Wilpons they are in the game to make a mint out of it and the people they hire (i.e. Sandy Alderson) are of corporate stock who make lucrative careers being successful as corporate executives. Because neither are baseball people they either do not have the capacity to see or just do not care that the end result of their corporate style of running things might very well leave baseball out to pasture while they go onto new business venues.

    Why do I say this? Well, who would have ever thought the apathy we
    see in Flushing would also be happening at Wrigley Field? For Cub fans, this too has to deal with the lack of “good faith” of the part of ownership. Please read the attached.


    If it can happen with two such storied franchises, it can happen with others as well.

    So as you can see, there are big reasons to complain – but perhaps the ticket prices as they originally were being the least of them.

  • Sylow59

    Check my link

  • DrDooby

    CitiField will be packed & filled with excitment and atmosphere if & when the Mets finally start winning again (albeit with a 1-year delay as people will be skeptical about the team being more than a fluke at first).

    The Mets haven’t played a single meaningful game in August or September yet since CitiField opened. Shea Stadium wasn’t rocking in 1993 either with Dave Telgedher and Eric Hillman in the rotation and Tim Bogar at SS.

    Sport a legit winner & fans will come (and business seats will be filled too). Whether the payroll is 95 million or 145 million.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Paris,

    It’s not just nostalgic memories of Shea. Those of us who where there when it opened in 64 remember how beautiful it was when it was brand new and how it sparkled those early years because it was maintained so well. It was a simpler park, more open and less cluttered by advertisements in the outfield which included turning the message board in right into a big, ugly Budweiser sign that stood out like a sore thumb. It became a dump because ownership not only failed to maintain it properly but let it slowly rot away as well.

    Yes, seats were further away and higher up and those last few rows in the mezzanine were better off left for standing room but a dump, no way. Maintained, kept clean, fresh coats of paint inside, new light fixtures and Shea would have had a nice face lift. The problem was that it could not add luxury suites to sell, could not suddenly cut off portions of the stadium and re-sell them as primary seating and – of course – build it out to have all those store fronts and restaurants like they now have at Citi Mall.

    Luxury suites, primary seating, multiple restaurants, bars and stores – thats the reason for most of the new ballparks for only some that were replaced could have been considered antiquated. And so much of them were paid in part by tax payer’s money as well.

  • Guest
  • RyanF55

    It’s cool to make prices cheaper and get people in the ballpark, but I’m sorry, this is BS for any ticket plan owner. I’m paying full face value tonight and I’m a loyal fan (idiot) who still actually purchases a plan. We should have our tix prices reduced or given something. I know the $3.50 seats are probably terrible, but 19.64 for a box seat!? That’s not right. The Wilpons just need people to show up and can care less about the loyal fans who keep coming back. I knew what I signed up for purchasing a ticket plan, but this is a joke.

  • Don’t forget that April and May it’s buy one get one free if you enter the ticket site here:


    Was toying with the idea of going to Thursday’s day game and this is how that promotion affected the price:


  • RyanF55

    Thanks for sharing Salty….cheap way to catch a game. 300s aren’t that bad of seats either.

  • Sylow59

    I go on weekends. I used the 6/21 game as a reference

  • Tank

    The biggest problem I have with the stadium is that it looks like Ebbots Field. From the first game I went there, the exhibition game against the Red Sox, it never felt like “home” to me. Maybe if they made it look like a newer more modern version of Shea that would be different but it just has a cold feeling to it and I personally don’t like the stadium at all. All the advertising all over the stadium, whffle ball/dunk tank/video games in the outfield are all a distraction for the bad team on the field. When I was a kid I loved sitting there and watching the games no matter how bad of a team they were, I’ve been a fan since “79, but no there’s so much more to do there except watch the game and isn’t that the reason why we go in the first palce? I even worked at Shea from ’89-’93 and it wasn’t the best palce under the seats or the best years to work there but it always had a special feel to me.