Mets Merized Online » Blue Smoke Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A MetsWrighter’s View of Citi Field Sat, 18 Apr 2009 22:04:59 +0000 Dwight Gooden may not have been at Citi Field to see his nephew hit his 500th career homerun, but I was. I have been to my share of Mets games over the years, but I have never witnessed a player reaching a momentous milestone like that. It was amazing! And the ironic part is, if you look at my profile for this site, you will notice that my least favorite baseball player is listed as Gary Sheffield. I’m bitter because of the fight that he had with Todd Hundley many years ago when Hundley caught Sheffield “peeking” at where he was setting up to receive the pitch. But since learning that Sheffield wanted to play for the Mets, and then seeing how happy he was to have hit his 500th career homerun as a Met, my feelings for him have changed. Things happen, and I am going to just let by-gones be by-gones (and so on and so on.) Now I have to update my profile!

On to the ballpark. Let’s be honest, it’s a brand new, state-of-the-art facility with no reason NOT to like it. Beautiful design and structure, awesome lighting, everything is clean and new, and so many delicious food choices. But my friend Lara said it best – it’s very cookie cutter-like, in the sense that all new ballparks seem to be built alike. To me, the stadium, as gorgeous as it is, comes off as being too generic and minor league-ish. Any team can play there because there isn’t enough “METS” to go around. There is, however, a ton of advertising all around the field. But with all the open space around the concourse, in between concessions, you would think that eventually the Mets organization would come to realize that some murals and illuminated photos are definitely called for, to make it feel more like the Mets home.

The area out behind center field, which includes the Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, Carvel, a Brick-Oven pizzeria, an International Farmers Market, a Verizon store, and Taco stand, etc., is extremely cool. It’s like a tiny little town behind the outfield. People walking around, taking pictures, and just hanging out eating and drinking while watching the game action on the giant LCD TV behind the scoreboard. The Hershey’s dunking booth and mini baseball diamond for the kids is a great way to make the stadium more fan-friendly. And fan-friendly it is. I love the fact that no matter where you are sitting, you don’t have to turn your neck and struggle to see the game. Every seat is facing home plate. And no matter where you go within the confines of Citi Field, you won’t miss a single pitch. TV monitors are everywhere and unlike Shea, except for a small section behind home pate on the field level, all you have to do is turn around and you can still see the field.

Now on to the bigger and better things. The Acela Club. It reminds me so much of the Diamond Club (yea, that really is the name) at Bally’s in Atlantic City. Windows all around, with a view of planes landing at LaGuardia in the distance on one side, and the field on the other. Once again, TV monitors all throughout, including the restrooms. Reasonably priced for a restaurant of it’s caliber, great service, delicious food and a wonderful atmosphere. On a cold or rainy night, it’s the perfect place to stay and watch the game. But since it was so warm last night, we were able to return to our seats and enjoy the game from the field level from the 5th inning on. The Mets won the game in dramatic fashion, as a ball hit by Luis Catillo went deep into the hole at short, and he beat it out, scoring Carlos Delgado from third.

I did get to see the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, but did not make it over to the “42″. Nor did I make it over to the old Homerun apple. I have both of those things to look forward to on my next visit to Citi Field.

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Citi Field: A Field Report Sat, 04 Apr 2009 03:28:45 +0000
Having had a great opportunity to attend Friday night’s exhibition game at Citi Field with the Mets taking on the Boston Red Sox, I felt obligated to give a fan’s first perspective on the new ballpark.

My first impression as I arrived to the park via the 7 train was one of sadness. No longer are we greeted by our old friend Shea. Her remains are still there. You can see the familiar blue on pieces of rubble. They’ve paved over where many a Met outfielder patrolled in past years. I imagine it will take a few more weeks to get the rest of her remains properly removed.

The sadness was fleeting. Thankfully. Citi Field is absolutely beautiful. Walking through the park was worth the price of admission. They were not kidding when they touted that you can view the field and the game from basically any of the common areas of the ballpark. There were only one or two areas where I felt there were large obstructions. 

The one major area where you cannot see the field is in the center field food section named “Tastes of the City.” This is the area where there are multiple choices of food vendors. We went with Blue Smoke tonight and were not let down. For $42.00 (obviously in tribute of Jackie Robinson), my father and I each got a pulled pork sandwich, fries and a beer. While this is obviously pricey, the quality of the food and service is miles above what you received at Shea. I spent a few minutes speaking with the master brewer for Blue Smoke (being a burgeoning home-brewer myself). They created a specialty ale with Brooklyn Brewery especially for the stadium. I believe this something that was done for each of the specialty food shops at Citi Field.

We were lucky to get seats in the Excelsior level (Loge to you and me), section 319, behind home plate. We turned around, and there were Gary, Keith and Ron, basically three rows behind us. At Shea Stadium, they were in a broadcast booth up in the suites, essentially removed from the fans. Here, they basically are in section 319, row 8, just behind some cameras. I imagine this is going to be a bit of an adjustment for them as well. Ron was good enough to smile for some cameras, and give some waves. Wayne and Gary from WFAN were right nearby as well, just as accessible. There was no glass booth separating any of them from the fans. We tried saying hello to Gary as we were walking, but this appeared to be a bit of a distraction to him as he seemed to wave us on. I get the impression that this new “closeness” may make their job a little difficult. A short while later, I turned over my other shoulder to a glass-fronted suite. Whose eyes do I meet but Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya. I quenched my need to give the “Seriously, Sheffield?!?” gesture, and waved to Omar and gave Jeff a thumbs up for a stadium well-built. Jeff smiled and Omar nodded.

As the National Anthem was performed, we continued to take in the new surroundings and try to get accustomed to what we were seeing. Just as the players were getting accustomed to the new dimensions and how “she plays,” we tried to do the same thing.

Based upon tonight’s game, Citi Field is most definitely a pitcher’s park. It was obvious that most of the Mets were looking to be the first to hit a home run in Citi Field. And if you look at the distances to the fences, you would think that this would be easily accomplished. However, take into account that parts of that wall are 15 feet high, and you realize that many a homer will be taken away by this field. The only person that came close tonight was Fernando Tatis, and he hit an absolute bomb out to left center that went about 10-12 feet up the wall!

Throughout the creation of this ballpark, many have said that this field is going to be Ebbets Field II with too many Dodgers references. While the exterior is definitely reminiscent of Ebbets Field, and the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is Dodger-laden, the rest of the park is not. For the first time that I can remember, the Mets are actually paying tribute to their historical ties with the Giants. The outfield wall is now black with orange lines and orange numbers. It’s going to take some getting-used-to after so many years with a blue outfield wall, but it ties in with the new ballpark so well.

I left the park feeling excited and bewildered. Citi Field is certainly a beautiful ballpark, and I look forward to calling it Home. I mentioned during the game to my father that I felt like I was watching the Mets play an Away game at someone else’s park. That certainly won’t last.

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