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.