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Some thoughts on Citi Field

By Brian | April 14, 2009 | Share on Facebook

The New York Mets christened their new stadium last night, making them the first of two baseball teams in New York to do so this week. I’m obviously a biased source here, but I’ve gotta say – what went on in Flushing, NY last night strikes me as emblematic of everything that makes the Mets New York’s “other baseball team.”

First, there’s the stadium itself. It’s a throwback to Brooklyn’s old Ebbet’s field, complete with the famous rotunda, which has been fashioned in Citi Field as a memorial to Jackie Robinson. Now, Ebbet’s field was a revered ballpark in New York, and it is simply not possible to honor Jackie Robinson enough for what he did for baseball and for the country, so these homages are not inherently bad. But here’s the thing – Jackie Robinson didn’t play for the Mets. He played for the Dodgers, a team that still exists, and will eventually visit Citi Field (July 7, 8, and 9th). As much as Mets fans might fondly remember Ebbet’s field and Jackie Robinson, I can’t help thinking the Dodgers will enjoy their “home away from home” when they arrive in July.

Inside the stadium, the problems apparently get more serious. One day into the season, it seems many fans are already unhappy with the poor sight lines in their new ballpark. Despite the stadium’s claims of being “cozy” for fans, many of the outfield seats apparently offer obstructed views of the outfield, blocked entirely from view or viewable only through glass panels.

Moving on to the opening ceremony, it’s easy for me, as a Yankee fan, to bemoan the Mets lack of history. After all, the Yankees have played in roughly one third of all the World Series ever held, and have won 26 of them. The Mets have only been in existence for thirty-five years, and have a paltry World Series record of 2-2. That said, the pregame ceremony had precious little to do with the Mets. There was a nice tribute to America’s armed forces and a giant American flag, but the only reference to the home team was an encore performance of Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza’s “last pitch at Shea” from last September. After that, Seaver went to the press box, and Piazza went home. Allegations swirl about whether he was avoiding the press because of a recent steroid allegation and whatnot, but media aside, you’d think the guys they hold up as their team icons would be interested enough in their new ballpark to at least stick around for the opening game!?!

And what about the National Anthem?  A New York icon, perahps?  Liza Minelli, Tony Bennett, or Billy Joel?  Or perhaps a callback to Shea Stadium’s musical history with Sir Paul McCartney?  No – the Mets secured the cast of a Broadway revival, West Side Story, and then arranged the microphones such that the singers singing melody were standing in the back, creating what can charitably be described as a “different” interpretation of the song.  I guess a state-of-the-art sound system is too much to ask from a brand new ballpark, huh?

And finally, of course, there was the game itself.  Now, I’m not saying the Mets are a failure for losing their first game in the new stadium. Heck – they lost their first game at the Polo Grounds in 1962 and their first game at Shea Stadium in 1964 (both by a score of 4-3, and both to the Pittsburgh Pirates).  Baseball is baseball, and no one’s going to win every game.  But a homerun on the third pitch to the first batter (first time in baseball history, by the way)?  A pitcher falling off the mound in the second inning?  A stray cat getting loose and running around behind home plate during the game?  A three-base error by an outfielder in a game that’s tied 5-5 in the sixth inning?  And then a balk to bring home the eventual winning run?  A freakin’ BALK?!?

There’s bad luck and then there’s failing to perform under pressure. The Mets blew it last night in almost every way possible. I’m looking forward to Thursday in the Bronx.

Topics: New York, New York, Sports Talk | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Some thoughts on Citi Field”

  1. FamilyGreenberg.Com - Opening Day at Yankee Stadium - Everything Perfect but the Score says at April 17th, 2009 at 8:41 pm :
    [...] Some thoughts on Citi Field [...]

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