I wanted to spend today (Saturday) reading the reviews from Friday night's game experience at Citi Field on other Mets fan blogs. It didn't happen. Instead, at the last minute, I got a ticket to the game. So I went. And here's my take.
It's a beautiful baseball stadium. The architecture of the bricks, the signs for concessions and seating. It's all great. But there's something missing (and I do hope that it will be fixed before the real opening day a week from Monday). I was walking around, and stopped and was talking to this lady. She's pointing over to the field and asked me who plays here. I paused, knowing what she meant (as opposed to thinking that this lady is just stupid), and couldn't answer her. I think my response was "you're right".
There was something missing. There was nothing on the field, or in the seating bowl that was visible, that let you know that this was the Mets stadium. There was no Mets logo behind home plate - it actually didn't look like there was room for it. Nothing on the facade (I hate to pull comparisons in my review, but) like we had the collage on the facade at Shea. Nothing on the walls (yet?, except for ads). Our retired numbers were there in left, on the upper wall. There was plenty of room for more (hint hint). Nothing showing our history of championships and achievements (like we had at Shea). Nothing that showed the Mets colors. It may be a stretch, or a nod to the NY Giants baseball club, that the outfield wall is black with an orange line marking a Home Run. But I didn't see our orange and blue.
There were some Mets markings - on the exterior of the stadium. Very nice touch with, I'll call them windscreens, showing different players in Mets history along the wall by the left field entrance. Of course there are several Mets team stores (of a few different names) - something that actually showed the Mets logo.
Someone commented to me that there were no airplane or subway races on the scoreboard. No Mr. Met making the rounds (an April fool's joke could be that Mr. Met was suspended for violating MLB's performance enhancing drug policy). We didn't see Jose Reyes's Spanish lessons. I would think that most of that was missing because the fans weren't really watching the game. I hope that's the reason.
I got over to the two sights that I wanted to see - Shea's Home Run apple, and the Shake Shack with the Shea scoreboard skyline on top. I must say, those scoreboards are HUGE. Especially when you're standing behind them out in Center Field.
The scenery will take some getting used to on TV and in person. It will take some getting used to seeing OUR ballpark NOT be open in the outfield. The view from the higher up Right Field Promenade seats have a view of Flushing Bay, and that will take some getting used to (SNY should get someone over there to get it on TV). The view coming down the Grand Central Parkway or Whitestone Expressway or the 7 train or the LIRR is different, and it will take some getting used to seeing the approach without that big blue structure.
Looking back at it, I have an interesting comparison. I can really only compare to stadia that I've been to. There aren't many of them. But I there's 2 that I see a lot of here. One is Pac Bell Park (or whatever phone company it is now) in San Francisco. The lower level at Pac Bell wraps around and has the open concourse, just like Citi Field does, but with different scenery in the outfield. The other I see a strong comparison to is Arthur Ashe Stadium from across the train tracks at the Tennis Center. Arthur Ashe Stadium has the beautiful design on it's upper level concourse (I don't know the other levels), but it's a neutral-feeling stadium (right, it hosts an individual sport called Tennis, and once a WNBA game), and that's what I felt about the concourses at Citi Field. I'll leave it at that.