Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Muppets News Flash

Here is a Muppets News Flash. Dateline Flushing, NY - The New York Mets will be honoring their history in a celebration of the 1969 World Championship team on Saturday August 22. This comes on the heels of a month in which the Mets completely ignored their history. Film at 11.

batting practice at Shea

Inspired by the words of Dana Brand, in his recent post telling about going to see batting practice at Chez Amazin', I bring you this generic memory from my days at Shea.

I don't remember exactly when I discovered batting practice. I don't know how I did either. It was some time in the late 1990s, maybe 1997 or 1998. It always seemed to appeal to me because I was a Mets fan who wanted to get up close and get autographs. Something about that back then was fun. You could hear the players joking around. You could really hear the crack of the bad when Mike Piazza got in the box. You could stand just behind the Mets dugout, touching the top of it, as I often did when I went.

From the dugout, players would pass right by you before disappearing into the abyss below. David Wright, Robin Ventura, Julio Franco. They all walked past. So did so many others. Some would stop and sign when you asked. Others said to hang on because they had to go hit or taking fielding practice. Some would come back, others wouldn't, and sometimes you'd be gone trying to get an autograph from somewhere else.

It was a time to be around some real fans. Those pushing and shoving, sometimes, to get to the front of the line to see that it wasn't Piazza who was signing. Others just wanted to get down that close because they never had before, or they knew that they'd never be able to sit that close when we all knew these were season tickets and we couldn't have them. For me, it was a little of everything. I only got to sit down there once. That post is coming tomorrow.

Ya, batting practice was fun. Shea had the music going. There was still daylight before a night game. Or it was just early in the morning for an afternoon game. Back in the days when I started going early, there wasn't as much separation between the field and stands. I don't remember the photo box being such a separation as it was towards the end. The dugout didn't have that railing and screen in front like they all do today. Players weren't physically forced to enter/exit the dugout through the two openings left, which would limit the good places to stand to get autographs.

The foul lines didn't have that extra section of off-limits premium seats until a few years ago. That really limited what you could do. I remember in the great 1999 season, I went to quite a few games, maybe 9 or 10. That's a lot for me to go to. Some of the fondest memories I have about going to Shea weren't the games I saw that year, but being at BP. I got Piazza's autograph behind the dugout and almost gave myself a hernia trying to reach and get my program back.

There was one or two times where I could hang out with Bobby V and some other fans just past the camera well along the foul line. He was always good about doing that and joked with us. Al Leiter was great too (of course, not on the days he pitched). I was hanging out in the RF corner with him and some fans after he had pitched the night before. It was that game in the final week of the season where he kept the Mets alive by beating Atlanta, and Yoshii was pitching that day (the game I went to). Al's just loose as can be at that point, hanging out with us, and he tells us "don't boo Yoshii every time he has a 3-ball count".

Sometimes, you'd get screaming line drives right down the line that you could reach over and grab bouncing off the dirt. I have a couple BP balls from that season alone.

Some of that fun fell away in the last few years of Shea, with all the obstructions and the new attitude brought on by Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya. Now we're all forced to be down the foul line where the obstructions are built-in at the new park. The fun days are now just fading memories.

fuel to the fire

A great piece written on by guest writer Jason Antos to go along with a great article in the NY Daily News from last week in which Antos is one of those interviewed. Jason is author of "Shea Stadium: Images of Baseball", which I own a copy of and you can buy on

It's always good to hear that I am not alone in how I feel the Mets messed up some things in building Citi Field. Let's keep it coming until it's all fixed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

going for 3

I heard an interesting stat in the first inning. 9 straight games with a Mets triple, and 9 different Mets doing it. I like that. Citi Field seems to have a lot to do with it. Citi Field seems to have a very tough outfield to play. Should be a lot of fun, with a distinct advantage to Carlos Beltran for playing as many as 81 games there, compared to others with 9 tops.

On Sunday, the Mets played in the franchise's 7,500 game. Of course, I got this from a site called "No No-Hitters". Check out their post on the matter where they cover the milestone games in Mets history. The one I'm curious about was franchise game #50, which was noted as being a doubleheader at Wrigley Field in 1962. Only near the summer solstice could they have pulled that off since lights weren't installed until the summer 1988.

there's a lot to fix

Update 5/3 - I posted a follow-up to this post with some photos from Shea for comparison is really angry over the Mets treatment for their fans. Two posts worth of anger. I am angry too. I don't think this is going away anytime soon.

The SectionSix mets blog has an online petition. The author sums up the obstruction problems this way...
    Here is the problem I see.....the Mets, I am afraid, will continue to sweep these issues under the rug, dismissing this as a non-issue and never really making an effort to make the situation right.

And over on, the Mets Police Chief responds to the post from SectionSix asking for suggestions. This is another issue that won't just disappear. So I offer my suggestions. I'd love Dave Howard, or Fred or Jeff Wilpon tell me "no" to my ideas. I challenge them to.

  1. The plexiglass has to go. Shea had railings in front of the first row of seats and boxes in each level. They were thin, and you could grab your hand around them. They were also painted the same color as the other hand-rails and seats in that level, so you hardly noticed them. They could have done the same thing here. I don't see what type of extra safety the plexiglass provides. I'd love for a photo from the first row in the Upper Deck at Shea to compare to though.

  2. The LED ribbon. At Shea, the LED ribbons were installed 40 years after the park was built. They went on a facade that was actually tall enough to have the ribbons block the face of the facade instead of any views. Citi Field was built with fairly small facades. And they knew there would be LED ribbons there from the start (how could they not?). It doesn't look like an issue in this photo

    but you compare it to this one, and see how it just wouldn't naturally fit.

    From here,

    you can get a sense of the difference.
    Maybe the LEDs could have gone on top of the stadium "roof", so that they weren't in anyone's way. In hindsight, they should have built the facades to be think enough to have the LEDs not block the views, but it's too late for that. Or LEDs that are just less tall so they don't cause the problem. Expensive to replace them now, and less tall may not work as well. But it's an idea. I did find myself looking over at the current balls/strikes/outs because that was the natural direction I was pointed in, and the flag poles obstructed the RF scoreboard.

  3. The out of town scoreboard. I actually found myself NOT looking towards it like it used to look at the one at Shea. That's the problem with having everything separated now. I would align the bottom of the scoreboard with the "roof" that it hangs to, support it above, and then have the advertisements. As seen here,

    it appears to hang down from the top so the overhang blocks some views from that section. If you have the overhang above the "roof", you're not blocking those views anymore than you'd block them without it at all. Also, those last rows should be discounted, just like the last rows at Shea were in the Mezz and Loge levels because of the overhang. With TV monitors. It's Left Field in fair territory, so you can't expect to see everything on the field in the LF corner. I am glad the out of town scoreboard isn't part of the outfield wall. The outfield wall should be solid (padded) wall and nothing else.

Aside from all this, there are some general flaws that really cannot be fixed. For instance, the pitch of the seats is different than it was at Shea. It makes you "closer" to the field, but with everyone else closer too, their heads are in your way. That's unfortunate, but short of tearing apart the entire Promenade and re-building it, I don't see how that can be fixed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

a mixed review

Someone pointed me to the review of the 2 new NY ballparks from Sports Illustrated. Most of the Citi Field review is on page 2. I do want to quote two paragraphs though. It doesn't look like a totally positive reivew, which is good since it means that it's not Mets propganda. The story is credited to Alex Belth,
    And there's the rub. As tremendous as the Robinson Rotunda is, it seems out of place, even indulgent, because of the lack of corresponding Mets tributes. This is not to suggest that the Mets build a similar monument for Tom Seaver. Yet the lack of balance has left many Mets fans grumbling. The Mets have a history worth celebrating, but its invisibility at Citi Field underscores the organization's inferiority complex. Perhaps it is a great Freudian slip, Fred Wilpon saying that his team is just a poor stand-in for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team he'd really want to own.
    A man happily stuffed his face with a Shake Shack burger and looked up at a plane. "Same old, same old," he said. Music blared from the sound system as the plane roared overhead. He waited 20 minutes for his burger and said that it was worth every minute of it. "This place is nice," he said, as ketchup dripped onto his shirt. "I'd like it even better if I was a rich man."

My review of Citi Field - summing it up

I don't even know what to say anymore. On Saturday, I went to a game in the most expensive, most beautiful clusterfuck in modern history.

If Fred Wilpon had wanted to build a new ballpark that reflected the deep 100 year history of National League Baseball in the city of New York to replace Shea, I would have said that was a good idea if he HAD to replace Shea. But he didn't build that ballpark. If Fred Wilpon had wanted to build a new ballpark that reflected the nearly 50 year history of the New York Mets to replace Shea, I would have said the same thing. But he didn't build that ballpark either. Fred Wilpon wanted to build a home for the Mets that reflected the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson more than the history of the New York Mets.

So we enter the stadium through a gigantic monument to someone who was part of pre-Mets baseball history. Complete with his number in statue form. If this were a shrine for NY NL Baseball, this would have been OK. Personally, I don't have any problem with Jackie Robinson and his accomplishments, but I just don't see this as necessary, at least not to this great size. Mets fans would have felt more welcome in the new park entering in a place that gave you a real sense of Mets history, and maybe including a small something from the NY Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. Their legacies together should live on with the Mets.

So we want to visit the Mets team store, and there's Jackie Robinson jerseys greeting you. Again, unnecessary. I'd rather see a Tom Seaver jersey. Or at least put Robinson, Willie Mays, and Seaver together on the jersey rack. The closest we come to anything Mets in the stadium is in the team stores.

There doesn't seem to be any markings of any team inside the stadium, save for the Rotunda and Mets team stores which seem either small and/or hidden, or the retired numbers. There's no banners or hangings that show you what team plays there, like there was at Shea. Those such things hang outside the stadium. There's no murals showing us the history of the club or any important players. There's nothing named after anyone with a Mets connection. The retired numbers hang in on the LF wall, but the championship banners did not make the trip. Flags fly on the poles in RF. But those flags aren't enough, especially on a day when they aren't flapping at all.

But this can all be fixed. It should be. Fred Wilpon just needs to wake up. There is no excuse for this type of disrespect to the fans' and team's history, and in some ways, damage has been done. Even the home run apple from Shea was targeted for the scap pile before he listened to the fans and found a home for it (though it's odd and out of the way, people are finding their way down there). The Shea scoreboard skyline made it over too, and sits atop a concession stand out in CF. But it's hidden from most of the stadium by the gigantic scoreboard. It would have been nice if it were part of the view from your seats.

Now on to bigger issues. Seating and pricing.

The Wilpons seem to be playing to what I call a "country club" atmosphere. They're catering to the well-off people, and frankly, exploiting them at the cost of taking away from the real fans. They're using big names on the seating chart like "Excelsior" and "Promenade" instead of carrying forward the names we know and love, "Loge", "Mezzanine", and "Upper Deck". They have all these exclusive clubs that just take away from the usable parts of the stadium. Club areas on every level. Frankly, I feel clubs are unnecessary. It creates a separation in the social (financial) classes and takes space away from the real fans. Despite the revenue generated by clubs and corporate suites/seats, this would all just go away if the fans disappeared, so this is an insult to the real Mets fans. We're the ones who show up night after night and make some noise and hang signs.

OK. Names are names. The real fans are pushed up to the Promenade, so we can watch the game together. It's unfair, considering the amount of affordable seats Shea had, that there's only room in the fans' club for so many people. But that's the cost of an "upgrade" by an out-of-touch owner. The seats are angled to be pointing at the field better, rather than the natural bowl that Shea had. The seats are more comfortable and have more legroom than those at Shea did. Wait, they are? I must not have been sitting in the area where the leg room was. There are so many bends in the stands that it creates obstructions.

But the concourses are wider. I'll bet that makes Cow-Bell Man feel good. Too bad nobody can see him there.

So we'll sit in our seats. What's this in front of me? It's plexiglass at the top of the stair landing, or it's an LED ribbon that I need to look over in order to see the field. What was so good about Shea was that from every seat could see, save for a few on Field Level down the LF and RF lines, because of the bowl effect. We could see with room to spare. Nothing was hidden. We get more intimate, a little closer, a different pitch in the rows of seating, and we find ourselves looking over heads, looking over glass and railings, and looking over these things that look like they're just there to block our view, and we can see part of a ballgame.

So can we pay for an upgrade to better seats? Maybe, but it'll cost you. The cost of everything suddenly went up. You can't splurge and get a good Field Level seat because that costs entirely too much money. I don't see the difference between the Field Level seats at Shea and the ones at $iti Field, except the cost. Does it come with club access so I can go someplace and watch the game on TV? If I wanted that, I wouldn't go to the ballpark. Maybe the next level up. It's not as bad, but it's certainly not the value we got in the Loge at Shea. And another club. Oh goodie. Even these obstructed view seats, for ticket plans and season tickets cost more than equivalent seats at Shea did.

Some of this can be fixed. But it would take some time, effort, and admission by the Mets ownership that lots of mistakes were made. So far, I haven't heard anything along those lines.

You know, I can't really find anything good to say about the game experience at this beautiful new ballpark. It looks like it was build with the architect's head in the sand. Even the press box, broadcast booth, and owner's suite have people sitting and standing in front of them.

The Mets world class home of Amazin'. Amazin' is right. It's amazing how bad a job was done here.

The Mets should have taken a page from the Boston Red Sox and embraced their ballpark. Fenway Park is almost 100 years old. That's old. That's older than 2 Shea Stadiums put together. And they're working on keeping it around for a long time. Nobody is Boston is crying out that they want a newer, larger stadium. I don't think any Mets fans cried out that they wanted this.

part 1 | part 2 | summing it up

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My take on seeing a game at Citi Field - part 2

I said I was going to write something positive. I have to about that...

The Mets won, but I covered that.

I got in for batting practice, but the Mets didn't hit. I still got an autograph, but I covered that.

The weather was beautiful, but I covered that.

Wait, I got one... The ballpark looks pretty when you can look past the watching the game (no pun intented).

My seat was a tad more comfortable than my Shea seats, and it came with a cup holder. I've heard this on other blogs - where was that extra leg room? That seems to have been missing. Now that I think harder, I was just as comfortable/uncomfortable sitting in my seat at Citi Field as I was at Shea, except that I didn't think about needing a seat cushion.

The food. I'm a simple person, but I'll get around to trying things someday. I looked at a "Hot Dog" stand, and no fries, so I turned 50 feet to my right, to a "Burgers & Fries" stand (I think that's what it was called), and they had both hot dogs and fries. That kind of thing is important to me. The hot dogs had good snap to them, though they were kind of small. I was happy with that. I'm usually happy with Nathan's anyway. I really do want to get around and sample other food.

I should say that I like the design of the signs that they use for marking team stores and concession stands on the concourses. It is very stylish, and kind of fits into the design scheme of the ballpark.

The patio area behind home plate in the Upper Deck is nice, but I wish they'd put a scoreboard or TV screen so fans can see what's going on. It appears to be one of very few concourses that is NOT open to seeing into the field (or out to the other side's stands) in the entire ballpark.

Shady areas, especially out in LF on the Field Level concourse, seem like a good place to hang out if the sun bothers you, while right next to it is a great sunny area in CF. I also think it will be real interesting to see the first rain delay (especially if there's a packed house) and see how much the concourses swell up, considering the Upper Deck has this big patio separating the two covered concourses.

I'll post some final thoughts later.

part 1 | part 2 | summing it up

My take on seeing a game at Citi Field

I'm going to break this up into a couple posts. First, I'd like to get some of the bad out of the way, starting with a few things that were (mostly) uncontrollable circumstances.
  • It was hot. On the ride home, my car showed an outdoor temperature of 92 degrees. The angles of the April sun and where my seats were in the Upper Box in RF made for a nice combo for sunburn, but from behind and mainly on my left side. There was a little sunscreen left in my bag from my Spring Training trip (where I managed to NOT get burned), but it was too late when I went looking for it. I bring this up mostly because the stadium is angeled differently than Shea, so learning the sun patterns (as outfields know already) will take some time.
  • This was a day game after a night game, so it was no surprise that the Mets did NOT take batting practice, so I can't really tell you how hard it is to get autographs when everyone is moving in and out (though without access to the dugout, I could only imagine). More on BP in a little bit later. The extra time, however, did allow me to get into different Field Level seats (down the lines and in the OF) to take pictures.

And now to the just plain bad... I am not going to mention some of the other points like ticket pricing-box office scams, lack of respect for Mets fans or their history, or the fact that the exit onto the BQE from the Grand Central going home clogs up the entire roadway from before the airport. Other blogs have done a fine job with these things, as well as the obstructions, and I contribute my opinions when I can.

The view from my seat. These are season ticket "box" seats. No offense to mini-plan holders or individual ticket holders, but these should be better than the others. The view would have been great if not for the LED ribbons that sit along the very small facade of the Upper Deck. For the couple games that I have from this season ticket holder, I'm right on the place where the seating angle changes in RF, and the LED ribbons follow.

    A note on the photos - the camera angle and height seemed to be a bit higher than my actual eye level. You can see more of the field closest to me from the photos than I could actually see sitting in my seat.
As you can see, there was no view of the RF corner from the bullpen entrance/exit, to the corner, and down the line almost back to the infield dirt, and everything from the coaches box back to the dugout and seats was also obstructed. When you look on the Mets tickets page at the view from the seats, those photos are very misleading. I wonder if the view looks better in row 4 instead of row 2. When people came to sit in row 1 in front of me, the view got worse because THEY blocked the views of home plate, the pitcher's mound, and 1B. I had row 2 seats in the Mezz box from this same ticket holder at Shea, and there was never a problem seeing with or without people in front. If I were on the aisle, there was a plexiglass window at the bottom of the steps that may or may not further obstruct the view.

I'm trying to find a good photo to help illustrate this last point. I noticed a gap in the stands between the front row of seats and the field itself along the RF line (the Mets side) that I didn't notice on the LF (visitors) side. Walking around during BP, I saw a few Nationals players coming over to sign out in LF. It looked like they could reach or even step right into the stands. On the Mets side, there was that gap creating distance between players and fans. I hate to say it, but I think that was done on purpose. But it did not stop Bobby Parnell from coming over, and after a few minutes of reaching, coming into that gap (which leads into some tunnel under the RF seats) and signing autographs for a lot of people for a pretty long time. This was later in BP when only the Mets pitchers were out in the RF corner working, and even when that was done. In a related note, I saw Brian Stokes signing closer to the dugout (but in the "fans" area) but didn't get close enough to see if there was any structure in his way. I would like to see what this is all like when the Mets are actually taking BP as a team.

part 1 | part 2 | summing it up

Saturday, April 25, 2009

coming soon

A post on my thoughts Chez Amazin' after my 2nd trip today to come soon. I need to get the pictures up first and go through my notes. But for the game itself...

Pelfrey pitched pretty good. Not terriffic for the entire game, but he's building his arm up and working through his injuries. As has been the case in most games, a couple really good innings, but not enough of them, and then some runs and he's out. Today it wasn't a problem because the Mets capitalized on a few Washington errors. That's always a good sign, but they couldn't manufacture much outside of those gifts. Brian Stokes is supposed to be our long man, isn't he? He barely got through his second inning of work closing the game. If he was a reliable long man, he would have pitched 5 innings last Sunday instead of having to lose 2 players from the roster to get a fill in from Buffalo.

I'm also starting to think that David Wright has some sort of shoulder injury. He's bouncing his throws to first, making it harder for Delgado, and not swinging the bat well. I can't put my finger on it, but maybe there's some injury that's lingering and he's playing through, or something they don't know yet.

Thoughts on the park and game experience to come.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My game tomorrow

I am heading out to Chez Amazin' tomorrow morning for my first official game since the Shea finale last September. That's almost 7 months, but who's counting. And it doesn't include paying my last respects to Shea on Jan. 31, my games in Spring Training 4 weeks ago, or the Saturday Red Sox exhibition game 3 weeks ago.

But my plan for tomorrow is to arrive early, head to the LF gate, where I was told that you may enter the ballpark 2 1/2 hours before the game, try to see what BP is like, get more familiar with the stadium, and then sit fixated in my seat for 8 1/2 or more innings keeping score like I always do, and then get out as quick as possible (I need to have my dad home to NJ by 6).

I should have pictures. I want to see what the obstructions are like from the season seats that I bought into in the RF Promenade "boxes" (400s). And I really want to have a positive review of the ballpark. I want to look for good things instead of bad ones. Unless of course, there's a new observation or an incident. I can't help what I write about for the game itself, but I really want to be positive because for better or worse, this is the ballpark I'll call home probably for the rest of my baseball life (or close to it).

Real Progress

I saw this in my RSS reader while playing my usual evening catch-up on the blogs.

From, the Mets have placed the Doc Gooden autograph on display by the bullpen gate and the Shea Home Run apple for all to see. Matt Cerrone reports that other signatures and World Series trophys will join Doc's in a new museum-like area next to the Mo's Zone sometime around June.

Now that's real progress!

a great irony

I can't take credit for coming up with these points of irony at Chez Amazin'. I can barely take credit for having found them on other people's blogs. But they need to be pointed out, just to get the facts all on the table, about Shiti Field.

One comes from Dana Brand, noted author, in his review from being at Citi Field during it's first live week, talking about the Jackie Robinson Rotunda:
    It’s wonderful to commemorate him in the new Mets stadium, although I am more than a little struck by the irony of commemorating Robinson so dramatically in the first Mets stadium that contains extensive areas that are completely off-limits to fans who have not paid an exorbitant amount for their ticket.

The other, to put icing on that cake, comes from The Eddie Kranepool Society's review of the ballpark and Jackie Robinson Rotunda (JRR) from Sunday:
    There was one drawback to the JRR that left me dumb struck. There are two escalators leading up to the field levels. My son and I were in deep conversation and just walking to the escalator closest to us. As we ready to step on the moving stair case a "Hospitality Agent" asked to see our tickets. When she saw Promenade on them she smirked and said "this escalator is for Club Members only" so in this grand entrance dedicated to a man who fought against prejudice and for inclusion of all, there exists segregation of the fans The escalators might as well be marked "SWELLS" and "GREAT UNWASHED"

I think at this point, the Mets might as well finish clearing the rubble that was Shea Stadium, and start sketching out plans for a new ballpark that fixes all the problems of this brand new one, put it on the site of Shea, and start building - fast. I hesitate to say that fans should offer their input - remember what happened when Homer Simpson was asked to design a new car by his new-found half-brother.

Down in Front

Shannon Shark, the Mets Police Chief, over at has been keeping track of some obstructed views in the 500s section. When I first heard about obstructed views, or just bad vantage points in the stadium, and I guess this was a few weeks ago (before anyone got a chance to see for themselves), I never imagined seeing paying customers in the front rows subject to that kind of problem. But here it is, seemingly well documented. And I've learned in the past few weeks that I shouldn't be surprised about anything that the Mets have done.

I'm a bit curious what the obstructions are for the 400s (I can tell my piece of it tomorrow), and even in the lower areas (if anyone's actually sitting there).

I hate having to get on the Mets organization, but it seems like everything they do or say turns to shit. It's like a marriage or job that's really just meant to end.

Speaking of things ending, I saw this note the Daily News, courtesy of presented by Verizon (don't get me started there) about possible major shakeups in the pitching rotation and/or coaching staff. A shakeup could be an act of desperation, or it could be the best thing that happens to the team all year (remember the coaching changes that happened to the 1999 Mets that seemed to spark that club). Just be careful how you handle this - the last time the Mets had a change like that, well, mistakes were made (remember that late night in Anaheim last June).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

taking a break

I've decided to take a short break from writing my own posts this week. Lots to do at home, the Devils in the playoffs, and work work work. And I don't have much else to say. If you look at the blogs on the left side, and go back in each of them over a few days, I think I've posted at least one comment, some could have been full posts, to probably half of them. All good stuff too (both my words and my fellow bloggers').

I'll save my unprovoked words for Saturday evening or Sunday after my first real game at Chez Amazin' on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

some new photos

Reading some of the reviews in other blogs over the weekend, I became nostalgic for Shea and thinking about some of my photos. This particular batch comes from the vantage point of the tops of Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium at the Billie Jean King U.S. National Tennis Center, across the train tracks from Shea Stadium and Citi Field, and these were taken during my U.S. Open visits (late August or early September) in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

From this photo album, I hope to find the "money" shot for the blog's header.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some reviews of the new ballpark

I don't want to beat the topic to death. That would be like digging my grave and then having to watch baseball from inside it from the next 45 years. But I do want to point out a couple reviews that are more objective, and DON'T cover the idea of a lack of Mets stuff that I seem to be fixed on.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Doc...My Uncle, Doc

In the feedback that I've read about the new ballpark, one thing that I've heard is that Shea had memories, and we'll create new memories at Citi Field.

Well, tonight, just a few minutes ago, we had our first "Citi Field Memory" created, as newcommer Gary Sheffield becomes the first person to hit his 500th Home Run wearing a Mets uniform. His 1st as a Met, and the first person to hit his 500th HR as the first with a new club.

You can see the highlight on, after which you get highlights from the entire game. Their videos aren't embedable, and I didn't feel it worth my time to capture the moment and put it on YouTube since MLB would have ordered it down pretty quickly.

He still has a little ways to go to catch his uncle, Doc Gooden, for the family's lead in Home Runs as a New York Met. Doc hit 7 over 10+ seasons with the Mets. Sheffield now has 1, in 10 games in a Mets uniform coming off the bench.

What do you think of Citi Field?

Over the past few days, I've been reading, and writing, my own reviews of Chez Amazin (a.k.a. Gil Hodges Memorial Park, a.k.a. Shea Stadium II, a.k.a. Debits Field, a.k.a. Citi Field). A lot of them have been pretty harsh. If you click over to my archive on the left side, as well as the links to the other blogs (you may need to go a couple days back to get various reviews from the Boston series and from this week), you can see what myself and others have thought (if you haven't already). As the games move on, more people will have had the chance to go and generate their own feedback. It may not get any better from there. Or we may warm up to it, finally, over a period of time. Who knows.

When the Mets can upstage the Yankees, that's usually a good thing. Especially when it comes at WFAN's live pre-game broadcast of the new Yankee Stadium (where you never expect to hear the word "Mets" uttered on air). But in a short piece I heard yesterday while out to find something to eat, I heard them bashing Citi Field. That's not the type of press the Mets needed.

So I ask a not-so-simple question to you, my loyal(?) reader(s). Are you surprised that the Mets built a ballpark that has received these bad reviews? Not so much asking if you're disappointed with it. I think a lot of the blogger community seems to be (maybe I'm not reading them right). Rather, I'm asking if you expected the Mets to build exactly this, with all the faults you find in it, or if the good and bad really did surprise you, and you honestly expected better from them (or maybe you had the bar so low that this is better than what you had expected). Comments are always welcome, but a simple "Yes", "No", "Not sure" response can be logged on the right-hand side of the page, as well as a 4th choice if you really don't think it's bad. I'll be fair and invite those answers as well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

something to lighten the mood

I guess Fred Wilpon IS going ahead with his ideas of building a new Mets Hall of Fame at Chez Amazin'. That's a good thing. I'm sure he'll have great Mets players like Duke Snider and Gil Hodges. Way to think ahead on this one, Freddy! Even WFAN hosts were getting on you for the lack of Mets stuff at new Chez, and this while they're at the other ballpark's Opening Day.

Based on the feedback on other blogs, maybe not everyone cares about that. Take a page from the New Jersey Devils (the last team to open a major league sports venue in the NY/NJ area since the Meadowlands Arena opened in 1981). I walked in there, the for the very first hockey game they played there, and I knew two things. I was in a hockey arena (with all the local High School Hockey jerseys on the wall), and I was there to see the Devils (with beautiful artwork painted on some walls). I didn't get that feeling when I walked into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda from the Ebbets Field-looking entrance, into something that made me think Arthur Ashe stadium (not that any of those things are bad).

The new Yankee Stadium is opening today. Good for those fans. They get what we all deserve. A ballpark that feels like home, and with a big screen TV in the middle of the living room. The Onion may well have an article today saying that the recent Yankee Stadium was being moved over to Yogi's museum to be a permanent exhibit.

And according to the Onion, even Mr. Met is having some trouble there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

some thoughts on Opening Day and Opening Week

Some thoughts. I'll preface it by saying that I haven't watched every pitch of the season (either live or replay/archived game). Same with last night's home opener, I had other things to do and only caught parts of the game.

  • Weren't we supposed to feel better about this club than we did about the .500 ballclub we had last year? As a whole, I don't. It's only 6 games. We shall see. If the Mets of recent years have taught me anything, it's a lot easier to blow a lead than it is to come back from a deficit.

  • From last night's game...
  • I watched the pregame stuff on TV. At least I saw what SNY wanted us to see. Was there more? What was all that booing after the players were introduced? (I think I read later that it was the politicians) All I saw was the Mets player intros, a commercial break, and Seaver/Piazza. And people said the closing ceremony at Shea was lame. Update, 8:14pm - has a good write-up on the game with some awesome photos of some of the pregame that SNY left out.

  • I did notice, finally, a Mets logo behind home plate in the grass. Nice. Now we know who plays there.

  • I heard or read something that the green seats, and even the black/orange color scheme on the outfield wall are nods to the old Polo Grounds. Nice touch. It isn't Shea, and it wasn't the 500 ft. Center Field that I had wanted from the Polo Grounds, but at least it's not all Brooklyn Dodgers in there.

  • Maybe I just didn't see it - where are the Championship banners and flags inside the stadium? You know, the banners that were next to the RF foul poll at Shea, and the flags that flew high above CF there. I'll have to look harder on Wednesday night. They weren't there for the Boston series.

  • From some of the aerial shots, that area behind the CF scoreboard actually reminds me of the grounds at the Tennis Center, especially with that info booth or whatever it is sitting out there. That goes along with my commentary from last week that the ballpark has the feel of Arthur Ashe stadium.

  • Do something about that screen behind home plate. I won't consider sitting there until it's deemed safe. In the little bit that I watched, I saw not one, but two problems

    1. A foul ball comes back behind home plate, near the screen, and the Padres catcher goes over to make the play. How in the world is he able to get his arm around a fan in the first row and put that fan in a headlock, using the screen? I can see it happening over behind 1B or 3B, but not behind HP.

    2. I actually saw a pitch sail over the catcher's head, and found a hole inside the bottom of the screen and sneak into the front rows. I think those were the Madoff seats actually. Shouldn't happen.

    Get that screen fixed!

Monday, April 13, 2009

stadium decorations

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. It's from the onion, so know that it's not serious. I think it was published last week.

    Mets Fans Perplexed By New Stadium's Prominent Tim Teufel Statue

    NEW YORK—Although an undeniable atmosphere of excitement swirled around new Mets ballpark Citi Field at its unofficial opening Friday, many of the team's fans were put off by an 18-foot-tall bronze statue of Tim Teufel displayed in the center of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. "From far away I thought it was a really nice tribute to Tom Seaver or Darryl Strawberry, but then, boom, there's Tim Teufel," fan Kevin McGoey said about the statue, which includes a plaque commemorating the second baseman's career .254 average and 86 home runs. "Actually, I had to read the little placard underneath to figure out who it was. I mean, we've had Mike Piazza, Lenny Dykstra.... Even a Robin Ventura statue would make a lot more sense. And man, is it big. Does it have to be so big?" Other notable features of Citi Field include a mural of Jerry Grote portraits, a giant scoreboard in the shape of Benny Agbayani, and lemonade served by Dwight Gooden himself.

the other Opening Day

Today is the "other" Opening Day, the one where the team plays at home for the first time. It's not normally a holiday like last week's Opening Day event is, but it's still a bit of a celebration.

I always remember the first time seeing old glorious Shea on TV at the home opener each season. (It is pretty rare in my time that we have exhibition games in New York before the season starts.) I remember looking for those first images of Shea, whether it was live, on tape, later on the internet, or even in person (2003, 2007). It didn't matter if the Mets were 0-0, 4-2, or 0-6. We were home, and the season could start. You took it for granted listening to, first Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner, then the generation of Howie Rose and Gary Cohen, reading out the two teams' rosters that Shea would be around for another season and this was the start of a good 6 months.

I think Bob Murphy summed it up the best, in the audio clip on the right side of the page. "The ol' ballpark still looks awfully good when it's full of people."

Shea will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

lineups brought to you by...

tonight's lineups are brought to you by CitiBank the U.S. Government. "Tax day April 15. The U.S. Government - now sponsoring without the middle-man."

just a joke I came up with, folks, but I had to say it

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Something to remember Shea by

This item just came across my RSS reader from It's mostly stuff we already know, but still worth posting.

Read the whole article here. This is the piece that I hadn't heard yet.
    The final reminders of Shea Stadium will come in the Citi Field parking lot, at the actual Shea Stadium site: the team will place bronze plaques at home plate, the bases and the pitchers mound. The plaques will commemorate team greats -- Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter -- and big events in team history. The parking lot will be laid out to place home pate, second-base and the pitchers mound markers in traffic lanes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day

It's Opening Day. This offseason has seemed very long. They always seem long. I like Opening Day. It's a fresh start. Look at the newspaper (kids may ask what a newspaper is) - today is usually the first day the standings are printed, with the upcoming starting pitchers. And it's all "0"s. Coming into the evening, every team is even on that one piece of paper (while they're hardly even on the pundit's papers).

I'll take a page from's Opening Day post and say we should all sing "Meet the Mets".

Opening Day still has a different feel since Bud Selig gave it the Jewish Holiday treatment by starting the holiday the night before the common calendar date. But the real opening day is the one with the parade in Cincinnati and the first pitch of the day coming from there (which they finally got right this year). The real Opening Day is the one with lots of otherwise-random Monday afternoon games. Opening Day is a day when ESPN goes to work to televise many games (though I do miss their concept of "alternate" games since they always seem to pick Mets and Yankees games to be blacked out here).

Happy Opening Day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chez Amazin'

Chez Amazin'. Let's try that name out for a while. Or we'll it "Chez" for short. It's a stretch, but I think it's clever.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

So who plays here?

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.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A show of hands

Raise your hands if you wrote a preview of the Mets team that now needs to change because of the signing of Gary Sheffield (?!?!?!).


Ya, I thought so.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

one last video of Shea's Farewell

I got an email in my inbox today from the producer from (My Social Sports Network), who was out at Shea covering the fan's farewell back in late January. The 4 1/2 minute video piece is now online. I appear in it three times (although they got the name of my blog wrong).

I'll be back later with my stories from my last games at Shea.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SNY wins an NY Emmy

I while back, I posted the NY Emmy nominees that have ties to the Mets and SNY's Mets coverage.

I just saw the results.
ON-CAMERA TALENT: Sports AnalystHarold ReynoldsSNY
DIRECTOR: News, Live or Live to TapeBill WebbSNY