— Days Without Shea —

The New York Yankees had to take extreme measures to put bottoms in their premium seats. Last night, the Yankees announced they would cut prices for the top-tier $2,500 seats in half, a stunning development. Could the Mets be next?

At least one baseball fan was not pleased. How does Keith Olbermann go to games if he's doing a live TV show five nights a week? Anyway, here's the AP story, with pricing details:

Empty Seats Make Yankees Cut Some Premium Prices

NEW YORK (AP) -- Turns out a few more fans might be able to buy those empty front-row seats at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees slashed prices on more than 40 percent of their front-row seats by up to 50 percent Tuesday and announced many of those who bought tickets closest to the field for $325-$2,500 will be eligible for additional free seats.

Those initiatives could help pack previously unfilled areas that were an eye sore on television broadcasts during the opening homestand at the $1.5 billion ballpark.

''There are a few hundred suite seats in our premium locations that have not been sold on a full season basis,'' Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. ''As a result, and for many of our fans who have already purchased full season suite seats in such premium locations, the Yankees are announcing today a program that adjusts certain prices and benefits.''

While most of the cheaper tickets in the second and third decks were sold for the opening six games, entire sections of cushioned blue seats with teak arm rests in the first nine rows in 25 sections went empty, areas that cost $500 and up. In addition, many of the non-premium seats between the bases, which cost $325 as part of season tickets and $375 individually, also went unfilled.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who owns three $850 Legends Suite season tickets, was unhappy prices were cut only for those with front-row seats while others will be given additional tickets.

''If they're offering only selective refunds, depend upon it: There are going to be lawsuits,'' he said. ''Great, more tickets nobody wants. The silver lining here is that even more charities are going to be getting even more tickets from me.''

The price of first-row season seats in nine sections of the Delta Sky360 Suite one deck up behind home plate was cut from $750 to $550.

Among the top non-premium seats in the lower deck, the Yankees announced a buy-three-get-one-free program for new $325-a-seat season tickets in the 15 sections between the bases.

Steinbrenner said the Yankees had sold 85 percent of their premium seats and 37,000 full-season equivalents, more than 3.4 million tickets in all. But it was apparent most of the unsold seats were closest to the field.

In response, the team cut the price of first-row Legends Suite seats in four sections on the outer half of the dugouts and photo cages from $2,500 to $1,250. According to a count by The Associated Press, 48 seats were affected.

In addition, seats in the first row in the final three sections down each foul line were slashed from $1,000 to $650. That affects 68 seats.

In all, the AP count had the Yankees cutting the price of 116 of 258 front-rows seats, which have been on sale for up to $2,625 for individual games. The team said the reductions will apply to this season only, and ticket buyers can receive either a refund or credit.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester, a frequent and vocal critic of the Yankees, said the reductions weren't enough.

''It's the public that built Yankee Stadium, and even at these prices, the public has been excluded from the very stadium they built,'' Brodsky said. ''It's a continuing disaster.''

Those who bought $2,500 first-row season tickets in the 11 sections surrounding the plate that weren't reduced -- there are 98 seats in that area -- will receive an equal number of free first-row tickets for the rest of the season. Those who bought $1,250 first-row seats in the first two sections past each photo cage -- 44 seats previously in that category -- will receive free seats for 24 games.

Fans who bought $850 Legends Suite season tickets -- there are 843 seats located in that category -- will get free seats in the same section for eight games and free seats in the $500 section for four games.

Those who bought $600 Legends Suite season tickets -- 324 seats are in that area -- will get free seats in the $500 section for 10 games. Those who bought $500 Legends Suite seats -- there are 470 -- will get free seats in that section for eight games.

Among the $325 non-premium seats between the bases, the Yankees said fans who bought two or three season tickets will receive two free tickets for every other game starting with Thursday or Friday. Those who bought four or five season tickets will get two free seats for every game, those who bought six or seven will get three free seats for every game and those who bought season tickets will get four free seats for every game.

The Yankees have charged far higher prices than the Mets, whose top 92 seats behind home plate, called Delta Club Platinum, average $495 under the team's five-tier variable pricing system at $800 million Citi Field.

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The debate about Citi Field sight lines and oversight in neglecting Met history continues in bars, on sports radio and in blogs, including Loge13.

If the Mets were playing better, we'd have something better to talk about. I am convinced of one thing: I am getting tickets in the Pepsi Porch this year at some point.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News ran a good column, touching on both sides of the issue. The Mets are definitely scrambling to announce a more accessible Mets Hall of Fame in the coming weeks and defuse some of the troubles. Here be the article, in case you missed it:

Who plays at Citi Field again?

The new $850 million ballpark got an electric reception last Monday, but a growing chorus of Mets fans are griping about a peculiar choice of which storied New York stadium the Amazin's have honored.

There's a glaring lack of Shea reminders amid an odd abundance of tributes to the long-departed Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field, fans say.

"All I know is there's got to be Mets stuff or it's embarrassing," said WFAN midday radio show host Evan Roberts. "It's a cold feeling and it doesn't feel like your home."

Sporting a facade that mimics the masonry of the Dodgers' old digs, Citi Field also has the Jackie Robinson Rotunda - with photos and film of Dodgers stars and Ebbets Field - and a field-level eatery named the Ebbets Club.

Images of the now-dismantled Shea Stadium, where the Amazin's played for 45 years and won World Series titles in 1969 and 1986, are much harder to find.

A Mets spokesman stressed plans to honor team legends in a museum at Citi Field.

"As previously stated, we will recognize our team's heritage and have announcements in the weeks ahead," the spokesman said. He didn't comment about the paucity of Shea pictures in the new ballpark.

"Respect should be paid and Shea should be honored," said Stanley Cohen, author of "A Magic Summer," about the 1969 Mets. "We lose the whole substance of what the game means if we don't have something that recalls the past."

Jason Antos, who wrote "Shea Stadium: Images of Baseball," was puzzled by the emphasis on Ebbets Field, which never hosted the Mets and represents Brooklyn, not Queens.

"It's a little confusing why, in the stadium where the Mets are playing, there's so much attention being paid to Brooklyn Dodgers history," Antos said.

At the Mets' home opener on Monday, fans also bemoaned the lack of Shea likenesses.

"We're still paying homage to a team that left over 50 years ago," griped salesman Paul Palmeri, 48, of Middle Village. "It's like going to a road game to watch your home team."

Mark Klimm, 48, of Newtown, Conn., stressed he liked Citi Field but will forever have a soft spot for Shea, where he fondly remembered marching on field at a Banner Day in the mid-1970s. "That was an experience I'll never forget," he said.

While fans won't see many images of Shea's blue windscreen panels with neon outlines of ballplayers, the brand-new ballpark incorporates some elements of the Mets' longtime stadium.

Citi Field includes Shea's Home Run Apple and the New York City skyline from the Shea scoreboard. The Mets also plan to mark Shea's bases with plaques in Citi Field's parking lot.

Last week, Mets brass announced plans to install a Mets Hall of Fame with plaques honoring the club's legends, possibly in center field.

Still, many fans said they love Citi Field as is.

Season ticket holder Monica Hickey-Martin, 44, of Stuyvesant Town, applauded the ballpark's link to the Dodgers, whose westward move in 1957 paved the way for the Mets' creation in 1962.

"So many Met fans became Met fans because they were Dodgers fans," she said.

Jeff Cohen, 46, of Flushing, even suggested the lack of images of Shea - where the Mets suffered late-season collapses in 2007 and 2008 - is for the best.

"You want to do anything you can to erase the specter of that reputation," Cohen said. "You want to have a fresh start and a new look - even if that's the look of the Brooklyn Dodgers."

[April 21, 2009 5:52 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Gary Lambert said

METS FANS! Take back the name of YOUR ballpark!

Stick it to the banksters! Call it Debits Field!

Do you LOVE your Amazin's, but HATE the fact that the name of their beautiful new ballpark was sold to a corrupt and greedy corporation (and paid for with OUR Federal bailout bucks, at that)?

Well, you can join the protest and reassert your naming rights, with the DEBITS FIELD T-SHIRT!

Visit www.debitsfield.com for details.

[April 21, 2009 6:07 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Great, now we're getting idiots pushing their t-shirts!

Gary - we're all fine w/Citi Field, beat it.

[April 21, 2009 7:54 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

You know what's funny. I got over the idea of the corporate name on our ballpark a few months ago, long before anyone was allowed inside. I even had a post all ready for my blog if/when Citi had to give back the naming rights. The name is far below the bottom of my list of greivences with the Mets right now.

But Kingman, how about this - bloggers day/night in the Pepsi Porch.

[April 23, 2009 6:17 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Andrew Cardona said

I must say, prior to attending CitiField for the first time, much talk was made about the fact that there wasn't a bad seat in the house.

Well, as beautiful as the new ball park is, I'll have to say that the Upper Promenade Reserve has much less than ideal seats. The added leg room up there is non-existent. In fact, I think there is less leg room up there than Shea did. In addition, we had seats adjacent to third base and because of the structure of the stadium you could not see the near foul line past third base. It seems to me that many new ball parks have a rising wall in each corner of the outfield and the foul line is just a few inches from it. This makes from bad view. Heck, Shea had a very low rise wall in the corners and didn't have that problem. Lastly, they have a white line that holds the net behind home plate which extends toward the outfield. Many fans in my section were complaining about the fact that it can easily be confused for the foul line. Hey, I"m still happy about the new ball park but its clear that every seat is NOT great and that it was built that way so to entice you to get the most expensive.

[May 6, 2009 8:35 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Coogan said

What about The New York Giants...!!?!?


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by Kingman on April 20 at 3:17PM
From Nomas-NYC.com:

It was a dump. But it was our dump. I knew the time had come too say goodbye, but I never truly believed that the name would be sold to the highest bidder. When the name Citifield was announced I cried a little. When I drove by the other day and saw that name in lights, I cried a little more.

So here we are in the great depression of 2009, Citibank has been bailed out. At that time several people wanted to call it Taxpayer Field. I heard this while listening to the FAN, and I remember commenting to my self, "I'm calling it Shea."

And that's what I'm calling it. It will never be Citifield in my mind. It will always be Shea. Join us, as we attempt to take back the real name of the park at Flushing Meadows back form those that stole it from us. Join us in always calling it Shea to your friends and loved ones. "Popcorn, peanuts all down at Shea, guaranteed to have a heck of a day."


[April 20, 2009 4:16 PM]  |  link  |  reply
wally backman said

is this a real shirt? where/how can we get it?

[April 20, 2009 4:33 PM]  |  link  |  reply
4Swoboda4 said

First, the lyrics go:

"Hot Dogs, green grass, all out at Shea ...."

Second, you are entitled to feel how you feel -- an no one stole anything ... the Mets are getting $20M a year for Citi to place a name on a stadium .... a name that quite frankly is not offensive. For the record, I am OK with it.

But really, does it matter? By your thinking, why wasn't the new stadium in 1964 out at Flushing Meadows named "The Polo Grounds" or "Ebbetts Field" or something similar to keeps those names alive? It was originally planned to be called Corona Park at Flushing Meadows (or something like that) .... those darn Sheas stole the name .... Jeez, get over it.

[April 20, 2009 4:39 PM]  |  link  |  reply
4Swoboda4 said

After re-reading your post, let me get this straight.

After shedding all those tears over seeing the name CitiField and not Shea Stadium, you regained your composure, designed a T-Shirt and are now trying to make money off it?

Just curious.

What an absolutely ridiculous post ....

[April 20, 2009 6:56 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stu B said

Thank you, Wally Backman!

To paraphrase Crash Davis in "Bull Durham," I hate people who get the words wrong!

[April 20, 2009 7:27 PM]  |  link  |  reply
MookieHernandez said

Bravo Kingman - they can't dictate what I call it. Until Citi sends ME a check, I'm calling it Shea (or "New Shea" to show that I am aware it is actually a new stadium).

Swaboda's missing the point. It's just more marketing and advertising to get in the way of enjoying the game. Does anyone else like seeing billboards on the outfield walls or the images on the wall behind the catcher?

... and what will you think when Citi goes out of business and they have to rename it? What happens when it becomes "Bed Bath & Baseball Park"?

[April 20, 2009 7:41 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Hey 4Swoboda4, you got it wrong!

Kingman had nothing to do w/these shirts. As a matter of fact I forwarded him the site - nomas-nyc.com - when I saw the t-shirts, which I thought was funny and appropriate for the blog. The site actually has several funny, and some not, t-shirts on the site.

Sorry you didn't get it.

[April 20, 2009 9:33 PM]  |  link  |  reply
4Swoboda4 said

First, apologies to Kingman -- I did miss it and again, I offer my apologies.

Second, toe Mookie/Hernandez, I could care less what they call it or how much signage is in the park .... it does not detract from the game at all for me ... are you seriously saying that becasue the stadium is called CitiField or because there are ads on the outfield walls (which were at Shea Stadium as well) andf the scoreboard (which were at Shea too) that it ruins the game?

Get real ... that's simply ridiculous.

To be clear, call CitiField anything you want .... if/when it should need a name change due to some corporate issue, then I will call it by it's name ....

Let's not forget that the Mets did not just change the name for change sake .... there is a lucrative corporate sponsorship deal here that should help this team.

[April 20, 2009 9:56 PM]  |  link  |  reply
MookieHernandez said

You use 'ridiculous' alot - does every opinion that doesn't match yours get labeled as such?

It does detract from the game for me ... when every available inch of the screen is sponsored, it detracts from the game.

I can remember Shea before there were ads everywhere because it was considered bush league to sell out ad space on the outfield walls.

If you're fine with all the ads and such, then congrats. But it's a small mind that doesn't respect different viewpoints.

[April 20, 2009 10:57 PM]  |  link  |  reply
4Swoboda4 said

Mookie/Hernandez ... I like thew ord ridiculous -- do you have a problem with that?

If the signage detracts from the game for you, then I cannot address that -- it it does, it does. But what I don't understand is that your glorious Shea had a ton of signage as well -- all over the scoreboard, in back of home-plate, and all over the outfield fences. Yet Shea was a paradise and your brand new Shea is not .... hard for me to understand that.

I guess I'd rather have a small mind then a completely empty one .... you degrade CitField for having attributes that your beloved Shea Stadium had .... that makes sense to you? Are you even capable of understanding the very words you yourself wrote?

You strike me as someone who has nothing better to do then find something to complain about .... well go at it big fella.

[April 21, 2009 9:00 AM]  |  link  |  reply
mike said

All Citi Field is to me is a Giant Billboard inside and out. It's disgusting..It's also a Mall which happens to have a baseball field inside of it.

[April 21, 2009 10:36 AM]  |  link  |  reply
MookieHernandez said

Wow Swaboda - If you took the time to read my post, you'd see I didn't like it at Shea either.

That said, I have no interest in wasting my time with someone such as yourself any further. I'm off this thread. Congrats - you win.

[April 21, 2009 5:21 PM]  |  link  |  reply
4Swoboda4 said

You must be a moron.

Nowhere does it say you dislike Shea ...

[April 21, 2009 5:54 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Gary Lambert said

Stick it to the banksters! Call it Debits Field!

Do you LOVE your Amazin's, but HATE the fact that the name of their beautiful new ballpark was sold to a corrupt and greedy corporation (and paid for with OUR Federal bailout bucks, at that)?

Well, you can join the protest and reassert your naming rights, with the DEBITS FIELD T-SHIRT!

Visit www.debitsfield.com for details.

[April 24, 2009 5:30 PM]  |  link  |  reply
glenn said

The real lyrics are "...bring your kiddies, bring your wife,
guaranteed to have the time of your life..."

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Filed under: Baseball | CitiField | Mets
by Kingman on April 19 at 7:52PM
The other day I posted about what's not to like at Citi Field.

Now it's time to try and be positive, not my natural instinct but here it goes:

Fan Walk: I am a fan. The brick walkway outside is a classy touch. Met fans rose to the occasion and left behind some clever tributes and poignant memorials. I am especially impressed by the dude who used the fan walk as an opportunity to propose marriage ("I am not David Wright but I am Mr. Right. Will you marry me?" Damn I wish I thought of that. Oh wait I'm already married). We always knew Met fans were the wittiest and most passionate in all baseball. Now there is written proof around Citi Field.

The Dunking Station. That was the favorite place for my sons (The MLB09 video game hut came in second). Next to the wiffle ball field behind the scoreboard, there is an old-fashioned dunking station sponsored by Hershey Park. The dunked victim doesn't fall into a tank of water, however; just some foam. But the kids were loving it anyway. Smart move by the Mets to put a giant screen behind the scoreboard so parents forced to bring their progeny to all these attractions can still follow the game.

Bullpens. Once again, we can see who is warming up, at least for the Mets.

The old Apple. At one point, the Mets were going to trash Shea's old home run magic hat. Now it is one of the most popular destinations in the new stadium. Very cool.

The bridge. Between the Apple and the bullpen, the suspension bridge provides the most impressive view of the game (that's where the above photo was taken).

Citi corridors. There is much more room to walk within the concourses of Citi Field. And on the Promenade level, there are many open areas, so more natural light comes in. I especially like the Promenade food court behind home plate. They could use another video screen there for fans to watch the action while dining.  

Citi bathrooms. I have only been to one game but I never had to wait on line. And I got to listen to the radio, as they now pipe WFAN into the men's room. In fact, I was in the bathroom on Opening Day when the news broke about the death of Mark "The Bird" Fydrich. Someone flushed during the news, though, so I had to loiter in the men's toilet a bit longer than I felt comfortable with.

Citi staff. I did not see our old Loge13 usher on Opening Day. He may have retired; he's probably somewhere else. The folks I have met have clearly taken the new courtesy training very seriously. But that doesn't mean they are without charm or character. Good example: before Monday's game, the usher in our section heard me chatting with Ron Hunt  about the rock & roll hall of fame. He noted that lots of worthy bands are still excluded. I agreed and cited as one random example, Jethro Tull. Turns out, this guy was at Shea Stadium July 23, 1976 when Tull played Shea, and he cited the date as proof. Now that's what we want in a Mets usher.

Again, I have only attended one game so I may have overlooked or overstated something. Feel free to fill in the blanks.

[April 19, 2009 9:06 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

you mentioned some really good points here, and it's good in all the bad press that they're getting (and I'm giving them) that some good things are said.

i think you left out the comfort of the seats and seating aisles. my joke for my Shea seats is to take a normal kitchen chair, shave off 2 inches on each side, and you have the seat. much improved at the new place.

i actually thought there wasn't enough light on at least some of the concourses. but i was at a day game on a bit of a cloudy day (against Boston).

though different from the blue we got so used to, i do like the color scheme (minus advertisments) of the outfield wall, with the orange lining and black wall. i heard that the wall and the green seats were meant to invoke memories of the Polo Grounds (something my dad knew and can give his opinion on after next Saturday's game).

[April 19, 2009 9:43 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

OK then I expect a report from dyhrdmet Senior next weekend on the Polo Grounds comparisons...

[April 19, 2009 9:44 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Many good thoughts King-dude, I love these the most - the Bridge, the old Apple, World's Fare Market, the overall feel of the place is good(and I've waited on line for a waterless urinal).

It started to look like home this weekend on SNY, I knew these were home games. Good sign.

btw - we need to sit in the Pepsi Porch next year!!!!!

[April 20, 2009 10:51 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

Dude it is SO funny you said that. I was thinking the same thing. The Pepsi Porch looks real interesting to me. If you can't get seats in the infield, that looks like the best view and vibe of the place. I was looking into getting some single game seats there this year.

[April 20, 2009 2:23 PM]  |  link  |  reply
greek bumble bee said

Let me know when you guys go for Pepsi Porch and I will come over with my two boys to rekindle some loge 13 memories.

[April 20, 2009 5:31 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Andrew said

Pepsi Porch is great. Sat there twice already. The area is blocked off from other sections so the concessions and bathrooms do not have long lines. It's possible to go to the bathroom, grab some food and be back in time for the next half inning. The only negative is that I sat in section 303, 5th row and you cant see the warning track or the bullpens from 303. Other than that, for the price, convenience and view, those might be the best seats.

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Thumbnail image for gary sheffield.jpg
Q. Who was the first person to hit his 500th home run in Citi Field?

A. Gary Sheffield (That's an easy one)

Q. Who had the first walk-off RBI at Citi Field?

A. Luis Castillo

That last one may not be so easy.

Good to see Castillo have another good game at the plate. Real Met fans had better be rooting for this guy; we need him to come through like tonight if we're going to have a chance this year. The Mets left 13 men on base tonight, including three bases-loaded situations. This team will live or die by how secondary dudes like Castillo do with the game on the line.

Congrats also to Gary Sheffield. Maybe losing that 500 HR anvil from his back will help him loosen up more at the plate.

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