— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | CitiField | Mets
by Kingman on April 16 at 2:06PM
Since opening day, many folks have e-mailed, asking if I have listened to the FAN or heard any of the backlash from outraged Met fans, complaining about Citi Field.

I have not tuned in. I gave up on outrage long ago. Loge13 started over two years back because we were Outraged. Saddened. Confused. The Mets were tearing down a perfectly fine stadium to erect a smaller, less personal "Field" with less seats for fans and no announced plans to migrate longtime season-ticket holders to that new ball park.

Two years ago, no one wanted to talk about the fiscal irresponsibility of it all. Or how fans were getting a bit of a shaft. Times have changed. Outrage is now in bloom in Flushing. Meanwhile, our Outrage has melted, or given way to bemusement.

Others now are raging about what we chewed up and spit out since 2007. I have had time to move through various stages of outrage and grief...and been twice to Citi Field...so I think I can write somewhat objectively about my first thoughts re: the new place. I'll get to the positives in another post but for now, here's what's not to like, in no particular order:

There are no Mets here. I think it is great the Wilpons are honoring Jackie Robinson. Maybe it's a bit over the top for a guy who never played for the Mets or had anything to do with the franchise but as a figure of history, he deserves a tribute.

But so do the Mets. As Faith and Fear more elegantly put it, where are the honors to Seaver? To Stengel? Joan Payson?  I have seen alot written lately implying that Met history is really not that memorable. Rubbish. This is just Yankee envy talking again. In NY, people equate baseball history with winning the World Series. That means the Phillies don't really have a baseball legacy to be proud of. Or the Cubs. This lack of homage to the past is something I guarantee will be corrected in the next couple seasons.

There are no Mets colors here. Most of the blue and orange you see in Citi Field are in the logos for Citi Field. Otherwise, the tones are neutral: brown and green and gray (kinda like the old Shea hamburgers...more on food later). This living tribute to Ebbetts Field is decorated to the point I feel like I'm in a black and white movie walking around...

...Until I saw the red grounds crew jackets. Red. As in Phillie Red. Not only are we ignoring past history, but apparently we are also ignorant of current history. It must have occured to SOMEONE that red is not a good color for anything Met. What happened to bright orange? Even lime green? Lets change those colors.

And lets change those seat colors. Otherwise I have no idea what level I am on.

There are no restaurants here. I keep hearing about these seven great restaurants for the fans in Citi Field. What they don't tell you: most fans can't get into any of them. Unless you are seated in specific sections, you are denied access...something no one told us when we bought seats in Promenade 427. We can't even eat in the Promenade restaurant, which forbids visits from any of the unwashed seats beyond Prom 421.

Of course, all folks can eat in the open stands, including Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, etc. The lines for those places have been prohibitively long so far.

There are some limited view seats here. Ask Keith Hernandez.  From where we sit, we cannot see plays into the left field corner and anything about 20 feet off the left-field foul line. That's a slight problem, but not earth-shattering. As I have walked through the stands, I have seen (or not seen) much worse.

I think the worst, though, is watching on TV. Wednesday night, one of the Padres hit a shot up the right-field line. Couldn't tell if it was fair or foul because the camera loses sight of the ball when it hugs the asymmetrical right field walls. Keith Hernandez said on-air that he can't see what happens up the lines from the broadcast booth. That's a problem. Good to know I have one thing in common with Keith (soon two things, once I determine the best "Just for men" color for me). 

There are no big beers here. I looked all over the Promenade area Monday night for the wonderful 24 oz beers that were sold in Shea Stadium last year (truly one of the best innovations at Shea since the Home Run Apple). I could not find these buckets of pleasure anywhere. This is a serious problem. If anyone knows where they are in Citi Field, please tell me.

That's enough for now. I will post soon on what there is to like about Shea Field, because there are some cool things to enjoy. I'd love to hear what y'all are thinking...

[April 16, 2009 8:26 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Cousin B said

Come to the Bronx and see how it should be done =))

[April 16, 2009 8:27 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

you have the goods and bads of this new ballpark. I do. Many other bloggers do. But what struck me reading your post, I should ask this question...

Are you surprised that the Mets built a ballpark that's getting some bad reviews? Who expected to hear WFAN, live from Yankee Stadium's opener, bashing new Chez, and not being wrong about what they said?

[April 16, 2009 10:48 PM]  |  link  |  reply
James K. said

Great post kingman. The lack of 24oz beers is disturbing. I miss the "Roosevelt Avenue Pub" at Shea.

The obstructed view seats in the left field upper deck are awful. I feel bad for anyone who bought season tix up there without being told by the team of the poor view.

[April 17, 2009 9:41 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

I've long called the Wilpons the worst owners in sport and Citi Field only confirms their lack of appreciation for the Mets and their fans.

The lack of recognition of the Mets history is inexcusable but seems to be repairable. I suspect they will correct this over time. One of the nice things I saw in Dodger Stadium during the WBC were posters on the stadium columns celebrating great Dodgers for their 50 years in LA, which was last year. It was a nice touch to be old Dodgers celebrated every few yards.

All the new stadiums with the concourse on the field level that wraps around the field allow fans to view the entire field while walking around the park / concourse. Citi Field and the Wilpons sold their soul to expensive boxes and high end club restaurants, thereby depriving fans the ability to view the view from behind home plate.

It terrible when you go up the stairs or escalators from the rotunda and come into a dark, unlit area that is only entrances to the clubs, where most of us are not welcome. In all the parks I've visited you can view the entire field from behind home plate in this spot. In my opinion it ruins the rotunda. I honestly didn't know where to turn when I first entered this dark hallway.

[April 17, 2009 12:19 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

I think the Mets were more pressed to get firm construction completed on time. I thinks visible Mets history will make its appearance as time moves on, and the club addresses other infrastructure issues. I'd rather them take their time to get it right then have them rush, put something crappy together, just to appease rabid fans.

I, too, do not like the dungeon like caverns behind the plate on the field level.

However, I love my seats in Prom 405. I will be auditioning my seats in 514 tonight.

I too, have not seen 24 oz. beers unless they were in the parking lot. 24 oz. beers would probably be $10.

Gents, I knew from day one (well, Thanksgiving 2008, when the plan info came out) that most of the Prom Level (sans those club seats) would not have access to the clubs and restaurants. This is a reason why I went to the open house -- to see those places that I'd never get a chance to see later. They are impressive. But I don't go to ball games to be impressed by restaurants. I go to watch baseball.

I am sure, that when the hoopla dies down, and the demand fades, others will be able to get into those restaurants... I am sure that if there is a seat, they'll give it to you so that they can take your money. Just bide your time. They did it before with Plans... they'll do it with the Acela Restaurant.

Do you know how many times I went into the Grill Room w/o a DC ticket? If they have seats, they want your money.


[April 17, 2009 3:45 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

RH, Doug, good point about the cavern behind home plate. I couldn't put my finger on that Monday night but something bothered me when I got to the top of the rotunda. I actually walked the wrong way, thinking i was walking up a ramp towards home plate. It's idiotic that you don't ascend those escalators to a view of the field, instead of a brick roadblock. Mr. Wilpon, tear down that wall!

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