— Days Without Shea —

Mr. Met
We were in Citi Field Wednesday night for the Mets 7-4 win over the Nationals, completing a three-game sweep. A weird night overall, from Murphy's Subway home run to Fernando making his first rookie mistake (run, Fernando, run!) to Johan doing an Ollie imitation.

Plus Citi Field was a massive distraction last night, thanks to the new exclusivity rules in the bars and my first fight with a drunk at a Met game in a few decades. More on that later.

First the game: despite no Reyes, Church, Delgado and the rest of the injured parade, the Mets put up a good fight. Johan was erratic, striking out 10 but walking 6 along the way. With a 3-0 lead in the 4th, Johan came a bit undone, giving up a massive 2-run homer to Adam Dunn that almost hit the old Apple beyond the bridge. Later in the inning, Santana walked in the tying run. Ugh.

But the Mets did not let themselves get beat by a lesser team. Murphy redeemed himself for a missed catch at 1st in the first by crunching a 2-run homer in the 5th. At least it was a home run eventually. The ball hit the Subway sign on the Pepsi Porch, now known as Wilpon's Folly, as our owners' desire to create a quirky homage to dead old stadiums not named Shea resulted in this ground rules trivia question. The umps had to leave the field and review the tape. Meanwhile, 40,000 of us in our seats were not allowed to watch an instant reply on the two giant Citi Field screens. Eventually, the HR was acknowledged and the Mets kept the lead for good.

It should be noted that just below Wilpon's Folly, young Fernando Martinez made a great catch early in the game, crashing into the bullpen at one of its nooks (or is that a cranny?). A great catch all but forgotten when, during his next at-bat, Martinez watched as his meager pop-up in front of home plate fell out of the catcher's glove. By the time Fernando ran, it was too late - he was out at first and in the dog house of impatient Met fans. Welcome to the big leagues. It can only get better from here kid, unless you cut a rap record with Lastings Milledge.

But I'd say Citi Field had a worse night. The stadium itself is fine and I'm getting to like the sight lines. But last night's experience was the opposite of my Citi Field trip a few weeks back. Last game, O entered the Promenade Box bar and enjoyed the view while dining and drinking - very civilized. Last night, when my Dad and I tried to enter, we were stopped by two ushers who demanded our tickets, then informed us we didn't have access. But I was here last game, I reasoned. "We've changed our policy," I was told. So the Mets have gone back to excluding fans from even the most modest of bars. Never mind that the food and restaurants are touted as a selling point for the stadium. Never mind that the Promenade Box Bar was EMPTY. Never mind that I had cash in hand and was not afraid to spend. We walked out and pocketed the dough I would have gladly coughed up to the Mets. Foolish.

But this policy is nothing compared to the Ambulatory Rules of Citi Field. As previously mentioned, our seats are in the last row of our section, on the same level as the Promenade walkway. Folks are allowed to stand directly behind us. Most of the time, that's fine but occasionally people will stand there jabbering about anything but the game. Or a drunken lout or two will scream nonsense gibberish in the general direction of the field, their slobbering syllables passing first through my aching head.

Last night we asked the green jacketed director matron of our section to clear the area when folks were lingering too long. She said she can't - it's stadium policy to let people stand there. That policy was in full effect, when around the third inning, two drunk guys stood behind us to the side, talking on their cell phones and to two tourist ladies. They weren't directly annoying; most of the time they weren't even watching the game and were easily ignored. But when the ladies left, the guys finally noticed the game and began to randomly blurt out cheers. By the 6th inning, they were directly behind me. Finally, after one particularly loud random "Lets Go Mets," I politely asked the louder dude to move 10 feet in either direction. To which he replied, "I said lets go Mets, what the F#*& is your problem." This argument usually wins with me, at least it did 20 years ago. But not last night. Words were exchanged; Ron Hunt asked the dude where his seats were. he told us way up behind us.

And that's the galling part. Folks can buy inferior tickets, then move around the stadium as part of the "experience." Instead, they move to right behind us and set up beer camp and our "experience" is obliterated. A few minutes after our spirited debate subsided, I got up and talked with the drunk dude, explaining that when he cursed, he blew it. I don't care what you're chanting but don't curse me out in my seat. He apologized, we shook hands and he moved on. He was actually not a bad guy at all. The real problem here is the policy...and the "directors" whose job it is apparently is to stand around telling us about the policy. Our green jacket witnessed the whole affair and did nothing to intervene. Unacceptable.

Fred or Jeff, feel free to come sit with us one night and see if our experience matches what it used to be like in Ebbets Field.

Anyways, the Mets are in first with a day off to mend.

[May 28, 2009 11:18 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Eli said

Wow, what a lousy experience. You should send this to the Mets. If only to see how they respond. In my experiences, they always have responded. I may not have liked what they said, but they responded.

[May 28, 2009 12:02 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Caryn said

Don't ask the local security - you should call or text the security hotline number instead. Tell them you have drunk fans disturbing you and they will send someone with a little more authority than the wandering ineffective security.

The idiocy with the Promenade box bar is ridiculous. When I heard it was open, I wondered about the people who'd bought tickets believing that they had exclusive rights. I would have been annoyed if I had been promised one thing and told another. OTOH when Jeff Wilpon gave that tour of Citi before it opened he claimed it was for everyone. So who knows.

Please send a letter to the Mets. Don't call, don't email, send a letter. Written letters are going to get their attention. I have been sending one each week regarding my various issues with Citi Field.

[May 28, 2009 1:37 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stan O said

I was also at last night's game, sitting in Promenade 518 and also had a number of issues with the staff of CitiField. While I was sitting in my seat nearly 2 hours before the game eating a sandwich and reading a magazine, a security guard came up and asked to see my ticket. When I refused and told him my section, row and seat number without looking he told me to "stop being wise" and walked away. Around the fifth inning, people in the upper area of the section, most notably women (to my surprise) were stumbling down stairs. At one point, two security guards came up to talk to another woman. The activity brought four more security guards who stood at the base of the stairs, blocking the game action. After telling them that I did not buy a ticket to watch them and that the stairs were a place where they could watch their security detail and get out of our way, they finally moved. (The offending fan was walking back to her seat moments after being brought down the stairs by security.) I hope the Wilpons do clean up the mess they have made with CitiField. I walked into the stadium back in March wanting to love it...but have found that other than spending the time at the ballpark with my dad, I would prefer watching the game at home. It is a shame. And as for the food, I have given up on it. I am bringing my own and using up my Mets Money on books in the team store before I stop buying anything there. Always enjoy your blog...please keep it up.

[May 28, 2009 2:16 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

Thanks folks. Your comments are helpful a day after our goofy experience. Metsgrrl, saw your post about open containers. That happened to me once at Shea last year. I had to throw away a new bottle of water because it was open. And no "Meet the Mets" is indeed ridiculous. Stan O, now that the Prom Box is off-limits, I am only eating food I bring in. And I may even stop drinking Citi beer. If I'm not good enough for Citi's dinky, empty bar, they can kiss my cash goodbye. Where's my flask?

[May 28, 2009 7:55 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

dude, your experience just sucks. all of yours do. i'm with MetsGrrl about writing letters. i want to like Citi Field too, but I haven't found a reason why I should.

[May 28, 2009 10:05 PM]  |  link  |  reply
AJP said

Citi Field security is very arbitrary. There really is no plan and organization.

I was in the elite Cesaurs Club on the fabulous and exlusive Excelsior level last night and I actually saw small children being the main barflys at the Grand Bar in the lofty central atrium area.

I actually love standing behind the last row of the 400 level. But I don't drink and I'm not rowdy and I don't breathe down peoples necks.

It is just a matter of time when people will packed in 4 deep in these locatons. The Mets will probably be selling thousands of standing room only tickets beginning with the "Subway Series"

[May 29, 2009 6:59 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Stan O said

This morning I was listening to the podcast of the "Boomer and Carton" show. A season ticket holding fan called up to say that he had four extra tickets to Wednesday's game and walked up to a family in line to buy tickets and handed them to the family, free of charge. He was detained by security, with the police notified that such behavior was not allowed on CitiField grounds. This is getting out of control.

[May 29, 2009 9:09 AM]  |  link  |  reply
NatKiller said

What a whine. You could have it worse you know - like a stadium where security actually moves the people along that congregate right behind the last row of seats in the promenade (mainly because the fans there are rooting for the visiters, not the home team). Or when the home team plays the Phillies and 75% of the fans just came in from the City of "Brotherly" Love and you almost get into a fight because you stand up and say "Let's Go Mets" because the Nats sure ain't going anywhere. Or you bring your kid to the game in your great seats behind the Nats dugout and George Will -- yes George Will -- hands your son a ball and you are torn between saying "Thanks" or "You're a pompous bufffoon." Or you actually miss having Lastings Millidge as your centerfielder or wish you had Heillman coming out of your bullpen. Please save your tears until the Mets trade for Nick Johnson to replace Delgado at First.

[June 2, 2009 8:12 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman Author Profile Page replied to NatKiller

You're just mad because they don't let you smoke in your seats.

[May 30, 2009 11:34 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stan said

This is all the same story, new place. I grew up going to Jets games with my Dad in Mezzanine 25. Row 1, seats on the corner by the portal. For some reason, the area directly in front of our seats became a regular hangout for vendors resting their (hot dog) buns and stopping to watch the game. Since Dad gave up on 'asking nicely' somewhere around 1970, the stalled vendor or fan in question was usually helped along by a long-armed sideways push from Dad.

[June 11, 2009 12:55 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Tom said

The Promenade Club was initially sold and advertised to Season Ticket Holders as exclusive for folks who were sitting in Promenade Club seats. Not Prom. Boxes. Yes, they changed the rules midstream to see if it could work and it was so-so. It's a policy that is a work in progress.

As for the fans, someone bought my seat next to me for the 6/9 Philly game and never showed up. I assume he stayed on the Field Level and watched the game from the SRO areas. It's just how things are at the new ballparks.

[June 18, 2009 9:20 AM]  |  link  |  reply
NYJ said

Wow, you're a whiny pompous tool.

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