Meet the Mets! Greet the Mets! When I first visited the new home of New York Mets in 2009, my expectations were very high. My favorite team’s old haunt, Shea Stadium, was no more and I really wanted this to be the best ballpark in the world. While I read that the new stadium in the Bronx did a wonderful job paying homage to the Pinstripe Greats and oozed all things Bomber, the new Mets park didn’t do much of that. My high standards for the team overshadowed many of the cool things that the park has to offer AND the great references to the borough of Queens and old Shea. Since then, the club has added enough Mets history to have you seeing orange and blue in your sleep after attending a game.
Review by Gary
The 3rd base parking lot offers a hidden treasure. Home plate, the bases and the pitchers mound from old Shea are marked in the pavement with nice plaques. Fans can stand at home plate and channel Dave Kingman or on the mound where Seaver and Koosman once pitched.
The stadium pays respect to the former National League teams from New York as the main entrance of Citi was modeled after the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ebbets Field and the rotunda behind home plate is a tasteful memorial to Jackie Robinson. There is a pedestrian bridge in the outfield concourse named Shea Bridge which resembles the Hell’s Gate Bridge and all the seats in the park are green in an homage to the NY Giants’ Polo Grounds, the first home of the Mets.
Banners of former Met players greet you from the light poles and orange and blue flowers guide you to the gate. A Walk of Fame around the exterior features computer-etched plaques of notable moments in the Amazins’ history. The Mets Hall of Fame contains both World Series trophies, the original Mr. Met mascot costume (Fun Fact: Mr. Met is believed to have been the first mascot in Major League Baseball to exist in human form.) Game jerseys, bats, balls, etc. are festooned around the museum along with many great photos of players, announcers and videos of notable Met moments.
Attending a game at Citi Field is truly a unique experience:
- Planes departing from nearby LaGuardia Airport fly over about every 3 minutes. (When we were kids sitting in the stratospheric upper deck at Shea, we used to joke that we could tell what the passengers were eating as the planes flew over.)
- The hot dog vendors actually place the dog in the bun right before serving it to you instead of throwing you a pre-wrapped dog of indeterminate age. I’m not sure how many teams do this, but I certainly think it’s a great feature!
- Citi Field is the only MLB stadium with orange foul poles and home run lines. This was taken from Shea.
The dimensions of the field have gone through numerous changes since the first season, notably placing an 8’ wall in the left field in front of the 16’ wall that was once named “The Great Wall of Flushing”. To the hitters delight, the right field wall was moved in from 415’ to 390’. An auxiliary video board is nestled down the right field line and entertains those fans sitting in the high seats in left field, which is actually behind the main scoreboard. The out-of-town scoreboard is so high above those seats that to know the scores it may be easier to just go to the game in that city.
The giant apple with the Met logo in centerfield was recreated (the original is on display between the #7 Subway Station and the main entrance greeting fans) and appears whenever a Met hits a homer. The original black walls have since been repainted orange and blue. Walking around the concourse, you’ll see giant Met baseball cards hanging over the concession stands as you wait in line for your food and reminisce about Met players fans cheered for in the past. You won’t have to be a Met fan to enjoy your experience at Citi Field, but you may be wooed to change your allegiance as the myriad of unconditional fans cheer for the Orange and Blue. Bring your kiddies, bring your wife, you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life!
The background photo on this page was taken by Mike in 2012. Look closely at the center and you will see the Space Shuttle Enterprise on the back of a 747. It flew by NYC on its way to becoming a permanent exhibit at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum on the Hudson River.