In the heart of the Citi

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Before I proceed with the obligatory Citi Field post, allow me to first share a collective R.I.P. for Nick Adenhart, Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych. It’s apparently too true what they say about deaths coming in threes.

Now, on to the task at hand: I’ll spare the flowery, poetic stuff for another post. Let’s get down to the quick hitters, because there’s plenty to cover here.

  • The drive in from eastern Long Island was relatively uneventful until the final 20 minutes or so, when Dad and I hit some normal day-of-game traffic, at which point Dad let loose a slew of curse words that could make a trucker blush. I think it’s therapeutic for him, or something.
  • I had previously seen the ballpark from a distance (in the car or on the subway), but I was truly in awe when I first laid eyes on it Monday in its finished state, abuzz with eager fans. I generally had few qualms with Shea, but I now realize what an eyesore it was in comparison to what is a charming and beautiful structure.
  • Parking cost $18.00, but we knew that before we arrived. Frankly, taking the train would have been just as expensive, with the added inconvenience of being chained to a schedule.
  • A sizable pile of rubble remains from Shea in the parking lot. It ain’t pretty and I’m sure it’s killing the Mets to lose what would be a handful of parking spots, so hopefully it will be gone before long.
  • SNY (the regional Mets network) had a set outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and was shooting a pregame show, with panelists Bob Raissman and Frank Isola (both of the Daily News) and radio personality Joe Benigno (of WFAN). Dad and I quipped that Benigno has a radio face.
  • There’s certainly a bit of a bottleneck effect for foot traffic at the JRR. Between people stopping to read the personalized walkway bricks outside the stadium and the limited number of turnstiles (plus customary security checks), it was a bit frustrating. The JRR itself is a nice touch, although I’ll admit I think it’s a bit overrated. MLB is not shy in championing the American icon (nor should it be), but again, the sheer volume of people in there made it a bit overwhelming.
  • We took the long way toward our seats on the third-base line by circumnavigating the field-level concourse, starting on the first-base side. This was something of a pleasant revelation for us, seeing as Shea was merely a semicircle. I took a slew of photos out there, including one of the old home run apple, which is nestled safely behind the concourse in right-center.
  • After finding our seats and settling in, we got down to business: Hot dogs and soda. On the way to the toppings stand, we bumped into coworker DC, who was with his mom. I thought it only right that we were both paying it forward by bringing our parents. Dad later wondered whether there would be hot dog vendors on foot, which I assumed there would be, though he wasn’t sure. We later found out they do, in fact, troll the stands of Citi Field.
  • Lineups were announced over the instrumental for Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” Normally, I wouldn’t think of it as much of a match, but it was surprisingly seamless. Ex-Met Cliff Floyd was given a strong ovation by fans during introductions, and rightfully so. He was one of our few solid players during the regrettable Art Howe era. Heath Bell was booed, which was expected but unnecessary. His disparaging remarks for the organization regarding his misuse were warranted in light of our bullpen collapses the past two seasons. Duaner Sanchez received a mixed reaction. The most cheered Met was David Wright. Bud Selig was booed. Now, I understand he’s a polarizing figure, and, indirectly, my employer, so I don’t want to stir the pot too much here. I will say, in his defense, part of his legacy as commissioner will be the cropping up of new ballparks all over the nation, including Citi Field. A little critical thinking wouldn’t hurt sometimes, Mets fans.
  • Jody Gerut, welcome to Mets trivia immortality. When Adrian Gonzalez hit the meaningless second home run in Citi Field history, I quipped at least he was beefing up my fantasy team’s stats.
  • Mike Pelfrey tripped and fell during his windup in the second inning. Well worth a laugh once we realized he was OK.
  • Jose Reyes got gunned down at second base on a questionable call, trying to stretch a single into a double. It was still an incredibly exciting play.
  • The bathrooms are plentiful in number and spacious in size. The urinals are futuristic — far cooler than the troughs at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the home of my ECU Pirates (yes, troughs). As if I don’t feel like enough of an animal partying with college kids at 10 a.m. for football games.
  • Professor Reyes’ Spanish classes have made the jump over to Citi Field, and they’re just as painful to watch now as they were at Shea.
  • A fan in the left-field porch held a sign, dubbing it Murf’s (sic) Turf. It has a ring to it … Now, if only he could field the position. He was given a hearty Bronx cheer upon putting away a lazy pop fly mid-game.
  • An orange tabby cat was let loose on the field. It scurried around the wall behind homeplate before jumping into a camera well and disappearing from sight. Dad wondered who the heck would bring a cat to a baseball game just to let it run on the field. Baseball lore, I thought, occurs on its own. Whoever contrived such a trick needs a reality check.
  • When Wright stroked his three-run, game-tying homer — the first Mets homer in Citi Field history — the place erupted. Seriously, why did it take until the fifth for us to hammer Walter Silva? We had some crummy at-bats the first couple times through the lineup.
  • Pedro Feliciano seemed to have wriggled out of a serious jam before balking home the winning run in the sixth inning, while I was on line, getting coffee. I watched on a monitor above the concession stand, of all places. Talk about anticlimactic — not to mention the fact that I asked for two small, regular coffees and was given two black cups of joe with sugar packets. If you want something exactly the way you order it, Dad said, you have to watch and make sure they prepare it that way. Lesson learned.
  • As DC duly noted in a Facebook update, Mets fans wisely booed when “Sweet Caroline” was played on the stadium speakers. Need we affect every baseball cliche? Ugh.
  • J.J. Putz did not enter to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” a huge disappointment. No, I’m not really much of an AC/DC fan, but I think it’s apropos for Putz.
  • Bell earned the save, set up by Sanchez. I have to say, the Mets’ loss was at least a gain for my roto squad in the saves column. Cheers, Heath.
  • There’s plenty more to discuss here, but it’s been a long day and I’m pretty shot. More to come.

4 Comments

Why would they play “Sweet Caroline”? Strange. Too bad the game didn’t end better for you but it seems like a good time was had by all. And I’m with your Dad – who would bring a cat to the game?

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I think “Sweet Caroline” is becoming increasingly common around big league ballparks. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s a cool tradition — for the Red Sox and their fans.

The cat thing was just bizarre. It was like someone was trying to force the same “magic” from the 1969 pennant chase, except this was during the home opener and the cat was orange, not black. Haha.

DC here. I can’t believe it took me two weeks to read your thoughts, but my blog trolling goes in spurts. Anyway, some of my random thoughts:

1.) I doubt the cat was brought in. Did you know Shea was home to dozens (I believe) stray or feral cats? I think they liked all the rat hunting. I’m sure, despite the Mets’ best efforts, a few made the move to Citi. Probably of both.

2.) I LOVE Reyes’ Spanish Academy. Couldn’t really hear this first one, though. I hope I hear Wednesday’s.

3.) Michigan doesn’t quite have troughs at the Big House, but they have the kind of gutters in the floors like you see in showers at the gym. They’re about two-inch-deep channels running along the walls, with the same tiling going from the floors through the channels and up the walls. Clean water flows in a cascade from about eye level down into the gutters, then flows toward drains. So you essentially pee on the walls. And Notre Dame Stadium still has troughs, even after the whole place was remodeled from 1996-97. I guess you can fit more people in that way. They couldn’t add more bathrooms in the original structure (though they did on the upper-level addition), so they had to continue to get the most use out of the space they had.

I know the statute of limitation on passing along thanks for a thoughtful response is probably long expired, DC, but I appreciate you checking in. Always nice to hear from another Mets diehard on the issues that matter (and some that don’t). Haha.

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