Back at Citi Field, with a Little Help from Strangers

I was back at Citi Field for Wednesday afternoon’s Mets drubbing of the Phillies. It was my first game since I moved back to New York. And while it was my fourth time at the stadium, it felt like my first.

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I’ll explain that in a moment, but first a big shout out to two guys who helped me get to the park in the first place. My 7 train stopped running at Grand Central; it seems there was a track fire (this, on the same day the 7 was named the best subway line in the city). We all got off the train and looked at each other: “How do we get to Citi Field now?”

I was ready to go to Penn Station and take the LIRR (how long would that have taken?) when I bumped into these two guys, Bob and Ron. I told them what was happening and Ron said he knew of an alternate route. My eyes must have been glazing over as he described it, so Bob said I should just tag along with them. I did and we got to Citi Field in no time; I only missed the top of the first inning. Thanks guys!

(For future reference, we took the uptown 4 train one stop to 51st street where we caught a Queens-bound E. We took that to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt St. where we hooked up with the 7 train at 74th St.-Broadway.).

Now to the game. When I go to baseball stadiums I like to walk around and see the game from different angles. My first three trips to Citi Field were with friends. I don’t want to subject my friends to my little adventures so I stayed put in my seat. But Wednesday I went alone and was really able to explore Citi Field for the first time.

I ventured up to the Pepsi Porch. It was a great, roomy place to hang out, with an unobstructed view of the field. While it was nice, it was also empty. It was a shame. The Mets might want to think about turning it into a party deck, like they have in Anaheim. When I was there it was packed with people drinking and watching the game.

citi fieldMaybe the Mets could experiment and have one game where a Pepsi Porch seat is for over 21 only, with a beer included in the price of the ticket. It could be a really fun atmosphere, like hanging out at a bar to watch a game, except the game is right in front of you.

I also revisited the food court behind center field, and once again I was greatly disappointed (except for the meatball sliders — the best ballpark food I have ever eaten). This is the biggest flaw in Citi Field; you cannot see the field from the food court. It is blocked by the giant scoreboard. Shouldn’t this be stadium design 101 — do not block the field? Instead, there is a video screen on the back of the scoreboard. And it is a relatively small screen, dominated by ads.

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There is no way to remedy this short of a multi-million dollar construction project. That will not happen. Perhaps smarter people will prevail in 30 years when the stadium is renovated. Until then, fans can never get full enjoyment out of that area, which overall is an excellent idea that is literally overshadowed by the scoreboard.

I watched the game from almost every conceivable angle, which is interesting because you see different things from different places. For example, I was sitting in the last section in right field when Ben Revere went over the wall to rob Lucas Duda of a home run. I could not have been in a better seat for that catch.

I was at field level for Daniel Murphy’s home run. I was able to watch the flight of the ball until it deposited over the wall.

Despite its imperfections, I like Citi Field. It feels very intimate and there are a lot of things to do, which is the complete opposite of Shea Stadium. However, with fewer distractions, I feel like I actually watched the games more at Shea than at Citi Field. I never left my seat except to get a hot dog or to go the bathroom. Now at Citi Field I am busy eating meatballs and seeing the sights.

Oh well, I guess times have changed. Just watching a baseball game is not enough anymore.

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