I missed a few days because I was actually in New York, during a visit in which I made my second trip to Citi Field. I attended Sunday’s extra innings debacle against the Nationals — the less said about that game the better.
The only other game I saw at Citi Field was the 20th game ever played there (also an extra innings loss, incidentally) in May 2009, when the stadium was still a work in progress. I was looking forward to seeing it again, seeing how they made it feel more like home for Mets fans.
I was excited about the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum. The Mets never seem to acknowledge their rich history, and this type of display was a long time coming. It was nice to finally see the Mets Hall of Fame plaques, which were hidden away somewhere in the bowels of Shea Stadium, but now are out there for all to see:
The World Series trophies:
The World Series rings:
An early creepy Mr. Met:
And I was absolutely stunned how big and thick a pitching rubber is — I assumed it was just a thin slab:
While I enjoyed it, I hope this is just the start of a more extensive museum. Aside from 1969 and 1986, there wasn’t too much Mets memorabilia on display. There were no yearbooks (they can borrow mine — I have them all!) and just a couple of newspaper headlines (I have those, too). Also, Shea deserves more respect. The place was home for more than 40 years — it warrants more than just a photo and the dedication program (by the way, I have that, too!).
The field of play itself looks pretty much the same as it did when I was there, except that slice of wall in front of the apple is gone, and the bullpens have been mercifully redesigned. There is still no Mets logo to be found — they should put one right over the “Citi Field” on the scoreboard.
But the huge change was the crowd itself. In early 2009 there was still hope for the Mets; in fact they were in first place when I was there. There was an electricity in the crowd that was palpable. This time around the crowd was dead.
There was absolutely no energy. It was as quiet as it was during those games at Shea when 10,000 showed up. It lasted all through the game. The only emotion I could feel from the crowd was when the Mets removed Chris Young from his one-hitter after seven innings. We all knew what was coming. Then when it finally did come in the 11th, there was more emotion — in the form of one huge groan. Then we all headed for the exits.
I likely will not be back at Citi Field this season — not because of the team, but because of where I live. But if the energy level I witnessed (or did not witness) continues, I can see plenty of locals avoiding the place as well. Citi Field could become an awfully lonely place as the season wears on.