Greg's Ramblings

random thoughts along my never-ending entrepreneurial education

My review of Citi Field: "Get your discount auto parts before you enter the stadium!"

I got back in from my trip to Colorado about 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon but since I live so close to the airport I took the quick bus to drop off my bags and then got right on the train and headed over to Citi Field in Flushing to catch my Rockies play my former team, the Mets.

The Mets' new ballpark

I was a huge Mets fan growing up, that is until 1993 when Colorado finally got a Major League Baseball team. My loyalties quickly turned to the hometown team but I will always have fond memories of the Mets, especially that 1986 team (I can still name every starter and most of the bench players that played for that team; yeah, I am really not that cool).

The first game was going great as the Rockies had Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound (I got to see his last two starts live!). But somebody reminded the Rockies players that they have never hit in New York (Carlos Gonzalez was the only player that didn't get the memo). I am pretty sure that the Rockies pathetic play in New York over the years is my fault. The Mets figured out that I abandoned them in 1993 and have been taking it out on the Rockies ever since. In fact the Rockies have a worse record in New York than they do in any other city. Day one was a perfect example, Ubaldo pitched great, Rockies can't hit, Rockies lose.

Well, I thought I would endure more pain and went back to Citi Field on Wednesday night. The game started with a two run bomb by the Mets and the Rockies spent the first seven innings walking directly back to the dugout. Then the unthinkable happened: Melvin freaking Mora (he had 2 home runs coming into the game) hit a monster grand slam to put the Rockies up for good. Rockies win, Rockies win! Was this the end of the hitting woes in New York? Has the curse that I caused ended for the Rockies?

Thursday's game lasted less than 2 hours and the Rockies got shut out 4-0 and lost another series in New York. Well never mind. Sorry Colorado, my bad.

Like you care about the sad Rockies (8.5 games out at the time of this writing). Let me tell you about the ballpark.

I made my first trip to New York City in 2008 as I wanted to see ballgames in Shea Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium before they tore them down and replaced them with the new state of the art ballparks. While watching a game at Shea brought back a lot of memories, the place was an absolute dump. And as bad as the stadium was, the neighborhood was that much worse.

"Get your Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and Discount Mufflers!"
So what did the Mets do? They built a brand new gorgeous stadium with all the bells and whistles, and they put it across the street from where Shea Stadium sat. If you read my post about my trip to Philadelphia, you know that I believe the atmosphere outside the stadium is just about as important as the atmosphere in the park. The surroundings around Citi Field aren't that bad, that is if you need to find a discount muffler on your way to the game or find a part for your beat up car in one of the salvage yards that sits across the street. Trust me, I am not exaggerating, there is one bar outside of the stadium but it is connected to the stadium.

New York gets a little bit more of a pass than Philadelphia on this issue as the price of land in a good part of the city would be ridiculous. However, this location is wasting taxpayer money.

Okay the stadium. I didn't do much touring on the first day as I was very rushed so I saved that for an early trip to the yard on Day 2.

Wow. I walked in the home plate entrance into a monster rotunda that is a shrine to Jackie Robinson (I walked in the right field gate on Day 1). I am an absolute junkie when it comes to the history of the great game of baseball so I was mesmerized when I saw that display. I'll let a couple pictures do the explaining for me.

Quote on wall says: "A life is not important except
for the impact it has on other lives" - Jackie Robinson 
Teamwork. Determination. Persistence. Courage.
Excellence. Citizenship. Commitment. Justice.
there is a reason why #42 is retired by every big league ball club
If that wasn't enough history, the rotunda next took me directly to my childhood. The next room was the home of the Mets Hall of Fame. Wow, again! Busts of Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, and Doc! The ball that Mookie hit through Buckner's legs in Game 6!! The actual World Series trophies from 1969 and 1986!!!!!!! I think I just broke the exclamation point key on my computer. Well maybe it was a good thing that there was no atmosphere outside the stadium, as I would have missed the first 5 innings if I saw this just before the first pitch.

After my solid hour of gawking at history, I finally entered the stadium. I got two days of soaking in the inside of the park and I came away pretty impressed. You can tell they put a ton of money into it. I still think Coors Field is better. This is open and fan friendly but not as open and as fan friendly as Coors.

One major positive was like Philly, you had a spot to put your beer down while escaping the cheap seats and watching the game from the concourse.

One major negative: I hate it when I can't see the bullpen. I like watching what the manager is thinking with his pitching changes, who he is thinking about matching up with the big hitter, etc. I especially like parks like Coors, Citizen's Bank Park (Philly), and Safeco Field (Seattle) where you can have a great view of the game and you can stand just a few feet from the bullpen. Citi Field had a huge XEROX sign on the fence that blocked all views of the pen (except if you were sitting on the 5th level). They did have a nice picnic area behind the bullpen but it had a terrible view of the game.

The grades:

A++ for the Mets Hall of Fame and the Jackie Robinson Rotunda
B for the actual ballpark
a big fat F- for the atmosphere outside the park.
A for the beer prices. A 20 ounce Bud Light was $7 which was only 50 cents more than Coors Field. For New York that was amazing as I have paid that much at a normal bar.
D for the hot dogs. They just had Nathan's World Famous Hot Dogs. You probably want to call me un-american for ripping on Nathan's Dog. In my opinion they are world famous for their original location next to Coney Island and not for their taste.

Next ballpark review: The New Yankee Stadium in a couple of weeks.

home plate entrance
Drop your car off at the Salvage Yard before the game!
Did I say there was no atmosphere outside the stadium? Wow I forgot that Spidey took some time off of fighting crime to play some tunes for the crowd as they left the park. I didn't know this was one of his powers!