Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for the ‘Citi Field’ Category

Citi’s Dimensions

Posted by JD on September 26, 2010

I was out of pocket the past few days and missed the drama in Philly, what with Chase Utley’s slide (didn’t see it, so I won’t pass judgment), Carlos Beltran’s reaction (and his homers from both sides of the plate), and the Mets taking a series from the Phillies. Sure, there’s not much drama left in this season for the Mets. But it’s always nice to see them beat the Phillies, even if it doesn’t mean much in the bigger picture.

I did happen to catch Adam Rubin’s post about the dimensions of Citi Field. In the latest installment of what has become a recurring debate, the Mets announced last week that they are not planning to make changes to Citi Field’s outfield walls. Personally, I think that’s for the best.

While I understand the frustration of Mets fans who’ve seen their share of long fly balls die in outfielder’s gloves (or bounce off the wall for a double), the expected pitching staff for 2011 can probably use all the help it can get. Right now we’re looking at Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, and a couple of question marks in the rotation (I can’t bring myself to believe that Johan Santana will be ready for Opening Day, and he’ll need some time to find himself once he returns to health). Add in some degree of change in the bullpen, whether it’s a new closer (they’re going to try to shed Francisco Rodriguez), a new lefty reliever (Pedro Feliciano is not a lock to return), or general turnover, and there will be plenty of uncertainty on the 2011 staff. The deep outfield will be a great help for the staff, and tinkering with it now doesn’t seem to help their chances to succeed.

Home runs are exciting and are a tremendous boost to any offense, but they can just as easily crush a team that surrenders too many. Maybe the increased run production will offset any additional runs allowed, but at this point I don’t think the percentages favor it enough for the Mets to risk making any changes. They have to address plenty of variables as they prepare they’re 2011 roster: there’s no need to add another to the list.

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McFadden’s at Citi Field

Posted by JD on February 25, 2010

Shannon Stark at The Mets Police gave us an excellent update on the features of the new McFadden’s bar at Citi Field. Personally, I couldn’t be happier.

Let me get this out of the way: I’m aware of the theory that the Mets are “ripping off” the Phillies by opening their own McFadden’s. The Phillies had their McFadden’s before the Mets did primarily because they opened Citizen’s Bank Park before the Mets opened Citi Field. So, by definition, the Mets were ripping off the Phillies by opening a new stadium, too. Which is just nonsense, of course.

Sure, the Philly McFadden’s was open from day one while the Mets waited a full season before opening theirs. So what? That shouldn’t stop them from enhancing the fan experience and creating a new revenue stream (the bar will pay rent 12 months a year, not just during baseball season), both of which the new McFadden’s will achieve. So good for them, and good for us.

But I digress: the main point of this post was to convey to you why I’m so excited about a new bar. Some history: I’m a former resident of the City of Brotherly Love. I lived there from 2003-05 and I attended more than 20 games at CBP (or, as I like to call it, the Brick Cit House), including the first night game. It was (and still is) a great park and McFadden’s was a key piece.

A great meeting point, you could enter the bar before the game and easily find your friends without wandering around a parking lot. Post game, it was a nice place to meet up for one last beer before heading home. And during blowouts or rain delays? Well, that should be self-explanatory. And for those of you who don’t drink, I understand why you’re not impressed. But you should know that the food was of good quality and they almost always had a decent cover band for the post game. And the Citi Field McFadden’s is supposedly going to have batting cages, which should be fun for everyone.

The main difference between the bars will be their locations (and I’m not just talking about the respective cities). The McFadden’s in Philly is adjacent to the “front” entrance. I put the word in quotes because can their really be a front to your stadium when it’s surrounded by parking lots? But that entrance was the most convenient for those of us who rely on mass transportation, which highlights the main flaw of the Citi Field McFadden’s: it’s on the exact opposite side of the park from the 7 train platform. Obviously, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda prevents placing the bar in the front of the park, but I thought a nice compromise would’ve been the left field gate. For whatever reason, they decided to put it in the corner of the field that is most inconvenient for driver and subway rider alike.

I can’t get too down about the location though, because the overall concept is sound. McFadden’s will add to the fan experience and really, that’s all that matters. It’s a good move by the Mets. Just be sure to ignore the Philly fans when they start chirping…

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My Resolutions for the 2010 New York Mets

Posted by JD on December 31, 2009

It’s that time of year again: as the calendar changes from 2009 to 2010, tradition requires us to make our annual list of resolutions for the New Year. In that spirit, I present to you my resolutions for 2010 regarding the New York Mets:

I resolve to limit my negativity. I originally wanted this to read “I resolve to stay positive”. I wanted to focus on the Mets’ positives, accentuate their strengths, and present the case that they deserve the benefit of the doubt in 2010, but I wasn’t up to it. The last-day collapses of 2007 and ’08, the outright disaster that was 2009, and the hated Phillies and Yankees winning the past two World Series combined to shatter my rose colored glasses. My negativity regarding the team’s on-field performance was topped only by my anger with ownership and the front office, who at times seemed to intentionally try to piss off the fans. Objectively, I can’t sing the Mets’ praises and hope to remain honest. The best I can do is try not to obsess over their failures, find silver linings when I can, and make omelets if they lay eggs. And so I resolve to make the best of the Mets’ situation in 2010, wherever and whenever I can.

I resolve to better appreciate Citi Field. I know this resolution sounds weird because Citi Field is a massive improvement over Shea Stadium (objectively speaking). However, while the open concourses, wider seats, and expanded food selections were huge upgrades, Citi Field itself never quite felt like home in 2009. Look, I know it’s asking a lot to recreate 40-plus years of history in a brand-new building but it felt like ownership barely tried,* which pretty much ruined it for me. So this year I resolve to do my best to ignore every emotional impulse I have to hate the place. For better or worse, Citi Field is our new baseball home and I’m going to try to embrace it as best I can.

*I’m doing my best to live up to my first resolution despite my overwhelming feeling that the Wilpons mostly ignored their team’s fans when they designed Citi Field. Whether it be obstructed views (or whatever management calls these), unfriendly ticket packages, or a failure to incorporate Mets colors or history in the original stadium design, the owners dropped the ball. I know that opening such a large facility is difficult and not everything can be addressed by opening day (or even the end of the year) but really, is it so hard to address their customers’ basic expectations?

Let me give you some context: I lived in Philadelphia from September 2003 through December 2005, and I attended the third game (and first night game) at Citizen’s Bank Park. The Phillies’ bullpen had yet to be relocated below the visitor’s bullpen and yes, I was witness to a crowd of Phillies “fans” yelling obscenities at their own relief pitchers. So I understand that certain design deficiencies can’t be identified until a ballpark has been in operation. But let’s be clear: the Phillies’ Hall of Fame was in place on day one, retired numbers and championship banners were prominently displayed, evidence of past glory was on display throughout the field-level concourse, and the Phillies colors (red, white, and blue) were prominently on display throughout the park. The Phillies knew enough to include these items from day one, why couldn’t the Mets?

I resolve to better appreciate Carlos Beltran. Carlos Beltran is one of the best players in the game today, but I’d argue that he’s been under-appreciated during his time in New York. Sure, he could have swung at a certain pitch in 2006 and yes, he’s been hampered by injuries in his time with the Mets, but he’s the best center fielder to play in New York since Mickey Mantle*. I resolve to enjoy watching him play in 2010, because he’ll be gone before we know it.

*I really, really wanted to go with Willie Mays here but I just couldn’t. The Giants left New York for San Francisco before Mantle’s career peaked so he gets the nod. And yes, I’m taking a shot at Bernie Williams here. I’m well aware of how many World Series rings Williams owns, but don’t forget that he would’ve found himself out in left field had the Yankees landed Beltran in 2005. And he threw like a girl. So I’m going with Mantle.

Finally, I resolve to link to this video early and often. I admit to trying to drive an ill-conceived Oliver Perez bandwagon in 2009…not my finest moment. Ollie is frustrating. Ollie is maddening. Ollie is downright infuriating. But he’s facing a situation similar to Luis Castillo’s prior to 2009: he signed a big deal and immediately failed to live up to the expectations it created. And now we get to see what Ollie is really made of. There is no more potential, no more speculation on whether he can harness his talents. Others may argue that his window has closed (and I have little to contradict them), but I’ll reply that 2010 is his final opportunity. Ollie will succeed or (much more likely) fail, but I resolve to be there to record every outing.

Those are my resolutions for the 2010 season. What are yours?

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Overzealous Cubs Fans

Posted by JD on September 6, 2009

I had the opportunity to catch all three games at Citi Field this weekend. It’s a lost season with so little to see, but I love the Mets and couldn’t resist. Turned out to be a good choice, because the Mets took two out three. Cory Sullivan hit two home runs* and Mike Pelfrey had a nice bounce back outing (and didn’t even have to take a lap around the Citi parking lot).

*Posterisk: And he stole a catch from Angel Pagan. Literally. It was a deep fly ball to left center that should’ve resulted in a routine out, but Angel didn’t call it definitively for the second time in three games. Put your arm up! It’s a disturbing trend for an otherwise capable fourth outfielder…not a good sign. But I digress…

Citi Field was thick with Cubs fans. Now, as a Mets fan, I feel like I can’t throw too many stones. It’s been a long season, and it’s been 23 years since the Mets have won the World Series. So I’m very leary of calling out a group of fans that have sufferred far longer. But it has to be said, for a group that’s waited 102 years for a championship, they are awful annoying.

I can’t tell you how many times I had to hear them screaming at routine plays, cheering for unproductive outs, and generally making an ass of themselves. I get it, they’re still technically in the playoff race and the Mets have been dead in the water for weeks. But really, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, and the rest of the Cardinals are walking off with that division. Please don’t come into Citi Field as if you’re just passing through on your way to the playoffs.

Really, I mean it. You’re not doing yourself any favors by “Root, root, rooting for the CUB-BIES!” at every seventh inning stretch. Yes, Derek Lee hit some monster home runs, but it was on a day when you finished 11.5 games out of first place. I’m not asking you to shut up, I’m DEMANDING that you look at the standings and get a grip on reality!

It just got to be too much. When Cory Sullivan made a nice sliding catch against the wall, and the hipster-douche Cubs fan behind me stood up and yelled that he dropped it, I waited. I paused for a moment, calmly turned around, and waited until for eye contact. I asked him, with a straight face and a loud voice, “Where’s Steve Bartman when you need him?”

I really didn’t want to go there but I couldn’t stand it anymore. And I tell you this: the look on his face was priceless. Sputtering and flustering, the embarrassment written large on his face, he started jawing about how terrible the Mets have been this year, how Citi Field isn’t “Mets-enough” (Why wouldn’t we want to honor the first African-American to break the color barrier), and how Bernie Madoff has turned the team into a joke.

My reply? “101. It’s been 101 years since your team won a World Series. Let it go, man. Let it go.” And that was that.

When it comes down to it, please know your role. I understand that you love your team, but when you’re the symbol of organizational futility, and you’re in the process of dropping two out of three to a team that’s been decimated by injuries, please don’t overstep your boundaries. Just don’t do it…because I don’t mind calling you on it. Thankfully, that’s the last we’ll hear for them for another year.

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Security!

Posted by JD on June 27, 2009

Unfortunately, last night’s Mets game got out of hand early. Three infield errors in the second inning opened the door for the Yankees to score four runs, and the only real drama after that was whether or not C.C. Sabathia would throw a perfect game. After Gary Sheffield homered to break it up the Yankees rallied to break the game open, highlighted by home runs by Brent Gardner (aka, Scrappy White Guy) and Alex Rodriguez.

However, the action on the field was somewhat overshadowed by the action off it. Violent thunderstorms delayed the start of the game by an hour, which had the unintended effect of adding an hour of drinking time. Some fans took liberal advantage of it and it really started to show as the game turned into a rout. As the more responsible (and sober) fans headed for the exit, we were left with a combustible mix of drunk Yankee fans antagonizing drunk Mets fans.

Now, I don’t mean to exaggerate. There were still sober fans in the stands and most of the drunken ones were harmless. In fact, there were quite a few funny exchanges between the groups. In general, I’ve found that New York baseball fans as a group can handle their liquor (I like to think I’m one of them) and keep their cool.

But there are those who can’t. I didn’t actually see the altercation myself, but there was an all-points bulletin in the 8th inning last night. I had moved down to the standing room only area behind Section 109 when half a dozen security personnel suddenly came running from right field, moving at high speed towards the rotunda. Some slow-moving reinforcements came from the same direction a few minutes later. By my count, more than 15 security people were called in. Now, I didn’t see it and I don’t like speculating, but I think it’s safe to say that alcohol might have been involved.

I’ve been going to Subway Series games for years. Friday night games were a little edgy and there were always incidents, but it never got out of control. Last night was a bit of a perfect storm (no pun intended). Extra drinking time combined with a one-sided game added fuel to the fire. The ugly scene that unfolded near the rotunda was a product of that environment. I get it.

But what I don’t get is why today’s game starts at 7:10. Saturday games were always pleasant by comparison, with the vast majority of fans being well-behaved. Why mess with that? Why subject your more responsible fans, those with families and small children, to a booze-fueled environment when there’s no need?

This feels like yet another instance where the Mets’ management made a decision without thinking of the best interests of their fans. Why do they continue to insist on making it difficult to root for their team?

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