First impressions matter, and my first impression of Citi Field was wow! I know that sounds silly, but initially I could not process how impressive it is. The first thing that struck me was the size of the concourses. My friend and I entered through the left field gate (I’m going to call this the Endy! Gate…love that silhouette above the entry way). There was a baseball game going on, and maybe one out of every 50 people in attendance were actually watching it, but there was ample room for everyone to wander the concourses.
While wandering, we noticed that the food options have been greatly enhanced. Yes, there is a Shake Shack and many other premium options, but the selection and location at the typical hot dog/beer spots has been upgraded, too. And though it may just be limited to today’s test game, prices were not as extreme as I expected. Having spent $7 on a beer in midtown just last night I was stunned to only spend $7.25 at Citi Field. That can’t last, right?
Even the bathrooms have been upgraded. The space-age urinals were a constant source of conversation. I overheard several people chuckling about their design and performance while wandering the concourse.
One of the more unique parts of the park is the Caesar’s Club on the third level, above the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. We wound up spending the final two innings lounging in leather chairs, watching the SNY Encore of Saturday’s game. You read that correctly: leather chairs. Granted, I’m no furniture expert. They very well could be faux-leather. But who has faux-leather chairs (not to mention plush couches) at a ballpark? I typically love making fun of non-fans that need non-baseball entertainment at a baseball game, but the Caesar’s Club is actually a very nice addition, one that I’m sure I’ll frequent during the less-clement days.
We didn’t spend too much time in our seats. But the little time we did spend there reassured me. I was worried that our sight lineswould be worse (we were moved a little bit down the third base line), but there wasn’t much difference. Add in the fact that the seats are bigger and angled toward the mound and the view isn’t bad at all. Of course, people will continue to stand at the bottom of the stairs, mindlessly blocking the entire section’s view while they make faux-gangsta poses and peace signs for their FaceBook photos. But I not-so-secretly love booing these morons, so I’m not that upset by it.
Some notable sightings: Cow-Bell-Man (or Cowbell Man, not really sure what the proper spelling is) was in attendance, wandering the park, posing for pictures, and letting pretty women and young kids bang the bell. We must have crossed paths with him a dozen times. He really has created a niche for himself, which is a little crazy when you really think about it. I mean, complete strangers pose for photos with this man because he rhythmically bangs a cowbell! But you have to love him for it, too. And for those of you familiar with the upper deck, the Strike Out Guy was in attendance along with his friends. Not sure if he has a proper nickname, we just call him that for his distinctive “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…struck…him…ouuuuut!” calls after a Mets pitcher records a strikeout. We didn’t stick around to see if he was in mid-season form, but it was good to see him nonetheless.
As for the game itself, you may have gathered that I didn’t see much of it. And you’d be right. John Franco threw the first pitch and bouncedit. That seemed fitting enough. And Sean Lamont from Georgetown had the honor of hitting the first home run. Somewhat bizarrely, the Hoyas were the home team today (apparently they gave up a home game to play at Citi). They correctly opted not to raise the Home Run Apple, so we’ll have to wait to until the Mets arrive to see it displayed. And that is the sum of my knowledge about the actual game.
Though the game was nothing but a footnote to the debut of Citi Field, it filled that function perfectly. We didn’t have to analyze the game or worry about the Mets’ performances. Today’s star was the park, and Citi Field had a wonderful debut. I entered with mixed feelings and left more excited for the season than ever.