I went to Shea Stadium to see a ball game on Thursday, but Shea wasn’t there, so I did the next best thing and went to the ball park next door to where Shea used to be. I went to Citi Field to see the Mets play the Colorado Rockies. It was a good game and I couldn’t ask for better results, 7-0, our team.
My son and I saw another Mets – Rockies game at Shea in 1993. That one was the first game the Rockies ever played that counted in the standings. I went Thursday because a friend of my son was our house guest for the week while taking the New York Bar exam and the baseball game was one of the things she did to thank my family for our hospitality. Her thank you to my wife and the one to my daughter were equally thoughtful.
Since they first took to the field in 1962, the Mets have called three baseball parks home, the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, and now Citi Field. The Polo Grounds was a grammatical nightmare. How do you refer to one place with a plural name? Since it was only one place, I’m sticking with singular because it was a singularly bad baseball stadium. It served both the baseball and the football Giants. It was shaped like that to accommodate football. I am not a football fan, so I don’t know if it did that well, but I went there as a little kid and I still remember clearly that I couldn’t see the whole field.
The scoreboard was in deep, straight-away center field. It operated manually like the one in Fenway still does. When the Giants played there, they put people with binoculars in the scoreboard to steal the opposing catcher’s signs. What can you say about the Polo Grounds if you remember it, except maybe, ”Thank God they tore that mess down.”
Before I was a Met fan, I was a Dodger fan. Ebbets Field seemed more charming to me, but there were posts supporting the upper deck and the late Sandy Amoros certainly proved in a memorable way that the seats behind the posts weren’t the only ones in Ebbets Field with obstructed views.
I don’t remember obstructed seats being a problem at Shea, but Shea did have issues. It was built on the cheap and looked it. The worst way they saved money there was by not having enough bathrooms. Some people have a lot of nostalgia for Shea, not me.
Citi Field is clearly an improvement in every way but cost. As long as they can find enough people to pay the price, I imagine the team owners have no objection at all to the price. Upper deck seats are $25 each for a Rockies game. I think they cost more for Mets v. Yankees. However, to make the price more bearable, they don’t call it the upper deck; they call it the Promenade Deck. I’d call “Promenade Deck” hoity toity, except I haven’t heard that phrase used since forever. And if there are any bleachers at Citi Field, I missed them.
Citi Field isn’t a municipal stadium built on the cheap. It’s a shopping mall with a baseball field buried somewhere inside. It’s a nice baseball field, but it may have some obstructed seats too because they play the live game feed on the giant screen in the outfield. When the first giant screens came into existence, playing the game live on them quickly became against MLB rules on the theory that a TV shot of a blown call would incite the crowd against the umpires. Why go to the stadium to watch the game on TV anyway? I have cable; I can watch the game on TV at home.
I went on Thursday to see the game, so I didn’t explore the park much. If I go again, I’ll probably go as soon as the gates open, walk around and see as much of it as they’ll let me. I don’t have enough money to see it all. I wish they’d have tours when the team is out of town. I’m sure there are interesting things to see. If they do offer tours, they are hidden along with the bleachers I couldn’t find.
The older you get the more ridiculous prices become, because you can remember what things used to cost. You don’t have to be very old to find the prices at all major league baseball stadiums ridiculous. I hear the prices at New Yankee Stadium are even higher than they are at Citi Field. One of life’s little pleasures is a day game on a beautiful day, a day game your team wins in decisive fashion. I hope I never get so old that I can’t afford to go. But the $25 seats have moved from the corporate-owned field boxes behind the dugout at Shea to the Promenade Deck at Citi Field in only 15 years, so it could happen.