This is my last posting of ballparks visited in 2010.
We were up in New York for other reasons, so checked out which team was in town – Mets, against the Twins – and planned to go. I liked the Citibank Field space a lot, good place to walk around – from the subway you enter through a two story rotunda (main concourse is up an escalator) that is dedicated to Jackie Robinson, with lots of pictures and quotes, quite touching. Other aspects of the park are tributes to Ebbetts Field and the Polo Grounds (I never saw either of these), and even Shea is commemorated as a sort of railroad bridge which is the walkway on the concourse at the far end of center field.
There is also a big range of food. We found one stand where they are trying out new foods for the ballpark, and got free samples of a beef brisket sandwich with cole slaw on ciabbata bread, which I liked enough to then buy. I have been told that the Shake Shack is the place to get food at Citifield, and the lines there were enormous. The team store is huge, and there is even a separate Alyssa Milano “Touch” store for women.
The thing that bothers me about Citifield is the huge amount of bright advertising around the field, sort of like OPACY, but there seems to be 3-5 times more of it, and bigger signs. I will not discount being prejudiced on this point, however, based on the fiasco in the summer of 2009 of that homer / non-homer by the Subway sign in right field when the Nats were playing there, but I now appreciate more the subdued advertising at Nats Park. Everything seems to be sponsored – Take Me Out to the Ballgame was sponsored by Fischer Nuts, and I think “Fischer” was in the lyrics instead of “peanuts”, and the screen announcing which batter was up had a sponsor name in the lower corner – took me a while to realize that a local hospital was a sponsor for a few innings, not that the player shown had been out with injuries. (I have since been told that there are less public monies in this park than say Yankee Stadium, so it is more reliant on advertising to pay for the place.)
The announcer system has a voice recognition sub-captioning system so one could read what was being said, but the system was slow and typically the last part of messages was lost. It seems to me that it would be a better idea to pre-caption any of the canned messages so that they can be more in real time, and not use gobbledy-gook spelling.
There was one very useful thing on the scoreboards which would be good to adopt. When the relief pitchers came in they would list the entire bullpen of the team, with players shown as previously pitched, now pitching, and in the bullpen.
We did get a largely express train back to Manhattan after the game, so the subway is coordinated well. In addition to the typical bag check on entering there is also a light frisking, like at Redskins games, which I have not seen at other ballparks. The jet noise and presence from takeoffs at LaGuardia are also quite noticeable. Mr. Met must have been around but I don’t recall seeing him, perhaps because we were in the upper decks.