JD’s Ballpark Tour, Eighth Inning (Flushing, NY)

Part VIII: Citi Field

    There is a lesson learned when one travels for weeks on end. Always expect the unexpected. The night before I entered New York City was certainly unexpected because the hotel I stayed at was quite possibly the worst experience I’ve had at a hotel in a long time, and this was supposed to be a good one, too. I won’t call out the place on here, but I’m STILL waiting to hear back from them about compensation (yes, it was THAT bad because I barely got any sleep, either). As I hopped on the train to get into the city, I said goodbye to the lush, grassy areas of everywhere I had been. Then I pulled into Penn Station, ready to get my Metro Pass for the week. After finally doing my laundry (because I couldn’t even do that at the horrible hotel I was previously at), I got a good night’s sleep, and even caught up on my sleep…

Ballpark 7: Citi Field, elevation 11 feet

The game: Giants @ Mets on August 4, 2014

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    …but I may have caught up too much anticipating the doubleheader that lay ahead of me. I woke up only two hours before game time, and very quickly got ready and made my way to the subway. The transfer to the 7 train wasn’t too bad, and I even made the stop at Mets- Willets Point with more time to spare than I thought. Because of this, I was able to buy my ticket and really think about what seat I wanted. After some thought, I decided on a great $22 ticket on the front row of the upper box. This turned out to have an incredible view of the whole stadium. More on that in a second.

   Since I didn’t park anywhere in New York, I will echo what countless others have said: If you are going to watch a game in New York City, take public transportation! The subway system in NYC is among the best in the world, and buying a week pass for only $30 is cheaper than parking at some baseball stadiums for one game. I got my pass and was able to watch TWO games in one day! But, if you want to drive and park anywhere near the field, expect to pay a pretty penny. No, really, it will be that expensive.

Ticket prices: The Mets have some great deals throughout the season, and the one that I thought about getting was a very cheap student ticket in the outfield grandstand, while supplies last. Hey, any time you can get a decent ticket for under ten bucks, that’s a great deal. Looking at the ticket prices all around, the field level tickets can be a bit pricey, but not too terrible. The secondary market will be your best bet for seats in the lower levels. Since there were still a plethora of upper level seats up for grabs in this matinee game, I waited until I arrived at the box office to buy my ticket. Ultimately, I decided to get a better view and pay a little more. Spending only $22 for a Promenade Box seat just outside the infield is a great deal, if you can manage to get those tickets early. Since I was there alone, I knew I had a chance to snag a great seat. Just two sections to my right, that front row seat would cost over $30. I thought I did just fine! My section was in Promenade section 421, row one… a fine deal for the price, and definitely in foul ball territory.

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    I quickly made my way upstairs and bought my customary hat at the team store. Then, I got a decent meal and drink there for a good price, and finally got to my seat. The view was great, and I ended up getting some excellent action shots during this particular game. So far, I was really enjoying this game, and even saw a Mets home run early in the game from Daniel Murphy. If you recall from a previous post, this was the same Met that broke up the no-hitter in San Diego just two weeks prior to this game.

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The fans: The fans did show up for this game in good numbers, but many of them are disgruntled fans waiting for this New York Mets franchise to have a breakout season and possibly make a playoff run. Sadly, that won’t happen this year. A bunch of fans to my right even went so far as to say, “If they don’t win this game and the next series after this, it’s over.” I know it’s only early August, but when the Mets are mired in the basement of the standings, they need every win possible. Yes, most fans still love their Metropolitans, but they are also realistic and know when their team stinks. Folks, these are truly passionate fans, and it’s too bad they are looking at some lean years ahead.

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The game: After the Mets put up two runs in the first inning, the Giants came back with two of their own in the third inning to tie the game as Pablo Sandoval knocked in two runs with a deep double. The Mets then scored another run in the fifth inning to take the lead; that third run was the result of an error, and would be the last one for the Mets. Hunter Pence hit a lead-off triple in the top of the seventh, and then later scored on a wild pitch from Jeurys Familia to tie the game at three runs apiece. Of course, the fans had a field day with that one knowing that the game was slipping away, and of course they would give up the tying run on something like a wild pitch.

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    This game entered the ninth inning tied at three, and I was getting a little afraid that this game would go extra innings. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get to the next game as early as I would have liked. But in the top of the 9th, Gregor Blanco hit a single and then stole second base. Later in the inning, Pablo Sandoval cashed in that run with a ground-rule double, and that was all the Giants needed as they won the game, 4-3. Sadly, the Mets fans left disappointed again and were just about ready to put this season in the trenches.

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    Since the game ended at a good time, I had a little time to take some pictures and explore the Jackie Robinson rotunda at the main entrance of Citi Field. This is a glorious sight for baseball fans, and there are several callbacks to the old Brooklyn Dodgers around the rotunda. A giant blue “42” is present at the main entrance representing the only number retired across Major League Baseball. After that, I made my way to the old apple that used to be in Shea Stadium. This was the “Big Apple” that had the words “HOME RUN” written on the bottom. This was the huge apple that was raised up any time the home team would smash a home run in the old stadium. This is now a popular meeting spot for Mets fans before or after a game. Oh, only a few feet away, there was a bit of whimsy as I saw a dog wearing a Mets jersey and hat. On top of that, this dog had a pipe sticking out of his mouth!

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    Sadly, I couldn’t walk about the stadium like I wanted to, but for this visit, I enjoyed the atmosphere. The ticket prices are more than fair, and the food is a fair price for what you get. The souvenirs are not all that expensive here, but there are always plenty of people selling their own lower-priced goods right outside the park. If I wasn’t so rushed, I might have had a look at what they were selling. The Jackie Robinson rotunda is definitely a must-see for anyone wanting to visit this ballpark. I’d recommend seeing a game here as it’s a well-built stadium with great sight lines and decent prices. Of course, this was only my first game of the day…

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-JD

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