I don’t remember all that much about life as a fifth grader — I recall being infatuated with G.I. Joe action figures, the Mets and the original Legend of Zelda, but that’s about it. And yet, so much about my first game at Shea Stadium remains totally fresh in my mind.
The one time I met Anthony Weiner in person was in the Shea Stadium parking lot the morning before the Trade Deadline in July 2005. At the time, he was stumping for a mayoral bid.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true,Ã¢â‚¬Â Weiner said with an air of certitude to a group of constituents. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Mets have traded for Manny Ramirez, and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to have a press conference at noon.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Obviously, Rep. Weiner is about as reliable with baseball news as he is with his dalliances on the internet.
Despite the fact that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been a Mets fan since I was nine, I waited 21 more years to attend my first Opening Day game of any sort, as an appetizer for DukeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s national title game that night. Being jaded, I never saw the need to get to an Opening Day game, but I have to admit it was pretty cool. And since Johan Santana pitched, the Mets actually won. After going through some pictures I took that day, I figured IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d share some images from Citi Field.
I write this sentence as I ride by the skyline in Weehawken, and even after eight years, I look at the void in lower Manhattan and still canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe it.
Eight years ago today was an unbelievable time for the New York area, though you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need me to tell you that. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I was at home in New Jersey when my father called to tell me to put on CNN Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and also to look outside, since we used to have a view of the Twin Towers from our back porch.
What I remember most about what went on around here was the way people came together. For an act that was designed to rip people apart, I find that it actually brought people together. The outpouring of goodwill from people in this area was remarkable. The atmosphere was such that everyone had to band together. For a time, we were all brothers.
After my third time at Citi Field (two games and a public workout) on Wednesday, it has become apparent that the first-year ball yard is perfect for the Mets of current vintage. By that I mean, the star of the show is most certainly not the team on the field, which is currently rather unremarkable, but rather the field itself. It’s like PNC Park in Pittsburgh, except it’s not nearly as dire a situation for the Mets.
At least so far. When you see the picture at right and wonder if new Knicks draft picks Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill feel like having a summer job, you know things are not going well. I mean, that pitch Hill is throwing probably had a better chance of finding the plate than many that Oliver Perez (seven walks) offered up on Wednesday.
There is zero question that at least at this point, the on-field product takes a back seat to the park experience. And to be certain, it’s great for fans. It’s a perfect place to simply hang with friends, drink a beer and sort-of watch a game.
If you’re a baseball traditionalist who scores a game by hand — probably while wearing a derby hat and smoking a cigar — this park was not designed for you. What they had in mind was a place where you can wait on a line for a “Shake Shack” hamburger while watching the game on a screen on the back of the scoreboard. A place where you can get sushi, if you’re so inclined. (I usually am, but not at a ballgame) A place where you can frequent a center-field beer garden — which, despite the flowery name, is indistinguishable from any other beer vendor.
If you simply want to sit and pay close attention to a baseball game, well, nobody’s stopping you. It’s just that in the back of your mind, you know they didn’t make the park for you. Continue Reading