Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Yankees Fan Goes to Citifield. Stuff Ensues.

Sometimes it's really easy to tell what a day will be like.

For example, when you have a twenty page paper due the next day and you haven't started writing it, it's a fair bet your day isn't going to be a whole lot of fun.

Other times, however, the future is less clear, when everything sort of teeters on a horizon you can't see.

My friend Robin is a Mets fan. She has her reasons (and perfectly legitimate ones) for being so, and we've happened upon a tradition of going to one Mets game a year. I forget who they played the first year we did this--Arizona I think, but not sure--they played the Dodgers last year, and this year, it would be an interleague match up with the Rays, and with Johan Santana on the mound, no less.

The trouble was, however, when we woke up that we didn't know if the game would be played at all.

In the Bronx, it was dark and sullen, as has been pretty much every day this month. In New Jersey, where Robin was, it was raining.

I can't help but think all of this rain is punishment for something--for Bloomberg running for a third term, for some scandal up in Albany, for failing to get the Giants or the Jets a stadium within the actual boundaries of New York City--who knows? What I do know is that the rain is constant, and even when it doesn't rain, there is nothing but this bleakness that somehow has to pass for summer.

I've spent four years in Syracuse, NY and four months in London, and still I can't remember it ever being so...bleak.

Anyway, I'm going to stop waxing philosophical now.

So we, Robin and I, both woke up to pretty awful weather and weren't sure if we would bother heading to Citifield, which is out of the way for both of us, and we decide in the end that we'll go. After all, neither of us have been to the ballpark and so, even if it pours, we'll still have things to keep us busy.

My first hint that today will be unpredictable comes on my subway ride to Penn Station, where I'm meeting Robin, when a mariachi band starts playing. I'll give them this much: they certainly woke me up.

Anyway. After meeting up at Penn Station we took the LIRR to Citifield, two stops on the line to Port Washington. I must say, why does the LIRR have nicer trains than NJ transit? It's not fair!


So, amidst the bleak and gray of a rainy day, this was the view from outside the park

Even from the outside, this park's got character. It's a different type of character than Yankee Stadium, however. Yankee Stadium is kind of all HONOR GLORY PRIDE in terms of its invoking the past; Citifield is much more "ooh, the past is a friendly muppet". Which, as a student of history, I feel qualified to explain, is not necessarily true.

Outside, people bought bricks to lay out as such. It would be impossible to do it at Yankee Stadium because the space isn't there, but here it gives the Mets much more of a family sort of feel. Again, HONOR GLORY PRIDE vs "ooh, friendly muppet!"

Inside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda from the main entrance. Compare that and the Yanks' Great Hall, and again it's the same sort of feeling evocation...Jackie Robinson = warm and fuzzy (again, what Robinson had to experience, not so much). Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, etc... HONOR GLORY PRIDE!

Anyway. Today was cap day. I gave my cap to Robin because she'll know people that will wear it. In my case it would just sit on the window sill. I do have to say, I felt really weird not wearing a Yankee hat today...

At 3.30 PM, no one was in the seats, but given the rain this wasn't all that surprising. Interesting trivia factoid: the Mets do the anthem and then the line ups; for the Yankees it's the other way around.

One of the many concession options. Since I can't eat (most) ballpark food, I can't honestly say anything about the quality of the food offered here as compared to Yankee Stadium, but in addition to also having sushi (although, unlike YS, I'm not sure you can watch them make it), they also have a Subway, so I have multiple choices as to culinary options here. They also have this thing called Shake Shack. Maybe you've heard of it.

No garlic fries, that I could find, though.

The view of home plate. I can't actually spot the luxury boxes. Citifield doesn't intimidate. Well, I mean, unless you're David Wright and trying to hit a HR. I kinda like that.

View from our seats.

I didn't actually notice when they took the tarp off of the field. One moment it was there, and the next it wasn't. It was like magic. And hey, it meant an on-time start!

The scoreboard in center field. It's really tall. I'd mention something about tall and NYers preoccupation with size, but I'd hate to have to bring Freud into it. Guy always bugged me.

Hey! People in the stands and like a game thingie and stuff.

Do I have a great zoom on my camera or what?

Some dude named Johan Santana had a no-no through four and a third. I guess he's kinda good.

It's nigh on the first day of summer and the lights are on at 5 PM. This was the type of day it was--kept waiting for the rain to show. It did, eventually. And the heavens so totally opened when it did.


You know what's interesting? The first time I went to the new Yankee Stadium, it was raining, too. The difference was, however, since it was at night, you didn't really notice it.

I keep trying not to compare the two parks, but I kind of have to, and what it comes down to is this:

Both parks are awesome, but for different reasons.

Yankee Stadium is about the Yankees, first and forever. It's about what the team has done on the field, for over 100 years, and it's meant to intimidate you if you are not already awed at the all-magnificence of the 26-time World Series Champions.

Citifield is about baseball. The Mets, yes, but, minus the HR apple in center field, you get the feeling that if need be, another team could come and play a game here and feel just as at home. This isn't a bad thing.

So many times, so many, including the Yankees, forget that nothing, in the end, is bigger than the game. No rule, no policy, no player and no team is bigger than the game.

Yankee Stadium is an homage to the greatness of the Yankees' past.

Citifield reminds us why we are baseball fans in the first place.