Big Ern visited his second new ballpark of the season last night – Citi Field in Queens, New York City – home of the Mets. Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised with the presence of a phenomenon unheard of in Boston – a PARKING LOT. A PARKING LOT for all of the FANS who were coming to the game. As Red Sox commentator Joe Castiglione asks so well, “Can you believe it?”
After two innings of National League baseball between the Mets and the Padres, the skies opened in a deluge and a one-hour rain delay ensued. It was during this time that my pal and I went to Caesar’s – a closed-off bar area for patrons. Although this bar area was nothing like Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas at all, it provided a fun atmosphere to watch other sports on HD TVs (or even the baseball game itself from a dry spot) during the bad weather. Caesar’s had different kinds of tables you could sit at, all of which with great views of the TV screens. You could also sit at the cool-looking bar. The food was still concession-style, encircling Caesar’s and allowing the fans to buy their burgers, hot dogs, sausages, pulled pork, rueben sandwiches, etc. You can also get sushi, which is cool.
At Caesar’s, a bunch of Mets fans at a nearby table spotted my blue Red Sox tee-shirt. “Hey, look it’s a Red Sox fan,” the loudest of the New Yorkers indicated to his three buddies. “Did you hear the news today?” he inquired of me. “No,” I answered, “What happened?” “You didn’t hear about Bill Buckner?” asked Mr. Met in apparent amazement. “No. What happened?” “He got hit by a truck,” answered Mr. Met. Boy, just when I thought things couldn’t get worse for the former Red Sox first baseman, life seemed to have thrown him another outside curveball. I felt awful and said as much. “That’s awful,” I softly reflected in dismay. “What a shame.” “Yeah,” echoed Mr. Met. “The truck went through his legs!!! Ha, ha, ha!!!” True royal treatment for Red Sox Nation!
Then as the rain began to slow, in a wave of serendipity on our way to our seats for the third inning, all of the televisions in the concourse were showing the 1986 New York Mets World Championship memories video. This made us walk faster and faster toward our seats. Unfortunately, the rain wasn’t slowing fast enough and the video was on every single television. We could not escape reliving the Mets win the NL Pennant over the Houston Astros. Then in an act of valor, the field crew started to remove the tarp from the field, just in the nick of time before the World Series part of the video. Whew! That was close!
We had great seats on the first base line, field level for only $60 each. Then in the fourth innning, the Mets PA announcer came on and apologized for all of the fans having to splash through the rain down to the park on such a lousy night and stated that the Mets would also honor these tickets for Friday night’s game against San Diego. What? When would that ever happen at Fenway Park? My friend and I started laughing because we thought it was a joke. But then we heard the New Yorkers behind us all trying to figure out if they could attend the game the next night. The Mets were serious! Because they inconvenienced the fans, the ballclub gave them free tickets, to another actual regular season game!
Needless to say, we were pretty impressed by our Citi Field experience, even in rough weather. You can see the game from anywhere, including the concourse as you walk around and buy concessions. The 45,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium has a traditional coliseum texture with a refreshing and colorfully innovative atmosphere. With all of the bright lights, vibrant advertisements, the massive HD scoreboard, and the roaring of planes taking off from LaGuardia in the backdrop, Citi Field (despite the corporate spelling) is appropriately named. I would recommend that any baseball fan check out this marvelous new palace.