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After checking out the new stadium in the Bronx I wanted to check out the new home of the New York Mets. Now, my latest chance to see a game at Citi Field was going to be to wait until the Giants came into town and to buy tickets to see Tim Lincecum make the Mets look foolish. Fortunately, for Mets fans at least, my first trip to Citi Field came much earlier than that as I got to see them in an outing against the Washington Nationals, a perfectly boring team for the Mets to face so that I could wander around the stadium.
For the game, I got to sit in my friend’s seats in left field on the lowest deck. His seats are seven rows from the field and they were actually a great view. I did not mind viewing a game with a similar view to the outfielders. The seats were similar to the ones at the New Yankee Stadium, except they had the ridges of old stadium seats, unlike the seats at the New Yankee Stadium. Also, as with every new stadium, there were cupholders on the backs of the arms of the seats in front.
In terms of audio-video, Citi Field makes sure you hear everything, just like the new Yankee Stadium. There won’t be an announcement that you miss. Citi Field went with two screens, the combined area of which is probably as large or a little larger than the large screen in Yankee Stadium. The smaller of the two showed the line ups, the score, the stats of the player up and any video replays.
I could not see what was on the larger screen due to the seats I was in having it blocked by the seating deck above, but my friend informed me that it showed pretty much the same information. The stadium also has a lot of TVs and even has some in the seating areas so that you can see replays of plays and the in between inning festivities. Don’t forget, it’s powered by Verizon Fios!
Citi Field also has screens on the facing of the upper deck, albeit, not as much, but just as much of it was used for displaying information about the game at hand, while the rest was advertising. On a side note, as I alluded to in the previous paragraph, CitiField competes with Yankee Stadium for over the top advertising. Any time a replay was shown or something was announced that wasn’t an announcement of a pitcher or batter, it was powered by Verizon Fios, we were told, even if it was sponsored by another company. Yep, a double advertisement in one announcement.
Food options were not quite as plentiful at Citi Field as Yankee Stadium, but there was still a good selection, even with less food stands. There was the Nathan’s Food selection, a Shake Shack, a Blue Smoke (which has ribs as an option, first I’ve seen at any stadium) for pork lovers, a taco vendor, a Belgian fries vendor, a food stand with the “Catch of the Day” for seafood fans, a sandwich vendor called Mama’s of Corona (a local sandwich joint in Queens), to name a few. Plus, there was pizza at the stadium. The food options were made a little more localized than Yankee stadium.
I was much more impressed with the drink options at Citi Field than I was at Yankee stadium. An item of note in the non-alcoholic beverage area is that they have coffee and hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts. Despite being a game in May, the hot chocolate actually ended up being necessary. The alcoholic beverage options were pleasantly surprising as Citi Field has a stand behind center field that has a very solid selection of beers such as Hoegarden, Leffe Blonde, and two Goose Island brews to name a few. The prices were overall better than Yankee Stadium.
Citi Field employs the open concourse idea, as well, however it does not have open concourses behind home plate on any level. So don’t get caught walking back there without need in the middle of an inning. In the upper deck, at least it’s blocked off because of a picnic area, which is also where the Shake Shack and Blue Smoke are located.
The lighting at CitiField is solid, but I don’t like the configuration. They went with the few poles of large amount of bulbs style that a lot of new stadiums have. Maybe it’s just because I grew up on the old Yankee stadium style of lighting, but I prefer for it to be more spread out.
Other features at the stadium were the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at the main entrance and some scattered Mets famous players posters, a bridge in center field, an area where you could pose with the apple from Shea, and some kiddie activities in center. The kiddie activities included a tee ball area, a hitting cage to hit wiffle balls, a dunk tank and a station where people could play the latest MLB 2K game. This helps to entertain really young ones who might not be able to appreciate the game of baseball yet.
Also Citi Field has a dedicated out of town scoreboard, but it is in left field, meaning anyone sitting in the left field fair territory and even some of the seats in left in foul territory can’t see the scoreboard. It’s not exactly the smartest placement.
I liked Citi Field a lot. I mean, it’s hard not to be an upgrade over Shea Stadium, but it actually is a stadium where it’s comfortable to watch a game. I always regretted going to Shea, but I can tell that the configuration of CitiField will never be a reason for me to prefer not to go. Now, maybe next time I go, I can avoid having an inning where both teams walk the bases loaded.