CITI FIELD “ENHANCING THE FAN EXPERIENCE”.
The headline of this post is Wilpon-speak for the much vaunted changes, aka “the stuff that should have been there the day they opened the goddamn ballpark”. You will hear Alex Anthony tell you about this multiple times over the coming weeks. There is even an informative Citi Vision film on this that you will see at your first game this year. (There is also an awesome Citi ad with Mr. Met, some of which I managed to capture on video). Let’s see some of the highlights, shall we?
My personal favorite: THE ARPIELLE ADS ARE GONE, and we have an actual Mets logo on the scoreboard:
After that, the liberation of the Home Run Apple to a place of prestige and, dare I say it, glory:
[It's a crappy photo, I don't know why I didn't take one with the good camera, I'll get some better ones tomorrow.]
The Ebbets Club is now the Champions Club, with appropriate imagery.
You’ve heard about the VIP gates. This wasn’t just a renaming, some major money went into this:
I am the happiest about this, but I am also the angriest about this. WHY WASN’T THIS PART OF THE ORIGINAL PLAN FOR THE GODDAMN BALLPARK? No seriously. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to just get it right the first time?
But now, how awesome? “I’ll meet you by the Seaver entrance.” ABOUT TIME.
I like the commemorative plaques out among the fan bricks. It anchors the fan bricks, and WE SHOULD HAVE PIECES OF OUR HISTORY OUTSIDE THE BALLPARK. This is not an uncommon element at other ballparks.
Then there are the banners that highlight veterans and current players, all around the perimeter of the ballpark:
There are A LOT other things, like the bathroom floors (not to mention the bathroom walls, I’m not quite sure that anyone ever complained about the Mets-ness of our facilities, but, what the hey), the Vintage Topps cards scattered above the concessions, murals that are there to pay tribute and not just advertise Nikon – and I didn’t even get to walk around the entire park today.
Yes, the outfield walls are still black, and the seats are still green. Neither of those are likely to change, and although I am on the ‘blue walls would be nice’ bandwagon, I’m not going to stress it. As someone said to me earlier, “People also seem to forget that Shea opened with green walls, yellow seats and ushers in red jackets.” There was a huge round of applause when the parking attendants walked out of the rotunda wearing blue and orange. They wear blue and orange because they’re out in the parking lot and those colors stand out. The whole reason the ushers wear green and maroon is because NO ONE ELSE AT THE BALLPARK IS GOING TO WEAR THOSE COLORS. If they wore blue and orange, they wouldn’t stand out and no one would be able to tell at a glance who was a fan and who worked at the ballpark. (Can we let this one go? Can we?)
I have not abandoned my assertion that the only reason the Wilpons agreed to all of this is because of the backlash and because the team sucked last year. I am now, however, of the viewpoint of we got it and I don’t care what it took to get it. They did a good job on the execution and I will give them credit for that, but I am not about to give them a standing ovation for doing what they should have done from day one.