Friday, June 01, 2012

SoSG Road Trip: Citi Field, Home Of...The Jackie Robinson Rotunda

Not quite a road trip, but I did make it out to Citi Field earlier this season, a feat that required a lot of up-front logistics, but paid off by resulting in my picking off my 26th current MLB stadium. It happened on a day which had rained just about up until game time before a midweek game, a circumstance which left Citi Field more abandoned than normal. (It was a virtually a ghost town.) But that did little to dampen my excitement to see another field and take it all in.

I've got the full recap and photos after the jump. But just to leave you a teaser, here's a preview of some of the fine Mets fans into which I ran:

First up, leaving from Grand Central Station. It is sooooooo convenient to get to a stadium using public transportation. We've gotta figure this out here in LA.

As I said earlier, the weather was shitty, so I expected this baseball trip (solo--but don't say I didn't try, Fred's Brim!) to be on the sedate side. Walking off the 7 train at Mets-Willets Point was uncrowded (I was there just about the time of first pitch), and I walked up to Citi Field past the old Shea Stadium top-hat-with-apple thingy, which they've gloriously memorialized by plopping it in the surrounding parking lot.

I went up to the ticket window and bought a ticket, aiming for about $20 even though I knew I could get a seat anywhere. But wait, because it was Citi Tuesdays, as a Citi card holder I get a 10% discount! And wait, there's more--plenty of discounts within Citi Field itself, on food, merchandise--even a free $10 card just for showing your citi card at a specific booth. And this card could be redeemed for BEER! Whoo hoo!

First stop of course, was the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the most stately and cool place inside the entire stadium. It's a real testament to a stereotype-smashing, color-barrier-breaking legend...who never played for the Mets. In fact, looking at all the pictures on the wall, the video screen above, and the famous "a life is not important..." quote etched into the wall--it was easy for a Dodger fan to feel right at home.

Circular stairways crown both sides of the rotunda.

And there in the center is the big #42.

After basking in this glory for a while, I went upstairs to do a lap around the stadium (you see, in this stadium, you're allowed to walk all over, thanks to ushers stationed at the top of each aisle. Even for the cheap seat aisles way on the top deck!).

Topps sponsors the day's lineup. Very cool idea; must be a bitch to execute this.

Up at the top, there's a big baseball pig. I don't get it.

I went around to the right (as if I was running the bases). As I walked around the stadium, it was clearly new and pretty and everything, but it felt a little...sterile. I talked to SoSG DelinO about it afterward and he described Citi Field as "inorganic". It's almost like it's trying so hard to emulate some of the other great parks (namely Camden Yards in the seating and colors), that it missed an opportunity to do anything distinct for itself.

Shot of the game, underneath the cover of the upper deck.

Shea Bridge, over in right field.

World's Fare Market: even with a Gluten-Free stand. I did not partake; and it looks like not many others did, either.

The food item I was told to try (by three ushers, no less), was the Shake Shack burger. So I walked all the way around to the left-field corner and stood in the longest line I experienced all night, in order to get this burger. And it was...okay. I mean, it was a better-than-average burger but nothing like Lazy Ox Cantina or 25 Degrees or DB Bistro in NYC or anything. It was just a burger. It didn't even satisfy my hunger. But luckily, there was a hidden culinary treat nearby...

The back of the scoreboard is littered with ads. At this point, I noticed that the radio feed playing in the stadium was in real-time, which was nice.

The famous Shake Shack.

Illuminated Mets logo. How...cheesy. I also got to listen to a group of hipsters argue about whether the talent was better here or at Yankee Stadium. For what it's worth, the Mets did not put their best talent foot forward on this evening.

The food find of the night: roasted corn on the cob, topped with grated cotija cheese and dusted with cayenne pepper. Lip-smacking awesome.

The game itself (May 15, 2012) was pretty quiet, probably because Zach Greinke was dealing (en route to a 8-0 victory) and Travis Ishikawa hit two HR (including a three-run bomb) to keep the crowd quiet.

At this point, I went up to the top deck where I was supposed to have been seated. There's a super-tall escalator to get the peons up there, so I ascended.

Empty aisles! Abandoned concession stands! This doesn't just happen in LA! Glad I ate below on the main deck.

Scoreboard from the top deck. Note the fog. It was so foggy, you could hear the LGA planes landing nearby (just like Shea!), but couldn't see them.

View from my seats in the top deck (actually, I was more behind home plate, but this was closer to the roving beer guy.

One more view of the fog. Decent sight lines, but not as good as Dodger Stadium.

As I took in the game, I noticed the organ sounded like a carousel organ, very tinny in tone. The organist did play Green Day's Holiday as Dillon Gee got chased, and then segued into the Who's Pinball Wizard. That was pretty cool. I also saw Ryan Braun get plunked which got the Mets pitcher tossed; organist broke into "Good Lovin'".

I sat there for two or three innings, not even moving--because the beer guy comes and serves you in your seats! Brilliant!

And it wouldn't be a SoSG photo-essay without...a picture of the urinals. And it's nice to know that the Mets go water-free as well:

(Sorry, guy on the right.)

I did see a guy with a Piazza jersey on the subway home. I didn't take his picture, though. I didn't want to get killed.

All in all, a nice stadium, but I'm not itching to get back to Citi Field anytime soon (I actually have one or two shots at it later this year, but I'm sure I'll refrain). 26 down. Four to go!


NicJ said...

Sax, why don't you go start a Citi Field blog and post about this there?

(nice writeup, always enjoy these)

Dusty Baker said...

I keep going back to this whole roving beer guy concept. Wow.

Fred's Brim said...

I am still so mad at myself for missing this. I enjoy CitiField because I don't have to sit. I love that you can walk around and stand in different places. All of the railings have cupholders or a ledge where you can prop yourself and your beverage. The best bet is to get a print-at-home cheapseat from Stubhub and then never go to your seat

This transiency is obviously encouraged. The more you are out of your seat, the better the chances are of you buying something. That's harder to do in your seat.

And I have never understood the ShakeShack thing. I suppose it's the only chance for the rubes from Long Island to get to ShakeShack without going into town, but it's just a (decent) goddamn hamburg. That taco joint is the best good food at the park and usually has the shortest lines after the game has started. Blue Smoke is decent but why the hell would you buy $12 ribs or a freakin bologna sandwich at a baseball game?!

And the gluten-free stand is next to some kind of frozen tropical drink stand. Neither were getting any action during the last game I went to because it was 40 degrees out. My buddy and I made up a movie about the two working at those stands and how bored they were and how much they hated the sausage vendor 10 feet away who always had people in line

Fred's Brim said...

And this was the place I saw the fill-from-the-bottom magic beers last year. I didn't see them at the game I went to this year

spank said...

Nice summary Saxy.

Orel said...

Great stuff, Sax. I'm fascinated by this giant non-sequitur of a baseball pig. They should move it to center field, like Tal's Hill at Minute Maid Park.

Hideo Nomo said...

The Dodger pig is fugly.

(No, the link does not go to a pic of Juan Uribe. Too easy.)

Franklin Stubbs said...

Gah! What a travesty!

DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy said...

I took pictures of the restroom at Chase Field when i was the only one in there..........not only is it sterile, Mets fans are psst it's more of a home for the Dodgers than the Mets and some of the glass/scoreboards obstruct the view for those in the front rows of the upper deck, HOK is pretty overrated.

Shake Shack said...

Steve, so sorry to hear about your experience at the Citi Field Shack. We're always working to help our team improve, so we welcome any and all feedback.

We hope you'll come see us again, either at Citi Field or any of our other Shacks!

-Brandy, Shake Shack