Saturday, September 26, 2009

citifield year in review: the good, the bad,and the ugly

the mets inaugural season at citifield is coming to an end.  3 more games remain, next weekend against the astros.  i plan at being at all 3 games, just in case another miracle occurs.  it has been quite a mixed bag at the new citifield.  the stadium is one thing and the performance of the mets at their new home is a story of its own.

the mets home opener at their spanking new ballpark was on monday night april 13th.  i sold my tickets to that game.  i didn't want to deal with all the craziness of opening day traffic and ceremonies.  i'm not big on the hype.  i just want to watch baseball.  in any event the mets lost to the padres 6-5.  the mets highlight was a 3 run hr by david wright tying the game which the mets would eventually lose.  nobody would have guessed that this home run would account for 10% of wright's total for the season.  brandon and i were at the next 2 games against the pads, a win on wednesday and a loss on thursday.  in thursday's game, carlos delgado hit a 3 run homer in the 1st inning on a 3-0 count.  what seemed like a good omen didn't last long as the pads came back and won 6-5.  who would have guessed that less than a month later, delgado would suffer a season ending hip injury.  the baseball gods were turning against the mets.

at first i didn't like citifield.  shea, especially in the last decade was never as bad of a ball park as people said and wrote.  and my seats down the right field line were great.  no long rows of people to walk through to get to your seat.  a nice box that had some privacy (in a way).  ok, so i did have to turn my head towards home plate to watch the game.  so what that i have chronic neck pain, probably for the rest of my life.

citifield was lacking in several ways.  the outfield walls and dimensions were too irregular and quirky for my tastes.  left field had such a high wall that it seemed impossible to hit a home run over it.  so many seats had club rights.  basically, having entree into a club gave you the right to buy even more expensive food, but in a private setting away from the commoners.  in most of the clubs you couldn't even see the field, but only could watch it on t.v.  unlike shea, there were long rows of seats (like 24), so getting in and out was annoying.

as spring turned to summer (as neil diamond would sing), despite the mets weak play, citifield did grow on me.  first, the parking system was great.  i never got closed out of the parking lot so never had to park amidst the junk yards or by the worlds fair area a mile away.  the park was beautiful and a fun place to be.  walking in through the jackie robinson rotunda was a nice way to enter the ball park.  you could walk around the field level from home plate all the way around back to home plate.  and it would take very many innings to do so as it was fun to stop along the way and watch the game from different vantage points.  the center field area was the place to congregate, get food and hang out while still watching the game.  and you had a great view of the whole ball park and the game.  it turned out i did like citifield.

the biggest problem as it turned out was the mets play on the field.  their lack of home run power was astonishing.  we all thought that citfield was too much of a pitchers park and it was impossible to hit home runs. but the statistics do not bear this out.  at citifield the mets have hit 47 home runs and the road team has hit 81 home runs.  on the road the mets have hit 42 home runs and the home team hit 72 home runs.  not only did the mets hit more homers at citifield than on the road, but in total there were more citifield homers than in the road ballparks where the mets were playing.  if the mets had done what their opponent had done and hit 81 at home and 72 on the road, the mets would have hit 153 homers which would put them at 15th out of 30 mlb teams.  as it was the mets have hit only 89 which is last in all of basball.  in contrast, the giants are next to last with 113 and the yankees lead in home runs with 232.

sounds like it's not the ball park but the players.  it's not a hitters park like yankee stadium.  it is a fair park with a slight advantage to the pitchers.  imagine how many citifield home runs there would have been had the mets batted jeter, damon, texeira, arod, posada, matsui, cano, swisher and melky .  each of these yankee starters had at least 12 home runs which would have led the mets.  melky cabrera with 12, would lead the mets in home runs, with daniel murphy a close 2nd with 11.

in conclusion, this year had the good, the bad and the ugly.  but in the long run there should be a lot of fun and exciting times at citifield.  and at some point, hopefully soon, some winning times.

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