Visiting Citi Field – Five Tips For Newbies

New York Mets


Visiting Citi Field – Five Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Citi Field for the first time, there are a bunch of things you should know about the ballpark in Flushing. A Mets game is a different kind of experience than at most ballparks, partly because of the location but also because of the menu.

visiting citi field citi card

Citi cards…endorsed by Mr. Met!

Visiting Citi Field, Tip #1: Get a Citibank credit card. If you’re going to a few games especially, a Citi credit or bank card is a great thing to have. With it you can get special discounts on tickets, merchandise and food, and it doesn’t hurt to shave a couple of bucks off of a Pat LaFrieda sandwich. If you can, score a Citi MasterCard…MLB loves MasterCard, and it will help you with discounts on Yankees and Cubs tickets too should you need them. It’s worth the trouble of that extra credit card.

visiting citi field obstructed view

This will put a damper on your visit.

Visiting Citi Field, Tip #2: Watch for obstructed views. There are some deals to be had on the upper Promenade level, but the 500 level especially suffers from serious obstructed views, mostly from the glass landings at nearly every section. It can literally block your view of the entire infield in spots. Try to avoid low-numbered seats in low-numbered rows, especially if you’re sitting past the infield. If you do wind up with a rotten seat, you might be able to call an usher and ask for a better spot.

visiting citi field lirr stairway

The easy-to-find stairway to the Mets ballpark!

Visiting Citi Field, Tip #3: Use the LIRR. The 7 train from Manhattan isn’t as bad as John Rocker says, and it has its merits like being a cheap ride that avoids traffic. But the local trains especially are sloooooow, and the Mets express trains might not stop at key transfer points like 74th Street. If have a choice between the 7 and the LIRR, use the LIRR…it’s a few bucks more, but it’s much faster, you’ll be sitting in a comfortable seat, and the train drops you off at Mets-Willets Point right at the ballpark just like the 7 does. You probably don’t want to sit in traffic driving to Citi Field, but the LIRR is a better alternative than the 7.

visiting citi field burger

Hey, who took out the Brooklyn Burger sign?

Visiting Citi Field, Tip #4: Consider your burger choices. Here’s a little secret I can tell you about the Shake Shack, which is by far the most popular food stand at Citi. Is the Shackburger a great burger? Yes, it is. Is it worth a two-inning wait in line? No, it’s not. In fact you have three other great burger choices at Citi that rarely have a long line…there’s Keith Hernandez’s burger stand in the left field corner that features some unusual and spicy burgers (and a Tootsie Pop), Chef Josh Capon’s Bash Burger (bacon jam!), and the Burgers & Fries generic stands…and before you blink, know that those generic burgers are made with Pat LaFrieda beef and you can top them generously at condiment stands that even include that NYC red onion relish. I love the Shackburger, but get there when the gates open if you want one.

visiting citi field coca cola corner

Welcome to Flushing.

Visiting Citi Field, Tip #5: Check out the Coca-Cola Corner view. The Coca-Cola Corner, formerly the Pepsi Porch, is the mezzanine level section in right field, out in the sun and with its own concessions area that has sofa seats and such. And the Coca-Cola sign is very cool. You should take a walk up here just for the view of Queens west of the ballpark…nothing but chop shops for blocks. It’s like there’s a completely different world just across the street. This will probably change in the future, but it’s worth a look now.

There you go, five tips for visiting Citi Field. Of course, you need to check out the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the Mets Hall of Fame, and the Mets feature one of the best pyrotechnics nights in baseball. And the kids play area isn’t too shabby if you like dunking someone wearing opposing team gear. Just make sure you’re prepared.

 

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Citi Field Seating – My Favorite Spot

Posted by Kurt Smith

Most of the time with my ballgame funds, I’m limited to the type of seat I can score, and the Citi Field seating chart is no exception. The Delta Club lower level seats behind home plate cost more than a the 32” LCD TV I just bought, and I’m not even allowed to keep the seat. And some of the less expensive seats, like the Big Apple outfield seats, still cost more than I’m willing to pay for the view.

citi field seating promenade

It’s usually more hopping than this. I was early.

But if you want to go on the cheap for a Mets game, without other factors figured in like discounted tickets, your options are the Promenade (upper) Level in the 500 sections, or the Coca-Cola Corner in right field. The Coca-Cola Corner seats and patio are a cool novelty, but the sun is glaring at you at game time.

If you are going for the Promenade Level, I recommend spending a few extra bucks for the 400 level, rather than the 500 upper level. The reason? Because Populous (formerly HOK Sport), the architects of Citi Field, pulled a colossal blunder that left many 500 seats with an unacceptable view.

citi field seating obstructed view

Anyone got any Windex?

If you get the wrong seats at Citi Field—and there are a fairly large number of them—you could be sitting with an annoying glass landing blocking your view of almost the whole infield. And while I could go into some detail about how to avoid having the glass landings ruin your Citi Field experience, you can get a Promenade Box seat and not worry about it at all.

Another advantage of Promenade Box seats is permission to enter the Promenade Club, a climate-controlled lounge area with two full bars (and as of 2016, Dan and John’s wings and Big Mozz sticks). If you get Promenade Box Infield tickets, they’ll give you access to the Foxwoods Club and Porsche Grille too, and you can dine very nicely on some high-end grub. Not cheaply, but nicely.

And if you’re behind home plate in the Promenade Box, you not only have a great view of the game, but you’re not far from the Promenade Level food court, with Pat LaFrieda’s, Two Boots and other great options, and picnic tables to sit and enjoy the grub. All good.

And if you’d like to know about other seating sections in this fine ballpark, check out one of these.

 

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Best Way To Get To Citi Field – The LIRR

Posted by Kurt Smith

In the past I recommended the 7 train to get to Citi Field, but most people wouldn’t argue that the 7 train doesn’t offer the smoothest ride or the most pleasant scenery. It’s not as bad as John Rocker once said, but it does stop a lot and moves fairly slowly.

get to citi field 7 train

Immortalized by a Braves reliever of all people.

After reading a few glowing opinions of people who had taken the Long Island Rail Road to a Mets game, I gave it a try after my last visit to Citi Field; hopping on after the game to get back to Penn Station.

I agree with the rest: I will never go back to the 7.

Yes, the LIRR costs a few bucks more; the ride is $8 at peak times (although I’m not sure yet what qualifies as peak time, since the train only stops at Citi Field on game days) and $6 at other times; I’m pretty sure I paid the $6 in my trip. The 7 to Penn Station is $2.75 as of this writing.

get to citi field lirr walkway

In case you don’t know who plays at Citi Field, they’ve put up a helpful sign.

If you land the $6 fare especially, it is very worth it for two reasons.

The first is seat comfort. These are long commuter trains and being the more expensive of the two will see fewer passengers, so you are far more likely to land a seat on the LIRR. And the seats are larger and much more comfortable.

The second is speed. Only two stops on the way back to Penn Station (where I arrive from NJ Transit), as opposed to thirteen if you use the 7-E combination. Not to mention avoiding a transfer…and a wait for another train. The 7 Line has a Mets Express with fewer stops, but you can’t transfer to the E from it—this requires a transfer to the 1, 2, or 3 or a walk from Times Square.

The ride takes about 35 minutes as opposed to 15 for the LIRR, but that is a world of difference. 35 minutes standing on a screechy train seems like much more than twice the time when sitting on a quieter train.

visiting citi field lirr stairway

The easy-to-find stairway to the Mets ballpark!

Coming from New Jersey or Manhattan at least, I recommend the 7 if you’re thrifty and definitely recommend it over driving to Citi Field. But if you are willing to pay a few extra bucks to not have to use a railing to balance your momentum 13 times, use the LIRR. It’s well worth the extra few bucks.

And if you want to know about getting to Citi Field from different directions, try getting yourself one of these.

 

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Cheap Parking At Citi Field – The Southfield Lot

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re looking for cheap parking at Citi Field, and you can get there early enough, try the Southfield commuter lot.

cheap parking at citi field southfield lot

This is for 7 train users…

In 2001 I went on a baseball road trip, and one of the stops was Comerica Park in Detroit. I didn’t want to park in the satellite lots for $5, being in Detroit and whatnot, so I parked in the venue lot for a teeth-grinding $20. I was right there at the gate, but still.

I made a return trip in 2002. I got to the park early, because I wanted to explore the city a little on the monorail and then just leave from the game. I parked in a garage across the street, and because it was before 3:00 PM, I was charged exactly two dollars for the entire night.

I’ll wait around for a few hours for a 90% discount on parking.

Similarly in Flushing, thanks to outspoken locals, one can exploit the parking rates on game days in the Southfield lot just south of Citi Field, along Roosevelt Avenue. This lot is generally for commuters using the 7 train to get to Manhattan, but it also serves as a Mets lot on game days.

cheap parking at citi field lot a

Apparently the Mets give themselves a good grade for their parking.

The Mets game day parking price is currently around $23 (which they proudly proclaim that you can use your credit card to pay, as if making fans go into debt just to park were something to be proud of) and this applies to the Southfield lot as well.

But in 2009 local commuters justifiably threw a fit when this lot started charging $18 to park there on game days, since they suddenly saw a 400% increase in their parking rate. And the owners of the lot agreed that this wasn’t right, and adjusted their game rate.

Now if you arrive at the Southfield lot before 9:00 AM for day games, or before noon for night games, the game rate will not yet apply, and you will pay a sharply discounted price for parking, $5 last time I checked. $5 to park literally across the street? Sold.

All of this was confirmed to me when I e-mailed the owners of the lot, but it took them a while to respond, so I wonder if they were being cautious about sharing such information. Can’t blame them, but they did say I was correct, so I applaud them for that. And keep this to yourself.

The only question with all of this is what to do for a few hours in Flushing before you can enter the ballpark. No problem. You can spend some time in nearby Flushing Meadows Park, or visit the Hall of Science a few blocks away. Or you can jump on a 7 train to Manhattan and have a great deli lunch… even with a round trip on an MTA train you’ll still be ahead.

If you’re driving to Citi Field, try this option. You’ll save enough for a Shackburger and some garlic parmesan fries at Box Frites. But if you want the complete list of ways to get to Citi, try reading one of these.

Note: This rate doesn’t always apply…but it still does most of the time as of 2016.

 

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What To Eat At Citi Field: The Burger Dilemma

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you have trouble deciding what to eat at Citi Field, you’re not alone. The food choices at the home of the Mets are very impressive and get more so every year, with contributions from several well-known restaurateurs and award-winning executive chefs.

When you include the clubs and McFadden’s restaurant, there are (at least) three kinds of gourmet pizza, half a dozen styles of burgers, and an astounding ten kinds of fries. Just on one food item alone, you could be grappling with a difficult decision.

I’m here to try and help…it’s what I do…so here is a bit about four types of burgers you can get in the concourse areas at Citi Field. All very good but very different.

what to eat at citi field shack burger

It’s the wax paper. Trust me.

What To Eat At Citi Field, Burger #1: The Shackburger. The Shake Shack is by far the most popular food stand at Citi Field; lines get very long shortly after the gates open and stay long throughout the game. I even read that people waited for two hours in line during the 2015 World Series!

The Shackburger is a fresh, juicy patty (or two) topped with yellow American cheese, lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce, all on a potato roll. Nothing unusual, but that patty is fresh and juicy enough to serve the burger in wax paper, and the Shack Sauce is probably the selling point…a mixture of mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles and spices. Come to think of it, there’s a condiment for everyone in the Shack Sauce, which may explain its popularity.

Worth missing at least an inning waiting in line? That depends on your degree of loving baseball vs. food. It’s a great burger, but get a double and get some of the excellent fries or a concrete if you’re going wait that long.

bash burger citi field

There you go. The Champion.

What To Eat at Citi Field, Burger #2: The Bash Burger. Have you ever heard of “bacon jam”? Until Chef Josh Capon introduced the Bash Burger to Citi Field, I hadn’t…but it definitely sounds like something I’d like on my burger.

The Bash Burger, unfortunately, replaced Capon’s amazing “Pressed” grilled cheese sandwiches, but Capon has a lot of credit with me, so I’m sure the offering here…a Pat LaFrieda patty with onion and bacon jam, pickles, American cheese and special sauce…is up to a standard where burgers should be.

You can get a double, of course, and I know that sounds like a Big Mac, but I’m pretty certain the quality of burger is better. Not that Big Macs aren’t awesome of course.

 

Featuring the Tootsie Pop bonus!

What To Eat At Citi Field, Burger #3: The Keith’s Grill Burger. There are a few good reasons to refuse to conform with the Shake Shack crowd and instead stand in the smaller lines for Bash or Keith’s burgers.

The first is that you don’t wait in line nearly as long, of course. But you also get to patronize the stand of a Mets great, and last but not least, you get a Tootsie Pop with your burger. That kind of evens the score right there, doesn’t it?

Keith’s Grill has just two types of burgers: the Mex Burger with Jack cheese, guacamole, chipotle mayo and jalapenos, or the new (as of 2016) “108 Burger”…with pastrami (!), Havarti cheese and deli mustard on a pretzel bun. It’s an easy decision, and you get an unusual burger either way.

Best of all, the beef in Keith’s burgers is provided by Pat LaFrieda, who is no slouch with quality beef…

 

what to eat at citi field burgers pat lafrieda

LaFrieda = good beef, like Nathan’s = good dogs.

What To Eat At Citi Field, Burger #4: The Generic Burger. Yes, that’s right, there is no shame in trying the burger at the aptly named “Burgers and Fries” stands at Citi Field. These burgers on the surface seem to be no frills…but in fact the beef is provided by the inimitable Pat LaFrieda, who has been providing the meat for several top NYC institutions, like the Union Square Café, the Spotted Pig, and oh yes, the Shake Shack.

Besides that, the condiment stands at Citi Field are the best I’ve seen in a ballpark…you can pile sauerkraut, jalapenos, or even that red onion relish that itself is worth a trip to NYC on your burger. Nothing wrong with anything that the Shake Shack or Keith’s puts on a burger, but here you can customize it yourself.

The generic burger isn’t any cheaper, but it’s every bit as high quality stuff, and at the generic stands you can get some Nathan’s fries to go with it…which are no slouches in the French fry department, as every New Yorker knows.

I hope this helps if you’re faced with the difficult choice of what to eat at Citi Field, at least if you’re in the mood for a decent burger. When you want fries with that, check this page.

And if you want to know about the entire Citi Field menu, get yourself one of these.

 

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Citi Field Food: TEN Kinds Of Fries

Posted by Kurt Smith

Recently I took some time to ensure that the Citi Field E-Guide was up to date, while going over the insane Citi Field food menu, I discovered something interesting. The Mets, for some reason, love French fries, and there’s quite the selection of fried potatoes at their ballpark.

Citi Field is known for being popular with foodies, and for good reasons—there’s the ever-popular Shake Shack and the Shackburger drawing long lines, the Blue Smoke BBQ and its Kansas City pulled pork sandwiches, Mama’s of Corona’s subs, Keith Hernandez’s burgers, and the many varieties of Two Boots pizza.

Citi Field also sells at least ten different types of America’s favorite side dish, French fried potatoes. No fooling.

citi field food box frites

Yes, frites means “fries”.

The two Box Frites, in the center field food court and in the upper level food court, are the stands for fries and just fries. They’re Belgian style long and straight frites (that would be “fries” in English, I’m betting) served with any of three or four dipping sauces—including bacon ranch or chipotle ketchup, which works for me. Box Frites come in several iterations, too, like garlic parmesan and “disco” fries with gravy and cheddar.

Garlic parmesan fries are especially popular, as Amazin’ Avenue let me know in their review of the Citi Field E-Guide. You know they’re fresh at Box Frites; they throw out any fries that have been sitting for a short time.

citi field food shake shack

I covered up the burger because you wouldn’t respect the fries otherwise.

The Shake Shack is known for the juicy, wrapped-in-wax-paper Shackburger, but their fries are nothing to be ashamed of. If you order the platter, you get a more than fair amount of long, crinkle cut fries, and the Shake Shack fries are crunchy and cooked just right, with malted cheddar if you want. If you don’t want to get in two lines, the Shake Shack will do nicely for your fry needs.

Blue Smoke BBQ also has a cup of fries to go with your pulled pork or fried bologna sandwich—the fries are straight and crispy, not spectacular but certainly passable (they’re a little bit like Wendy’s fries, I’d say). Not as good as the Shake Shack; something about crinkle cut just makes fries better.

citi field food catch of the day

Fries with lemon juice and tartar sauce. Why not?

The Catch of The Day stand in the right field corner, along with their lobster roll and po’ boy sandwiches, have “Bayside Fries”—also long and straight, covered in sea salt and Old Bay seasoning and served with a cheddar cheese sauce. If you’ve ever had the Chickie’s and Pete’s fries in Philly, they’re somewhere in that flavor league, although C&P fries are thin and crinkle cut and served with an American cheese sauce.

Dave Pasternack, the chef behind Catch of The Day, claimed when Citi Field first opened that the Baysides would give the Box Frites a run for their money. That’s a bold statement.

citi field food nathan's

The timeless classic of NYC.

And finally there’s the Nathan’s Famous fries. Don’t be fooled by there being more than one or two Nathan’s at Citi Field as opposed to Shake Shack or Box Frites. That doesn’t mean that their fries are inferior in any way.

Nathan’s offering of french fried potatoes are thick crinkle cuts that are almost as famous as the hot dogs that put Nathan’s on the map. They are what fries should be—crunchy on the outside and hot and fluffy on the inside. And you won’t have to wait in a long line for them.

Okay, that’s five variations on French fried potatoes at the home of the Mets—and I haven’t even counted the restaurants and club areas.

citi field food acela club

Yes, we have fries too.

The Delta Club has sweet potato fries and McBride Farm’s russet fries (born in McBride’s organic farm); the Porsche (formerly Acela) Club in left field has fries with Western cheddar and hand cut herbed fries; and McFadden’s restaurant attached to the ballpark has steak fries and very attractive waitresses serving them (they used to have waffle fries but they’re not on the menu anymore, unfortunately).

The Foxwoods Club didn’t try to come up with one of their own—they’re just selling Nathan’s. Boo.

So if the quality of the available French fries is a factor in your ranking of ballparks, the Citi Field food menu should score very highly on your list. They have thick fries, thin fries, crinkle cut fries, long cut fries, Old Bay seasoned fries, sweet potato fries, cheese fries and fries with chipotle ketchup.

On the other hand, if you’re on the Atkins diet, maybe you’re better off at Yankee Stadium. Or learning about the rest of the Citi Field menu with one of these.

 

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Food at Citi Field: Three Things To Try (+1!)

Posted by Kurt Smith

Since the food at Citi Field is very well known not just for its impressive selection but high quality, I thought I’d share a few favorites of mine for you:

foxwoods club Citi Field

A sandwich tasty enough to be exclusively offered to Foxwoods Club patrons.

Food at Citi Field, Tip #1: The Rao’s Pizzaiola Hero. The Rao’s meatball and other sandwiches are so exclusive that you either have to know someone to get into the restaurant, or have access to the Foxwoods Club at Citi Field. Fortunately, access to the Foxwoods Club is not hard to come by.

I unfortunately had to replace the Josh Capon Pressed grilled cheese I used to have on this page; it was replaced with the Bash Burger stand in 2017. But I had the good fortune to try this one in the Foxwoods Club, and it tastes even better than it looks. This thing was piping hot and that sliced parmesan was melting into the sandwich, and the sauce was just the right level of spicy.

If you can get access to the Foxwoods club, definitely have one of these.

food at citi field pat lafrieda

If I could make one of these, I’d never leave the house.

Food at Citi Field, Tip #2: The Pat LaFrieda Steak Sandwich. Pat LaFrieda is a pretty big name among meat purveyors in NYC; his steaks are served in some of the biggest steakhouses in Manhattan. He’s also known for humane treatment of animals, although they all still end up on the grill.

The steak sandwich at his Citi Field stand is very different from a Philly-style cheesesteak; thick strips of filet mignon are dipped in au jus, and placed on a baguette with caramelized onions and Jack cheese.

It carries a hefty price tag even for a ballpark sandwich, but judging from the lines, people think it’s worth it.

food at citi field two boots pizza

If you’re old enough, the Mojo Risin’ will get a song playing in your head.

Food at Citi Field, Tip #3: Two Boots “Meat The Mets” Pizza. Two Boots replaced Cascarino’s in 2012; their pizza is popular enough at Citi that another location was added to the Promenade Level. Neither has lines that get too long, however, and to some Two Boots is the undiscovered gem of food at Citi Field.

Two Boots has a variety of unusual pizzas with New York-style thin crust, but the “Meat The Mets” pie is especially interesting; it’s got Creole chicken, pepperoni, Italian sausage with jalapenos and ricotta. It’s like you don’t even need the crust.

As of this writing, Two Boots only offers pizza in slices, but they may do whole pies in the future if the demand is there. As it is, I would jump on a slice early before it’s been sitting too long…take it from a veteran of the NJ boardwalks.

 

food at citi field cannoli

Blue for the Dodgers, orange for the Giants.

Food at Citi Field, Tip #4: Bonus Item! Mama’s Cannoli. I forgot you’ll want dessert…

Mama’s of Corona is another local presence at Citi Field, and has been around for Mets games since the days of Shea Stadium. They’re known for New York Italian deli-style sandwiches with truly necessary ingredients like roasted red peppers…they are an underrated hidden gem here. They’re also known for a tasty, cold cannoli.

It’s not that the Mama’s cannoli is the best cannoli you’ll ever have, although it ranks up there in my case. The best thing is the blue and orange sprinkles on each end. In a ballpark that was initially chastised for not paying sufficient tribute to its team, the sprinkles make it clear.

It’s a perfectly tasty pastry too, a crispy shell doused in confectioner sugar containing a sweet creamy filling. And Mets-colored sprinkles. Take a picture.

Mama’s of Corona is located in the World’s Fare Market, in the right field dining area. There is a Mama’s on the Promenade level as well.

Those are three (plus!) items of food at Citi Field you can try out at your next Mets game; but there’s also the Blue Smoke brats, the Fuku chicken sandwich, and the hot pastrami sandwich on rye among many other choices. Or you may just want to solve the Citi Field Burger Dilemma.

And if you want to avail yourself of the full menu at Citi Field (and trust me, you do), then get yourself one of these.

 

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Three Extra Citi Field Tips For Fans

Posted by Kurt Smith

Hopefully you’ve found a bunch of helpful Citi Field tips on this website; I know deciding on a burger can be a difficult thing at a ballpark. Here are just a few extra things to know about at New York’s National League ballpark.

citi field tips view of chop shops

Anyone know where I can get a muffler after the game?

Extra Citi Field Tips, #1: The View From The Coca-Cola Corner. When Matt Silverman, the author of “100 Things Mets Fans Should Know Or Do Before They Die” asked me what my favorite part of Citi Field was, the first thing that popped into my head was the view from the Pepsi Porch, which is now the Coca-Cola Corner.

What’s striking, to this writer anyway, is that view of chop shops. Muffler mavens. Junkyards. As far as the eye can see.

It’s jolting, because you’ve spent all of this time walking around this magnificently designed ballpark. You’ve been bowled over by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the Mets Hall of Fame and the Shea Bridge. You’re looking at padded seats and the Audi Club and the sushi bar and you see that well-to-do people are coming here for a ballgame.

You see the price tag of Citi Field and what Citibank paid for the naming rights, numbers that to most of us are too staggering to contemplate. And then you look out from the Pepsi Porch and there is no doubt. You’re in Queens.

citi field tips 42 sign

The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything.

Extra Citi Field Tips, #2: The Jackie Robinson Rotunda. After the game. If you’re approaching Citi Field from the 7 train station, you’ll be tempted to use the home plate entrance that opens into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. When Citi Field first opened, some Mets fans griped—perhaps justifiably—that the new home of the Mets almost seemed like a shrine to the old Brooklyn Dodgers, and this was personified by the dedication to Robinson, who never played an inning for the Mets.

But in fairness, Robinson did play in New York, and his impact was large enough for at least one major league ballpark in the city to acknowledge it. Had Montreal or Kansas City dedicated a piece of their ballpark to commemorate Robinson’s time there, it wouldn’t have been a problem.

Anyway the Rotunda is beautifully designed, filled with photos of a great American hero, sections listing his nine values and historic events in his career. It’s worth taking some time to look around in…just one piece of advice—do it after the game, when crowds are much smaller.

citi field tips mets hall of fame

The other part of the Miracle Staff.

Extra Citi Field Tips, #3: The Mets Hall of Fame. The Mets Hall of Fame with its entrance from the Rotunda is part of the Mets response to fans annoyed that their fine new ballpark barely acknowledged itself as the home of the Mets. It’s filled with plaques of Mets greats, the team’s two World Series trophies, and other dedications to the Amazin’s—and say what you will about the Mets, you can’t deny that their history makes for great baseball lore.

Of course, the Mets arranged the Hall of Fame to exit right into the souvenir store—but we can forgive them for this, since they took the trophies out of the Champions Suite for the rest of their fans to see. And as souvenir stores go, this one isn’t shabby at all.

By the way, if you want the full lowdown on Citi Field, be sure to get yourself one of these.

 

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Citi Field Dimensions – Modern Baseball

Posted by Kurt Smith

In recent years, the Mets have changed the dimensions at Citi Field, moving the fences in a few feet in response to complaints from hitters. They put in an 8-foot wall in front of the 16-foot wall in left field, and the right center field fence was moved in a full 25 feet. (They painted the fence Mets blue, however, which gets a thumbs up from me.)

When I first heard that the Mets would be changing the dimensions to make the ballpark more hitter-friendly, I groaned. My first thought was “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”

citi field dimensions left field wall

The humans are in the photo to provide perspective on wall height.

Of course, if Joe Di were playing in the age of free agency, where power hitters command figures in the hundreds of millions, he probably wouldn’t have stayed in Yankee Stadium–or the Yankees probably would have moved the fences in.

In DiMaggio’s era, the left center field fence at Yankee Stadium was 457 feet from home plate. That’s inconceivable today. Billy Martin said in his autobiography that Joe Di hit 30 or 40 450-foot outs every season, and that he would have broken every home run record ever set in another ballpark.

When Mike Hampton signed with the Rockies to pitch in Coors Field some years ago, he became a hero of mine. I love that he was willing to go where his ERA would surely double (and I believe it did). I love ballplayers that are willing to play in a ballpark where they’re going to have to step up to get their stats up. Unfortunately, if it costs them a couple of million dollars, it’s not likely to happen.

citi field dimensions home run apple

The healthiest food item at Citi Field.

The Mets’ reasoning for giving in to this reality, I suspect, is that they would have trouble attracting a power hitter free agent to the Mets if he knows his production will suffer from playing in a ballpark that is pitcher-friendly. After Jeff Francoeur left the Mets for Kansas City, he was heard calling Citi Field “a damn joke”.

When the Tigers opened Comerica Park, the fences were so far from home plate that someone was quoted as saying “they don’t have outfielders, they have park rangers”. Power hitter Juan Gonzalez demanded the fences be moved in to resign him as a free agent. They didn’t at the time, but eventually the Tigers decided that they needed to draw power hitters and moved the fences in.

I understand baseball and economic realities, but I dislike this type of thinking. What happened to tailoring your team to your home ballpark? If Citi Field is so rough on hitters, wouldn’t that make it more attractive to pitchers…and fast, light hitting outfielders?

If you know that the deep dimensions of the ballpark are going to rob some home runs, why not build your team around pitching and speed? Why not go after defensive-minded outfielders with great range, proven base stealers and strong pitching, with high-average contact hitters in the middle of the lineup?

citi field dimensions seaver jersey

Seaver could have kept the ball in any ballpark.

You might not score as many runs without the big hulking power hitter in the cleanup spot, but you won’t be giving up as many, either. And best of all, you could put a competitive team on the field at a much lower cost. The Mets had an opportunity here, not a problem. It’s just my opinion, but I think they dropped the ball.

Earl Weaver once said that while he encouraged his hitters to swing for the fences, even in fairly large Memorial Stadium, he would strategize differently if his team’s home ballpark was Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium). I know home runs sell, but a winning team sells more, as the Royals had been certainly proving.

This fan likes pitcher’s parks. There’s enough hitter-friendly ballparks out there. I like the idea of an opponent coming to Citi Field with a big bunch of power hitters who furiously slam their bats down on the ground after hitting a 400-foot out.

There aren’t as many canyon ballparks as there used to be, which is a shame. Sometimes the dimensions of a ballpark change the game itself, and that’s a good thing, and it would be great if there were more originality with it in baseball.

 

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