QUOTE(Melvin @ Mar 30 2009, 02:10 PM)
I'm interested in that summary if and when you can post it. I can't wait to attend a game.
By your command... (Get comfortable)
First impressions: I was really expecting to feel a gut punch when I got off the subway and saw that Shea was missing, but I have to admit that with the way they have landscaped the immediate area, it looks so different than what it was that it isn't super obvious, even with the pile of rubble right next door. The fanwalk is nice, however the bag check barricades and tables were set up right on top of most of them. Just beyond is the guys who pat you down and right in the doorway is an automatic turnstile where you scan your own ticket to get in. I don't know if this is the permanent arrangement, but I don't know how else they would do it. The odd thing is that the Will Call windows are inside, after you've already passed through the turnstiles. (Note: This is the setup for the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. We didn't walk around much outside so I don't know how the other gates work.) Moving on, The rotunda is pretty impressive. Just inside there is a HUGE Mets Clubhouse Shop (didn't go in, there was a line) and between the stairs there is a 10'-15' number 42. There were places throughout the stadium (including the rotunda) where they weren't quite done with construction, but most of it looks like just finishing work.
Upstairs: You take the stairs or the escalator up to the field level where there are lots of shops. (There are smaller Clubhouse Shops all over this place.) As you've probably heard, a whole lot of the concourses on the field side are open so you can keep track of the game while you wait on line. The escalators upstairs to Promenade (Mezz/Upper) where we were sitting were a little hard to find, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't spend too much time on Excelsior (The middle level), but it looks like a lot of it is actually enclosed in plexiglass. This seems like the restaurant level, and I guess that's to keep out the elements for the more well to do. On Promenade, there are two levels, the 'box' seats and the 'reserved.' Our seats were just a few rows from the top under the little overhang, a section from the end on the right field side. The way Citi is set up that placed us about halfway out in the outfield. We couldn't see the right field line and corner, but otherwise the view really wasn't bad. I could get used to seeing baseball there. (This is good considering I am now a partial season ticket holder.)
The Field: As I'm sure you already know, the field is asymmetrical. There is an interesting angle in the outfield where the bullpen juts out (more on those in a minute) and there is very little foul territory. Looks like there is a low brick wall serving as the backstop. The bullpens are stacked, with one open against the outfield wall and the other directly behind and slightly above it. It's covered and enclosed with chain link fencing on either side. There are two large scoreboards, one of which is a video board and the other a traditional scoreboard (with lots of ads.) There are out of town scoreboards on either side above the promenade. These look very nice, telling you not only the score, inning, and who is pitching, but also tracks the outs and how many people on base. The only downside to them is that there was no easy way to track which team batting. Hopefully that is a glitch they will fix by opening day. A neat feature is that there is a board which transcribes whatever is being announced over the PA. (Presumably for the hearing impaired.) As far as the apple goes, it never rose, so we still don't know what it looks like. In fact, a Georgetown (the home team for some reason) player hit a homerun at one point, and the crowd started chanting for the apple. No such luck, though.
The Touches: We wandered around a bit and saw a lot of the stadium. It looks like on every level there is some kind of open terrace area where you can get away completely from the game and shop, both for specialty food and specialty apparel. (Alyssa Milano has a boutique there called Touch.) The new picnic area (called the Big Apple seats) is accessible from the Excelsior level via a walkway. Behind the big video board is the area with the concession stands housing the skyline from the old scoreboard. This is where most of the specialty food stands are located. They also have a kids area over there featuring a dunk tank and a wiffle ball field (Mr. Met's Kiddie Field.) Spanning the area from the field level to this terrace (and over one of the bullpens) is an iron bridge resembling the KoskieIdon'tknowhowtospellthisthinguszco bridge. Just behind this is the Bullpen Gate which houses the old homerun apple in all of its glory. (The apple is clearly visible from the enclosed bullpen.) There are also lots of stairways and elevators, and most of the non-luxury areas are easily accessible. The bathrooms were also a little odd. Let's just say that the urinal design is unconventional and leave it at that.
The Game: As I mentioned, Georgetown was the home team. I read that this game was moved from DC, so that makes sense. I felt bad for them, though, because it was obvious that the (few) people who actually cared about the outcome were pro SJU. John Franco came out to throw the first pitch wearing a Mets jacket and waved to the crowd like he was getting a standing ovation. As it was, there was only a little more than polite applause. He took off the Mets jacket to reveal a #45 St. John's jersey and made the pitch. He bounced it. It was a slow start. SJU was rocky the first couple of innings. They came on strong in the third and had a lead for most of the game despite giving up the aforementioned homer (solo shot, shallow left field) to the Hoyas. Unfortunately they blew it late and lost 6-4. The attendance was a little disappointing. I think the weather kept a lot of people away and the people who did show were mainly more concerned with walking Citi Field than seeing St. John's. By the ninth inning there were less people than at a Nationals blowout on a rainy Wednesday night. Not a great game, but you could tell the players were happy to be there.
Overall: It definitely isn't Shea, but, then, nothing ever will be again. It is a beautiful facility. It's very open and in a lot of ways (at least inside) it doesn't feel like a stadium at all. I guess that can be good and bad. It will certainly take some getting used to, but if we had to have a new home then this is a nice a one as any and nicer than most. I think we WILL get used to it in time. It's a little busy, but it's a nice place to see a ballgame.