That New Ballpark Smell

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In the summer after my eighth birthday, my parents brought me to Yankee Stadium for the first time and gingerly explained that the building in which we sat had been built way back in 1923. “That was before either of you were born!,” I exclaimed with remarkably adult grammatical structure.
Weeks later, a Hastings-On-Hudson village program of some sort sent a busload of us kids to the upper deck at Shea Stadium. I looked around in the greenish lighting, at the cracked cement, and the rusty bolts, and the overhead fixtures that looked like our back porch light at home, and the building that vibrated in the wake of the jets overhead, and told the adult that if Yankee Stadium had been built in 1923 as my parents said, Shea Stadium must’ve been built in 1886.
Shea was three years old at the time.
It is in that context in which the Mets’ new home must be judged. The first 100 most important facts about CitiField are identical: it ain’t Shea. While the now-leveled stadium was a genuinely praiseworthy attempt to mix civic expenditure with private business, and use modern technology to build a facility suited to both football and baseball, it was a dump from day one.
Thus, yes, apart from the marvelous “Ebbets Field Wrapper” that reduced to tears a friend of mine who once had season tickets to the original, and apart from the Rotunda that Bud Selig said he came to this game to see (and he saw the original), it is Coors Field plus Jacobs Field plus Citizens Bank with a few echoes of the Polo Grounds and Tiger Stadium in the overhanging rightfield porch. But it ain’t Shea.

Also, that Rotunda looks very retro at night — especially with Rickey and Robinson on the wall there.

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Also, if CitiField averages even half the oddities of this opening night, it will be a place of weirdness not unlike Ebbets Field was.
In ascending order of fulfilling The McCarver Rule (“At every game you will see something, or at least a combination of things, you have never seen before”), here are the top unique or unlikely events from the park’s opening:
8. The Mets’ first game in their field featured a hold by Duaner Sanchez (released by the Mets last month), and a save by Heath Bell (traded by the Mets in 2006).
7. Somebody decided that the best way to christen a ballpark replacing a stadium notorious for 45 deafening seasons in the flight paths of LaGuardia was to have a military jet flyover complete with near-sonic boom.

6. The home team’s starting pitcher fell off the mound with two out in the second, laughed it off, and proceeded to give up four straight hits, including the opposing starting pitcher’s first in the big leagues.
5. That other pitcher to christen the ballpark, Walter Silva, was not listed in the Padres’ Media Guide and his biography had to be disseminated to the media via a photocopied sheet.
4. In an almost literal case of opening night jitters, the game was decided when the eminently reliable Ryan Church dropped Luis Rodriguez’s fly for a three-base error, and then Rodriguez scored on a flinch of a balk by Pedro Feliciano.
3. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got a foul ball off the bat of Fernando Tatis in the 9th Inning, even though he was sitting behind the home plate screen.
2. Six innings earlier, a stray cat desperately trying to exit the field leaped onto the low fence directly in front of New York Governor David Paterson.
1. The first batter in the first inning in the first game in CitiField, Jody Gerut, homered – the first time in baseball history a new stadium has been so christened.

48 Comments

Hi Keith! If only Citi was more like Coors Field then those two deep fly balls hit by Wright and Beltran would have been home runs. But it will be a hitting black hole like Shea was! Also how in the hell do you fall off the mound? Only the Mets! And that’s why I love them. Thanks for the photos and commentary on last night’s events! I can’t wait now to see a few games later this summer.
~Kathleen

I would be interested in a comparison between Forbes Field (which I believe you visited once when you expressed a desire to see and ride a trolley in Pittsburgh) and PNC Park (if you have ever indeed sat in the fair stands of that beautiful park).

Signed Jan, a Pirates fan in the heart of Dodgers country

The stray cat wasn’t black, was it? Oh wait…that’s just for the Cubs. *&^%$#@! ;D

We’re calling it shea:

http://www.nomas-nyc.com/product_shea.html

The boos in the cheap seats for the politicians were bigger than they were for the opposing team. In that way, I was home.

http://www.metsgrrl.com

Great pics! The “Ebbets Field Wrapper” brought tears to my eyes too. Not only for the nostalgia, but also for the historical reminder of my devotion to one of the best sports around.

Keith, stick to baseball commentary. You’re better at that than political commentary, but not that much better.

I loved the fact that there was a stray cat on the field. Don’t know why – I just do!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

Kudos on the rundown. I ended up catching what was left of the game on ESPN around the 7th Inning. When I saw the highlights of the cat on the field it made me laugh. For some reason, I knew the Mets couldn’t have a home opener without something weird happening.

ineberated.mblogs.com

Cats like baseball too! I have to go there, but I’m wondering if it has the appropriate proximity to field feeling of Ebbets Field. Also, the echos throughout the crowd feeling. Probably, too difficult to compare it too that ledgendary stadium. Regarless, I really want to go now!
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Hey Keith,

I think it’s crazy that any city would build a new stadium these days and NOT have a retractable roof?! Why are teams like the Astros, D-Backs and the new soon-to-be-built Marlin ballparks utilizing the technology and making their ballparks more fan-friendly with “lids” and northern locations like New York and Minnesota are going top-less?!

Thoughts?

-Johnny Archive
http://johnnyarchive.mlblogs.com/

We had the mystery phantom cat appear out of nowhere at Minute Maid Park in Houston a few seasons ago.

It appeared, or I first noticed it, in the left side camera pit between home plate and the Visitor’s dugout.

It was down on a step, just below the actual field level and every now and then it would kind of scooch up and take a look at what was going on and then hunker back down.

A lot of people, a lot of smells, none of them tuna, ham, or Kitty Chow.

It seemed to be looking for either a good opportunity to jump out onto the field and cause the general mayhem and merriment such a distraction normally incurs or just simply a safe and quick way to get the hell out of there.

After around 10 minutes Lance Berkman (I think – it may have been some other Astro) belted one over the fence and the place erupted, nothing out of the ordinary there.

The roof was closed and when the roof is closed at the Juice Box it can be, I dare say, Shea Stadium Final Approach Loud.

Next batter came up and I glanced over to check on the cat but it had mysteriously vanished, either taking the opportunity afforded by the HR’s distraction or spurred into action by the sudden roar of all those the crazy humans.

Congrats on the new Stadiums!

Well, if they keep playing the way they did last night, I shall call it “S**tty Field.” But that’s what you get when your park is a South Park joke.

If this team gets its act together, I will call it “Shea Stadium.” I’m just like that.

Brilliant at Breakfast:
Stomping monsters since 2004

Speaking of baseball oddities, there is a story right now on http://detentionslip.org about a team in Fla. that killed and buried a snake under the mound to end a losing streak. Talk about superstitions!

liked your piece on Maddow tonite… im from chicago and i never knew the whole billy goat thing! (yes i am a southsider, hence a sox fan by birth. down with the cubs!)

http://allthingshillaryclinton.blogspot.com/

3abUGZ Sounds great to me BWTHDIK

This picture of CitiField is drop dead beautiful. And Keith’s segment with Rachel just now, where they just sat back and talked baseball, was so cute. I don’t think there’s much Keith doesn’t know as far as baseball rules or baseball history. That’s one thing a baseball fan can pick up on right away – the sincerity of another fan for the game. We can smell the pretenders a mile away, regardless of how much they may huff and puff about their love of the game.

Keith is legit. 100%. It’s a big part of his charm. Baseball.

Keith,

Wonderful to see you blogging on baseball.

As a lifelong Mets fan, I have mixed feelings about Shea, unlike you it seems. Sure it was god-awful … but it was also intimidating to opposing teams, especially in big games.

I had the good fortune to sit both in field boxes and upper deck during the Mets 2000 and 2006 post-season runs. And when big moments came, and the upper deck shook with 50,000+ Mets fans on their feet screaming, it was deafening and noticably unnerving to opponants.

One thing was certainly true … Shea was original. It was nothing like any other baseball park in the Majors. I wish the same could be said for Citi Field, though the nob to Ebbets is wonderful.

It’s also more expensive. Cutting seating capacity by 20% only adds to the need to jack up ticket prices.

So welcome to the new home of the Mets, just empty your wallet and step right in.

At least there’s no damn slide or jacuzzi in the outfield.

Great blog Keith. I also attended the game and was greatly dissapointed. The most notable thing about the new Citifield is the lack of anything Mets. You would think you were anyplace but New York. The colors are blue and orange, but these colors are nowhere to be seen. The uniforms of the employees are anything but, the outfield wall is black, and the seats are green. I couldn’t find any tributes to the tradition and history, not even the World Championships. I understand the sentimentality of Mr Wilpon for the Dodgers, but if he is so fond of them, let him move to LA and buy that team.

“1. The first batter in the first inning in the first game in CitiField, Jody Gerut, homered – the first time in baseball history a new stadium has been so christened.”

I was @ Mile High Stadium on April 9, 1993 when Eric Young did the same feat in his lead off at-bat (obviously though, Mile High was anything but new at the time!). It was a sublime moment–the greatest of my sports memories to date. It must have been incredible to be a Mets fan watching at the new park.
Love the blog, the Countdown, but most of all, love the “Mann”.

I would think that the first batter in the first inning in the first game homer-ing is a bad omen for the Mets, along with most of the other oddities you mentioned, … just saying.

Hey, Keith!

My wife, daughter, and myself are huge fans of you and Rachel. That’s how we learned about this blog. I’m glad to see that you are still keeping a foot in the sports segment of our culture. You are truly a Renaissance Man.

That you chose baseball as your “sport of choice” for your blog makes sense. It’s the most cerebral of games. It’s season mimics a life cycle. Its games are not regulated by a clock. It’s the only sport where the team on defense has the ball. There is enough history for Doris Kearns Goodwin, and enough science in all forms for Stephen Jay Gould. A sport where a runaway from St. Paul, Minnesota can end up playing first base in the world series for the 1917 Chicago WhiteSox, and then see his career ended in scandal after the 1919 season. It is a sport where a lazy, talentless, drunken trust fund baby can be handed a team in Texas and promptly lead them into the cellar.

A fun, smart, historic, quirky game. Virginia Woolf commented that “The British have society…the Americans have baseball.” She then tells us why this is so, probably in Stream of Conciousness prose.

Bah. Enough of my ramblings. I look forward to a spring and summer of baseball and liberal politics with you. Go Twins!

I’ve been going to Mets games since 1962 at the Polo Grounds (and if I could put up with the 1962 Mets, I could put up with last night’s game).

I want to go to a game at CitiField very badly, and will. But just not yet. Anytime I go past there now, I see all that is left of Shea Stadium. I just have too much emotion tied up in that place. It’s hard to imagine what it must have felt for someone a few years older than me to see Ebbets Field or the Polo Grounds being torn down (and people in other cities can say the same thing about their ballparks, to be sure).

Anyway, Keith, I never miss “Countdown” and I won’t miss any of your blogs here, either.

Aloha Keith, I just caught your segment on the RMS; loved it and then went to your blogsite. It’s great too, and now I have another source with insight into my favorite game. As a SF Giants fan I appreciate your choice of jacket and the very interesting trivia from the Cactus League about the fate of the Polo Grounds’ lights and the Mets connection. I agree with your assessment of Giant’s reliever Brian Wilson; I hope the G-Men can improve and at least break even this year. I have put a RSS feed of your blog at the top of “My Yahoo” page where I can check it out daily. I’m also a great fan of your show along with Rachel’s. My condolences on the loss of your Mom; she sounds like someone I would have liked to meet. Mahalo from Honolulu.

love the countdown, love the blog. there is nothing like opening day or a first game. i went to the first game at safeco field in seattle, and it was great! and there was real grass! that made it even more like real baseball! i have also been to opening day at dodger stadium, and being a lifelong dodger fan, I can tell you it was the most magical day of the summer!! and the saying “the smell of fresh cut grass” is not a cliche!

Well, isn’t this a treat to find you here writing about your other passion (and mine)? I’m so glad you mentioned this blog while talking with Rachel tonight. Yeah, I am a fan of your ‘other’ career too (also a fellow blogger from that Orange site). Anyhoo…I’m here as a San Diego Padres fan to just say how much I loved that my team was the foil for the Mets last night. Loved that Jody Gerut hit that lead off home run and also had to laugh when Heath Bell heaved that pitch through the screen! As a crazy cat lady with two purr babies I also got a kick out of the orange tabby doing scurrying around.
Overall on tv the field looked really fun. We’ve had a blast with our new downtown ballpark here and I hope that Mets fans grow to love their new digs. As you said – It Aint Shea ought to be the biggest sell! Looking forward to following the season with you and YES – you and Rachel should talk baseball!

-Christina in San Diego

Keith, since you are taking such great pictures of CitiField for the folks back home could you please post a picture of my fanwalk brick in the rotunda that I donated because right now all I have is a certificate and I would really appreciate “concrete” evidence of its actual existence. In case you are in the area again, my brick is in section 17, number 2250, over to the left and the witty engraving references the best town in Queens, the garden in the city, Jackson Heights of course.
Ryan Church on Monday, Daniel Murphy on Sunday, what’s up with the fly balls. BTW very classy of Santana to blame Murphy as the one mistake that cost them the game forgetting to mention his walk to Hermida that scored or the hit he gave up to Paulino to score the 2nd run. It is a game of details and it is still a team sport. Muryphy knows he blew it, doesn’t really help team chemistry to have a teammate broadcast that fact to the media but then again, I don’t know if the Mets have any team chemistry to damage. Later (don’t forget the brick)

I just wanted to say how happy I am that you are doing a baseball blog! My boyfriend and I think you and Dan should have your own show! Thank goodness we get to have you back in Sportsland again!

Keith, I just heard about this site while you were on the Rachel Maddow’s show Tuesday evening. I love the pictures which display, very nicely ,the splendor and awe of Citi Field. The experience of the “new ballpark smell” is something to envy considering the history and legacy left behind in the world of New York baseball and its stadiums; not to mention your childhood experiences at both Yankee and, the now leveled Shea stadiums, respectfully.

Mike Olson
California

Keith,
Thanks for starting this blog. I really love hearing you talk baseball. I’m an Indians fan living in Brooklyn, NY now and still hating the Yanks more than ever. Progressive Field (still the Jake to me) is still one of the best parks in my opinion. Congrats on winning your fantasy leagues last year. I’m trying to get you a trophy I sculpt so you can rub it in your buddies faces. Also, I think it would be great for the ESPN experts league. Believe me, they’re right up your alley. You’ll see what I mean at http://www.FantasyTrophies.com–please try and contact me through the site. You can see Chris Cooley playing for one of them on my site.

Dear Keith,
Had a chance to check out this website after your appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show last night……
Thank you for sharing these pictures and your blog with us! It’s great! And thanks for the inside view of Citi Field. Despite the loss of your Mom last week (I see the beautiful tribute to your Mom here too) I’m glad to see you got out for the opener at Citi Field and hope you had a good time. I haven’t been to a major league game in years, so this was a treat! My Dad used to take us to Yankees or Mets games when we were young. My Sister in Italy would love this; aside from Dad, she is the biggest baseball fan in our Family….Baseball is an American tradition she misses while living overseas. She is however able to see some games on American TV over there. Thank you again for sharing. I look forward to hearing or seeing more of this…..
Belladonna

Hi KO. Watch countdown every nite. your teabagging bit last nite was hilarious. but on to the mets. the mets are my team…. i live in albany but grew up in queens. we were dodger fans, but, then…..we kinda stayed dodger fans until koufax retired. [Its a Jewish thing]. and I hate the Yankees. I will always hate them, and I dont care if they play in a sandlot on the grand concourse. they’re arrogant and have NO entitlement to baseball royalty. Don’t get me started.
Since 1966 — mets all the way, and i loved big ole rambin’ shea. i used to sit in the ‘you suck’ section up in the mezzanine because it seemed everybody sitting around me was yelling out ‘YOU SUCK” at every pitch. Sometimes, they did. This year, they sucked at the home opener at Citi. Was anybody expecting anything different? This is Mets baseball. if the mets have a great season from game one, they crash by 162. so, let them start slowly.
havent been to Citi yet, but i really wish they had named the park Jackie Robinson stadium…. that would have been tooooooo easy!
I look forward to this blog KO – and condolences on the loss of your dear mom.
Now- Let’s Go Mets. at Citifield. Can you have the other Keith as a guest on Countdown – you know, that Hernandez dude?
Later …

Hello. I’m new to this blog and ask that you forgive me if the following has been covered.
What was the logic in reducing the seating capacity by 15000 in the Citi? Why didn’t the stack a general admissions deck on top of the thing? Mets usually draw around 3 million so why not have seats for them. The lower decks could have been as close to the field and “intimate” as they are now.
The Mets are the “peoples team” and the peoples will spend as much on “gourmet” ballpark food and drink as the “elites”.

Citicorp business model?

As a child born and raised on Long Island I will forever miss Shea Stadium, even though it was one of the worst stadiums ever. Now an Arizona resident I have the chance to have 2 teams to root for! I’ve seen some fun and freaky things in Chase Field (formally BOB) in Phoenix. It wouldn’t have been fun watching the Mets first game without the oddities either!

Thanks Keith for pointing them out, LOL!
Chaoscat60

I am a Mets fan and now mother to 3 Mets fans!! We just bought our tickets for a family outing at Citi and it made me think about the effect that these 2 new NY expensive parks will have on families and young people in general. It will no longer be a “lark” to head out to the ball park on a summer night. Our trips will be less frequent and more akin to going to a Broadway show than a ball game. Younger people with less income won’t be making a trip to Shea for a cheap evening out.
Its a shame..there is definitely something lost there when affording to go to the ballpark is out of reach for many.

I am a Mets fan and now mother to 3 Mets fans!! We just bought our tickets for a family outing at Citi and it made me think about the effect that these 2 new NY expensive parks will have on families and young people in general. It will no longer be a “lark” to head out to the ball park on a summer night. Our trips will be less frequent and more akin to going to a Broadway show than a ball game. Younger people with less income won’t be making a trip to Shea for a cheap evening out.
Its a shame..there is definitely something lost there when affording to go to the ballpark is out of reach for many.

Saw you talkin about this on Maddow, while watchin the Orioles, yeah, that’s right, ORIOLES, beat Texas in 10.
If it matters, the only ballparks i’ve been to are The Ballpark, and the Kingdome during Griffey’s first campaign there (oddly enough vs Texas. Friday night game 30′ behind Ken. Saturday’s game brougt foul ball snatching seats down the third base line). Now on Mr. Robinson’s day. I just watched Miguel Cabrera homer ‘gainst the Pale Hose and wondered, “is a solo HR an RBI”? Could one of you folks help me? Thanx. – BARELY chippin in on that other 27.6%

P.S. I’m new to politics (and hate to go there) but i gotta ask, is Hannity realy like that?? Was he as insufferable with Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Carter?? Imagine what he and Coulter would spawn.

Keith, I have long enjoyed the shear joy you display when you speak about baseball. I am a Mets fan from day 1 and was not only upset that they lost, but saddened that I could not be there. I had attended each home opener at Shea from 1968 until 2008. I was unable to attend this year. Real bummer. I am also a baseball memorabilia collector.
My wife and I watch your show all the time. We really enjoy it. Hope to hear from you soon.

Cardnut23

Hi, Keith! I’m a huge baseball fan as well as a fan of yours. Thought you might like this story about baseball cards and heroes I posted on my blog:

http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/my-heroes/

Go Twins!

Phil Bolsta
bolstablog.com
Author of “Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything” (www.sixtysecondsbook.com)

Good post. You mention a lot of good points what this new place, which I call “Chez Amazin'” (french for what Mets promos are calling this as “the (new or world class) home of Amazin'”), isn’t the old Shea. Those are all nice upgrades from a ballpark’s perspective.

But there’s one missing point – there’s so much that isn’t Shea that I think hard-core Mets fans (such as myself) find fault with it. There are pieces of Shea that we wanted there that are missing. As much as I hate this comparison, look at Yankee Stadium, which I know you have, and tell me how it IS like the two versions of the still-standing original Yankee Stadium, true to the sense of what the real fans want. I know you can’t do that with Shea I and Shea II.

GRAB A BEER AND PARTY LIKE IT’S 1995 GRIFFEY JUST HIT HIS 400TH HOME RUN AS A MARINER!!!!! (speaking of stadium/team/baseball history)

Morton,
About the reduction in seating capacity: In San Diego we went from 72,000-seat Qualcomm stadium to our downtown Petco Park which holds roughly 44,000 fans.

The logic is simple. The average attendance to a major league game is roughly 25,000 to 30,000 throughout the season. There will only be a handful of full sell-outs with a 44,000 seat venue.

Granted, the team may jack the prices, but it’s not because they have fewer seats. It’s because they can sell the new experience and still draw 25,000 or 30,000 per game or more even with the jacked prices. “New Stadium Smell!”

It makes NO sense to build a colossal stadium which will be less than half-full most of the time. The costs of construction and staffing and other security issues linked to closing off nearly half the stadium every night are ridiculous, to say NOTHING of the loss of the intimate feel of a true old-fashioned ballpark experience.

In San Diego, until we got the new ballpark downtown, the Padres management closed the upper deck of Qualcomm and covered the seating with huge dark blue tarps. It was like that for years.

Venues with 60,000 and 80,000 seats exist for mixed use, where the football team fills the place in the Fall. Mixed-use facilities were a clever cost-cutting stadium style of the 60’s and 70’s but the big bowls fell out of favor quickly with anyone who really loves the sport of baseball.

In the newer ballparks you can sit closer to the plate on the top of a building outside the park than you did in the right-field stands of many of those old super-stadiums.

bearsfan, yes a solo homer is an RBI. Any run that the batter truly bats in is an RBI, including sacrifice flies and including getting walked or hit by pitch if the bases are loaded. He does NOT get an RBI for such things as errors, wild pitches, or for example, the balk which resulted in last night’s win.

Keith, this is my first visit here, glad to see this blog, I watched you doing sports in the 80’s and 90’s.

Don

Don,

As I watch the opening game at the newly minted and already hated Yankee Stadium, I notice that it has many more seats than the Citi. I accept the logic of your letter as it applies to the league in general but I believe some cities should be accepted. The Mets average attendance was 49,902, 47,580, 41,723 for the last 3 seasons and they draw 50000+ quite often. The figures for the Dodgers are similiar and always average 3 million+ annually.

I’m originally from NYC and now live within walking distance to Dodger Stadium. I like having the option of deciding at the last minute to go to a ballgame as do many, especially Mets fans who were brought up with that legacy. I assert again that building a grandstand on top of the existing plan was feasible and would not have affected the intimate design of the rest of the stadium.

I noticed on the RMS appearance that you said Jody Gerut is a viewer. Love it.

Here is another tidbit of info connecting the Mets/Padres and that historic homer. Gerut’s number for the Padres is 33. A certain prodigious hitting catcher from the Mets wore that number during his one year stint with the Padres in 2006. Of course Piazza was there that night since he caught the honorary first pitch thrown by Tom Seaver. and yeah, I know he will forever really be known as #31 which he wore with the Dodgers and Mets. But 31 is retired in San Diego (Winfield) so he wore 33 with us.

And I am probably the only uber Piazza fan geek who noticed that connection as Gerut rounded the bases!

Christina in San Diego

I hope I can make it out to Citi Field sometime… too bad I’m a lowly high school student with no money and no clue how to get to New York… oh well, this MLB.TV HD makes it feel like I’m in the stadium anyway… no I’m totally kidding.

http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

“it was a dump from day one.”

Keith, I’m surprised at you. It has become such a cliche to call Shea Stadium “a dump”. Surely you could come up with something better.

While it is true that the entire area WAS once a dump, the beauty of Shea Stadium was in the eye of the beholder, and true Met fans saw the beauty that was Shea Stadium.

When Shea was built, the design scheme incorporated some relatively new ideas in ballpark planning. The accomodations that enabled the field to be utlized for football had flaws in retrospect, but it was an engineering feet at the time.

Ebbets Field was a dump. It reeked of urine. It did not have any accomodations like modern ballparks. Yet, it is remembered so fondly that the Wilpons attempted to rebuild it.

Rebuilding Ebbets was their mistake.

The Mets were an expansion team in 1962 and for their early fans they represented the hope and promise of the era. They were not building on the nostalgia for the past but the dreams of what could be possible in the future. Shea Stadium was built alongside the World’s Fair and if you recall those designs and plans, you will see how it all fit together.

The Wilpons have failed to realize what their team was built on. Aside for a brief stay at the Polo Grounds, the Mets created their own tradition. They do not need a ballpark that echoes of an age before automobiles – they need a ballpark that reminds us of the jets that fly overhead and the changes that they brought to us. The Mets, as exemplified even before 1969, brought a new life and attitude to the game. The fans embraced that spirit.

The Wilpons have buried that spirit in a vein attempt to recreate their own childhood. Citifield, for all the hoopla, is nothing more than a cookie-cutter stadium of the last 20 years. Visit Philly, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, etc. – they all look and feel the same. It is a modern ballpark with modern conveniences, but it is wrapped in faux panelling. In 20 years, people like yourself will once again refer to it as “a dump”.

Would I have replaced Shea Stadium it if were up to me? Certainly. I’m a huge fan, but I realize that the Mets need to compete – yet they fail to realize who their customers are and meet their needs. They also fail their own past – they are no longer the innovators and have ceased to be the breathe of fresh air that inspires fans. They are just another ballclub from New York.

The Mets and major league baseball are wearing blinders. They do not see that the fancy seats and the high rollers they are expecting are not the fans that will support and perpetuate this game.

When the Minnesota Twins made their playoff run in 1987, eventually becoming World Series champions, the entire state of Minnesota was emotionally sky-high for a full month.

As that magical season unfolded, I wrote a tribute to the team called “The Miracle Twins” and followed that up with “Thanks to the Twins” after they disposed of the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in the World Series. Fittingly, before the season had started, I had written a parody called “Hrbek at the Bat,” which was later published in “Joy in Mudville: The Big Book of Baseball Humor,” compiled by Dick Schaap.

Here they are. Hope you enjoy them!

http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/twins/

Go Twins!

Phil Bolsta
bolstablog.com
Author of “Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything” (www.sixtysecondsbook.com)

Keith, I hope you like my music video about dads, daughters and baseball:

http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/pitch-video/

Phil Bolsta
Author of “Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything” (www.sixtysecondsbook.com)

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