Thursday, August 24, 2017

Photo of the Day: A Yankee Fan’s Afternoon at Citi Field

Before I came out to Citi Field today for my company’s summer outing, I wasn’t sure if I had been yet to the Mets’ most recent stadium. I recalled having been to another game where a party was held in a stadium suite, but I wasn’t sure if it was at Shea Stadium or the successor structure that opened in 2009.

Then I beheld this sight, from the elevated tracks of the Number 7 train, pulling into the Mets/Willets Point subway station, and I knew that I was coming to this station for the first time. 

I have been a lifelong Yankee fan, but I try not to let too much affection for my team color my appreciation for either other squads or their ballparks. That was certainly the case with Citi Field. My immediate thought, as I beheld what you see in this photo I took, was what a handsome structure it was. That initial impression was confirmed by walking around the perimeter of the park, and taking in the ballfield once past the gates.

Though its façade is said to hark back to the Dodgers’ home when they were in Brooklyn, Ebbets Field, Citi Field is very much in the line of neoclassical structures that began to be built in earnest after Camden Yards opened in 1992. The red brick, granite and cast stone in the façade mark this as a real city ballpark, a throwback to the early 1900s, a more innocent time when fans did not concern themselves with beyond-the-clubhouse nonsense like salary disputes and performance-enhancing drugs.

A time, it should also be said, when teams didn't monetize every seat and every square inch of space. The Web site for Citi Field notes that it has 54 luxury suites (including a Porsche Suite, where my company held its event) compared with 45 in Shea. Party arrangements in these suites are comfortable and fun, but it is well beyond what the average, isolated fan can afford.

On the other hand, with a capacity of 41,000 versus 57,000 at Shea, this is not a multi-use stadium, but a baseball-centric one--and on a beautiful day like today, with comfortable temperatures and blue skies, it's a reminder that a baseball stadium, with its expanse of (natural) green, can be a truly beautiful thing to behold--very much including Citi Field.

The style of play, on the other hand, was another matter. The Mets' offense was a sputtering engine, with the few sparks provided by Yoenis Cespedes (a solo HR and double). My co-workers and I, like the rest of the fans, were horror-struck when Michael Conforto crumpled to the plate on one swing. It appears he is now out for the rest of the season--just one more reminder of the grim toll that injuries have taken on this jinxed squad. It's especially disheartening to see this happen to a young player like Conforto who, from all that I have heard, tries to play the game right.

Even though I'm a Yankee fan, that doesn't mean that I wish bad things for the other New York baseball team. Two competitive baseball teams in the area are good not just for fan morale, but for the spirit of the whole metropolitan area. And it would be good to have players that will measure up to the past memories of these two franchises.

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