A Game at Citi Field – Day 3

The day at the MLB Fan Cave was amazing and a once in a lifetime experience. It would be difficult to impossible to top that during our trip. Despite that assessment, it was today that I was most looking forward to. Today we would go to the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets at Citi Field.

It has been a gut-wrenching series so far. After losing the first game in extra innings when it looked like victory was all but assured, the Diamondbacks lost the second game in incredulous fashion. A good start by Patrick Corbin was destroyed; first by rain and then by a late inning explosion by the Mets. Today’s prospects looked bleak on paper with the Diamondbacks scheduled to face Mets’ ace Matt Harvey.

Citi FieldThe game was an evening game with a 7:10 PM EDT start time. This meant we had most of the day to walk around New York City and do the traditional tourist type of things. We attempted to do the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty. Mother Nature had other plans. We ended up getting caught in a torrential downpour that soaked us from head to toe. By the time we got back to the hotel I was just praying we would get to see a baseball game tonight.

To get to the ballpark required us to ride the New York Subway from Manhattan to Citi Field. That in itself would be an adventure. Being from Arizona I had no idea what a subway was other than a place you eat at the ballpark. Entering Grand Central Stadium we were directed down a series of stairs two levels below the street level. Each passing level got hotter and hotter. I was beginning to feel like the Los Angeles Dodgers who made a deal with devil and was now being banished to Hell. All that was missing was Zach Greinke standing at the bottom of the stairs throwing baseballs at my head.

The subway trip was exactly that, a trip. The train was fairly crowded so we stood the whole way. And by stood I mean we really stood out in our Sedona Red jerseys. I thought it would be Mets fans giving us grief about our attire but it was actually the Yankees fans that continually told us they have not forgiven the Diamondbacks for beating them in the 2001 World Series. Jackie Robinson RotundaI proudly poured salt in their wounds telling them what it was like to see that ninth inning unfold in person and the joy it brought to Arizona fans to defeat Mariano Rivera. In the end they admitted, although the outcome was not what they wanted, it was the most amazing World Series ever played.

Jackie Robinson's FootstepsArriving at Citi Field, the view was amazing. It is a great combination of old time feel with state-of-the-art facilities. We arrived just as the gates were opening giving us time to walk around the stadium and take in the sights. As you enter the gates you are in the Jackie Robinson rotunda that chronicled the life and history of Robinson. On the first floor is a large 42 and on the floor is a quotation about Jackie with his cleat-mark footprints. You can stand on the footprints giving you the impression of standing where he stood. It was very humbling.

The first floor of Citi Field also includes the Mets museum that housed artifacts from the team’s history. This is something that I’ve wished the Diamondbacks would do for quite some time. The museum chronicled the team’s history, the stadiums they’ve played in, and recognized players and coaches that have made an indelible impression on the team and the game.

At the top of the escalators are large Topps baseball card replicas of each player who is in the starting lineup that day. It gave a flavor of what it was like as a kid when we opened a pack and saw the card of our favorite player.

Mets MuseumThe field level is hidden from view from the concourse around most of the ballpark leading you to a dramatic view when you see the playing surface. Of course this is also a drawback as it makes it difficult to see the game going on if you had to be on the concourse when the game was going on.

Our seats were amazing. Major League Baseball had provided us two tickets in Section 14 behind the plate. The seats were high-backed and vinyl making them more like movie theater seats than baseball seats. After batting practice we walked into the Delta 360 Club to look at food options. The kitchen was enclosed in glass allowing you to watch as chefs made New York style pizza and the most incredible pastrami sandwich I’ve ever eaten. There was also a counter for snacks that included a candy bar where you could get items to satisfy your sweat tooth.

Citi FieldJust as the game was about to begin it began to rain causing a rain delay of nearly two hours. We sat in the comfort of the Delta club, which had tables, chairs, and booths with large LED televisions around showing programming and updates on the rain delay.

When the rain ceased we made our way back out to our seats. At the top of our section the usher stood handing out paper towels to wipe off our seats. I miss our usher John at Chase Field who always made sure our seats were wiped down before each game. The ushers at Citi Field were pleasant but nothing like the quality of care we get at Chase Field.

The stadium itself is beautiful. It has the feel of an old ballpark but with all the creature comforts of the 21st century. Citi Field does fail in the same way that Chase Field does, their wi-fi is unbelievably bad. I never could get a connection that I could maintain for more than a few seconds and I was in the nice seats. If it doesn’t work there, I’m guessing it doesn’t work anywhere. If you happened to be a Verizon customer, there was a separate wi-fi network for you and that one was very good and quite fast leading me to believe that either Verizon invested in a lot of equipment or there are very few Verizon customers who are also Mets fans.

Delta Club KitchenThe sight lines of the stadium are very good and there didn’t appear to be a bad seat in the house. The outfield seats felt farther away from the playing field than at Chase making you feel out of touch with the action. The upper deck seems very steep but I have to admit I didn’t make the hike up to the top of the stadium to verify that.

After the game the Mets held their Fourth of July Fireworks Display. They brought out several shells and placed in the outfield and had other fireworks mounted around the top of the stadium. The show originated from centerfield and I think was supposed to be synchronized with images on the JumboTron. Unfortunately they had problems with the fireworks, the audio, and the video making the experience less than ideal.

They did mix in a laser show, which was a nice touch. Today’s fireworks included a tribute to past all-star games that helped lead-in to the upcoming All-Star game that will be played at Citi Field in mid-July. The fireworks show was really good and I am looking forward to comparing it to Chase Field’s on Friday.

As the night ended, we left happy with a Diamondbacks win, great food, and an amazing stadium experience. I’ve added another stadium to my list of parks I have visited and am one step closer to fulfilling my bucket list. On the subway we received a lot of comments from other riders on how impressed they were with the Diamondbacks and the class of the fans they had met. That should make the Dbacks proud.

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