Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day at Citifield

Yesterday Ashesh, Mona, L and I braved the 7 train to check out the Mets/Brewers game at the brand-new Citifield. Everything -- the ballpark, the weather, the seats, the outcome, the Blue Smoke ribs, the time we appeared on the Jumbotron, the margaritas we enjoyed back in the neighborhood afterwards -- was spectacular. It was a great day to be a New Yorker.

Although Citifield is definitely cut from the same Venerable-Old-Timey-Ivy-and-Brickwork aesthetic now dominating most new baseball stadiums, I thought they actually showed some restraint in not laying it on too thick. For all of the masonry and elegantly arches welcoming you to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, there's plenty of exposed piping and darkly painted I-beams running along everything. The Rotunda itself was beautiful, an exceptional welcome to the new ballpark, with some genuinely inspirational inscriptions along the walls and floor. Near the center of the floor are a giant pair of bright-blue numbers, 42, behind markings representing Robinson's footprints. This area was mobbed with people taking photos as the game ended, and it made me really happy to see it. The whole thing was reverent and historical but still accessible and human-scale, like the game itself. How stuffy can you be when you are mere feet away from a men's room with dozens of urinals lined in a row?

Food-wise, they had plenty of your typical baseball fare, and tucked behind center field, rght alongside the whiffle ball diamond, is the ridiculous foodie oasis that seemed to really capture the modern Manhattanite's obsession with normal dishes somehow made exotic or locally grown or inexplicably expensive. Blue Smoke! Shake Shack! Fancy beers! Fancy tacos! It was unbelievable. The ribs were ridiculous, although I found them really hard to eat and could have used more wet naps.

Anyways, the day was perfect -- bright blue skies, a breeze keeping the flags lining the top of the stands in full view. Our seats were right along the first base line, giving us a great view of most of the action. The game was quick, with awesome pitching by Johan Santana that made up for the general lack of batting action. I tried to take a few photos with the old iphone, but between the bright sun and the barbecue sauce smeared all over my fingers (and face, let's keep it real) it was sort of challenging.

Here's a view of the infield from our seats. These seats were so good, the first thing I thought about as we settled in was that we could be killed by a foul ball in the blink of an eye. It was exciting!
Here's everyone going crazy as Mr. Met started shooting t-shirts into the crowd:
What a great day. I can't wait to go back. It made me want to buy a whole bunch of Mets stuff, too, like a cap, although wearing a baseball hat here is like making a strong political statement that half of everyone else will find extremely obnoxious. Like if you walked around with an "I'm GLAD we're in Iraq!" hat. Not that being a Mets fan is equivalent, but I would feel pressure to be knowledgeable and ready to defend the team, especially since a lot of these smarmy corporate types I tend to spend time with these days are usually Yankees fans. I just don't know if I'm ready for that commitment. But days like this definitely push me in that direction.

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