The 2009 season marked the opening of two brand new ballparks for the New York teams. Overshadowed by the publicity surrounding the “House that George Built” up in the Bronx, Citi Field can definitely hold its own as a first-class facility. This $850 million home of the Mets sits adjacent to the site Shea Stadium occupied up through last season.
Our stop at Citi Field marked the first of three consecutive nights of marquee matchups – not coincidentally, we forked over the most dough for these three games on Stubhub. This Thursday night matchup renewed a great NL East rivalry as the defending World Series champs Philadelphia Phillies were in town finishing up a 3-game series. After a long day of traveling from upstate New York, checking into our hotel, and catching the right subway, we arrived at Citi Field shortly after the first inning was underway.
We were uncertain about whether the game was going to be started on time since it had rained off and on for most of the day. The rain held off but most of the game was played in a fog that made the game feel like it was being played in a swamp. Fog did not dampen (get it, dampen?) the spirits of fans of either team. There was much bantering between the few Phillies fans that made the trip and the Mets faithful. Most of the exchanges went something like this:
Phillies fan decked out in 2008 World Series gear emerges from stairwell with beer and hot dog in hand and makes his way up the stairs to his seat.
Mets fans: “Phillies suck!”, “Go back to Philly”, or “Cheese steaks are a high-calorie snack completely void of nutrition.”
Phillies fan: “Worlds Champs, buddy. Thanks for choking again last season.”
Mets fan shouts more of the same as the Phillies fan takes his seat and points to the World Series logo on his hat.
Aside from these friendly exchanges, there were some good eats at Citi Field. I thoroughly enjoyed the grilled sweet Italian sausage and Nicole was pleased with her selection of clam chowder. We experienced a beautiful moment while again eating our dinner at a shared table with some Mets fans. While describing our road trip to one of our meal buddies, he referred to us as his hero. You heard it right, we are baseball heroes! Ok, maybe he didn’t mean that literally, but we were flattered that someone else thought our endeavor was awesome.
The game turned out to be just as great as the atmosphere and the food. Much to Nicole’s dismay, the game went to extra innings tied at 3. We decided that Chiquita’s sleep was more important than seeing the end of the game so we took off at the end of the 9th inning. Raul Ibanez hit a three-run jack in the 10th and the Phillies took the series from the Mets (I saw it on Sportscenter later that night.)
The Mets have a beautiful new ballpark and the next stop on our grand tour will be in the Bronx at the new Yankee Stadium. Here are the photos from the Mets/Phillies experience…