We had a great time running around NYC in May of 2022. One thing we haven’t done was visit Yankee Stadium or Citi Field. During this trip, we made sure they were on the top of our to-do list. The best part, was Citi Field was the 21st stadium I visited, thus I am officially on the last 3rd of my quest to visit all the MLB stadiums. We actually decided to attend a game here since we did a tour of Yankee Stadium earlier in the week. We had a wonderful time and everyone was nice even if I was wearing my Angels shirt, lol. I did get a hat while there, so that might have helped too, lol.
In the early 1900s, the Mets organization had wanted to replace Shea Stadium where they had been previously playing. Shea Stadium had been a multipurpose stadium and the Jets and Giants also played there until they left in 1983. The stadium was retrofitted, but still not optimal for a baseball park. In December 2001, shortly before leaving office, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced “tentative agreements” to build a new stadium. After much back and forth, on March 18, 2006, the New York Mets unveiled the official model for their new ballpark.
Things moved quickly after that. By April 13, 2008, all of the structure for the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was in place, and the arched windows received their paneling and glass. By September 2008, most of the Citi Field signage had been installed, and by December 1, 2008, all of the seats and the playing field had been installed.
Citi Field has a capacity of 41,922. It has over 15,000 fewer seats than Shea Stadium, and all of the seats in the park are green. One interesting thing to note, Citi Field is the only ballpark in Major League Baseball to feature orange foul poles instead of the standard yellow, a unique characteristic that was carried over from Shea Stadium. Happily, Mr. and Mrs. Met moved to Citi Field as well. 🙂 We got to see them when they were running around the concourses in between innings.
Also carried over from Shea Stadium is the Home Run Apple. When a Mets player hits a home run, a giant apple lights up and rises from its housing in the center field batter’s eye. Interestingly, the new apple at Citi Field is more than four times the size of the one that was used at Shea Stadium. It is pretty cool to see and it was fun when a Mets player got a home run. The old apple from Shea is now located outside the ballpark and is a huge draw to many fans and guests visiting the stadium. Here is a video of the new apple in action!
When Citi Field first opened, the height of the home run boundary line directly in front of the Home Run Apple in center field was reduced from 16 feet to 8 feet in an attempt to produce more home runs. These changes were due to the fact that during its first three seasons, the large field dimensions caused Citi Field to play as an extreme “pitcher’s park”, and home runs at the stadium were among the fewest in the Major Leagues. The dimensions were made prior to the 2012 season in order to make the park feel friendlier to hitters.
The Mets played their first two games at the ballpark on April 3 and 4, 2009 against the Boston Red Sox as charity exhibition games. The first regular season home game was played on April 13, 2009, against the San Diego Padres. Citi Field hosted the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, marking the second time the Mets have hosted the event (the first being in 1964, the inaugural season of Shea Stadium).
No visit to the stadium is complete without taking a stroll through the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum. It opened on April 5, 2010, and includes plaques honoring the inductees of the New York Mets Hall of Fame. The museum also boasts several displays including autographed memorabilia, original scouting reports on players such as Darryl Strawberry, and handwritten notes from the team’s first manager Casey Stengel. It is definitely worth checking out even if you aren’t a huge Mets fan.
The last thing I am going to share about Citi Field is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda which honors his life and accomplishments. Robinson’s famous quote: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives” is engraved into the upper ring of the rotunda. There is also an 8-foot (2.4 m) sculpture of Robinson’s number 42. Of course, we had to get a picture in front of this as I have always respected Jackie Robinson and it is so cool that they have such a wonderful tribute to him.
New York Mets
The Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York’s departed NL teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. The team’s colors evoke the blue of the Dodgers and the orange of the Giants. Up until 1964, the Mets played their home games at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, before moving into Shea Stadium. However, it wasn’t love at first sight so to speak. The team never finished better than second-to-last in the 1960s until the “Miracle Mets” beat the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series, which is still considered by many as one of the biggest upsets in World Series history. The acquisition of future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver in a lottery helped the 1969 “Miracle Mets” win the new National League East division title, then defeat the Atlanta Braves to win the National League pennant and the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles to win the 1969 World Series.
During the 1980’s the Mets also drafted slugger Darryl Strawberry (#1 in 1980)[and 1985 Cy Young Award winner Dwight Gooden (#5 in 1982). In addition, former National League MVP and perennial Gold Glove winner Keith Hernandez was obtained by the Mets in 1983. Then in 1986 they won their division, 108-54, and won a dramatic NLCS games series over the Houston Astros. The Mets went on to win their second World Series title over the Red Sox in seven games.
There is a lot more history, but I will skip ahead to 2012 and mention that they had a few milestones including the first no-hitter in franchise history by Johan Santana. They also made it back to the World Series in the 2015 World Series but were defeated by the Kansas City Royals in five games. Then in 2016, they made it back to the postseason marking it as the second time in franchise history that the team qualified for the postseason in consecutive years. The end of the decade also coincided with Jacob deGrom being awarded two consecutive Cy Young Awards as well as first-baseman Pete Alonso winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year Award.
During the off-season of 2021-2022, the Mets signed three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer with a three-year $130 million deal and announced Buck Showalter as their manager via owner Steve Cohen’s Twitter account. He is still currently their manager as of the date of this posting. One more interesting note of history is that on April 29, 2022, pitchers On April 29, 2022, Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Díaz pitched the second no-hitter in franchise history. Pretty cool.
Well, that was a lot of information on a team that also has a lot of history. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about Citi Field and seeing some of the pictures. If you haven’t been, I hope you can make it for a game or tour. Here is a link to their website where you can get tickets or more info about taking a tour. Play Ball! 🙂 btw, the Mets won against the Philly’s the night we visited. You are welcome Mets fans, lol. It was a great game.
Citi Field Visitor Information
41 Seaver Way, Queens, NY 11368
Non-Game Day HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR INCLUDE:
- Jackie Robinson Rotunda
- Piazza 31 Club presented by True Vodka
- Suite Level
- Delta Sky 360° Club
- Press Conference Room
- Mets Hall of Fame & Museum
- Warning Track
- And more!
Book your Non-Game Day Public Tours today!
- All tours are given Saturdays beginning at 12:00 PM and 1:30 PM.
- Tours are approximately 60 minutes.
- All tours depart from the Hodges VIP Entrance.
- Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time.
- Tour dates update regularly, so please check back for additional dates and times.
- Walkups allowed for non-game day public tours.
- All tour stops and locations are subject to availability depending on the activities occurring within the ballpark and/or due to weather.
- Public Tour tickets are available for purchase online below.
Adult – $20
Children Under 12 – $15
Children 3 and under – Free
There are quite a number of different game day tours. You can check it out on the link here for dates, times, and prices.
Getting to the Stadium Via Public Transportation:
Take the local or express Queens-bound 7 train toward Main Street, Flushing. Get oﬀ at the second to last stop, Mets-Willets Point. Exit towards Citi Field. Visit https://alert.mta.info/ for further information. This is what we did and it worked out great!
VIA LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD (LIRR)
Take the LIRR to the Mets-Willets Point stop. Exit towards Ci Field. This stop is only active on days when we have a home game. Please be sure to check www.mta.info/lirr for the exact schedule and fare information.
FROM THE BRONX
Take the Cross Bronx Expressway to Whitestone Bridge to Whitestone Expressway to exit 13D- Northern Blvd/ Ci Field OR Take the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the Grand Central Parkway exit 9E-Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit.
Take the B.Q.E. East to the Grand Central Pkwy East to exit 9E-Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit OR take the G train to Court Sq., then transfer to the Queens-bound 7 train until reaching Mets-Willets Point.
Take I95 to the Whitestone Bridge to the Whitestone Expressway to exit 13D-Northern Blvd/Citi Field.
FROM LONG ISLAND
Take the Westbound Southern State Parkway to the Northbound Cross Island Parkway to Whitestone Expressway exit 13D to the Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit OR Take Westbound Northern State Parkway/Grand Central Parkway exit 9E-Ci Field/ Northern Blvd East exit.
Take the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to Grand Central Parkway to exit 9E-Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit OR Queens Midtown Tunnel to Long Island Expressway to exit 22A-E to either Van Wyck Expressway North or Grand Central Parkway West to exit 9E-Northern Blvd/ Citi Field exit.
FROM (NORTHERN) NEW JERSEY
Take the GWB to the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) South to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the Grand Central Parkway to exit 9E-Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit.
FROM (SOUTHERN) NEW JERSEY
Take the Goethals Bridge to the Staten Island Expressway East to the Verrazano Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway North/East to the Grand Central Parkway to exit 9E-Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit.
Take the Grand Central Parkway East to exit 9E- Northern Boulevard East/Citi Field OR Grand Central Parkway West to exit 9E Citi Field.
Eastbound Belt Pkwy to the Northbound Van Wyck Expressway. Take the Northern Blvd exit to Citi Field.
FROM ROCKLAND COUNTY
Take I-87 South (which becomes the Major Deegan Expressway in New York City) to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the Grand Central Parkway to exit 9E- Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit.
FROM STATEN ISLAND
Take the Staten Island Expressway East to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway North/East to the Grand Central Parkway exit 9E-Northern Blvd/Citi Field exit.
FROM WESTCHESTER COUNTY
Take the Hutchinson River Parkway South to the Whitestone Bridge to Whitestone Expressway to exit 13D-Northern Blvd/Citi Field.
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