As a reward for donating platelets four times between May and July, the NY Blood Center sent me four tickets to a Mets game at Citi Field. Since I have not been to a Mets game in their new ballpark, I was looking forward to it. And since I had a quartet of tickets, I invited our friends Allan and Arlene, both avid Mets fans, to join us.
It has been a number of years since I've been to a Mets game. The last time I recall driving to Shea Stadium, the parking fee was $6. I figured it had probably gone up a couple of bucks since then, but was quite surprised to find that it now costs $19! And this is for the "outer" parking fields; I don't even want to guess what "V.I.P Parking" costs.
It was "Build-a-Bear" day, so we each received a teddy bear with a Mets shirt and cap. Thankfully, Laurie had brought a canvas bag, so we had somewhere to put them. Otherwise, we would have been like many of our fellow attendees, with bears stuck under our arms or on our heads as we walked through the stadium. One family I saw had four children, the youngest of which was displaced from her stroller by six bears.
Having been to the "retro-modern" stadiums in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, I was underwhelmed with the look and feel of Citi Field. As Laurie pointed out, it came across as very corporate in its attempt to seem friendly. The Hall of Fame Museum, though it contained a few items of interest, led directly into the souvenir/gift shop with a focus on "buy, buy,buy."
As we made our way to our seats, Laurie pointed out that every possible spot along the way was filled with a cart or kiosk selling something. And there were certainly no bargains to be had. Two hot dogs and two sodas would take almost all of a $20 bill. One can only imagine how much that family with the four kids spent on their day at the ballpark.
Our seats were pretty good, field level in the right field corner. That they were in the shade on a 90+ degree afternoon for most of the game was a good thing. We could see all of the field as well as the scoreboard. We were about ten yards away from the foul pole, so I had an up-close view of the home run ball that bounced off it.
The Mets beat the Astros, 5-1, thanks mostly to the timely 2-RBI single by pitcher R.A. Dickey. Neither team has any hopes of playing in the post-season, so the game had no real importance other than bringing the Mets back to being a .500 team.
One thing hasn't changed between Shea Stadium and Citi Field. Getting out of the parking lot at the end of the game still takes forever. The entire lot seems to feed into a single two-lane exit. You'd think that with all those $19 fees they collect, they could have afforded more than one gate.