With 6 games under their belts at CitiField, Mets fans have had a fair chance to sample the new stadium and formulate their own opinions about it. I have not been to CitiField and do not know when I will have the chance (the issues of expense and personal scheduling conspire to make such trips few and far between for me) but have done a fair amount of reading on the issues surrounding the new stadium and have come up with my top 5 issues. Feel free to agree, disagree or add your own issues in the comments.
5 – Economic timing: The economy is number one on most people’s minds but when CitiField was conceived nobody could have seen things getting as bad as they have gotten. The inability of anyone to foresee these tough times is why this is slotted at number 5. When a new stadium is built ticket prices will rise more than normal. Even scalpers will be asking for more money until the novelty of the new stadium wears off. With unemployment off the charts and people trying to save now more than ever before this is just not the time for such expensive ticket prices.
4 – Ebbets Field motif: New York used to have two National League teams: The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. The Mets orange and blue colors are taken from the colors of those two teams. But of these two teams the Mets are probably more an extension of the Dodgers than the Giants. However the Mets are definitely not the Dodgers. The Dodgers are a whole other franchise. I have no problem with the existence of a Jackie Robinson Rotunda. I have no problem with a facade that resembles Ebbets Field. But it seems like there has been more attention paid toward these features of CitiField than anything Mets related. Furthermore, if the Dodgers stayed in New York (regardless of if they would be in Brooklyn or Queens) Ebbets field would not exist and would probably be spoken of as negatively as most people seem to talk about Shea Stadium. The team that played there wanted to get rid of it for many of the same reasons people wanted to get rid of Shea. I have no problem with Brooklyn Dodgers nostalgia but not at the cost of what should be Mets nostalgia?
3 – Too many distractions: One of the things I liked about going to Shea was that once you got their you’d be watching the game. You had no choice, really, since there was nothing else to do. I understand that not everybody agrees with that point of view and so ownership has built several other attractions into CitiField. The new attractions (mostly places to buy food) are new revenue streams for the club that promise to bring in more money. (Do you think fans will reap the benefits of the new revenue streams by offsetting tickets prices? I think not. But I digress.) The problem I have with all of the new attractions is that it takes people away from the game. Shouldn’t the product you put on the field be what brings people to the park?
2 – Fewer seats: I understand the economics behind having more luxury boxes. But to have fewer regular seats than Shea is unconscionable. It shuts out more average fans from seeing games. Fewer average fans will be going to games this year anyway (see number 5 above). However when economic times improve these fans will want to go to games but will not be able to because supply will not be able to meet demand. Obviously that will cause ticket prices to rise again (due to the law of supply and demand) and once again ownership will find a way to line their pockets while screwing their fans.
1 – Obstructed Views: In this age of stadium design there is no excuse for an obstructed view seat yet this seems to be the biggest complaint I’m hearing about CitiField. It does not matter how many video screens you install to help those with obstructed views see the action. If they wanted to watch on a video screen they’d be at home watching on TV (unless, of course the owners find more ways to black out games on TV). Maybe ownership should have focused a little more on the game experience and a little less on Brooklyn Dodgers nostalgia and trying to win culinary awards.