Category: Major League Ballparks

Our First Visit to Citi Field

Ballpark #18

We made our first visit to Citi Field – our 18th Ballpark – on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 when the NY Mets played host to the Chicago White Sox for a 7:05 PM interleague game. Hope you enjoy this overview and collection of photos.

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Great views of the ballpark exterior while we walked up the adjacent street. Beautiful design – resembling Ebbets Field. And had to get a picture by Shea’s HR Apple!

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People

Traveling to this ballpark with me was my son, Trevor. We hope to visit all the ballparks together and were happy for this opportunity to check NY off of our list of destinations.

We also had hoped to meet up with Gary Herman (no relation – ha) once again but we arrived early and he arrived just before the game was about to begin. Add to that my cell battery being nearly on empty and we simply couldn’t manage enough communication to conveniently meet. If you are not familiar with Gary, you should know that he is an avid sports fan who attends more games than you can imagine and also arranges travel plans and tours for others. Please learn more about Gary and Royalty Tours by visiting his blog.

Although I was disappointed not to get to see Gary, I will add that he gave me a fabulous tip … he said, if you are going to Citi Field, be sure to use the Rotunda Gate (which was our plan) and meet Security Guard, Sam Citron. When we arrived, I spotted him right away from the picture in Gary’s blog so I got in his line. Sure enough, I introduced myself as a friend of Gary’s and he gave us a huge smile … said, “Welcome to Citi Field – Enjoy the Game!” I felt right at home!

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Trevor and Rebecca in the OF; Trevor with his #18 sign; Sam – most awesome and welcoming person with security – must see him at the Rotunda!; and Rebecca with her #18 sign.

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History

Jackie Robinson Rotunda

The entry rotunda is designed around a tribute to Jackie Robinson. The partnership aims to recognize and perpetuate, in and around the rotunda and the community, Robinson’s legacy and the “nine values” he embodied as articulated by his daughter and Jackie Robinson Foundation Vice Chair, Sharon Robinson: teamwork determination, persistence, excellence, commitment, citizenship, justice, courage, and integrity. You can place your feet in his footprints and get your picture by the #42.  This is a MUST DO when you go to Citi Field.

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Retired Numbers

The Mets have retired the following numbers in honor of the distinguished careers of:

  • #37 Casey Stengel; retired on September 2, 1965
  • #14 Gil Hodges;  retired on June 9, 1973
  • #41 Tom Seaver; retired on June 24th, 1988
  • “SHEA” was retired on April 8, 2002 in honor of William Shea.

Museum

We always enjoy visiting a team’s museum because it gives us a sense of who they are – where they’ve come from – what they’ve achieved through the years. Too often we are only familiar with what is happening today in baseball and taking the time to embrace a club’s history can be very meaningful. Like many museums of this kind, there are numerous exhibits including World Series trophies and rings, team Hall of Fame plaques – and much more. As noted earlier, you can access the museum from the Rotunda.

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The Mets Hall of Fame Museum.

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In the Museum – a great look at the three ballparks of the Mets

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Destination

Hotel

We had stayed in Manhattan the first part of our trip but with Citi Field being close to the airport and a very early flight the morning after the game, we decided to move closer. We selected the Holiday Inn Express LaGuardia Airport. It was pleasant enough and the staff was extremely accommodating. They have a shuttle that will take you to a train stop should you want to get into Manhattan (or elsewhere). That same shuttle also takes game-goers to their sister property, The Holiday Inn, which is in eye-shot of Citi Field. From there you can walk to the ballpark pretty easily. After the game, we walked back to the hotel and got the shuttle back to ours.  Simple enough – no rental car – no parking – no expense!

Gates & BP

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda, Hodges Entrance, and ticket windows will open 2 hours prior to each game so that fans may arrive early to watch infield and batting practice. All other gates will open 1 ½ hours prior to the start of the game. Opening times may vary for doubleheaders, concerts and special game dates. We recommend the Rotunda Gate … it is beautiful and houses the tribute to Jackie Robinson as well as the main team store and museum.

The following are times for Mets and visitor batting practices. Batting practice may not take place prior to every game.

12:10 p.m. 1:10 p.m. 4:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 8:10 p.m.
Mets BP 9:40 a.m. 10:40 a.m. 1:40 p.m. 4:40 p.m. 5:40 p.m.
Visitor BP 10:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

Do check the Mets A-Z Guide for up-to-date information.

Field

Here are the official details about the ballpark:

  • Capacity: 41,800
  • Size of the Entire Facility: 1.4 Million Square Feet
  • Surface: Natural Grass Playing

Field Distances:

  • Left Field Foul Pole – 335 feet
  • Left Field – 358 feet
  • Left Center – 385 feet
  • Center Field – 408 feet
  • Right Center – 398 feet
  • Right Field – 375 feet
  • Right Field Foul Pole – 330 feet
  • Height of Walls – 8 feet consistent from Foul Pole to Foul Pole

Citi Field’s Home Run Apple stands 16.5 feet tall and is 18 feet in diameter. The shell of the apple weighs 4,800 pounds, and its frame weighs 9,000 pounds. Unfortunately, no Home Runs at the game we attended so we didn’t get to see it! Guests are encouraged to visit the Shea Home Run Apple, which is now located in front of Citi Field in Mets Plaza.

We enjoyed our walk around the ballpark – typically the first thing we like to do when we get inside the ballpark. Always interesting to take in the view from many angles and get a feel for the overall atmosphere and culture of the ballpark. The Shea Bridge out in center field pays a nice tribute to the club’s history – plus – it’s pretty cool looking … we walked over it.

 

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Various views from assorted vantage points throughout the ballpark, including the Shea Bridge and Home Run Apple (hiding).

Food

It certainly was a shame that we had such a great lunch at the Hard Rock Café Yankee Stadium because we simply never truly got hungry at the game and there were so many wonderful choices!!

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Many wonderful choices for ballpark fare — and we truly wanted to try the Shake Shack – maybe next time!

 

The Game

Delta Silver Seating

We toured NYC the previous day and traveled to the Bronx earlier in the day to do an official Yankee Stadium Tour … by the time we had walked around the ballpark, we were pretty tired! So next up on our agenda was to find our seats and take in Batting Practice for a bit while relaxing. I had acquired some terrific Delta Silver tickets from StubHub. The seats were like sitting in a movie theater – high back, very padded, generous leg room, cup holders – and in-seat service! We used the in-seat service for drinks and snacks and I must say it was the fastest service I have ever experienced (and we have had in-seat service at many ballparks).

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View from our seats during Batting Practice.

DeltaSky360 Club

With the seats comes access to the club. The Delta Sky360 Club is located directly behind home plate on the Sterling Level. The club features a casual, market-style dining area, two full-sized bars, and the newly added full-service LaFrieda Chophouse.  We weren’t hungry and were more interested in the ballgame but it was certainly a lovely facility.

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A couple of the amenities in the DeltaSky360 Club.

 

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Sights from the game!

Matt Harvey

He was certainly fun to watch! What an exhibition on pitching. You just knew you were watching something awesome and I really thought he had the stuff to throw a perfect game.

  • 1st: Flyout; Lineout, Strikeout (S)
  • 2nd: Flyout; Strikeout (S); Stikeout (L)
  • 3rd: Groundout; Strikeout (S); Groundout
  • 4th: Strikeout (S); Groundout; Flyout
  • 5th: Groundout; Strikeout (L); Groundout
  • 6th: Strikeout (L); Flyout; Strikeout (S)
  • 7th: Strikeout (S); Groundout; SINGLE by Alex Rios! There goes the no-hitter! Strikeout (S)
  • 8th: Flyout; Groundout; Flyout
  • 9th: Flyout; Strikeout (S); Strikeout (S)

9 innings pitched; 12 strikeouts! 105 pitches/76 strikes; Great game by Matt Harvey!!

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Matt Harvey – what an amazing game! It was a pleasure to watch him pitch!

Victory

Mets won 1-0 over the White Sox in 10 innings. Check out the full boxscore if you are interested. Again, we seem to bring WINS to the teams we visit, which is why we stopped going to Padres road games – LOL! But truly, I’m thinking that teams might be wise to comp us some tickets when they really need a “W” in the win column!

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Time to CELEBRATE a Mets Victory!

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In Closing

I certainly enjoyed sharing our first visit to Citi Field with you and I hope you, too, will make a visit soon. I highly recommend planning your trip when you can include Yankee Stadium and sightseeing in NYC … take in the full Big Apple experience!

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Our First Visit to Yankee Stadium

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As noted in the April 30 post, we made our first visit to Yankee Stadium – our 17th Ballpark – on Saturday, May 4, 2013 when the NY Yankees played host to the Oakland A’s for a 1:05 PM game. I hope you enjoy this review and collection of photos.

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People

Traveling to this ballpark with me was my son, Trevor. We hope to visit all the ballparks together and were happy for this opportunity to check NY off of our list of destinations.

We also had the opportunity to meet up with Gary Herman (no relation) – see picture below. Gary is an avid sports fan who attends more games than you can imagine and also arranges travel plans and tours for others. Please learn more about Gary and Royalty Tours by visiting his blog.

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Yankee Stadium from the Jim Beam Suite seating … Top: Trevor & Rebecca; Bottom Left: Gary & Rebecca; Bottom Right: Rebecca

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History

In February of 1921, the Yankees announced that they had purchased 10 acres of property in the Bronx to build a new stadium. The stadium was built in an incredible 284 working days – in time for its inaugural game on April 18, 1923 versus (of course) the Boston Red Sox.  74,200 fans packed Yankee Stadium that day, Babe Ruth had a three-run homer, and the Yankees won 4-1.

The stadium remained relatively untouched except for the addition of lights in 1946. In the offseason of 1966-67 it received a $1.5 million upgrade. Then in 1972, the Yankees signed a 30-year lease with the plan to modernize again for the 1976 season. The Yankees actually moved to Shea Stadium for two seasons during the massive renovation. The last game was played in the original ballpark on Sept 21, 2008.

The “new” Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 with a seating capacity of 50,287 – actually fewer than the original stadium because seat width and legroom was increased to improve fan comfort. The field dimensions remained unchanged. The private luxury suites and party suites increased dramatically.

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Destination

Lodging & Transportation

We stayed in Manhattan on the Upper East Side at the Courtyard by Marriott on 92nd Street. The hotel selection was predicated on another event that I was attending at Columbia University. However, a Courtyard is often a nice choice and although not “budget” there are certainly more expensive hotels in NYC! Also, we only needed to walk a few blocks to reach the subway station … Green Line … Lexington Ave … also home of the #4 train, which goes to the Bronx and has a stop (161st Street) literally across the street from Yankee Stadium. When traveling to Yankee Stadium, I recommend visiting the MTA’s website where you can get schedules for all trains.

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Train station at 161st Street — Right across from Gate 6 of Yankee Stadium

Gates & Entry Times

Yankee Stadium has four gate locations for entry and exit:

  • Gate 2: adjacent to left field: Enter via Jerome Avenue and East 164th Street
  • Gate 4: behind home plate: Enter via East 161st Street and Jerome Avenue
  • Gate 6: adjacent to right field: Enter via East 161st Street and River Avenue
  • Gate 8: adjacent to center field: Enter via River Avenue and East 164th Street

Gates open two hours prior to the scheduled start time of every home game. Gate openings are subject to change during inclement weather and for special events, doubleheaders, Opening Day and postseason play. Do check the Yankee Stadium website for current gate information.

We arrived at Gate 6 well before the scheduled opening. We wanted to start there because that is the main gate and the one you see featured in pictures all the time.  We walked to Gate 4 and the adjacent “Suite Entrance” because our tickets permitted entry at this gate … and it was certainly a time-saver as well as first class!

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Yankee Stadium – Gate 6

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The Field

The first thing we always like to do when we enter a ballpark for the first time is to walk around the entire park … taking in the view from various points. This is, of course, assuming the ballpark allows this. Happy to report that Yankee Stadium was great! We were able to enter at about any point – head down closer to the field – take photos – move on – repeat! Loved it! Some of my favorite views were from the batter’s eye seating … beautiful!

We also made a quick stop in Monument Park. It was rather crowded and difficult to see and harder to take pictures. We knew we would be returning for a stadium tour on Tuesday, so we didn’t stay long and didn’t include any pictures in this story.

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Various field views at Yankee Stadium

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The Food

As we worked our way around the field, we also took note of the amazing array of food choices. My goodness – if anyone ever said they couldn’t find something to eat here – I’d have to check their senses … signs, pictures, and aromas abound!  Below are just SOME of the many selections available.

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Food choices abound at Yankee Stadium – something for every taste you desire!

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Jim Beam Suite

By the time we made our way around the field, made the quick visit to Monument Park, and checked out the various food options – batting practice was coming to a close and we were getting pretty hungry. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion in seeing all those yummy food venues! We decided it might be best to make our way to  Level 300 –  Jim Beam Suites and see what that had to offer.

We found our seats and decided to check in at the Suite Lounge. Several food options available in the lounge and plenty of Jim Beam at the bar – naturally! We opted for sharing a pizza – good choice – and sodas (free refills throughout the game)! Before leaving the lounge we also grabbed our complimentary peanuts and popcorn. Not bad.

The suite area also has some very nice outdoor seating areas with large flat screen TVs. I suppose if there was rain or very hot, it might be a great option. However, I can watch a ballgame on TV at home or in my hotel – so we headed to our seats. These had to be the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in at a ballgame – talk about cushy! WOW!  There was also in-seat service but I never saw any wait staff in our area … that feature definitely not up to the standards of other ballparks.

The view from 320B was fantastic! There were no blind spots on the field, we could see both dugouts pretty well, and the section is centered over home plate – ideal!

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Yankee Stadium Jim Beam Suites & Amenities

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YMCA

I always appreciate the hard-working grounds crew. They do absolutely amazing work to keep the baseball fields in tip-top shape, safe for the players, and beautiful to behold. They came out at the half-way point (middle of the 4th) and did the usual smoothing of the infield dirt. Meanwhile, the music system was blasting the “YMCA” song and everyone was up and singing along. But when it got to the Y-M-C-A part (you know it well … when everyone tries to form the letters!) … the guys dropped their rakes and did the movements in sync. What a hoot! They then picked them up – and continued working … until the next time when they again dropped them and did all the arm motions. I just loved it. This has me thinking … wonder what we can convince the guys in San Diego to do 🙂

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Grounds Crew does the “Y-M-C-A” while smoothing the infield!

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Mariano Rivera

The Yankees had maintained a lead over the A’s and my son was especially excited to see the game in a Save situation because he really wanted Rivera to come out. But then the Yankees moved ahead a bit too much (4-0) and it looked like we might not get to see him. But the next thing you know, the A’s have scored and it is 4-2 … and out comes Rivera!

It was certainly a pleasure to have the opportunity to watch him pitch in person. This all-time Saves leader will most likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer and he announced his retirement earlier this year. Rivera has spent his entire MLB career with the Yankees – with his first appearance May 23, 1995 (19 years ago). He has 623 Saves, 12 All-Star selections, and 5 World Series championships … to name a few of his accolades.

Rivera did his job and the Yankees won 4-2 over the A’s. Check out the full boxscore if you are interested. We seem to bring WINS to the teams we visit, which is why we stopped going to Padres road games – LOL! But truly, I’m thinking teams might be wise to comp us some tickets when they really need a “W” in the win column!

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Mariano Rivera comes out and gets the SAVE!

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Good to Know

When you get to Yankee Stadium, be sure to stop by Guest Services near section 128. Nice folks work there and if it is your first Yankee game, you can sign up for a complimentary certificate. The certificate is available to be picked up after the 5th inning but we opted to have it mailed to us. It arrived the next week – very nice!

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New York Yankees First Game Certificate

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In Closing

I certainly enjoyed sharing our first visit to Yankee Stadium with you and I encourage you to make a visit soon. I highly recommend planning your trip when you can include Citi Field and sightseeing in NYC … take in the full Big Apple experience!

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Preparing for New York Ballpark Trip

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Our Ballpark Progress

In 2007, my son and I made our first ballpark road trip. We saw the Padres play the Cardinals at Busch Stadium (Ballpark #2 – Petco Park holds the #1 spot). We were hooked. We knew then and there that we must go on a quest to visit every ballpark in Major League Baseball. It has been more challenging than expected but fun nonetheless.

In 2008, we marked off 3: Angel Stadium (Ballpark #3), Twins at the Metrodome (Ballpark #4 … yes, now we must go back for Target Field), and Dodger Stadium (#5).

In 2009, 2 more off the list: Coors Field (Ballpark #6) and Oriole Park at Camden Yard (Ballpark #7).

In 2010, we visited Chase Field (Ballpark #8) for the first time. Returned in 2011 for the All-Star Game and 2013 for the World Baseball Classic.

2011 was a big ballpark year for us – 7: Comerica Park (Ballpark #9), Progressive Field (Ballpark #10), Minute Maid Park (Ballpark #11), Rangers Ballpark (Ballpark #12), AT&T Park (Ballpark #13), O.co Coliseum (Ballpark #14), and Safeco Field (Ballpark #15). Whew! Hit the half-way mark!

Only 1 in 2012: Kauffman Stadium (Ballpark #16).

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Upcoming New York Ballparks

Can’t say what all in is store for us in 2013 but do know we have two games/ballparks scheduled as we head to New York City on Friday!

Saturday, May 4, 2013 we will be at Yankee Stadium (Ballpark #17) to see the Yankee’s host the Oakland A’s at a 1:05 PM game. We will be sitting in the Jim Beam Suite 320A. We were disappointed to learn that there are no ballpark tours available because it is a day game but we plan to arrive when the gates first open.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 we will be at Citi Field (Ballpark #18) to see the Mets host the Chicago White Sox at 7:10 PM. We will be sitting in the Delta Silver 19 section. Again disappointed to not be able to do a ballpark tour because they are sold out until after the All-Star game! But again, we will arrive when the gates first open and take it all in as much as possible!

We are very excited about this upcoming trip and look forward to sharing it with you. Please post comments if you have suggestions for while we are at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field.

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