Tagged: Batting Practice

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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Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

Salt River Fields at sunrise

Salt River Fields at Sunrise

Destination

East of Scottsdale, Arizona, on the land of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, sits a beautiful 140-acre complex named Salt River Fields at Talking Stick – the first MLB park to be built on Native American land.  The complex is the Spring Training home for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. Salt River is currently the newest MLB Spring Training facility and replaced the Tucson Electric Park for the Diamondbacks and Hi Corbett Field for the Rockies.

Salt River Fields - Spring Training Home of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks

Salt River Fields – Spring Training Home of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks

Each team has an 85,000-square-foot clubhouse (with offices, fitness, and locker rooms), six full-size practice fields (one with the same dimensions as the respective team’s home stadium), two infield only practice diamonds, and 10 covered batting cages. The Diamondbacks occupy the facilities along the left field and the Rockies are in the right field area. I must say, I conducted interviews in the Rockies’ Clubhouse (no photography allowed) and it was magnificent … open space, spacious lockers, leather seating areas, flat screen TVs, computers, granite bars … five star all the way!

Early Morning Field Preparation

Early Morning Field Preparation

The stadium was positioned to face northeast to maximize shade within the grandstand. With 7,000 chair back seats and 4,000 berm seating (the largest of all the facilities), the stadium lists 11,000 as capacity; however, the latest attendance record was established on March 24, 2013 with 12,864 – obviously, fans utilized extensive berm and standing room only to squeeze in! Luckily, there are over 3,000 parking spaces as well.

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History

Grand Opening was February 11, 2011 and the first game was the Diamondbacks and Rockies on February 26, 2011. The ceremonial first pitch was delivered by Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Tribal President Diane Enos and Vice President Martin Harvier. The National Anthem was performed by Salt River Elementary School choir. The Rockies won the first game 8-7 after 10 innings of play.

Two Tribes, Two Teams, One Home

Two Tribes, Two Teams, One Home

The name Salt River Fields at Talking Stick defines the location and culture of the facility.

  • “Salt River Fields” represents the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
  • “Fields” refers to the 12 practice fields located within the facility and also the Community’s rich agricultural history.
  • “Talking Stick” is an historical reference to the traditional Pima calendar stick on which carvers recorded historical events and milestones

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A local Pima artist and calendar stick carver, Royce Manuel, designed the concept for the logo.  It brings together the Diamondbacks’ rattlesnake with the Rockies’ mountain range. Great that it also emphasizes the local mountain ranges as well as the rattlesnake in Southwestern Native American culture. A Dallas-based design firm, FocusEGd, refined the design into a graphic image.

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People

The fans have been packing the stadium for both teams since the stadium opened in 2011. The beautiful facility, lovely mountain backdrop, and two MLB teams makes it a great destination for Spring Training fans. And if you go to Salt River Fields, you will have many options to suit your palette.  From Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar to 101 Cattle Company’s angus burgers; Cold Stone Creamery to chocolate covered bananas & strawberries on a stick (berry kabobs); numerous wieners abound at the Home Plate Hot Dogs and, of course, the Salty Senorita taco bar and Del Rios southwestern cuisine. If you are more health conscious, never fear! There are specialty wraps, salads of the day, sweet potato fries, Island Noodle, and several gluten free choices.

Fans Enjoying a Brewers at Rockies Game

Fans Enjoying a Brewers at Rockies Game

Notes – As noted earlier, the practice fields are extensive. The Rockies’ half is known as the “Mountain” side … park in the Mountain Parking lot on the south side of the complex. The fields are named: Duststorm, Red Mountain, Adobe, Wild Horse, Red Clay, and Cottonwood. The Diamondbacks use the “Desert” side of the complex … park in the Desert Parking lot on the north side of the complex. Those fields are named: Whirlwind, Jackrabbit, Quail, Ramada, Devil’s Claw, and Mesquite.  Parking is complimentary on non-game days but there is a $5 charge on game day, regardless of whether or not you actually attend the game. Of course, if you are attending the game, the gates open 2 hours and 10 minutes before first pitch and you will usually find the home team taking batting practice in the stadium.

View of Batting Practice from the Rockies' Dugout

View of Batting Practice from the Rockies’ Dugout

When planning your Spring Training visit – be sure to include Salt River Fields at Talking Stick!

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The Baseball PHD visited Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Friday, Mar 01, 2013 … The Rockies hosted the Brewers and the home team was victorious with a 5-2 score and 7,443 fans in attendance.

Ballpark address:
7555 N. Pima Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85258