Tagged: Ebbets Field

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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“42” The Story of Jackie Robinson

42Let me start by saying that I am certainly no movie critic … I don’t even go to a lot of movies at the theater. In addition, I rarely read movie reviews because I like to see what I want to see and form my own opinion on what I do or do not enjoy. So now that the disclaimers are out of the way, I want to share my thoughts about the movie, “42” – the Jackie Robinson story.

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Basic Plot Line

Naturally, the movie is a biopic of Jackie Robinson (portrayed by Chadwick Boseman) in 1946 & 1947 … important to note that this is a mere snippet of time – the making of Jackie as a Brooklyn Dodger (crossing the baseball color line) and not really his playing career. This may or may not disappoint some hard-core baseball fans. And even though I “knew” the story and the outcome walking into the theater, it certainly didn’t affect my ability to enjoy it and anticipate what might happen next – I was fairly riveted to the storyline … great acting certainly helped!

The General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey (wonderfully played by Harrison Ford) was truly a visionary in his desire to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier by signing a Negro player. Initially he talks about how it is good for winning, which is good to make more money; however, toward the end, he shares a story with Robinson from his past of how he didn’t feel he did enough for a Negro player and really wanted to make it right.

The movie chronicles the selection of Robinson to be “the” one – his signing – and then his move from the Kansas City Monarchs (part of the Negro Leagues) to the spring training camp of the Montreal Royals (a minor league affiliate of the Dodgers’ organization). Jackie’s first hope is to actually make the Montreal team, which he does. Now the movie doesn’t spend any time in Montreal but a friend of mine (who is Canadian) commented that he and his wife were loved there and shared a video with me (see links below). They were not so welcomed in the US where even on the minor league team he was boo’d and cursed for playing “white baseball.”

Of course, Jackie Robinson was called up to the majors and played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (for 10 years). The taunting and prejudice that Robinson received in the minor league system was just the beginning. In the majors, fans, league officials, players, even teammates were against him. Teams threatened to forfeit because they didn’t want to share a field with him. Teammates asked to be traded because they didn’t want to wear the same uniform or share a locker room with him. One of the most painful scenes in the movie is the constant taunting by the Phillies manager, Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) who threw an endless barrage of the N-word at him for every at bat. But humanity did come through as that also prompted teammates to start standing up for Jackie and this was a turning point in the clubhouse relationships.

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My favorite Parts of the Movie “42”

The relationship with Rachel Robinson (Nicole Beharie) – Jackie’s wife – although there could have been more revealed, there was enough to demonstrate that she was loving, loyal, and supportive of Jackie and his desire to play Major League Baseball regardless of the incredible challenges they both faced.

Wonderful scenes at the old ballparks … now I must put those locations on my “must see” ballparks list. Many of the minor league game scenes were shot on location at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, AL. This ballpark has quite a history of its own and was highly appropriate for this movie. The other location was Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, TN – it received renovations for the movie and was used as the “Ebbets Field.”

I giggled every time there was a scene with Jackie taunting pitchers with the fear of stealing a base, which he did with ease! He just loved getting in their heads and pulling them off their game by worrying about him … and with good reason! Man, I sure would have loved to see him play!

I was also fascinated with the interplay between Jackie and Wendell Smith (Andre Holland). It was obvious he was a writer – likely a sports reporter – but I did not fully understand his role or who he worked for based on the movie. Thus, I had to do a bit of research when I got home. It seems he a sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Courier and was pretty influential in the selection of Jackie Robinson because he covered the Negro Leagues and knew he had the strong character needed to succeed in this difficult role. He was paid by both the Courier and Branch Rickey to assist Jackie and ensure he had a place to sleep and eat in safety – often a challenge during the “Whites Only” days of segregation. I would have liked to have seen this relationship a bit more fully explored in the movie.

Ultimately, it came down to baseball and the objective was to let the play on the field settle any question about who should or should not be playing in the major leagues! That was ultimately proved when Robinson made the game-winning – National League pennant-clinching – home run off of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who previously beamed him in the head (obviously on purpose).  Talk about settling it on the field – now that was perfect – and the look on that pitcher’s face was priceless!

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My Favorite Quotes from the Movie “42”

Jackie Robinson: “You want a player who doesn’t have the guts to fight back?”  Branch Rickey: “No. I want a player who’s got the guts not to fight back.”  Jackie Robinson: “You give me a uniform, you give me a number on my back, I’ll give you the guts.”

Leo Durocher: “If Robinson can help us win, then he is gonna play on this ball club!

Reporter: “What you gonna do if one of these pitchers throws for your head?”  Jackie Robinson: “I’ll duck.”

Wendell Smith: “You are not the only one with something at stake here. Why do you think I sit on the 3rd base line with my typewriter in my lap? Negros aren’t allowed in the Press Box.”

Branch Rickey: “The world’s not so simple anymore, I guess it never was. We ignored it, now we can’t.

Ralph Branca: “Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42” (… and now they do on Jackie Robinson Day!)

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The Baseball PHD Recommendation

The movie made me laugh … made me cry … made me think. Whether or not you like baseball, you should see this movie because it is part of history and the more we know the less likely we are to repeat mistakes. But if you love baseball, you HAVE to see this movie because it will give you a glimpse at history and a truly American Hero – and darn good baseball player!

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Just the Facts

“42” runs 128 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language.

Brian Helgeland – Director/Screenwriter

Thomas Tull – Producer

Dick Cook,  Josh Jashni, &  Jason Clark – Executive Producers

Cast

  • Harrison Ford – as Branch Rickey
  • Chadwick Boseman – as Jackie Robinson
  • Nicole Beharie – as Rachel Robinson
  • Christopher Meloni – as Leo Durocher
  • Andre Holland – as Wendell Smith
  • Lucas Black – as Pee Wee Reese
  • Hamish Linklater – as Ralph Branca

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Links to Additional Information

Rickwood Field

Engle Stadium  Engle Foundation

Official Movie Site

Movie Trailer #1

Movie Trailer #2

Montreal Debut

The Jackie Robinson Foundation