OUT OF LEFT FIELD
A VISIT TO CITI FIELD
The NY METS new ballpark, Citi Field, in all its glory.
I Take Me Out To
The New Ball Park
By STAN ISAACS
I was back in New York recently for my first look at the Mets new ball park, the second-year Citi Field. My first reaction was that-like all the new ball parks-it seemed as if as many people were at the food stands eating as were in the stands watching the game.
Two fantasies popped into my mind as I watched play develop.
When the hapless, highly-paid, disappointing, slumping Met, Jason Bay, grounded into an out, I had visions of Bay continuing past first base, running up the right field foul line-and right out of the ball park. To the cheers of the crowd.
Another moment. There has been much talk about the Mets trading outfielder Carlos Beltran because they wont be able to afford to pay him next year. When I saw a fan wearing Beltrans number 15, I had visions of all those people who were wearing his number going along with Beltran to his new city.
* * *
The Mets hit three balls off the outfield fences against the Phillies for doubles; they would have been home runs in just about every ball park in the big leagues. It emphasized what a disaster the distant fences are for the excitement quotient at this ball park. Citi Field lacks the live feeling of such as Fenway Park and the Phillies field where the short fences provide a sense that the trailing team can always mount a comeback with a home run.
The Mets lost this game, 8-5, falling short despite scoring four runs in the last two innings. Their chance for a winning rally would have been heightened in the stands if there were realistic hopes for a home run by the batters in the late innings.
* * *
A wonderful feature of the park is the tribute to Jackie Robinson in the Ebbets Field-like rotunda at the main entrance. There are inspirational words of Robinson chiseled on a façade; there is a huge standing No. 42, Robinsons number; and there are photos of various Robinson actions. I particularly liked the ones of the inimitable Robinson cavorting on the base paths.
With all this homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers (and Mets successes) I looked in vain for something that would attest that there was also a team known as the New York Giants in the city. Not a one, and maybe that is why Mets owner Fred Wilpon is suffering the curse of Bernie Madoff. The only trace of the Giants of New York is the NY type font that the Mets adopted when they were formed in 1962.
At a Mets souvenir shop I asked if there was anything for sale that recognized the New York Giants. None, the clerk said-and added, We have had a few people ask for them.
* * *
I noted with pleasure that the Mets have transferred from Shea Stadium to the press box of the new park the photos of writers who covered New York baseball over the years: from Grantland Rice and Damon Runyon to Red Smith, Frank Graham, Tommy Holmes, Dick Young, Bill Roeder, Roger Kahn, Len Shecter and, among others, my old Newsday mates, Steve Jacobson and George Vecsey.
* * *
The events attending this yearss affair made for another Almost-All-Stars Game. The fraud starts with commissioner Bud Seligs desire to amass high voting numbers for the game. Its a crime to vote more than once in regular elections, but baseball invites fans to vote as many as 25 times for favorites. Twenty-five is not enough for demon ballot-stuffing fans; there are in some outposts fervent public drives of support for players. At one gathering the mayor of Philadelphia led cheers to gain votes for the Phils Shane Victorino.
The no-shows of players for the game played in Phoenix was symbolized by the absence of Derek Jeter, the new 3,000-hit man. He came back from injury before the so-called midsummer classic, and played again when the season resumed, but he was a glaring absentee for the Almost-All-Stars game. A sharp-eyed fan told Len Bermans blog that though Jeter did not show up, he received a $50,000 bonus for being named to the team.
The game drew a record-low rating for the second straight year. It earned a 6.9 rating and a 12 share, down from last years 7.5 rating and 13 share. A rating represents the percentage of households tuned to a program; a share represents the percentage of all TV sets in use.
This prompted this comment: players didnt show up-and neither did fans.
* * *
There was a hint of a boycott of the game from some Hispanic major leaguers to protest Arizonas harsh immigration law known as S.B. 1070. Commissioner Selig, very big for celebrating Jackie Robinson when his cause is no longer an issue, showed no inclination to support any boycott when the Arizona law was an issue.
Baseball was taken off the hook in a sense last April when a federal court ruled against the harshest portions of S.B. 1070.
* * *
Theres less hitting in baseball this year. The averages keep sinking. Solution: lower the mound.
©2011 by Stan Isaacs. The Stan Isaacs caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. The photo is courtesy of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. This column first posted July 25, 2011.
TO ACCESS STAN ISAACS' ARCHIVE OF COLUMNS ON THIS SITE, CLICK HERE: ISAACS ARCHIVE
You can comment on this column online via our TALKBACK page. Please address your e-mail message to either "The Editors" or Stan Isaacs at Syndpack @ aol.com
HOME About Us Index To
Talkback Contact Us