Citifield An Assault On the Senses
Now that the baseball season has ended, allow me to expound on my one and only visit to Citifield to see the Mets win. The victory was a fluke. Some background might be in order so as to put this visit in perspective:
When a child, my parents had season tickets to Ebbett's Field night games to watch our beloved Brooklyn Dodgers play ball. Knowledge of the Dodgers' Brooklyn ball park will be helpful in expounding upon my visit to Shea's replacement, an homage to Ebbett's Field. No doubt, I was blown away for a multitude of reasons the least of which was the cost of the ticket (because I was an invited guest).
Face value of the ticket I was given was $270. I couldn't help thinking that's how much my folks paid for one seat for the entire night game season in Brooklyn in the 40's and 50's. Gulp! On my way to my seat, I walk - ed through the Jackie Robinson Ro - tunda. I looked for Met great mo - ments in pictures in the rotunda; but, only found Dodger moments. Didn't the Dodgers move to Chavez Ravine? Wasn't that sixty years ago? Shouldn't we be honoring Tom and Doc and Straw and Keith and Kid here in Flushing? Even a touch of Casey would be appropriate for the rotunda of the new Mets' park. Alas, not. For a moment I forgot I had ever chipped in for the construction of the ballpark. Part of that $25 million short fall the generous Mayor Bloomberg gave to the Wilpons was my money. Perhaps, there should have been a picture of me in the rotunda in appreciation of my involuntary contribution?
A tour around the interior perimeter of the first level of the park is, indeed, an assault on the senses: Every conceivable way of preparing sausage bombards the sense of smell for the entire 360 degree trip. There are other foods; but, sausage seems to be the order of the day. Every conceivable space in the park was adorned with advertisements. My eye tolerance was tested with revolving ads, flat ads, neon ads, stationery ads. Not an inch of the stadium was bare. If a patron just wanted a serene place in the stadium to be alone with his or her thoughts, there was none.
Scanning the park, I wondered, "What is Spongetech?" Better still, how can Sponge Tech afford such a massive advertising presence? Sponges to '09 must be equivalent to plastics in the 60's. I wondered if we TARPed them, too? This could be a great baseball rain riddle: Which team has a tarp on the field and in the field at the same time?
Making my way down to my seat two rows behind the Mets dugout, I was amazed at how uber-bright the park was. Three banks of lights decorated the roof of the stadium. So bright they were, one couldn't look up without being blinded. In my effort to copy the line-ups from the scoreboard on my $5.00 program, I thought I would go blind. (Weren't the programs ten cents at Ebbetts Field?) Fortunately, I had brought a visor to protect my eyes from the sun before day turned to night at the field. Turned out, I wore the visor all night to save my sight. Also, it turns out there is a visor included in the program as a punch out. I guess I wasn't the only person who considered the blinding lights. Not only did these three banks of flesh burning lights provide so much more light than necessary to light the field, they also provided enough heat to underscore the fact that baseball is a summer sport any season of the year. The heat part probably will come in handy in Nov - ember's forty degree weather if the Mets ever get to the post season. However, that ship won't sail for years.
To sum up, my eyes are nearly blinded by the light and polluted by the ads. My nose is being sausaged to death. My skin feels like I am on the inside of a rotisserie. From the looks of the rotunda, I could have been in Dodger Stadium. I'm ticked off be - cause I was forced to ante up for this arena by a billionaire who gave my money to multi-millionaires. Most of my starting team is on Injured Re - serve and the first ball of the evening had not yet been tossed.
What was that shocking noise blar - ing from the state of the art sound system as the first batter came to the plate? It was Rap, my least favorite type of noise, introducing the first batter. I was then informed by my host that each player has his own favorite music to play him on. The decibel level of the play on was only matched in intensity by the lumens, the heat and the aromas at the field. The "music" never quit. I stuffed my ears with tissue segments I had judiciously torn from my pre-game stash hoping to muffle 'songs' from hell. Not only didn't I understand the lyrics in Spanish, I didn't understand those in English either.
Forget that parking costs twenty dollars and that your car is a bus ride away from your seat. On Sullivan Place it cost two bucks and a buck extra if you wanted to be among the first ones out and you were right downstairs from your seat. Forget about the subtleties and nuances of the game. Every phase of the experience came and grabbed you like a trick or treater securing his bounty on Halloween. Peanuts were stale. Water was three dollars a bottle and Nathan's hot dogs were cocktail franks when compared to Dodger Dogs in L.A.
Currently, Mayor Bloomberg is trying to compensate for a budget deficit by closing 13 fire houses for a savings
Letters of a million dollars per. This is the very same mayor who gave 25 million dollars each to two millionaires to com plete their stadiums. My grandfather would call that a corker. Couldn't the mayor have simply loaned them the money? I guess he was so generous because the money wasn't his.
We (N.Y.C. taxpayers) helped build two stadiums for billions of dollars in the throes of an economic depression. Neither of the old stadiums, (like Ne - ponsit Home), was in danger of falling down and each did not have to be replaced. Neither of the new stadiums has a retractable roof assuring the leagues every game will be played beg ging the question, "Why was it necessary to build them in the first place?" Each new stadium seats fewer patrons than their predecessors and the seats and luxury boxes are ob - scenely expensive. Games are priced according to the skill levels of adversaries. Games are packaged forcing seat buyers to buy games they don't want in order to see games they do or pay more for games with premier teams. Forget the fun of baseball.
Every aspect of the game is a business decision even injecting or ingesting performance enhancing drugs. An unheralded first year player makes the minimum of over $400,000. It would have taken me eight years of my final year's salary to make that kind of money.
Suffice it to say, today's baseball is an assault on my five senses plus one more, common sense. Rather than contribute to the Wilpon's Madoff Relief Fund, I intend to watch those games that I do care about on television in an atmosphere over which I have total control. That is, until cable decides to charge viewers first by the game, then by the inning and, eventually, by the pitch. I was a Dodger devotee as a right of passage and the nuttiest fan of them all. Now, it's difficult even to admit to being a fan of baseball because "The game, it ain't the