This past week has been an excellent one, in terms of me+baseball. For my birthday on the 19th, I saw a Mets-Cardinals game; also for my birthday I went to Boston over the weekend and saw a Red Sox-Mariners game, my first time at Fenway, and just last night, on a whim I went to see the Yankees-Mariners game! So that’s three different parks in less than a week, and 5 different teams! My team only won once (The Mets!), but I did get to see Terry Francona’s 1000th win, and the Mariner’s 14th and 16th consecutive losses! So a record-setting tour, for sure!
I also have begun to teach myself to score games, watching old games on MLB.tv, so that I can pause and rewind to double check my notations. But that is content for another post. For this post, I think I shall review the 3 ballparks I have recently visited–the only three major league parks I’ve seen games in, in fact. (I did visit Shea–I gave tours of it, and I saw a Salem Avalanche game years and years ago).
Let’s start with the hometown team:
The New York Mets
Park: Citi Field
Year Opened: 2009
Replaced: Shea Stadium
Championships Seasons in Park: 0
Price of a decent beer: $8.00, Goose Island IPA, 12oz, $7.75 Brooklyn Lager, 20oz
I mean, gah, I love The Mets! For my birthday, we sat in the Pepsi Porch, which juts out over right field, affording an excellent view of everything except long drives into right field. Small price to pay. Citi Field is not a great park, everyone knows that. It is way, way too big, a place where hitters come to die (see: Jason Bay). Plus, security is really snotty about people moving around to fill empty seats. Still, it’s a good place to come and see the Mets play baseball! There are some cool “clubs” that various tickets allow you access to, and there are no really horrible seats, except for the ones in that section that Mr. Met visits twice a game. Ugh, I DO NOT LIKE mascots.
Beer and snacks are pricey, as is to be expected. I went to a day/night doubleheader by myself in May (see banner photo), and between the price of the ticket, snacks and drinks, I spent nearly $80. But that is my own fault for having absolutely zero self-control. A fun little extra is that the freezers that the canned beer is kept in all have little LCD displays that say how cold they are. So you can shop around to make sure you’re getting the coldest possible drink.
This game in particular was wonderful, because the Mets won! In three seasons of going to Citi Field, this is the first game the Mets have won in my presence. And on my birthday! Plus, and this is really a big deal, Ike Davis Bobblehead!
There were some completely awful hecklers sitting behind us, but I will chose to erase those parts from my memory of the evening. Overall, a good enough park, a much-adored team, and a great night!
The Boston Red Sox
Park: Fenway Park
Year Opened: 1912
Replaced: Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds
Capacity: 37,493 (night), 37,065 (day)*
Championship Seasons in Park: 6 (1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004, 2007)
Price of a decent beer: $8.50, Green Monsta IPA draft, 16oz (I like IPAs, okay?)
Fenway Park is stunning. It’s an honest-to-goodness, all-American, they-don’t-make-’em-like-this-anymore Ballpark. The Boston transit system is tortuously awful, but finally making it into the park, and stepping out into the stands to see the field in the afternoon light, it was so worth it. It’s surprisingly small, intimate-feeling, and yet airy and open to the city around it. When the bus we took to Boston drove past in on the way in, I wasn’t sure it was real. Is that it? Right there, on the highway? Yup. Our seats were wooden, and even though our view originally looked like this:
I didn’t really pay close attention to the price of food, though I was impressed by the quantity of chicken tenders and fries that a woman sitting nearby received. Interestingly, beer was not sold in the stands, perhaps because most of the food vendor guys were in their teens. Also possibly because it was 95 degrees, water, soda and lemonade was heavily promoted. So I had to walk to the concourse to pick up the awesome beer named specifically for the park and brewed locally.
The game itself was fantastic. The Mariners lost, yes, but there was great back-and-forth, excellent pitching, exciting plays and a lot of crowd enthusiasm. Plus this new pitching kid for the M’s, Beavan, looks like just another great guy to add to the Mariner’s excellent rotation. Now, if only they could hit.
All in all, an amazing park, a real park of history, and somewhere I want to go back to. I suppose now is the time to start trying to get Yankees-Red Sox tickets for next year. That would be A Serious Game.
*- How is this possible?
The New York Yankees
Park: Yankee Stadium
Year Opened: 2008
Replaced: Old Yankee Stadium
Championship Seasons in Park: 1 (2009)
Price of a decent beer: $9.00 Goose Island IPA. However, this beer is only available from ONE vendor in the entire park, and is hidden away under a giant sign reading “Cocktails.” Exotic “Beers of the World” such as Stella Artois, Blue Moon and Heineken are available at a few stands for $12. Yes. $12.00. Also, the price of a Bud Light appears to range from $6.00 for a kiddie cup, to $7-something for a plastic bottle, to $11 for 12oz of beer in a cheap plastic “souvenir” cup. This is the only game I did not have a beer at.
There was a two hour rain delay, and I honestly expected the game to never start at all. But it did, so that’s good. The commencement ceremony for my college graduation was at New Yankee Stadium (yes, I went to NYU), and that was kind of cool. We still had to pay for concessions though, which is seriously messed up. I never went to The House That Ruth Built, so I can’t compare, but this Yankee Stadium is pretty stupid. It’s boring, poorly organized, and constantly filled with Yankees fans. There was silver trim on the protective plexiglass, so even though we were sitting in the very front row of our section, the view was weirdly obstructed. There are all sorts of odd nooks and crannies that lead you to the seedy underbelly of the stadium, and as I mentioned, the price of everything is horrible.
The game itself was a rout, with the Mariners extending their franchise record for consecutive losses. The 4th inning in particular was painful to watch. Terrible throw to the plate, several fielding mistakes, and a lot of Yankee hitting. The highlight was when, for Brendan Ryan’s 2nd at-bat, someone who does the graphics for the big ol’ Jumbotron photoshopped a ridiculous mustache on his official lineup photo. Kind of like this:
Fenway is by far the best park of the three, to be at in general. It tied with Citi Field for price of drinks and excitement of the game I saw. Citi Field is not a great park, but home to my favorite team, and therefore an exciting place to be. Yankee Stadium is just stupid. I would think it was stupid even if I was a Yankees fan (which I would never be). It has been a great week in ballparks for me, and I’m glad I live somewhere to be able to bounce around between all these places. And I’m glad that I had a birthday so I could be treated to all this fun! Thanks, boyfriend, you’re the greatest!
Stay tuned later this week for my adventures in scoring a baseball game!