Citi Field Tour: 2011
Last year, I was one of the first people to take the Mets’ ballpark tour of Citi Field. Yesterday, I decided to take the tour again to see how it’s changed and because I was curious to see how the work on the outfield walls was progressing.
The tour still starts in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and proceeds upstairs to the audio/video control room and the press box. Here’s a view of the field as it looked yesterday. The grass is still impressively green for mid-December, but it was strange to see the outfield walls with all of the padding removed. It doesn’t really look like too much of the heavy work on the changes has started yet.
Somebody was working on the warning track out in left field, but I’m not quite sure what they were doing.
From there it was on to the Cesar’s Club, the Delta 360 Club and a Sterling Level suite. We spent a lot less time here and it felt a lot less like a sales pitch than it did back in 2010. No visit to an Empire Level suite this time, which was probably a good choice. I was a little disappointed, though, because that meant I didn’t get to see the framed giant replicas of Topps baseball cards lining the hall.
The best part of the tour is still getting to go down on the field and checking out the Mets dugout. I don’t think there’s a single fan who doesn’t turn back into a kid when they get a chance to spend a few minutes in the dugout and realize that this is where their favorite players are during the games.
Likely because of the construction, we didn’t continue down the right field line to see the bullpen and the Mo Zone Clubhouse.
The other highlight of the tour was getting to peak inside the Mets clubhouse. It’s not quite as interesting during the offseason. David Wright‘s locker still had some odds and ends in it, including a football helmet Michael Strahan gave him after his concussion in 2009. The rest were all vacant.
Perhaps of some interest to autograph collectors, the players’ mail boxes were almost all empty. Wright had a few dozen envelopes, and Johan Santana and Terry Collins had a couple each. According to the tour guide, mail is either forwarded or picked up by a player’s representative.
We skipped the press conference room that seemed to be pretty popular when I took the tour last year, so after a quick look at one of six giant beer cooler tanks, we headed back to the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum to conclude the afternoon’s event.
They haven’t begun changing around the exhibits yet, so it was still the same 1986 tribute we saw during the season. It’s still nice to be able to wander around without the gameday crowds. I took a better look at the two championship rings on display – I had thought they were salesman’s samples, but we’re actually looking at Fred Wilpon‘s 1986 ring and Buddy Harrelson‘s 1969 ring.
I’m not quite sure where this is hanging – I know it’s not in one of the public parts of the ballpark – but the Mets kept the lineup card from the first game at Citi Field. I thought for sure that it would have landed in one of Amazin’ Memorabilia’s auctions. 🙂
The Mets still have issues, and who knows how many games they’ll win or how entertaining they’ll be to watch in 2012. But I had fun spending an hour or so at the ballperk on a December afternoon, getting to see some parts of Citi Field that are usually open only to the actual Mets and ballpark staff.
And since it’s just a week until Christmas, here’s a bonus photo of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. 🙂