New York Yankees
New York Mets
L: M. Rivera
W: S. Rice
Welcome to Citi Field
In 95 days, if the weather plays nice, I will have visited all 30 MLB ballparks in one season. Tonight was the first step on my journey, and it all began at Citi Field in New York City.
I arrived at Citi Field at 3 PM eager to explore the stadium. Unfortunately the skies had other ideas. With rain drops falling all around me I took shelter near the entrance gates. It was here that I met several baseball fans with confusing allegiances. As this was the Subway Series, I expected to see both Yankees and Mets fans in attendance. What I did not expect to find were Yankees fans donning Mets gear.
First was Harry Leist (pictured left). Harry and his wife Marty had traveled from Virginia and were on their own mini-tour of the North East. After watching a game at Fenway they drove to NYC to catch games at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. Although Harry is wearing a Mets cap, he assured me that he was a Yankees fan. This was going to be an interesting game.
Next up was a group of John Buck fans covered in Mets paraphernalia. Once again I asked if they were fans of the Amazin's, but this group actually included Red Sox fans and Yankees fans, but no Mets fans. Once again I was perplexed. Two of the group had gone to high school with Buck so their Mets fandom was justified at least for the moment.
As the rain continued to fall I continued my search for a true Mets fan and was rewarded by meeting a man named Brian (pictured right). You can hear my brief interview with Brian on the podcast. While we spoke Brian mentioned that his favorite writer is Matthew Silverman which if you call yourself a Mets fan, he is most likely your favorite author as well. My one hour interview with Matt can be found on the podcast.
As the gates opened I made a beeline towards Box Frites. I had been told by a friend of mine named Robert to try the sweet potato garlic fries and I was not disappointed. It is going to take some real effort not to put on 50 pounds on this tour.
The game was officially delayed for 1 hour and 40 minutes. In the meantime I walked around the stadium and talked to some wonderful Mets fans. The stadium was packed with both Yankee and Mets fans patiently waiting for the rain to go away.
Finally at 8:40 the game was about to begin. Mariano Rivera took the mound, a little earlier than normal, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Mets Hall of Fame Closer John Franco. Rivera is seen smiling to the left, but the final pitch he would throw this evening was no laughing matter.
After the pre-game festivities, Matt Harvey took the mound to face off against Hiroki Kuroda. Both Harvey and Kuroda pitched masterfully. With Harvey mowing down ten Bronx Bombers and Kuroda scattering four hits over seven innings it is a shame that neither would factor into the decision.
The game itself was incredible. Sitting around me were Yankee fans and Mets fans cheering raucously the entire evening. Dueling “Let's go Yankees/Yankees Suck” and “Let's go Mets” chants filled the stadium all night long. There was respectful ribbing here and there, but for the most part Yankee fans and Mets fans got along relatively well.
I was surprised at how civil these two rival fan bases were towards each other as I walked around the park. I was expecting a far more raucous atmosphere, however as the 9th Inning approached the stadium came alive.
Sadly, there were a fair amount of people I saw heading for the exits in the middle of the 9th. As you are already aware, this turned out to be a bad decision. Two and a half hours earlier Mariano Rivera was on that same mound laughing and throwing a soft lob into home plate. Apparently he decided to continue that throwing motion in the bottom of the 9th. Two batters into the inning and the score was tied. With David Wright standing on second, Lucas Duda stepped to the plate. On the third pitch of the at-bat Duda blooped a single to right field as Wright rounded third and headed for home.
For more on this game, the interviews mentioned above and my experience at Citi Field, please check out the Rounding Third Podcast.
After a long rain delay, this was the perfect way for me to start my tour. 1 Stadium down, 29 to go.
Let's go Mets, Let's go Yankees/Yankees Suck, Cowbell Ben, Mariano (this chant continued onto the subway)
Next up: Yankee Stadium
First Pitch: Mariano Rivera, Scott Brown (Chevy)
Game Time Temp: 60
First Pitch Time: 8:40 PM
National Anthem: Richie Cannata (Billy Joel Band)
Seventh Inning Stretch: Lou Monte Lazy Mary
Total Pitches Thrown: 265
Total Hits: 15
Total Singles: 13
Total Doubles: 1
Total Triples: 0
Total Home Runs: 0
Total Walks: 0
Total Strike Outs: 19
Total Errors: 4
Ejections: Terry Collins
Game Time: 2:44
Attendance: 32,911 (78.5% full)
Home Plate Umpire: Brian O'Nara
Miles Traveled: 0
Time in Car: 0
Gas Money: 0.00
Sleep Time: 7 Hours 40 Minutes
Bottles of Water: 5
Food Eaten: Chicken Pita from GRK
Ballpark Food: Sweet potato garlic fries from Box Frites, Nathan's Hot Dog
All Star Game Ballots filled out: 1
Scoreboard Cap Game: Under Cap #1
Money spent on parking: $0
Money spent on ticket: $84
Cost of Program: $5
Money spent on food: $17.50
Total money spent on Merchandise: $27.84
Money spent on transit: $5.00
Total Money spent at stadium: $134.34