|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The Mets’ new park, which will open its doors for a Georgetown-St. John’s baseball game March 29, is far more intimate than Shea and corrects some of Shea’s worst faults.
Citi Field will hold about 42,000 fans, 15,000 fewer than Shea. The park is enclosed and many seats wrap around the outfield, so it feels much cozier than Shea’s open-ended bowl, which favored watching football.
During an extensive tour of Citi Field on Tuesday, Jeff Wilpon, the team’s chief operating officer, spoke in the Acela Club, a restaurant in left field that will have 550 seats, table service, a bar and wine cabinets for frequent patrons.
“There’s all this light and air, and then you’re looking back at the field,” Wilpon said. “We want to make people feel they’re in a living room.”
Citi Field has many nooks and crannies that are nothing like Shea’s tired symmetry.
The grandstand that hangs over right field, for instance, was inspired by the old Tiger Stadium, which Wilpon visited with his grandparents as a child.
Citi Field’s exterior is a splendid architectural response to the dullness of Shea, while the inner bowl is muted. Shea’s candy-colored plastic seats are gone (along with generations of chipped paint on the handrails) in favor of dark green seats everywhere.
“Dark green is the color of a classic ballpark,” said Dave Howard, the team’s executive vice president for business operations, as he stood ankle deep in snow. “And we thought the other team in town would use blue.”
Everything has a new name, as well. There’s the Ebbets Club, the Delta Sky360 Club and the Caesars Club. Seaver, Hodges and Stengel have their names on three of the five party suites. The name game is not done, either.
“In this economy, you don’t turn down sponsors,” Wilpon said. “Anyone who’s willing to pay. ...”
Wilpon said the team had not decided who would throw out the first pitch on opening day April 13. But he said it would be great if President Obama did it on Jackie Robinson Day two nights later.