Monday, August 24, 2009

Entering the gates of Hell.

I don't get many perks at work. Sure, my job is easy and I have a great boss, but the freebies usually go to the upper-level management types, which ain't me.
Wednesday's Air Show invitation was an oddity, but maybe a sign of things to come. Today, I was treated to a Luxury Box at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets for their game (we'll call it a game) against the defending World "f**king" Champion Phillies.
Here are some photos I took. I think clicking on them will make them bigger, which is more than I can say for a lot of things.
This is the main entrance to the ballpark, into something they call the Rotunda. The bricks where those loser Mets fans are standing contain the names of people who paid to help them pave the sidewalk, the latest trend in cheapskate architecture. The way the Mets are playing, I envisioned the namesakes at the ballpark under cover of darkness, prying their bricks out with a chisel.

Cliff Lee was on the mound for the Phillies against future minor leaguer Bobby Parnell. Guess who won?

This is the fisheye version of the view from my seat. I'm just below the press level and, from what I heard, above Jerry Seinfeld's suite. I'm guessing Jerry had the common sense to stay home.

This is the Empire level, near the entrance to the suite. Those are replica baseball cards of Mets greats hanging on the wall. There is a lot of empty space, but it sure is clean.

The view from inside the luxury suite. Number 220, for the record (as if there is one). Also, for the record, I did not leave the refrigerator door open.
They serve more food than 30 people could eat in three days. Thick burgers, fries, chicken fingers, pretzels, cookies and um ... beer. Lots of beer. Well, maybe not more beer than 30 people could drink in three days ... but a lot of food, to be sure. A lot of it was left over, and I'm hoping they took it to a homeless shelter and didn't just throw it out. If they want to throw something out, start with the Mets.

This is the left field concourse. It's open to the field like our ballpark in Philadelphia, but the overhang from the upper level makes the view a little narrow. It's also dark. I had to brighten the contrast a lot to show the detail.

There's a fake steel girder bridge-type thing in right-center field. A little like our Ashburn Alley, but WAY more commercialized. There are shops, a Verizon booth and a market. Really - a market, with produce and stuff. See a game, do your shopping. I suppose that's supposed to give "mom" something to do while the men are watching the game? However, since the Mets are more like store clerks than baseball players, it seems oddly appropriate.

In Philadelphia, the open spaces are dedicated to food. In New York, it's all about retail. I think that's a big difference between Philly and New York and why I like it here.

The view down the left field line. See what I mean about the narrow view? At least they have wide-screen hi-def TVs down there. Nothing but the best for a zillion dollars.

This is a giant ... um ... advertising board in left field that faces out to the parking area and I-278. There are more ads in this place than your average magazine - and that's a lot of ads. The field is littered with them and everywhere you go there's another ad for something else. Maybe they should advertise for some players, because the ones they have stink.
Part of the experience is the shopping aspect. In addition to the market, there are apparel shops and souvenir stands up the wazoo. According to the local radio, they're making three times the money here than they did at Shea. No wonder.

This is the interior of the Rotunda that I showed you from the outside. Around the walls there is a tribute to Jackie Robinson, which is nice, but I fail to see the relationship to the Mets.

This is the Rotunda from the Empire level looking down. Quotations are carved into the marble floor.
The one around the inside wall says, "A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson.
The Rotunda is probably responsible for a huge chunk of the cost of the place. It's nice, though. It's a great focal point for fans starting their journey into Hell.

On the floor of the Rotunda is a big blue 42, which was Jackie Robinson's number, now retired by Major League baseball (except for Mariano Rivera). It's a spot for fans to stand to snap a souvenir photo. I had to sneak this one in between guests. Once again, isn't it clean?

I couldn't resist a parting shot from the box, with my Phillies World Champions hat in the foreground. A closer view will show the tons of advertising along the outfield wall and the deck levels of the seating area. Ryan Howard hit a home run into something they call the "Pepsi Deck" which is probably why Pepsi paid for it. But I fail to see the point. There are signs for GEICO, Xerox, Verizon, Subway and Bud Light among hundreds of others. I'm aware of all of those companies, and I wonder if they get any benefit from the money they spend.
Does seeing a Bud Light sign make one scream for a vendor? Probably no more than not seeing one, which is my point.
Anyway, a good time was had by all. The Phils won 6 to 2, taking 3 games of the four. The Mets are a woeful bunch, to be sure. Shame. I was looking forward to another late-season collapse, but they're about to be mathematically eliminated. The fat lady is clearing her throat.
I didn't see everything, and didn't venture into the many retail establishments. My walk around the concourse only took an inning or so. Since I had free food and a great view from the box I didn't want to spend too much time goofing around. It is definitely worth another trip, though, and for a baseball fan, a must-see ballpark.
Just try to ignore the home team, and if possible, don't pay to get in.


Kcoz said...

Hey...thanks for sharing with us those good pics of a stadium that we may never see up close, I enjoyed your commentary as well.


Merlin said...

Don't even get me started on the whole air show thing.