I caught my first game at the new Citi Field the other night. Very nice ballpark. Loved the brickwork and the out-of-town scoreboard that shows baserunners and outs so you can really follow the other games. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda is an amazing tribute to Jackie Robinson. Vast improvement over Shea Stadium.
Of course Shea was an ugly place to play baseball, almost from the beginning. One of those sterile, cookie-cutter multipurpose stadiums, like Riverfront in Cincinnati or Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Some good memories with the Miracle Mets, 1986 and all, but not a lot of character.
One big distraction at Citi Field is the planes taking off from LaGuardia. Same as the old Shea in that sense.
I’ve now been to all three Mets home parks — the old Polo Grounds in Manhattan, Shea and right next door Citi.
And I will be seeing the new Yankee Stadium for the first time later this week.
In the meantime, these are the ballparks I’ve visited over the years, with memories of each:
1. Yankee Stadium
The Old Stadium – My first baseball game (1958); seeing Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Ted Williams homer in the same game (1960); Yanks-Tigers 19-inning tie (1968); Fourth of July twinbill vs. Red Sox (1973); Sunday doubleheaders.
The Refurbished Stadium — Yankees vs. Orioles in the 70s; Donnie Baseball in the 80s and early 90s; Yankees 12, Red Sox 11, 10 innings (1996); David Wells perfect game (1998); World Series victories in 1998 and 1999; Roger Clemens 300th win (2003); Aaron Boone’s homer in 11th inning wins the 2003 AL pennant over Boston; Double rally vs Padres, Yankees win in 12 innings (2004); Yankees tie team record with eight home runs in game (2007); Yankees beat Texas, 18-7, capping run of 59 runs in last four games seen at Stadium (2008).
2. Candlestick Park — Willie Mays hits a grand slam and Juan Marichal beats the Cubs (1962); Giants home opener (1985)..
3. Polo Grounds — Mets outfielder Jim Hickman hits for the natural cycle; Stan Musial pinch-hits for Cardinals (1963).
4. Shea Stadium — Banner Day parade (1967); NLCS loss to Mike Scott (1986); Yankees lose two to Red Sox (1975); Subway Series regular season battles with Yankees.
5. Fenway Park — Yankee southpaw Fritz Peterson wins 20th game (1970); Ron Blomberg first DH, Opening Day (1973); Nolan Ryan 15 Ks (1977); Bucky Dent HR beats Boston in AL playoff game (1978).
6. Memorial Stadium — Dock Ellis lifts Yankees to win over Orioles en route to pennant (1976).
7. Oakland Coliseum — A’s crush Angels in home opener (1985).
8. Arlington Stadium – Tony Pena homers and Roger Clemens stops Rangers on a hot night in Texas (1990).
9. Fulton County Stadium — Giants rout Braves, 23-8 (1990).
10. Mile High Stadium — Rockies beat the Mets in inaugural season in Colorado (1993).
11. SkyDome — Two-time champion Blue Jays beat the Yankees at the ballpark now known as Rogers Centre (1994).
12. Coors Field — Eric Young ties modern record record with six stolen bases, 10 home runs hit as Rockies beat Dodgers, 16-15 (1996).
13. Wrigley Field — Cubs and Pirates split a doubleheader; Sammy Sosa hits three-run homer to win nightcap for Chicago (2002).
14. Pro Player Stadium — Marlins beat Braves in near-empty ballpark (2002).
15. Tropicana Field — Rays beat Yankees on walk-off walk in 10th (2002).
16. Pac Bell/AT&T Park — Barry Bonds steals 500th base (2003); Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s home run record (2007).
17. Metrodome — The Blue Jays beat ace left-hander Johan Santana and the Twins (2005).
18. Camden Yards — Yankees beat Orioles, sit behind Dr. and Mrs. Derek Jeter (2006).
19. Citi Field — Mets score five in eighth, three on Carlos Delgado home run, to beat Pittsburgh, 7-3 (2009).