Through a strange and amazing twist of fate, I came into some unbelievably good seats for the game vs. the Pirates on May 8. It was a Friday night game, but the universe aligned so that both my brother and I could leave work early to make the drive up to Queens. I’ve been watching every game I can see this season, eagerly trying to soak in every nuance of the state-of-the-art-shiny-newness they assure me you ooze. I grumbled when people called talk radio programs to complain. How can people complain about you, Citi Field? I know you’re no Shea, but what’s not to love?
Our tickets were so good that John and I kept looking around, shifty-eyed, waiting to be kicked out, told we weren’t supposed to be in the Delta Sky 360 club. Or at the full service bar behind our seats. Or peering through the little window by that bar down into the batting cages under the stands to watch Gary Sheffield take some practice swings before pinch hitting. Our seats were cushy. We had waiter service and ordered Shake Shack hot dogs and beers and fancy fries called “Frites” right from our asses. There was an attendant in the bathroom. The people in our row came back halfway through the game with cupcakes and wine. CUPCAKES AND WINE. At a BASEBALL GAME. I was deeply, deeply torn: my love of cupcakes is strong, and oh my did I want one. But I refrained, on principle. You just don’t eat a cupcake at a ball game. You eat a hot dog (bonus: mine had kraut!) and you drink a beer and maybe if you didn’t have too much beer, you have some ice cream in a baseball hat bowl. I get the whole amenities thing, I really do. And maybe it’s just that I’m simple, but I’m just not a cupcakes-wine-coffee-and-swanky-BBQ-sandwich baseball person.
Don’t get me wrong, Citi Field. You are gorgeous, shiny and new in a way that’s hard to conceive of. In fact, I think in a lot of ways I was far too distracted to even appreciate the game (which featured an 8th inning rally and even an appearance by the new and wow shiny home run apple). John and I walked around the whole park, and I was amazed by the vastness of the Jackie Robinson rotunda (something that I have much, much more reverence for thanks to Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary). You really do feel more intimate, more quirky. And walking through the concourses, it’s all airy and you can see the field as you walk past hot dog stands and beer vendors. Maybe I’m not fancy enough for such good seats (but OMG they were SO GOOD I can’t even EXPLAIN IT we were SIXTEEN ROWS BACK you just don’t get to sit there more than once in your LIFE so don’t get me wrong I LOVED IT THERE) and maybe I don’t feel emotionally vested in you yet.
Shea was crumbly and beat to shit, yes. And the former diamond is commemorated in the VIP Parking lot on your third base side. But I got a little teary and yes, maybe a little overwhelmed, seeing the site of Shea’s third base. I don’t hate you, Citi Field. But I’m not quite ready to say I love you yet. I hope that’s okay. I’m certainly going to come back to visit as often as I can, because more than anything, I do want to love you. I think we’ll get there.