If you've read my blog for any period of time, you know that for me sometimes it's not just about the players, but also the places they play.
The start of a new season means a return to the beautiful ballparks where we watch the games.
My first trip of the season to Citi Field (left, seen from the exit of the 7 train) will come on Friday, April 23rd.
And I won't be going to Minnesota as they open Target Field (the one new park opening this season)...but a July trip to Seattle is all but booked.
Why do ballparks matter so much to me? Read here for that.
I can't tell you how excited it makes me to think that in just a few weeks I'll be at a Mets game in person, where my wife and I will be treating ourselves to some nicer seats than we had last year. (Say what you will about our dinky little camera...but look at the picture on the right - I took that from way out in left field and it came out quite well...I can't wait to see what we come away with sitting closer than 400 feet away.)
I need to provide a couple of updates on Citi Field, too. Last time I was there, I took a bunch of pictures (never-before-seen!) that I never posted because I was getting so fed up with the Mets. Some of those pictures are now outdated (or one-of-a-kind), because some changes have been made.
In February, I mentioned that the center field wall was being lowered in front of the apple. I don't know, though, that I ever mentioned that last year, mid-season, the Mets moved their championship/pennant/playoff banners from the obscure behind-right-field, near the old apple picnic area (below) out to the left field wall...where they should have been from the start. This was in response to fan complaints that there was no Mets history at the new park. So now the outfield wall features the retired numbers and the banners.
Something I'll need to explore in a couple of weeks will be the Mets Hall of Fame, which wasn't a part of the park until this year, as far as I know.
There's lots more to share about Citi Field - part of the excitement about my trip is that this will be just my third time at the new park. I'm still adjusting to it, still trying to make it feel like home. I was looking through some old pictures as I was preparing this post, and it's still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Shea Stadium is gone. I'll accept that eventually...and hopefully someday Citi Field will feel like Shea did. I'm trying.
Finally, I spent so much of the past couple of years photo-documenting the rise of Citi Field, and then the demolition of Shea Stadium. After a full year of two stadiums, the Yankees are finally dismantling the old Yankee Stadium. I'm not sure why it took so long, and I'm not sure if they aim to have the old Stadium down by the beginning of the season, but I have some pictures from just a week ago, and the tear-down is not very far along. My wife took great pictures of Shea being torn down. She mastered the art of snapping a photo from a moving car. I can not say the same of my mom, from whom this is the best picture of the beginnings of the Yankee Stadium demolition (my dad's commute takes him past the Stadium[s] each day). You can see (hopefully) that some of the upper deck is missing.