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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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88-74 Park

I sense those who really, really love Citi Field off the bat are, in essence, Homer in the episode of The Simpsons when he angered at the high prices and crappy merchandise he continually encountered at the Kwik-E-Mart. But it was all Homer knew, so he put up with it. “If he discovers the discount supermarket next door,” Apu thought to himself, “all is lost.” Citi Field is unsurpassedly awesome if you never went anywhere but Shea or haven't taken a baseball road trip that didn't involve the Vet.

We hopeless romantics in the crowd liked to believe Shea Stadium and the New York Mets represented one another perfectly: too often a ramshackle 71-91 proposition that discouraged you for months at a clip, yet pulsating with enough heart, soul and electrical current built into the recesses of its infrastructure to produce a 97-66 charge we'd never forget. In that sense, Citi Field is a perfect reflection of the Mets as we've come to know them of late: promising a ton, delivering somewhat less and leaving you with the impression that they think they deserve all kinds of credit for coming relatively close to their goal.

Meet 88-74 Park.

That's Citi Field to me at this early stage of its existence (and who wouldn't want to be judged at the ripe old age of six games?). It's pretty good, sometimes very good, ultimately not the most incredible place I've ever been. An 88-74 Mets season — 1997, for instance — can be a great deal of fun, offer occasional surprises and feel extremely invigorating. An 88-74 Mets season — 1998, for instance — can also put you on edge, fail to provide exactly what you need and come up a little short here and there. But 88-74 isn't dreadful by any means. It's definitely above average. An 88-74 Park, unlike an 88-74 Mets season — 2007, for instance — probably won't collapse on you.

Just as you sometimes know by instinct that you've passed through the turnstiles of a remarkable season, you also know when you've come upon a singular ballpark. I knew when I arrived outside Pac Bell in the summer of 2001 and inside Comiskey Park in the summer of 1989 and on the other side of the warehouse at Camden Yards on a brilliant spring day in 1994 that I was somewhere fantastic, the kind of place I'd dream about in my idle moments for years to come. I just knew. When I stepped foot inside Keyspan Park for the first time, I began to wonder, quite seriously, if it would be feasible to move to Coney Island, work the afternoon shift at Nathan's and then spend my evenings watching the sunset reflect on the Atlantic as those circular neon lights beamed to full power (this became my retirement plan for a while, actually). After one trip to PNC Park, I honestly decided that if I ever became what they call financially comfortable that I'd buy season tickets for the Pirates and fly in for weekend series just to sit there for a few hours every couple of weeks. I never became financially comfortable but I haven't fallen out of love with PNC Park.

I haven't fallen in love with Citi Field, not at first sight, not after several sights. I can see us falling into an abiding like over time, getting used to each other, depending on each other for company, feeling each other out until we feel we're reasonably certain we can trust each other. But I'm not in love with Citi Field. Half of that is me, obviously. I brought way too much baggage to its Rotunda gate to let down my guard so easily. Half of that, though, is it.

This is not a lovable ballpark. It's likable enough, as a future president once said of his secretary of state to be, but it's not warm and fuzzy. Maybe the old place wasn't going to be your lifetime sweetheart if you weren't predisposed to see it and feel it that way, but nobody after the giddiness of April 17, 1964 wore off would have referred to World Class Shea Stadium. World Class Citi Field is what we heard for three years. It was overkill. High-functioning would have been enough to draw us in. After Shea's many foibles, functional would have been plenty to sell us. We would have gotten it. “Come to the ballpark that works” would have been an excellent pitch. “The bathrooms won't flood, we'll have paper towels, we won't stick our hands out for tips, we won't take your bottlecap, we'll ready your pretzels and we won't assault your senses with loud, warped nonsense over the PA.” If that was Citi Field's stated rationale from jump street, I would have jumped in with both feet.

The things I liked about Shea Stadium I loved. And the things I didn't like about Shea Stadium I loved to complain about. They fixed a lot of what was wrong with the Shea experience at Shea inside Citi Field. I'm elated to give up my old complaints. I realized Saturday I could stop hiding spare bottlecaps on my person before heading to the game. They weren't going to take my bottlecap! I didn't have to keep a single between my fingers should an usher and a rag emerge from a shadow to show me a seat that was numbered clearly. I could clap my hands on my own steam, not because “everybody” was instructed to. I'm happy to stop complaining about what I hated from Shea Stadium. I appreciate that somebody somewhere figured out a few simple ways of making going to a game more pleasant and, just as importantly, less unpleasant.

And the food is indeed to die for rather than from. Nobody doesn't love the food. I've never encountered so many answers to “how was the game?” that started with “I had the pulled pork sandwich.” It's a 180 from “Olerud lashed a double, scoring Rickey and Fonzie, we all went crazy and oh, by the way, I didn't get ptomaine poisoning.” Mind you, I wouldn't stand in an interminable line for a kidney unless I absolutely, positively needed one, so I haven't sampled some of the more celebrated menu items where innings go by while your burger is created, but I am enchanted by what I've chewed to date. I particularly like the World's Fare Market because its goods are not just delicious but just a grab away. Stephanie and I split a Mets cupcake from the WFM at the preseason workout, so now when I'm going to Citi Field, she asks, “Can you bring home one of those cupcakes?”

When was the last time anybody asked you to bring back food from a Mets game? Unless it was for a fraternity prank?

Food ain't really why you go to a ballgame, so I wouldn't say I love it as much as I like it. There's lots to like. Because I think you should have freedom of movement in general in this world, I like that last Saturday when I wanted to meet up with some of my favorite fellow bloggers before the game, there was a place to do it, down 42 way, without fear of being moved along. I like the Rotunda just fine, I certainly respect the reasoning behind it even if it feels like we've been assigned social studies homework when all we're trying to do is go to a baseball game. I'm really, really liking that bridge, where I spent several minutes leaning back and chatting with a friend I bumped into prior to heading to my perfectly lovely green seat Saturday. I like the vantage point; I like that it represents a landmark between left and right fields, thus a You Are Here for where you are; I like the view behind me (the old Apple), before me (the field) and above me (the stands, the sun, the planes).

I like that the bridge and its environs inadvertently forced me into an odd situation when my friend and I parted ways. The national anthem had begun. I wanted to get moving, stop by the dividerless men's room — don't like that — and the World's Fare. At Shea, if I had places to go before first pitch and the anthem was underway, it was little more than background noise in the concourse. Out there, at Citi Field, most people stopped whatever they were doing, removed their caps as instructed (I could do without the stage direction) and stood at attention. I found myself walking around and realizing what was going on and stopped myself. Even though I really had to go to the bathroom, even though I wanted to make my purchase, even though I needed to hustle up to the Promenade, it felt right to pause among my fellow Mets fans for the bombs bursting in air, et al.

Lots to like, enough to doubt. I have my doubts that we're going to see enough of the field to fully inform us, whether it's because of obstructions or blind spots (formed by the obstructing nature of certain angles of the building). I doubt we're ever going to be sated by the Mets Quotient of the Mets' home park. This is a separate post (hell, it's ten separate posts, several of which I've already written), but there are so many ways to emphasize the nearly half-century the Mets have already put on the wall, yet the Mets have been bizarrely determined to leave their wall blank for as long as they can. I doubt many Mets fans care as I do, but I doubt we'll ever see any substantial evidence that the Brooklyn Dodgers had company representing New York National League baseball before there were Mets. I saw three older men in NY Giants caps in the Rotunda. I exchanged the briefest of simpatico with one of them. His expression was one of dismay, but I could be projecting my feelings onto his face…though I don't think I was. And whatever happened to the setting highlight to be known as “Coogan's Landing” anyway?

I can't speak definitively to the sense that fans aren't or will never be as raucous as they were at Shea. I've been to two games, one of them terrible, one of them gripping. It's not a decent sample. But I am convinced we have raised a generation of Mets fans that requires an electronic tickle to get a decent LET'S GO METS! chant going (and, by the way, that rather statist LET'S GO METS sign above CitiVision puts me in mind of The Office when generally unsmiling Dwight was placed on the party planning committee and he mirthlessly hung nothing more than a plaintive IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY. sign in the conference room). I feel liberated from a surfeit of dopey audio cues for when to cheer, but the audience for Mets-Brewers on Saturday seemed unmoved to act and react when its team could use a shove. Only when the video board got involved did they roar. The wave, however, started organically; oy.

While the Promenade's Upper Deck/Mezzanine hybrid is aesthetically pleasing, it's not paradise up there, not quite, not yet. I'm not complaining about the revolution in legroom, but I feel a bit disconnected from everybody else. Yes, there are those I'd have paid a premium from whom to be disconnected in the Upper Deck, but there was a “we're all in it together” vibe in the parking lot formerly known as Shea Stadium. I'm not quite feeling it in two dates at the Prom, though it's only two and neither game has been an exhilarating 10-9 slugfest. It is disconcerting how far above and below I am from adjacent rows, though the cupholders are nice. It is more comfortable, though I don't remember feeling exquisitely squeezed at Shea. Ah, let's err on the side of comfort — and structural integrity, too. Still, it is my habit to semi-consciously bop along to “Lazy Mary” and feel the ballpark earth move under my feet. When I did so Saturday, it literally didn't feel right. When you shook your groove thing at Shea, Shea shook with you. It didn't take a ten-run inning to turn Shea into a shake shack. It took simply getting up and stretching. It's probably safer this way, but I kind of missed the specter of instability.

I watched the Saturday game and nothing but the Saturday game, which is to say I did not roam as I did Thursday. I could see Johan just fine. If I had gotten up to check out the mini-food court on Promenade, I wouldn't have seen anything. There are no monitors back there, which seemed strange when I noticed this afterwards. It's also a little offensive that after being told a club existed on every level — Excelsior! Empire! Caesars! Is this a ballpark or Plato's Retreat? — that every level's club requires a special ticket, and I never seem to have one. This is one of those situations where if you didn't situate it so tantalizingly in my midst I wouldn't want in, but you did and I do, if just for a look-see. A little too much exclusivity at the top of the park. A little schleppy getting down the stairs when all was over. And to echo Dana Brand's comprehensive spiritual overview on another matter I noticed but couldn't quite identify why it bothered me, the disembodied clang of Cow-Bell Man was downright spooky. (While the sudden reappearance of “Sweet Caroline,” pretty obviously detested by half the house, is simply mystifying.)

I'll confess to one change of opinion from where I was during the runup to World Class Citi Field, and I point to it, à la Terence Mann in Field of Dreams, as someone who was the East Coast distributor of Shea Stadium attachment. I wanted them to keep Shea alongside Citi. I had this idea that it was too beautiful to lose and marginally functional enough to maintain in some small way. As I sat and stared down toward the mound while Santana and Gallardo exchanged zeroes, I realized, no, that was silly. Romantic but silly. These people here, at Citi Field, they weren't looking back toward Shea. Even I'm doing it less and less. Nevertheless, and perhaps this should be filed under the Mets and their expertly hidden history, I am amazed at how intent the Mets were on making Citi Field the UnShea. Lots of good reasons to do that, as catalogued above, but they really must have hated where they were. Yeah, there's the Apple and the Skyline, but that's found art at this point. Otherwise, I don't think there are five words officially sanctioned at Citi Field that you'd hear as a matter of course at Shea Stadium. Even the rows have numbers instead of letters. If they could sell dogs hot instead of hot dogs, they'd do it.

The New York Mets are a long-running series that its producers determined needed a major recast. Out went one of its old characters, in came a new one. They gave the old character a memorable farewell story arc. The new character is going to need time to establish itself. Mike Farrell took over for Wayne Rogers, Kirstie Alley replaced Shelley Long and Citi Field is succeeding Shea Stadium. It's a different character and we will discover its character. As pretty as it is, I don't know what it's all about, probably because it's not about anything yet. When Stephanie and I were planning our wedding, we discussed a First Dance song. I played her one she didn't know but that I thought fit the occasion perfectly, “You're A Special Part Of Me” by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye. Her response was, “That song means nothing to me.” Right now I feel the same way about Citi Field. It's not a special part of me. That's not a knock, it's a fact. I've just been introduced to its melody. The lyrics will come eventually.

Sometimes it'll be great. Sometimes it'll suck. One way or another, it'll be the Mets.

Good reading between homestands can be found between the covers of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

33 comments to 88-74 Park

  • Anonymous

    You know I'm with you 100% here. Great stuff here.
    My guess about Coogan's Left Field Landing is that Pepsi doled out a ton of money for the Porch late in the game, and now they're waiting for someone to sponsor the Landing. That's a smart move. No one cares if LF Landing becomes National Grid Landing, whereas to remove the Coogan name would give the Brooklyn Mets conspiracy theorists a field day.

  • Anonymous

    Mike Farrell took over for Wayne Rogers, Kirstie Alley replaced Shelley Long and Citi Field is succeeding Shea Stadium.

    Wonderful analogy. And I'm glad they didn't try to slip a Dick Sargent or Sarah Chalke by us…
    My first thoughts when I got there & sat down was “I don't like this at all.” Especially when I realized that after he took 2 or 3 strides to the rear, I could no longer see Gary Sheffield. But as I warmed in the sun and got my first Premio of the year — and the singlecoldest beer I ever had in Flushing — I told myself the same thing I told myself when I started college: You'll be spending a lot of time here, so get used to it, get over it and stop whining.

  • Anonymous

    Coogan's Landing (hey, we spend plenty of time there, why can't we name things ourselves?) just isn't that great a place to watch the game unfortunately. The standing area and back row or two obscure just a little too much to be acceptable. Although it's the only 'public access' area of the Excelsior.
    I love Citi Field, or at least I'm getting there, but I'm not sure I fit in with your Homer analogy. Maybe It's just because I'm 20 years younger and my only memories of a championship, of actual success have to do with my parents being excited and the marathon game with the Astros preventing me from watching my tv show. Maybe I'm just not quite as romantic as you. I went to a ton of games in '99 and '00 before I went to college, and I never remember being disgusted with the place, but once I started visiting other stadiums such as SanFranBank park and PNC and Petco, I started mentally started wishing that we had something that nice too. I think we do, but I'm sure I'll never be able to tell. It may be a bit biased, but with the addition of those 25 or so guys in the dugout, Citi Field is fast becoming my favorite park. Factor in vacation, excitement and internal comparisons to Shea, and I suspect I was looking at those other places with rose colored glasses. (Except Citizen's Bank, even before I hated the Phillies, I was never really enthralled by that place. It felt plain to me, and similar to Angel Stadium. )
    But it's virtually impossible for anything in adulthood to live up to the glory we build things up to in childhood, and almost everyone that voices similar opinions as you always brings up “I grew up there”.
    Life goes on, and if I had to bet, I'd say a year from now, most everyone will love the place in it's own way.
    71-91 Park can be nice at times, but I don't like that defeatist attitude. I'm not looking for the season that provides a nice story, but the winning baseball season. Maybe we represent 88-74 park, and maybe we don't. You can be sure even those that love the park will be tearing into it if we have a repeat 88-74 type season. 93 or Bust!

  • Anonymous

    I'd call it a 92-70 park that might creep into the high 90s when everything that needs fixing and celebrating is fixed and celebrated, but we'll see how it plays against the spiritual Pythagorean record, I suppose.
    These relatively small differences of opinion aside, well-said, partner.

  • Anonymous

    Went to my second game on Sunday, and I had a somewhat better time than my first trip– maybe the sunshine eased the transition. (Or the proliferation of airplanes overhead.) I still can't stand the color scheme, though, and I think the Rotunda will irk me for all time.
    Glad everybody likes the food; I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they do eventually open the promised Kosher stand, which has been missing in action so far. (I'll bet that wouldn't have been a problem if Robinson had been Jewish ;-))

  • Anonymous

    I've been wondering about the kosher stand, more for Hebrew National preference than religious reasons.

  • Anonymous

    I think the Pepsi Porch, in right, was what was labeled in advance as the East Side. Coogan's Landing in left is thus far unsponsored, or perhaps overwhelmed by the Acela Club.

  • Anonymous

    Kosher Sports Inc. gives their two locations at Citi Field:
    http://www.koshersportsinc.com/Locations.aspx

  • Anonymous

    Abeles and Heymann All Beef Pastrami Dogs, Oceanside Knish Factory Homemade Garlic Potato Knishes?
    Sounds awesome.
    I probably did see them, and didn't notice. That's the Left Field corner on both the Field Level (which is a rather spacious area if I recall) and on the Promenade, as well as the last section in right field on the Promenade.
    ^
    |
    for those of you that haven't memorized the seating chart/sections yet.

  • Anonymous

    At game three in the new place the buns on our Nathan's hot dogs were about a day away from becoming croutons. Everything else was great foodwise… but the lines are SLOOOWWW. As a former vendor at Shea, that may be the one thing that saves the current vendors from being completely marginalized.

  • Anonymous

    I think the LET'S GO METS above the scoreboard is probably the Metliest thing in the whole park: I kind of like it.
    I know you didn't mean for this with your analogy but I think Citi has a better chance of being Winchester (too full of its own superiority) than BJ (plain vanilla

  • Anonymous

    An exclamation point would help. (Or help!)
    The change in attitude toward food reminds me of the ep when Hawk and Beej kept that chef at the 4077th longer than he was supposed to stay because suddenly the chow was so tasty. Alas, that was the precise moment when the whole thing began to roll self-righteously downhill: Radar left, Klinger took over as company clerk and Hawkeye emerged as a spokesman for humility.

  • Anonymous

    I'm thinking Saturday afternoon wouldn't have been the day to find the kosher stand.

  • Anonymous

    I think it takes time for a new place to feel like home. I've been to every game at Citi Field so far, and I am really growing to love the place. I am settling into a routine – a couple of drinks at the club before the game, hit the seats for first pitch, head out to Centerfield after the 7th Inning Stretch and have some pulled pork (crazy good) and watch the end of the game in the concourse with the crowds (much louder and fun down there) with a quick exit out the Rotunda to catch the 7 express to Manhattan after the last pitch. The ballpark is beautiful, the food is great, and the Mets will fix the issue of not recognizing their own history. I love my memories of Shea, but the building itself had to go. The Wilpons have done a great job with Citi Field and I really think every old time Mets fan will come to call it home.
    Ed (Die-Hard Mets Fan Since 1963)

  • Anonymous

    Comiskey Park makes your list?!?

  • Anonymous

    That chef was none other than Ed Begley, Jr.
    Who later played Dr. Ehrlich on St. Elsewhere.
    Dr. Ehrlich was a protege of Dr. Mark Craig, who was played by (of course)…
    William Daniels!
    As ever, it always comes back to 1776.

  • Anonymous

    The original, yes.

  • Anonymous

    Tonight's opponent reeks of Albert, Albert and more Albert!

  • Anonymous

    Oh, thought you meant the current incarnation.

  • Anonymous

    I specifically asked about the Kosher stand. Though I'm not kosher and love all the new food I've tried, I wanted to get some of their extraordinary hot dogs and knishes, as I always did at Shea. to see if it would make me feel more at home. I was told that the Kosher stand hadn't opened up yet because of the Passover holiday. They didn't open up on Sunday because that would have been the only game of the homestand that didn't conflict with either Passover or Shabbes. They didn't want to open up just for one day. But they'll be around next homestand.

  • Anonymous

    You mean The Cell? Nah, not so magical going there. Bonus points for the foul ball I retrieved on my second trip in, however.

  • Anonymous

    Fine, judicious post, Greg. That's a good point about that Let's Go Mets on the scoreboard (or ad board). It's weirdly bland and not Mets blue. I can't figure it out. I do agree that the park is a success that is still disappointing. I am hopeful that the lack of Mets presence issue will be addressed and I think that good things will eventually be felt by all. I am beginning to feel that the hardest thing I will have to swallow is the exclusivity business. My resentment of that is not going away with the passing days and it is in fact increasing. I'm a big opera goer and let me tell you something. At the Metropolitan Opera, everybody can go wherever they want to go. All the best public spaces are open to all and if you want to eat at the one super-fancy restaurant in the Opera House, all you have to do is make a reservation. My seats are reasonably priced, comfortable, and good. Why things should be more exclusive and generally more expensive at a ballpark than they are at one of the world's great opera houses is a mystery to me. I haven't been to other new stadiums. Are as much of them devoted to restricted access clubs and sections as you have in Citi Field.

  • Anonymous

    Restricted access venues are certainly not restricted to Citi Field (home of the permanent tribute to the man who broke through baseball's most insidious restriction), Dana. I can't speak with authority on their proliferation in other parks because I'm usually just happy to be on the premises in those places. I've taken tours in a few of them and they're always taking you to the luxury suites you'll never sit in and pointing out those all-important amenities you had no idea you needed. The Wilpons seemed in all their interviews particularly pleased to have multiple clubs, stressing their presence at every turn, so I take it as an industry innovation (and don't you love it when insiders refer to baseball as The Industry?).
    I thought at least one of those things would be open to the public, a la the TGI Friday's at what used to be the BOB or, as you point out, the Met. Not that we're starving for quality snacking, but there is something a wee bit condescending about “you, the special ticket holder can come in here” and “you, the regular schlub can go stand in center field”. Many worse affronts in this world, obviously, but just typical enough of the prevailing attitude to throw you off your stride as you awkwardly attempt to embrace this facility.
    Remember when Metsian indicated anything but elitist and pretentious?

  • Anonymous

    Ed Begley Jr. will always be the best drummer Spinal Tap ever had, John 'Stumpy' Pepys.
    But that's just me.

  • Anonymous

    Spinal Tap featured Christopher Guest. Christopher Guest married Jamie Lee Curtis. Jamie Lee Curtis once visited with Ralph Kiner in the booth at the Vet. The Vet was in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was the setting for the timeless classic…
    You got it! 1776 degrees of separation!

  • Anonymous

    Somebody get this young man a stack of Dairylea coupons…STAT!

  • Anonymous

    heh..I didn't even know what Dairylea was until I read it in your book or here somewhere and googled it.

  • Anonymous

    The one thing about the parks you said you fell in love with is that they're both memorable because of the view. Camden because of the warehouse, and PNC because of the water, bridges, and city in view.
    I think that's pretty much the only thing that sets those places apart from a place like Citi or Citizens Bank Park. Amenities-wise, all things are equal. But if PNC Park was built in the middle of a parking lot (and up against the Iron Triangle) in Flushing, I bet you wouldn't be saying you fell in love with it.

  • Anonymous

    The view is a huge boost to PNC, no doubt about it, the bridge, the river, the whole bit. But I also loved a dozen little touches, like the salute to Pittsburgh's Negro League teams, the Topps cards representing Pirates of years past, the way they incorporated the ramps down the line, the uniqueness of the lighter stone they used for the exterior and the honest-to-goodness intimacy of the presentation. At 38,000 seats, it's going to feel smaller than everywhere else, I suppose, but intimate really described it.
    OP@CY will always get points for originality, for being the first and for making use of Eutaw Street. Saw it featured on a Cathedrals of the Game on MLBN recently and to me, though I know others have surpassed it technologically, it's still the class of the field. I was last there in 2006 and it felt a bit old (as opposed to retro), but when I stood in center, after the game (not facing the warehouse, mind you, but the field), it looked perfect.
    The chop shop backdrop, while unfortunate in real life, does lend, at least in theory, an element of reality to the Citi Field presentation. As Jason said, more Albania than Wrigleyville, but it's there. I won't pretend it's adorable, and that I wouldn't be more at ease with some kind of Citiville, but it adds something, even while it's subtracting your hubcaps.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this. A perfect assessment of what I was feeling, put much more eloquently. Just like your book. Which, by the way, I loved, and for which I have half a review written, but am waiting until I can refine it to the point where it is commiserate with how it made me feel to be a Mets fan.
    Thanks Again,
    -Mike V

  • Anonymous

    How much more black could the outfield walls be? and the answer is none, none…more…black.

  • Anonymous

    I really do hope the development of that area goes forward. Normally I don't like displacing the little guy one bit, but over the years my extended family have had a few cars involuntarily go through that area. It will not be a big loss to Queens at all.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    My analogy is more biting than B.J. replacing Trapper. I compare it to George Lazenby replacing Sean Connery as James Bond (the worst of the half-dozen actors who portrayed him).
    I feel it's the worst of the new retro-style parks that replaced the cookie-cutter stadiums built decades ago. There is an abundancy of large blind spots from all vantage points (as verified by angry callers to the FAN) and Gary Cohen's inability to see balls landing fair or foul (despite his venue behind home plate – Ralph Kiner even saying the same on Sunday). That outrageous jutting out of the field level seats past the infield (which stop hits over the bag from going to the outfield) insults the intelligence of non-passive real fans.
    So, despite it's beautiful appearance, delicious food, comfortable seats and so much to do, the bottom line is one wants to see the game in total and played without the artificial, un-natural obstacles that make a farce of what the game is really all about.
    To me, those are the essential ingredients that Citifield currently lacks. For it to be considered a first-class park major alterations to the field level seats and outfield walls will be required after the season.
    At this point, it has actually turned me off.