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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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Warning: Bay May Not Be Visible

Truth in advertising creeps into Metspeak, according to the TimesBats blog:

Mets fans had a tough time feeling comfortable in Citi Field ast season, mainly because the team performed so poorly. But some fans were also irked that they could not see parts of the field from their seats, especially in left field.

In the third deck there, for instance, fans often cannot see the left fielder, and occasionally the center fielder drops out of view.

Mets executives said the obscured views were the trade-off for putting fans closer to the action in Citi Field, which is cozier than Shea Stadium. That explanation did not placate some people who felt the team should have affixed warnings to the tickets.

The Mets appear to be correcting that lapse. When ordering tickets for certain seats online, fans receive a warning that reads, “View: Limited portions of the playing field may not be visible from this seat location.” The disclaimer, in bright orange, was attached to seats in 300, 400 and 500 level seats in left field.

Don’t be fooled by the Times‘ subtlety, for, in the context of Citi Field’s growing pains, this is worthy of screaming Post hyperbole. It’s really quite substantial: an acknowledgment by the typically admit-nothing Mets that what they’re selling isn’t close to perfect, even if took them a year to nod toward the reality that everyone else discovered upon trying to take in the entire outfield from any given seat in Promenade. I assumed the Mets would instead dig their heels in deeper and insist that these were actually the best tickets you could purchase; my wife came up with a fantastically Metsian term for the areas from which you couldn’t clearly make out the left fielder: Vantage Point Seating. We expected to receive a brochure hyping it as New For 2010.

Admitting imperfection in bright orange represents a sea change — or Bay change, since we’re talking left — from deny, deny, deny, as Dave Howard did last April on WFAN when he was asked to respond to the rising tide of complaints from ticket buyers who could not see all for which they had paid (transcript courtesy of Mets Today):

“Here is the issue, this is with regard to seating in fair territory in the outfield, which is something different that we have at Citi Field, that we really did not have much of at Shea Stadium. … the reality is … a little seating we had in fair territory in the outfield at Shea Stadium did have some blind spots on the field, it is NOT obstructed. The way we characterize “obstructed” is if you have an obstruction, something in front of you — a beam, a pillar, something that’s blocking your view. That’s not the case here. It is a function of the geometry of the building. And it is a conscious decision that we made along with the designers and the architects, that we wanted people to be lower and closer to the field, and have great views, and great views of the action. By doing that in fair territory, you are going to have situations where you are going to lose certain blind spots in the deep outfield of those sections. That is something we understood to be a factor. It is true in every new ballpark that has seating in the outfield …”

I barely passed ninth-grade geometry, yet I think if there had been a question on the Regents Exam about something blocking my view, I probably would have chosen “obstruction” over “blind spot” if the question was multiple-choice…and, in the “show your work portion,” I wouldn’t have tried to explain how not being able to follow the track of the ball or the fielder(s) chasing it is an asset at a baseball game (even a 2009 Mets baseball game). I’m still confused over how seeing less of the action was supposed to give me “great views” of the action. But again, geometry was never my strong suit.

The “conscious” decision to build a baseball stadium in which significant swaths of the baseball game would not be readily visible to a critical mass of baseball fans would be tough to square with the logic statements inherent in geometry. Rebuilding is something the Mets do clumsily when it comes to their roster, so I guess it’s not surprising that building a grandstand (and a case for its drawbacks) would befuddle them. At the very least, they can label the tickets with a proper warning. And they’ve done that.

They’ve done the very least.

Blue Cap tip to Mets Police for being on this well ahead of the Times. If there’s a Paper of Record for recording Mets fan indignities, surely it’s MP.

19 comments to Warning: Bay May Not Be Visible

  • Ray

    OBJECTS IN OUTFIELD ARE FURTHER FROM POST-SEASON THAN THEY MAY APPEAR

  • Metspolice had this tidbid a week or two ago :-D, nice of the Times to catch up.

    It helps for those that aren’t as familiar with the stadium to figure out where the good seats are.

  • Tom

    I can also tell you that the Minnesota Twins acknowledge this on outfield deck tickets for Target Field that are on sale.

    While it is a function of the geometry of the new ballparks, it’s also incumbent on the team to let the fans know that the seats may not view the entire field. It’s about time the Mets got into it… I wonder if they note that for folks in the Prom obscured by the plexiglass on the staircases?

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    So they are finally admitting there are obscured views in left field and not just saying fans over-reacted because they weren’t used to sitting in outfield seats? What about those sitting in right (prior to the Pepsi Porch) who are unable to see the corner in front of them? What about the broadcast booth and others who sit behind home plate who miss both corners? What about field level seats between the bases and down the lines who miss even more? It seems the only seats one can actually see the entire field ARE from the outfield: the Mo-Zone, left field reserved and left field landing.

    As you said, their selling point was fans being closer to the field. So what’s good about being closer to something one can’t see?

    For all it’s aesthetic beauty, Citi Field was built without the fans or players in mind because the Wilpons built it without minds at all.
    Oh, if they only had sat in your ninth grade geometry class.

    At least the players are now accepting Citi Field for the way it is and talking about spraying the ball more into the gaps for extra base hits rather than swinging for power. Still think we would be better off if they were allowed to hit like they were at Shea. Beltran and Wright are certainly better than just ten home runs in 308 and 535 at-bats respectively.

  • CharlieH

    As someone who plunked down funds for a “Saturday” plan in sec. 532 last year and was surprised to find that the left fielder was merely a rumor, my honest reaction is “NOW you tell me???”

  • EW

    There may be a warning, but there is still no discount. Doesn’t it follow that limited views should equal discounted seats?

    • Joe D.

      EW,

      Discounts? We’re talking about the Wilpons here, remember?

    • They haven’t figured out what to call the ‘section’ yet without using the negative words “obstruction”. At Shea the word was “back rows” which doesn’t sound as bad until you realize you were basically watching the game in two dimensions without a z-axis and god-forbid anyone stand up in front of you!

      So what can they call it? Stick with ‘back rows’ even if it’s not quite accurate?

  • Dak442

    I was thrilled this morning to get on the website and use my secret password to order single-game tickets; more so when I got through quickly for Opening Day. Much less so when I saw the only seats they were offering me were $140 Field Box seats way the hell down the third base line. Seriously, I am not spending $600 for mediocre seats in the (likely) rain.

    I attended Opening Day religiously for decades until their greed precluded me from doing so last year. I blithely assumed this year would be different, now that the new-stadium novelty has worn off. A little bloom is off the rose of spring training for me now this year, and I can ever-so-slightly feel my general enthusiasm waning. My daughter is a freshman now, around the age when I started making regular visits to Shea. It’s sad that she is not going to have the same experience.

    • Dak, don’t assume that the choice of seating you had today represents the inventory available. They’ve had presales every day starting Sunday. Every time there was a limited amount of Opening Day inventory available. Try again on Sunday for the general presale.

  • EW

    Dak, in previous seasons I’ve had good luck getting opening day tickets at reasonable prices directly from the Mets a few days before the game. Often times additional seats become available as the game draws closer.

  • Joe D.

    Greg,

    Come to think of it, the Mets have been truthful with us with their advertising. Haven’t they been touting to “see the Mets in HD”? We were just incorrect taking that to mean SNY and not Citi Field.

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