- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Upgrades You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

Not to look past Opening Night in Kansas City, let alone the Mets’ last chance to end Spring Training without a loss or tie already yet [1], but what’s incredibly hard to believe is that in a week’s time, Citi Field will be filled again.

I’ve really come around on the ol’ ballpark, probably because a pennant was won by the home team, but also because management never stops trying to improve it. Consider all the upgrades we’ve read about in the past few days from respected members of the credentialed media [2], and then add to them the thus far less-reported second wave of innovations I was fortunate enough to personally preview in the tour they gave to select bloggers like yours truly [3].

I think I’m most excited about the Purina One [4] Bad Luck for the Other Team Black Cat Giveaway in the middle of the third inning of every home game — to be repeated in the 13th and 23rd, should the occasion present itself. Going to a Mets game and bringing home a kitty we weren’t expecting is an experience sure to appeal to those of us who love our felines as much as much as we do our Metsies. If you’re not a cat person, you will be soon if you are tabbed. According to the fine print on the backs of the tickets this year, acceptance of the cat is “mandatory,” as bearer “tacitly accepts responsibility to raise and nurture animal for three years from game date, subject to criminal prosecution.

And speaking of “Metsies,” the Casey Stengel “Babblehead” Doll, brought to us by Verizon Wireless [5], is a stroke of promotional genius. It’s like a bobblehead (even if it still [6] doesn’t look like him), except this Ol’ Perfesser just keeps going on about how Amazin’, Amazin’, Amazin’ his Amazin’ Mets are, then offers an authentically Stengelese analysis of every player who has ever participated in a game for the Mets, including new guys like Neil Walker and Antonio Bastardo, the latter of whom the Babblehead colorfully identifies as “that son of a bitch Nelson”. I don’t know how they got the technology to work so you don’t have to pull a string or anything. Casey just starts talking and doesn’t stop. Taking him home alongside that black cat will be doubly fun.

Team history gets its due in other ways, too. Look for an exhibit in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum devoted to the 9186 World Champions. It’s supposed to say 1986, but it came back from the printer transposed, and with so much going on ahead of the Home Opener, they just went with it. Let’s hope it’s an omen for the 92nd century.

The food concessions have been literally beefed up, with Bobby Bonilla’s Burger Grudge opening adjacent to the newly dubbed Coca-Cola Corner [7]. Bobby Bo will be on hand, dispensing Burgers & Snarls. That’s what he calls fries; also, he kind of snarls at customers if they lean too far onto the counter. In the fourth inning, CitiVision will feature Bobby’s Beef, in which he tells off a random seatholder. The lucky fan then receives an autographed Knuckle Sandwich from Bonilla himself. (No photographs, please; Mr. Bonilla doesn’t care for the capture of his image.)

For the Burger Grudger who builds up a thirst that won’t be satisfied by carbonated soft drinks, there will be the chance to visit the latest Danny Meyer creation behind center field, the Beers of Joy stand, with all your favorite craft creations on tap, including a Union Square Hospitality Group [8] original, Lachrymose Lager, “in honor of the player who cried out to stay in Flushing”. I guess they can’t explicitly [9] refer to Wilmer Flores because of alcohol/athlete restrictions, but it’s a nice touch. All offerings at Beers of Joy will retail for $20.15 per 4-ounce cup.

Finally, given my particular demographic status, I appreciate the introduction of the Flomax [10] Race to the Bathroom that follows the bottom of the fifth. It’ll be like Milwaukee’s sausage races, but each of the “contestants” truly has to go. Matt Harvey will be the spokesman. Kudos on the well-executed product placement [11] we’ve already seen.

Of course the biggest attraction a week from this very day [12] will be the raising of the RATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS flag. Again, it was kind of a rush job, but when you see it, you’ll know what it means [13].