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Warning: Bay May Not Be Visible

Truth in advertising creeps into Metspeak, according to the TimesBats [1] 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 [2]Post [2]hyperbole [2]. 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 [3]):

“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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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.