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After going to a game at the Met’s new digs, I figured that it was time to give my two cents on the place. I will preface my review by saying that all criticisms should be taken lightly, because every change made was an improvement on Shea.

Architecturally the field itself is unique. There are severe disadvantages for both hitters and pitchers. For starters, the center field fence is 415 feet out, and left field is pretty endless too. This might help to explain David Wright’s sudden struggle to rack up the round-trippers. In honor of the old Ebbets Field, right field has a short porch. Lefty hitters have it far easier when it comes to power hitting

The outfield fences are also oddly structured and seem very prone to awkward bounces and controversy over home-run calls. Instant replay has already been used over half-a-dozen times at Citi Field, including one late-May stretch of four times in five games. League officials have taken note:

In an interview with The Daily News, MLB’s Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, Jimmy Lee Solomon said “I do think that there is a certain — I don’t want to say quirkiness — but certain elements of Citi Field that are going to create some question in the eyes of umpires as balls kind of carom off of walls in the corners and things like that. So you’re probably going to get a little more activity because of that.”

Aside from the unconventional outfield, however, the design is fairly standard and in-line with the mold that new parks are cut from.

Now for the important things: food and beer.

The only stadium that I have been to with food in the same stratosphere as Citi’s is Camden Yards. The variety is incredible. In the Outfield Concourse is a food court with a Shake Shack, Blue Smoke BBQ, Sushi, a Taqueria, and even Catch of the Day, a seafood stand.

The concourse also has a smattering of chairs and tables, as well as cup holders along the railing. This makes eating while watching batting practice easier than one would think possible. Great move Wilpon family. Great move.

I decided to go with the Mexican food, just for variety’s sake. I absolutely should have picked Shake Shack or Blue Smoke. The food was good, but not even close to filling. I craved conventional ballpark fare.

Luckily for me there were ample sausage stands, Nathan’s, and beer vendors along the way to our seats. I highly recommend the knish.

I am still torn on whether or not I am a fan of the in-your-face calorie counts (below). Baseball and gluttony are supposed to go hand-in-hand. Now guilt needs to tag along, thanks to New York City Health Code regulations.

Citis All-Telling Food Menu

Citi's All-Telling Food Menu

Another notable improvement: Beer prices were marked down to a manageable $6.50 from Shea’s hefty $7.25 price tag. Cheaper booze always means a better time; great variety doesn’t hurt either.

The outfield concourse, besides a haven for food and booze, also has a ton of fan attractions, including a batting cage, two MLB 2k9 arcades, and a tee-ball field for the young ones.

Citi also does a phenomenal job of paying tribute to Ebbets Field and its history. Fans enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, and in addition to the oddly-shaped outfield, the two stadiums look very similar (see above links) from the outside.

Unfortunately, as was the case with Shea, the stadium is surrounded by a total dump. Auto body shops extend in every direction. This is one of the few actual complaints that I have, and it is more so with the borough of Queens (my home) rather than with the Wilpons. While I understand that the attractions are supposed to be inside of the stadium, a few cleverly-named sports bars and souvenir shops would be a healthy addition.

The overall experience was terrific and ended with a victory over the Nationals, thanks to a token quality outing from John Mayne. And while I do not expect much more from the latter, I do see many more good times at Citi in my future

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