Thursday, April 06, 2006

New Mets park, but not a new Shea

The Mets unveiled their new stadium plans today, with a planned groundbreaking in June. As expected, the new park is going to be evocative of Ebbets Field, with a very similar rotunda. This is good, and the park looks nice, but I hope Fred Wilpon doesn't go overboard with this Brooklyn Dodgers stuff. The Dodgers have been out of New York for 50 years, and the people who have warm and fuzzy memories of Ebbets Field are, quite frankly, mostly dead. (I should clarify - most of the people who have warm and fuzzy memories are dead, while some are still alive. It is not that all of the people who have warm and fuzzy memories are mostly dead but not entirely dead, which would be impossible. Sorry for the confusion.) I don't get goosebumps just hearing about the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I think it's cool that the Cyclones exist because it's nice to have a minor league affiliate in town and because the Coney Island area is a fun area for a ballpark - not because of some notion of BROOKLYN BASEBALL BABY!!!

What I find bothersome is the Mets are paying all this lip service to the memories of New York baseball past - the Ebbets Fieldesque rotunda, naming things around the park, etc. But they're basically spitting on the easiest and most important way to honor the past. Instead of calling the new park Shea Stadium they've stated that they're actively looking for a naming rights partner. It's lovely to honor the Brooklyn Dodgers' history; isn't it better to honor the New York Mets' history? I don't want to take my kids to Citigroup Field or State Farm Park or whatever the hell it is, I want to take them to Shea Stadium. I understand that there's money to be made here, and I understand that other teams with just as strong connections to their original stadium names sold it off (Comiskey Park for instance). I can understand, it doesn't mean I have to like it. Somebody made a joke on Metsblog that hopefully Met Life will buy the rights. That would be funny.

As for the design itself, the park looks nice. I can't say it's a radical departure from the "retro" garbage I posted against a while ago, but at least the Mets are coming by it honestly by claiming to pattern themselves on a specific ballpark. I looked at pics of the new Busch Stadium, and from what I could tell, that is the exact model of what I've been complaining about. There doesn't appear to be anything about that park that makes it look different from Philly, Detroit, or 5 others. I hope the Mets work to avoid that in ways greater than calling some section the East Side Stands (East Side - New York has an East Side. Get it? Genius, right?)

I'm very curious to see how the Mets are going to execute building this thing. The groundbreaking starts in the middle of the season right on one of the 2 major parking lots. Not that this is without precedent - I went to a game at the Vet when Citizens Bank was under construction and I was directed to park in some food distribution warehouse parking lot (which proves that yes, Shea Stadium DOES have a rival for the least interesting ballpark environs in the majors). They'd better not start charging to park at the tennis center. Wait, I don't want that secret to get out too much. I mean, I am unaware of anything about parking at the tennis center for free and therefore have no interest in whether or not the Mets start to charge to park there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biggest reason I'm against the new stadium is that it will have 12,000 or so less seats, will seat about 44-45K. That's too small, I don't understand why they wouldn't want more. Is is there plan to never be good enough that they would be able to get big crowds?
Further, looking at the models of the new stadium, it's gonna have a lot of seats in the outfield, at least a couple thousand. IMO those are not good seats. So to recap, new stadium will have fewer seats and more bad seats. Why as a fan who goes to games should I support this?
As far as dimensions, no more symmetry. A litlle closer down the line and straight center, RF closer than LF. Power alleys a little further. And an overhang in RF a la old Tigers Stadium, so that HR can be hit without going as far as the wall goes.
The one thing I like about what I've seen is that they have the HR Apple out in CF, so at least they plan to keep something.

5:46 PM  

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