I am not a baseball fan but I am a fan of eating junk food at ballparks, which is why I wanted to check out the Mets’ new Citi Field before I leave New York. I had been to Shea Stadium one time during my four-year stay in New York. I took my pooch Lucy a few summers ago when the Mets had a “Dog Days” promotion, where fans could pay $5 per pet to bring their dog and the money went to an animal shelter. That was fun. Lucy and I ended up on the JumboTron during the 7th inning stretch. Her dog sitter, who watched from his home in the Bronx, called me during the game to tell me that the camera zoomed right in on the two of us as I held her in my arms and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to her.
Lucy didn’t go to Wednesday’s game against the Florida Marlins with me. It was just me – in the first row in the Pepsi Porch section, which overhangs the right-field wall and is an area I recommend. Not a bad seat for $36. Plenty of leg room and a cup holder for beverages. I wondered how many 46-year-old, non-baseball fan females who aren’t groupies and trying to bed Johan Santana or David Wright go to ballparks by themselves. I looked around and didn’t see any other women who appeared to be alone. The gentleman two seats away (there was an empty seat between us and on each side of him) was alone so I wasn’t the only singleton. When I pulled out my camera he offered me his binoculars; but I told him I had my own. Because I didn’t want to come off as one of those chicks who doesn’t need a man, I told him that his were probably more powerful than mine though. The male ego is so fragile that I thought this would be nice for him to hear. I still didn’t use his though. Although his were bigger, I could see the numbers and noticed that mine were more powerful. I didn’t point this out to him though.
Instead, I took photos, cheered for the Mets, wolfed down a Nathan’s dog, French fries and Coors Light and tried hard to stay awake. I usually only watch baseball on TV when I want to go to sleep immediately. Never has baseball put me to sleep in person. In fact, I even kind of like the sport in person because of the beautiful grass. Maybe I was just tired but I found myself dozing and wondered if the French people behind me noticed my head bobbing.
Finally, at the seventh inning I got up to walk around, wake up and find the sushi. I stumbled upon a Shake Shack and cursed myself for not scouting out all of the food offerings before I opted for Nathan’s because it was close to my seat. (For those of you unfamiliar with Shake Shack, it is Danny Meyer’s answer to In-n-Out burger.) With the game nearly over, practically all of the sushi was gone and I don’t think there was any eel to start. So I passed. I figured I might as well get another beer and went to the lone bar that offered Bud Light Lime, my new favorite beer. Too late. No beer sales after the 7th inning. Who came up with this stupid rule? We’re in New York. A lot of us are on the subway so few of us are getting behind the wheel of a car. Oh well, I decided to call it a day if I couldn’t drink anymore. The Mets were up 3-2 at the time but ended up losing 4-3. On my way out I noticed the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. I started heading that way but then thought, what if I go check it out, the game ends and suddenly I find myself on the subway platform with thousands of people. I kept walking toward the 7 train, determined to beat the crowds. Shame on me!
I loved Citi Field though. I don’t know anything about the ballpark but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was designed by the same people who designed the Baltimore Orioles’ ballpark. Not that I’ve been to that one but I remember seeing pictures of it when it was unveiled years ago and thought, now that’s a ballpark. That’s the same way I felt about Citi Field. Old school charm oozed from it as soon as I entered. I was so taken with it that I even considered buying a $5 program then thought better of it. I needed that $5 to pay for food. My little meal was $16.75. I considered getting a lobster roll but saw it was $17 and thought, well maybe not.
I love to eat at ballparks but I don’t love the prices. Why does it cost more to eat and drink at entertainment venues? I went to Nathan’s on Coney Island over the weekend and paid $18 and some change for one hot dog, 2 regular fries and 2 beers. And now I pay almost $17 for one hot dog, one order of Fries and one beer. Something isn’t right here.
It’s bad enough that consumers are required to pay $2.50 to use their own ink, paper and printer to print tickets to Major League Baseball games after they purchase them online. I instead opted to pick up my ticket up at the ballpark. I walked to a machine, where there was no line, swiped my AmEx card used to buy the ticket online and my ticket was printed in two seconds. The cost? Nothing. Which meant more money for the concession stand.
My view from the Pepsi Porch.