Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Food in a helmet only one of the great things at Tradition Field

Tradition Field, the Mets’ revamped spring home, is a vast step up from Fort Lauderdale Stadium, and that’s not just because it has our favorite team.

Where Lauderdale is old school and its twilight, Tradition is bright and big. And it’s even a considerable improvement from when it was a concrete mountain rising out the then-nowhere nicknamed “Port St. Lonesome.”

It's probably a little more interesting to tell this story through photos.

There's a Sept. 11 memorial outside the stadium. That's a piece of the World Trade Center connecting the two towers.

We arrived as the gates opened a week ago for the home opener. I peeked through the team store and the rightly named “Cool Stuff” trailer, picking up my blue cap with the official Citi Field inaugural season patch.

OK, the bobbles, the caps, the jerseys and even the Mets Pez dispenser -- I get it. But the stuff Mets fish?

It cost $5 to spin the wheel, and there were a lot of things like pom-poms and seat cushions. But I saw the cracked bats and the grand prize -- a signed jersey. And the grand prize slot was about half the size of the rest of the slots. I spun first, and got an Al Kaline Hartland statue. It's better than the pop-pom. Then Dad spun and scored the big prize! I think Freddie Garcia wore it for photo day.

There was a counter with autographed stuff, all of it way out of my range. But it was fun to get a close look at a Shea base.

One of the renovations was to add a table area near the Tiki Bar long the left field line.

You can't get Carvel ice cream in Michigan. But the Shea Final Season logo helmet lured me in.

You can put a lot of food in a helmet. The helmet taco was easily the meal of the day. My friend first poured in crushed chips then added chopped beef and real cheddar cheese, not that nasty liquid cheese product. Finally it was topped with fresh lettuce, salsa and peppers.

Speaking of Freddi Garcia, Chris Duncan almost hit one off the roof of the berm concession area. I would have liked to have slipped out to the berm to take some photos, but the Mets staff said I'd need to buy a separate ticket.

I think we got to see the Citi Field Opening Day lineup, save for Oliver Perez on the mound.

Nelson Figueroa was the only player to greet fans before the game.

Luis Castillo and David Wright took time to stretch.

Oliver Perez warmed up for his first appearance since signing the big contract.

I liked these older fans with their jerseys. Of course, as a jersey purist, I was horrified by the improper lettering and numbers.

David Wright at the plate. Jose Reyes had a better day, with two home runs, one of them a grand slam.

The Mets won, 9-0!


JLC 1863 said...

Nice pictures Dave. You can't beat any food in a Mets helmet. We were watching that game here on tv at work.

Oh and by the way. I was fortunate enough to win the Mets Opening Day at Citifield lottery so Conor and I will be at Citifield on 04/13 to help "open" the stadium for the 1st time!!

It will be a strange opener being a night game on a Monday. It will be the beginning of a great week. On Wednesday we all head for Tampa for a cruise to Mexico!!

I can't wait.


Mike V said...

Hey Dave do you remember those sundaes they used to sell at Shea in the cups? It was vanilla ice cream with strawberry or chocolate toppings, and I distinctly remember the ridges on the cups for some reason.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Mike I: Enjoy the cruise, and I'm wearing the green horns of envy about your Citi tix!!

Mike II: I remember those cups well, and still might have some!