Last year we headed to Shea Stadium for a game in its final season, and I compiled a “bucket list” of things I needed to see and do before I was ready to say farewell to my baseball home.
We’re headed to Citi Field on Wednesday, and of course there is a whole list of things that must be accomplished.
But a bucket list means you’re preparing to say goodbye, and we’re just being introduced to Citi. Construction folks I know have what they call a “punch list” of things to do as they wrap up new buildings. That seems more appropriate for our Citi debut.
Once again, Dad and Cousin Tim are a part of this expedition, and my 17-year-old son will be attending his first-ever Mets game, which will be an emotional experience, more for me than him. I won’t rule out wearing our bad ass Mets temporary tattoos again because we are dangerous people.
Since we’re new arrivals, I’m relaying on all the photos and reviews I’ve seen to compile this list. I’m sure there are great and glorious places we’ll discover as we make our way through the new yard.
I don’t expect too many of these to be particularly difficult.
1) Find my brick. Tim is the benefactor of my slice of Citi Field real estate, located in section 18. Expect photos from every possible angle.
2) Find the plaque that shows the location of Shea’s home plate, bases and pitching rubber now located in the parking lot. Recreate the scene from Tom Seaver Day when Tom stood on the mound and bowed to all sections of the stadium.
3) Don the photo-day-worn Freddy Garcia jersey that Dad won during the spring training home opener. Freddy never got to Citi Field, but I think it would be nice for at least his jersey to make it there.
4) Revel in the beauty of the giant Mets history mural outside the stadium, stretching from Stengel to Santana.
5) Look for the silhouettes of Endy’s leap, Swoboda’s dive and Tom’s delivery outside the entrance gates.
6) Enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, marvel at Jackie’s courage while ignoring that his link to the Mets is, well, not not especially strong. Pose for group photo in front of the giant 42 sculpture, search in vain for the giant 41 sculpture that we know should be there, too.
7) Squish pennies for my daughter. I hear there is a machine in the main team store off the rotunda that has inaugural year designs. I also hear that the Mets charge $1 per squish instead of the usual 50 cents, and this is outrageous.
8) Locate the former Home Run Apple on display in Bullpen Plaza. Pose for many photos.
9) Photograph the massive new Home Run Apple. I hope it’s up and on display before the games like the old one was. Given our home run production this year, that might be my only chance to see it.
10) Locate the New York Skyline that once graced the Shea scoreboard and now rests above the Shake Shack concession. I’ve never had something from a Shake Shack, but have heard wonderful things.
Last year we were denied our real knish!
11) Locate the knish stand. My favorite author confirms there are two locations, and since we’re there on a Wednesday, they’ll be open. Explain what a knish is to my son. Yum!
12) Visit with my favorite author and ask him to sign a copy of “Faith and Fear in Flushing.”
13) Cross the black bridge in rightfield that they still haven’t named.
14) Locate the controversial Dwight Gooden signature, sprawled on the wall of the Ebbets Club, removed, framed and now allegedly on display for all to enjoy.
15) Pose with Mr. Met. My friend Dave Pelland says the World’s Best Mascot makes time to greet fans in the area near the Wiffle ball field, which we also shall attempt to crash.
16) Locate, but not pose with, the infamous Cow Bell Man. Just need to see this guy after hearing about him all these years.
17) Purchase something with the awful rectangle Inaugural Season logo, know that it is historic. No team can possibly create a worse logo.
18) Walk past the Aylssa Milano “Touch” boutique. Openly wonder why it exists. Lament that the ballpark has a Aylssa Milano “Touch” boutique but not a Mets Hall of Fame.
19) Find out if we can get down into that field level area in right field under the overhang. Discover what the game looks like from Jeff Francoeur’s perspective.
20) Sit back and enjoy seeing the Mets with some of my favorite people in the whole world. Last year was about reliving memories and saying good-bye. This time is about making memories and saying hello!