On Sunday fans got their first look at CitiField, the Mets new home, and judging by the looks of wonder and excitement on the faces of fans, reviews were positive.
“It’s awesome, just awesome,” said John, a middle-aged Mets fan in attendance with his friend. “I can’t believe we’re here for the first day. We’ve been walking around for an hour.”
Walking seems to be a theme, with so many new areas in the ballpark, there was a constant stream of fans making their way around and exploring.
The good vibes started the moment fans exited the 7 train at the newly-christened “Mets-Willets Point” stop and were greeted at the station entrance by Mets employees saying “Welcome to CitiField.”
They continued when fans entered the Jackie Robinson rotunda to the videos of Robinson and continued up the escalators.
Once inside the ballpark, many differences were noticeable immediately. For instance, the open construction of the ballpark allows fans to still view the field while waiting in line for a hot dog or for the bathrooms.
Excited fans didn’t let a little rain dampen their fun. Mike, 43 from Woodhaven and his 11-year old son Charlie, came prepared.
“I’ve got ponchos in the bag,” Mike said “Ponchos and a camera.”
Fans used their cameras to take pictures of the remnants of Shea that have made their way next door, such as the famous home run apple, which is located in the Bullpen Gate entrance in the back of stadium, and had a steady stream of fans lining up for photos.
The skyline from the Shea scoreboard has also been preserved, now sitting above the Shake Shack behind center field.
There’s still some work that needed to be done on the park- outfield markers and retired numbers were missing from the walls, and signs still needed to be hung from the scoreboard, but fans didn’t seem to mind or notice.
And if the atmosphere couldn’t get any better, the Mets brought out former Red Storm and Mets pitcher John Franco to throw out the first pitch. Franco, wearing a Mets jacket and Red St. John’s jersey, bounced the pitch but didn’t seem to mind afterward.
“I was with my son and he told me ‘don’t bounce it,’” Franco said. “And I bounced it, so I’m sure I’ll be hearing that.”
In the end, St. John’s ended up getting bounced too, losing to Georgetown 6-4. But for most fans, the Storm wasn’t the story.
No, for fans, the story was their first game in brand new park.
Welcome home, Mets fans.