Citi Field has come a long way since it opened in 2009. The outfield walls that were once black are now Mets blue. The same walls no longer make it impossible to hit home runs. There are more reminders of Mets history than when it first opened and seemed more like shrine to the Brooklyn Dodgers. But it still doesn’t totally feel like home. It takes more than a ballpark’s existence for it to feel like home. One of the biggest elements is history, and while it obviously will take a long time for Citi Field to have the same level of memories as Shea Stadium one event this year can go a long way.Citi Field has had moments where it started to feel like home. Johan Santana‘s no-hitter helped a lot.
The All Star Game will help tremendously.
On July 15, the Mets will host the Home Run Derby. The broadcasters will talk about the new outfield dimensions and the Home Run Apple and Shea Bridge. Mets fans will watch as home runs fly over the Bridge or past the Apple the way Ike Davis and David Wright have sent them for years.
Mets fans will recognize the nooks and crannies on the inevitable virtual tours on MLB Network and ESPN. When somebody mentions the Hall of Fame and Museum, Mets fans will know just how important that was to making Citi Field home. When John Kruk is looking for the “best seat in the house” Mets fans will know he can find some pretty darn good views out in centerfield or up in the 400s and 500s. When the FanCave dwellers want to make a video about all the food options Mets fans will be telling them what to try at Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, and Box Frites.
The All Star Game will make the Mets and their fans the teachers. Instead of the Mets having to learn something from the way the Yankees do something it will be the Yankees and the rest of the Majors watching how the Mets run the show. The All Star festivities are a time when it is okay to be overly proud about your team’s ballpark and history. When Citi Field is in the spotlight Mets fans should want to show off the good stuff about it. They should brag about Mike Baxter‘s catch, Ike Davis’s catches, and David Wright’s walk-offs. After all, it will be one of the only times to celebrate the smaller moments before there is another big defining moment for the ballpark.
The Mets have played at Citi Field since 2009. There have been cool games and plays that Mets fans remember but are insignificant to the rest of baseball. The All Star Game will allow the Mets and their fans to make those moments relevant, if only for a few days. Embracing the five minutes of fame could be all the fans need to realize Citi Field has really been home since 2009.
Sometimes Citi Field can feel like every other generic ballpark around the country. But for one week Major League Baseball will be blue and orange and Citi Field will be the center of it all. At least one Met will have 82 home games this year.
Because Citi Field is home.