FLUSHING, NYâ€”The baseball season is finally underway, and the Mets are off to a (insert appropriate adjective here) 1-0 start. While itâ€™s never too soon to start talking trash with the Phanatics and Yankee Joes of this site, it is a little early to pass judgment on any single team or playerâ€¦ not even C.C. Sa-blah-thia. What we can do, however, is talk about the new stadium in Flushing. After so many got an early jump on seeing the new digs at the St. Johnâ€™s/Georgetown game or one of the two Mets/Sox exhibitions, my brother and I finally got a chance to eyeball the park on Sunday. Here are some random thoughts and observations:
â€¢ $18.00 is a lot of money for parking. Perhaps forcing fans to take the 7 train and LIRR last year will make many think twice before driving to the game this year.
â€¢ Entering the stadium, at least the day I went, fans self-scanned their tickets while being observed at each turnstile by, I guess, former ticket-takers. What, first tearing a ticket was too complicated, now they canâ€™t even scan it? I canâ€™t believe that these guys and gals are happy about their new light workload. Whatâ€™s next? Is George Costanza gonna get them chairs to sit in?
â€¢ The Jackie Robinson Rotunda is nice. It looks very much like the main gates at Pittsburgh and other new ballparks. Still, it was very strange looking at all of the Brooklyn Dodger pictures and the huge #42 adorning this entrance. Itâ€™s one thing to name the thing after Robinson but it seriously looks like you are entering Dodgerland rather than Metsville.
Here are some random concession prices, which I have been clamoring for:
â€¢ Sausage and Peppers: $7.25.
â€¢ Nathanâ€™s Hot Dog $4.75.
â€¢ Nathanâ€™s Hot Dog sold 10 feet away from first one: $5.75. Funny thing about this was that the $4.75 dog is listed at 310 calories and the $5.75 is 260. Are you paying more for fewer calories or just because one is sold at the Brooklyn Burger stand? No one at the concessions could answer this question.
â€¢ Chicken Sandwich: $6.50.
â€¢ Regular Soda: $3.50
â€¢ 16 oz domestic beer (Bud, Miller Lite) cans: $6.50. Must admit that I am pleased that these arenâ€™t more expensive, as I am hearing horror stories from Yankee Stadium.
â€¢ Domestic drafts: $5.00 for 12oz and $6.25 for 16 oz. You beer snobs can get the prices on the imports. I am not paying extra for four ounces less and a fancy name. â€¢ Carvel ice cream cup: $3.75.
As for the specialty concessions offerings, here are a few worth mentioning:
â€¢ Shake Shack Shackburger: $5.75. There wasnâ€™t a long line so I had one, and it was really good. Iâ€™ve had Shake Shack burgers before and this was on par with those and only a buck more that you would pay in Madison Square Park. Not worth missing two innings standing in line to get one, but definitely worth a short wait if you get to the park early.
â€¢ Blue Smoke Pulled Pork Sandwich: $9. Ribs: $10. Wings $8.
â€¢ Cascarinoâ€™s Pizza: $5.75 plain slice. $6.25 Sicilian. Iâ€™d rather spend my money elsewhere.
â€¢ Catch of the Day: Fish Sandwich $8.50. And, get this, Lobster Roll $17. Hahaha! I wonder how many of these they are actually going to sell? They should post this one stat on the scoreboard all season.
One other concession note is that there are now toppings bars for hot dogs and burgers a la Roy Rogers fast food joints. Nice touch but, like any of those things, you always worry about someone sinking their filthy mitts in, up to the elbows, to grab a handful of sauerkraut or onions.
OK, enough of the food and drink. The stadium itself is very nice, but the Matts are right about the obstructed-view seats. Far too many. Sitting in the upper level seats in left field, particularly, you really canâ€™t see almost one-third of the outfield, which is ridiculous. Many of the fancy Acela club seats have this very same problem. Also, in certain seats near staircases, you find yourself looking at the game through a glass partition, which is no great shakes either. On a whole, though, the place is a big upgrade. It’s also much easier to get around and features many more bathrooms with plentyÂ of evacuation receptacles. Iâ€™d say an average of 16 urinals and 5 stalls in every menâ€™s room.
Finally, for the ladies, there is a curious Alyssa Milano boutique located down the right field line second level called “Touch: A Boutique for Female Fans.” Truly bizarre, yet it was packed with Ballpark Bettys looking to spend a few bucks on some frilly baseball frocks. One can only imagine the offerings: A bra known as “The Chest protector?” Strike zone panties? How about a magical Mets fragrance called “69?” OK, that was outta line. Iâ€™ll stop here before I get censored. Hope to see some of you misfits at the home opener.