Located in Flushing Meadows, New York City, Citi Field is an impressive ballpark that adds to the glory of the most populous US city and makes it more attractive for tourists all over the world. With an astonishing construction and memorable history, the baseball stadium is the home field of New York’s National League East team, the New York Mets. Dotted with charismatic infrastructure, enticing features, and exciting events, Citi Field is a wonderful place for baseball fans. The fantastic baseball park is equally admired for its inspiring historic moments.
Dynamic events, inspiring victories, and countless crowds of fans have made Citi Field one of the most stunning baseball stadiums in the United States. Friendly environment, exclusive baseball ground, with so many eye-catching fan facilities, Citi Field occupies a prominent place among the world’s top-class baseball parks.
Citi Field was constructed as a replacement for Shea Stadium, where the New York Mets played between 1964 and 2008. While it was initially built as a multi-purpose stadium, numerous modifications over the years converted it into an exclusive stadium for baseball.
The Mets began the quest for a new stadium as early as the 1990s and unveiled a retractable-roof design in 1998. The franchise even contemplated moving out to get a new ballpark. In 2001, the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, announced an agreement for the construction of new stadiums for New York Mets and New York Yankees. The mayor offered the teams to keep all parking revenues, 96% of ticket revenues, and 100% of all other revenues with them. But Michael Bloomberg, the successor of Giuliani, backed out of the agreement claiming that constructing new stadiums would not be affordable. He expected the teams to fund the construction of the stadiums themselves.
However, New York City’s 2012 Olympic bid led to the financing and construction of the present Citi Field. Tough the bid didn’t materialize, NYC got one of its most admired sports arena. The New York Mets contributed $420 million to the construction and have the right to play in the ballpark until 2049.
In 2006, the New York Mets showcased the official model of Citi Field. By the end of 2008, most of the construction, including Jackie Robinson rotunda, installation of paneling and glass in windows, display of signage, and installation of seats and playing field were complete. The stadium project was ready for the ballpark opening in late March 2009. However, a few modifications continued in later years depending on the need.
New York-based financial service company Citigroup bought the 20-year naming rights for $20 million a year in 2006.
Features of Citi Field
Citi Field can accommodate 41,922 viewers at a time. However, it has 15,000 seats less compared to Shea Stadium. Unlike red, blue, green, and orange-colored seats in the earlier ballpark, Citi Field has only green-colored seats. These green-colored seats represent a homage to Polo Grounds, the historical home of the New York Mets.
The interior design of the Citi Field is inspired by PNC Park of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It also drew inspiration from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Coors Field in Denver, and Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. The ballpark has an overarching bridge, which reminds baseball fans of a bridge in the Mets’ logo and New York City’s 2027 bridges as its lifeline.
Citi Field has a huge rotunda in front of the entrance. It is named after Jackie Robinson and commemorates the life and achievements of the first African-American to play in the modern-day MLB. The rotunda has a 160-ft floor that exhibits quotes and images of Robinson and his “nine values – Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity.” The upper ring of the rotunda has Robinson’s famous quote engraved, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” A sculpture of Robinson playing in his number 42 shirt is also present in the rotunda.
The Home Run Apple is another appealing feature of Citi Field and it was earlier in Shea Stadium. It has also a Mets logo on it. This giant 18-ft apple lights up and rises from its pedestal, as a home-team player scores a home run. At the inauguration of Citi Field, the apple was at Bullpen Plaza. However, it was later relocated outside near the Rotunda in 2010. The latest version of the apple is about four times larger than the original one.
The Mets Hall of Fame and Museum contains plaques, autographed memorabilia, and many other things. A family entertainment area is there behind the center-field scoreboard. Baseball enthusiasts call it the Fan Fest area, which has numerous amenities. A wiffle ball field called Mr. Met’s Kiddie field is a miniature replica of Citi Field exclusively for the kids. A batting cage, video game kiosks, and a dunk tank also enhance the attraction of the baseball stadium. There is a food court at the center stand of the ballpark. Visitors can taste almost every type of food here.
Purely Baseball Things To Know
- The New York Mets won the NL pennant and the NL division league in 2015 while playing at Citi Field.
- The first game at the ballpark is a college baseball game on March 29, 2009.
- The Mets lost their first exhibition game at the new ballpark to the Boston Red Sox on April 3, 2009.
- The first MLB game saw the New York Mets beat the San Diego Padres 6 to 5 on April 13, 2009.
- In 2013, Citi Field was the venue for the MLB All-Star Game. It allowed the Mets to become the host for the second time after 1964 in Shea Stadium.
- Between 2009 and 2012, the baseball stadium was a “pitcher’s park.”
- The Hall of Fame has the jersey that David Cone wear during his epic game on October 6, 1991, that resulted in 19 strikeouts.
- The Jean King National Tennis Center, the venue of the US Open Grand Slam, is within a walking distance.
- It is the first baseball stadium to have a leadoff home run in the very first ball on the inaugural MLB day.
- Gary Sheffield of the Mets and Mariano Rivera of the Yankees scored their 500th home runs at Citi Field in the inaugural season.
- Eric Bruntlett of the Phillies scored an unassisted triple on August 23, 2009. This was the second such act in MLB history.
- It hosted the first baseball game in New York City following the 9/11 terrorist attack.
- Johan Santana of the Mets achieved the first no-hitter on June 1, 2012.
- The 2013 All-Star Game saw a record attendance of 45,186 on July 16, 2013.
- The 2015 season saw two no-hitters by Chris Heston of the San Francisco Giants and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals.
- In 2015, Citi Field witnessed the Mets losing to the Kansas City Royals in its first World Series.
- Citi Field hosted the Mets Concert Series between 2012 and 2016. All game-day ticket holders could attend these evening post-game concerts.
- The baseball stadium was the home of MLS team the New York City FC and hosted several international soccer games.
- It was the venue for 2018 NHL Winter Classic, where the NYC Rangers played the Buffalo Sabers.
- Citi Field became the second ballpark after Houston Astrodome to host college lacrosse in 2013.
- In 2015, the NYC baseball stadium played host to the “Legends of Wrestling” event.
- It was also among the selected stadiums for the 2015 Cricket All-Stars Series.
- In 2019, there was the New York Hurling Classic at Citi Field.