NY Mets & Washington Nationals on 9/11: A fitting tribute
When planning the schedule last year, it just so turned out that we would be at the Mets game in NYC on 9/11. The Mets played the first sporting event in New York after the terrorist attacks in 2001, so there is a very strong bond between the team and the city over the events of 9/11. We were fortunate, and very honored, to be in attendance for the game at Citi Field. It was definitely a highlight of our trip!
Citi Field opened in 2009, replacing Shea Stadium in Queens, New York. Located across a very nice plaza area from the subway station, Citi Field has a great façade that is a nod to the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field. The brick is very welcoming and warm, and the main entrance takes stadium patrons to the Jackie Robinson rotunda. The rotunda honors Robinson’s accomplishments, and etched into the archways are Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination, and Integrity. It’s great that the main entryway to Citi Field is a huge museum for one of the most important people to play the game of baseball. Well done, Mets!
One very distinctive feature of the old Shea Stadium was the home run apple. Whenever a Mets player would hit a home run, a huge apple with the Mets logo would rise from its housing beyond the centerfield batter’s eye. Citi Field also features the home run apple, but they’ve moved the original apple from Shea Stadium to the plaza area near the main entrance. It’s a great spot for a photo with the stadium in the background, so obviously we got a picture there. We were worried we wouldn’t see the home run apple during the game, but pinch hitter Scott Hairston* obliged us in the 7th inning.
*Scott Hairston is a 3rd generation major leaguer. In total, 5 Hairston’s have played in the big league. His dad Jerry, Sr., his brother Jerry, Jr., his uncle John, and his grandfather Sam.
The interior of the stadium is great. It’s definitely one of our favorite new ballparks. It has great sightlines and was primarily influenced by PNC Park, which was a favorite of Mets owner Jeff Wilpon. The concourse is great except for the wasted space directly where the escalators from the Jackie Robinson rotunda enter the concourse behind home plate. It is basically a blank wall with the luxury suites and press box area obstructing the view of the field. Being unable to see the field from the concourse is a pet peeve of ours. Aside from that, Citi Field is very nice. We like the food selection (Shake Shack!) and great craft beer selections (Brooklyn Beer!). If you’re curious, here’s a link to a NY Times article reviewing Citi Field and Yankee Stadium when they both opened in 2009.
We arrived to the stadium a little earlier than we usually do, so we had enough time to explore some before finding a spot to see the pre-game ceremony to remember the events that took place on 9/11. The Mets had first responders from each agency in the New York metropolitan area bring the colors on the field along with their agency’s individual flags. Both teams lined the infield baseline similar to opening day for a moment of silence. The daughter of someone who was killed in the attacks sang the National Anthem. The girl was young, probably a teenager, so its sad to think that 11 years ago, she was likely just starting kindergarten. The whole ceremony was classy and paid a great tribute to those who were killed.
Aside from the pre-game ceremony, this game marked another special occasion for the B4B team. It was our first foul ball we caught this season! Rex displayed some soft hands and great coordination to snag a foul ball off the bat off David Wright that took a tricky bounce off of the seats next to us. When we originally sat in our seats, we talked about how we were in prime foul ball area directly behind first base about 20 rows up. We just needed a righty to put together a solid at-bat by fouling off pitches to stay alive. That is exactly what Wright did in this at-bat, and Rex was the beneficiary. After catching a few batting practice home runs in previous games, we were finally able to get a game-used ball off of the bat of an MVP candidate. Good job, Rex!
The game featured our friend R.A. Dickey starting for the Mets. He is in the midst of building his case for the NL Cy Young, and this start would be a great time for him to show his stuff against one of the best teams in baseball, the Washington Nationals. Neither Dickey, nor Nats starter Jordan Zimmerman, were very efficient, but both were effective enough to limit the other teams from scoring many runs. Each starter allowed 10 base runners, but they got some huge help from their defense. The Mets turned 3 double plays while the Nats turned 2 double plays.
Zimmerman lasted only 5 innings for the Nats, and he left with his team losing 2-1. The Nats got solid innings from their relief corps while Tyler Moore tagged Dickey for a 2-run homer in the 7th. Frank Francisco gave up 2 runs to the Nats in the top of the 9th inning without recording an out. That turned out to be the difference in the game, with the Mets losing 5-3. Bryce Harper had arguably his best game as a big leaguer. He went 4 for 5, becoming the youngest player to have four hits in a game since Andruw Jones did it in 1996. He’s still just 19! Unbelievable!
We had a great time at Citi Field. The stadium and the Mets will be hosts of the All-Star Game next season. This will be a great opportunity to feature the stadium to the national audience will baseball’s best on display. I’m definitely looking forward to watching it. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to be in attendance.
Gm 1– 4/13 @ Safeco Field – Oakland A’s @ Seattle Mariners
Oakland wins 4-0 (WP – Colon, LP – Hernandez)
Gm 2 – 4/24 @ O.Co Stadium – Chicago White Sox @ Oakland A’s
Oakland wins 2-0 (WP – Milone, LP – Floyd, SV – Balfour)
Gm 3 – 4/27 @ AT&T Park – San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants
San Diego wins 5-3 (WP – Luebke, LP – Hacker, SV – Street)
Gm 4 – 5/3 @ Angels Stadium – Toronto Blue Jays @ LA Angels of Anaheim
Toronto wins 5-0 (WP – Morrow, LP – Haren)
Gm 5 – 5/7 @ Dodger Stadium – SF Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers win 9-1 (WP – Lilly, LP – Zito)
Gm 6 – 5/8 @ Petco Park – Colorado Rockies @ San Diego Padres
Padres win 3-1 (WP – Suppan, LP – White, SV – Thayer)
Gm 7 – 5/12 @ Chase Field – San Francisco Giants @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Giants win 5-2 (WP – Cain, LP – Cahill, SV – Casilla)
Gm 8 – 5/20 @ Coors Field -Seattle Mariners @ Colorado Rockies
Mariners win 6-4 (WP – Beavan, LP – Guthrie)
Gm 9 – 5/30 @ The Ballpark in Arlington – Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers
Mariners win 21-8 (WP – Beavan, LP – Holland)
Gm 10 – 6/3 @ Minute Maid Park – Cincinnati Reds @ Houston Astros
Astros win 5-3 (WP Lyles, LP – Arroyo, SV – Myers)
Gm 11 – 6/15 @ Tropicana Field – Miami Marlins @ Tampa Bay Rays
Rays win 11-0 (WP – Moore, LP – Zambrano)
Gm 12 – 6/22 @ Marlins Park – Toronto Blue Jays @ Miami Marlins
Blue Jays win 12-5 (WP – Romero, LP – Sanchez)
Gm 13 – 6/30 @ Turner Field – Washington Nationals @ Atlanta Braves
Braves win 7-5 (WP – Minor, LP – Strasburg, SV – Kimbrel)
Gm 14 – 7/6 @ Busch Stadium – Miami Marlins @ St. Louis Cardinals
Marlins win 3-2 (WP – Nolasco, LP – Westbrook, SV – Bell)
Gm 15 – 7/13 @ Kauffman Stadium – Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals
White Sox win 9-8 (WP – Alexrod, LP – Teaford)
Gm 16 – 7/19 @ Target Field – Baltimore Orioles @ Minnesota Twins
Orioles win 4-3 (WP – Chen, LP – Burnett, SV – J. Johnson)
Gm 17 – 7/24 @ U.S. Cellular Field – Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox
White Sox win 11-4 (WP – Jones, LP – Fien)
Gm 18 – 7/26 @ Miller Park – Washington Nationals @ Milwaukee Brewers
Nationals win 8-2 (WP – Jackson, LP – Gallardo)
Gm 19 – 7/30 @ Wrigley Field – Pittsburgh Pirates @ Chicago Cubs
Cubs win 14-4 (WP – Germano, LP – Bedard)
Gm 20 – 8/5 @ Comerica Park – Cleveland Indians @ Detroit Tigers
Tigers win 10-8 (WP – Downs, LP – Perez)
Gm 21 – 8/7 @ Progressive Field – Minnesota Twins @ Cleveland Indians
Twins win 7-5 (WP – Robertson, LP – Perez, SV – Perkins)
Gm 22 – 8/10 @ PNC Park – San Diego Padres @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Padres win 9-8 (WP – Brach, LP – Watson, SV – Street)
Gm 23 – 8/15 @ Great American Ball Park – New York Mets @ Cincinnati Reds
Reds win 6-1 (WP – Leake, LP – Dickey)
Gm 24 – 8/22 @ Nationals Park – Atlanta Braves @ Washington Nationals
Braves win 5-1 (WP – Medlen, LP – Detwiler)
Gm 25 – 8/25 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Toronto Blue Jays @ Baltimore Orioles
Orioles win 8-2 (WP – Johnson, LP – Morrow)
Gm 26 – 8/29 @ Citizens Bank Park – New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Mets win 3-2 (WP – Harvey, LP – Cloyd, SV – Francisco)
Gm 27 – 9/5 @ Rogers Centre – Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays win 6-4 (WP – Delabar, LP – Gonzalez)
Gm 28 – 9/11 @ Citi Field – Washington Nationals @ New York Mets
Nationals win 5-3 (WP – Gorzelanny, LP – Dickey, SV – Clippard)