|Citi Field a Drawback for Mets||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 17, 2011
Citi Field is a beautiful place.Â It's a shame that the ball club there isn't very good.
Yeah sure the Mets are rebuilding and could be good a couple of years down the road, but will that make them exciting to watch? That's the question a fan asked me just the other day.Â In his opinion you could put the Mets, Phillies, Rockies or Red Sox in Citi Field and turn them into a boring team.
After all, he reasoned, what are most of those teams without the cheap home runs?Â The answer is, they'd be pretty boring if what you want is high scoring games and were feeding the fans the long ball which they so clearly crave.
This park wasn't built to fulfill the modern fan's desire to see home runs, something that seems almost anachronistic in this day and age.Â This is a pitcher's park and built to be one and was supposed to be a strength for a team that's core was going to be pitching and speed.
Obviously that hasn't happened.Â Team ace Johan Santana hasn't had a healthy season since the park was built, Jason Bay can't buy an extra base hit, and Jose Reyes' hamstring and Achilles' tendon has robbed the team of the marquee speed player who was supposed to star for this franchise.
And the stadium, which should be a pitcher's dream, hasn't helped the team attract a second star pitcher leaving the team without an ace.Â And while the stadium has helped the Mets pitchers, most of them are second line pitchers and innings eaters.
While the diehards are still coming out to the park, the casual fan, and even some of the stalwarts are choosing to stay away from Citi Field.Â That's because these Mets are in fact boring to watch.
There are no aces to give us brilliant pitching duels -- those aces for the most part would rather be in Philadelphia -- there are no home run barrages at Citi Field -- which yields an average of 1.49 per game -- too few steals, and very few big innings.Â And while the Mets do score and even win enough games to be sitting around .500, they aren't all that entertaining on the whole.
Maybe that's the problem.Â But it's a problem which the Mets have created on their own.Â They built a park for the team they imagined they'd have when the economy was good, their players healthy and ownership still had deep pockets, and before the Bernie Madofff scandal.Â If everything had worked according to plan they'd have a staff that resembled the one in Philly, they'd have had at least three guys capable of at least 30 home runs, even in Citi Field, and they'd have packed stands.
But when the plan fell apart what they had was a beautiful stadium but one which doesn't highlight the skill sets of the players they have.Â So while fans in Philadelphia, or of that other New York franchise, go home at the end of the night satisfied, even on a losing night, the fans out in Flushing simply aren't getting the same thrills.
Perhaps ownership should have built a bandbox. Home runs equal butts in the seats.Â That's a lesson learned by many a franchise who don't have top level talent, and even by those that do, including the Yankees and Phillies.Â And while those teams would be a lot less interesting if they played Citi Field, they'd have enough pitching and speed not to be boring.