When I was younger I noticed that I could always tell when a player's baseball card photo was taken at Shea Stadium. The blue walls and the orange seats in the lower levels made it a relatively easy task.
I was not one of those overly-sentimental folks getting teary-eyed about the closing of a baseball stadium last year. It was clearly time for an upgrade, and I don't think anyone can seriously contend that Citi Field isn't one. That being said, watching the first game from the new park on TV last night was a bit of a disappointment, and not just because Mike Pelfrey decided to christen the place in true Met fashion, by giving up a home run to the first batter.
A lot of this is undoubtedly just unfamiliarity, something that will go away with time, as Citi Field accumulates memories (and hopefully a few wins). But the one concern I have is that the place doesn't really scream "Mets" the way Shea did. The outfield walls are green and the background behind the plate is brick, both drab and both utterly commonplace.
I think that the true test will be my first trip to Citi Field. (Whenever I can scrounge up a spare $100 or so.) The park didn't come across well on TV, except in the broader shots of the outfield and scoreboard. Part of the problem is that I couldn't mentally fill in the gaps in the image on TV, because I don't really know what everything looks like yet.
The one thing I have heard that is a drastic improvement over Shea is that you can watch the game from the concourses. At Shea you felt like you were inside whenever you went to the concessions, but at newer stadiums like the Phillies new park, you can walk around and still feel like you're outside. This is a good sign for the design of the park.
Last thing, I know Jackie Robinson was a heroic figure who did a great thing and deserves unending recognition, but he never played for the Mets. It only annoys me because I know Wilpon grew up a huge Dodger fan and sometimes it feels like he wishes he could own the Brooklyn Dodgers instead of the New York Mets, with this just being the latest example. I understand that the Mets don't exactly have the most glorious history, but you only emphasize that fact when you co-opt history from somewhere else.
Any way, like I said before, win some games, and the stadium will look a lot better to everyone.