Citi Field critique

For the last six months, people have been sending me photos and videos of Shea Stadium being torn down. I never looked at a single one. The mere thought of it not being there was too painful, but I had to face that reality today as the No. 7 train approached the Willets Point station. Shea was now just a big pile of rubble–and Citi Field, trying so hard to be charming, stood nakedly behind it:


Speaking of Willets Point, the signs no longer say “Shea Stadium” on them:


This was Citi Field from the subway platform…


…and this was Shea just a couple hundred feet to the left:


Maybe it was the gloomy weather. Maybe it was the fact that I had to wake up at 8am (which for me is essentially the middle of the night) to get there. I don’t know, but I wasn’t happy. It felt lonely and foreign, like the first day at a new school.


I walked up to the gate outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, stuck my camera through the bars, and took a pic. I have to admit it was nice. Seriously nice. Downright glorious, in fact:


“Are you Zack?” asked a voice. It was a kid named Aaron (aka “Howie” in the comments section) who knew I was going to be there. I signed his copies of my first two books, and in exchange he and his father Jon gave me a free ticket (for the meaningless college game that was scheduled to begin at 1pm). Here we all are:


A few other baseball collectors met us there, and then we all headed over to the left field gate, which was going to open first:


Because I happened to be the first fan to run inside, I got interviewed by a reporter from the New Jersey Star Ledger:


As a result of the interview, it took a few minutes for me to reach the “seating bowl” and get my first look at the place:


A couple minutes after that, I went to the nearest concession stand and got a hot dog–the very first hot dog sold in the history of Citi Field (according to the employees there). Here it is:


It sucked. It cost $4.75 and the bun was stale, and even the dog itself wasn’t all that great, and you want to know what else sucked? One of the ushers tried to stop me from walking down into the left field seats. It was two hours before the start of a COLLEGE game, and he asked to see my ticket. Are you kidding me?! Fortunately the other ushers let me walk down into the seats and take pics. Ready for more suckiness? First of all, there’s no cross-aisle…so it’ll be impossible to move laterally during games…so for anyone who hopes to catch a game home run, you’ll have to sit on the end of a row and pray that the ball is hit directly toward your staircase…and then you’ll have to judge it perfectly. Secondly, there’s a big railing that makes it impossible to move directly from fair to foul territory:


Third, there are smaller railings on all the staircases that block two out of every three rows, and if that’s not bad enough, they were built six inches too long (in my not-so-humble opinion) so they jut out into the rows that they’re not even supposed to be blocking:


These railings are pointless and in some cases dangerous. Some ballparks have them. Some don’t. If they really made people feel THAT safe, and if they really prevented THAT many folks from taking nasty spills, I think you’d see them in every stadium. (Citizens Bank Park, by the way, doesn’t have any staircase railings.) Lucky me. I’ll be battling these effin’ things until I die. At least the seat backs are raised enough for balls to trickle down the steps:


That’ll be good for me and bad for just about everyone else who makes the mistake of running directly to the row where the ball lands. Anyway, the railings are annoying, and the overhang of the second deck will be a nightmare (don’t bother trying to catch a ball behind Row 10) but at least the home-run-catching area spans from the foul pole all the way out to left-center:


Another good thing: glove trick opportunities at the bottom of the hill next to the (new) home run
apple. It’s kind of hard to see in the following photo, but the slope flattens out at the bottom. Of course stadium security will probably be stupid and strict and try to prevent fans from using ball-retrieving devices, but if we can get away with it, this will be a good spot:


Remember the huge scoreboard out in right field at Shea Stadium? On the top of that scoreboard, there was a NYC skyline. Nice to see it survived the demolition and has a home in the new ballpark:


Here’s a look at the bullpens (terrible design to have them side by side and not even have the one in back elevated) and a row of tables above them:


(Am I being too negative?) It would be fun to use the glove trick from up there, and maybe I’ll get away with it once, but I don’t expect that to be a permanent option. That said, behold the bridge!


Here’s the way-too-steep section in right field:


There are lots of interesting angles and nooks and crannies at Citi Field. Some were clearly intentional and some were just as clearly random byproducts of questionable design. In the photo below, you can see that the rows of seats end with a foot or two (or three) of space next to the concrete wall. So…although there IS room for people to walk between the seats and the wall, it wasn’t meant to be used as a staircase because there aren’t any little/manageable steps. And let me tell you, if there IS room for people to move around, the room WILL be used. So basically, what you’re gonna have here is people wedging themselves between the seats, trying to climb up these gigantic double steps. It’s funny for me because I’m 31 years old and in the best physical shape of my life so I can treat Citi Field like my personal playground and stomp all over these unintentional obstacles, but I feel strongly that this is TERRIBLE stadium design. Thus, I’m forced to ask: when is HOK going to hire me as a consultant?


Ready for more weirdness? Check out the space surrounding the right field foul pole:


I’m thinking there might be cameras there during the regular season, and if there are, then the Mets should install a chain to keep people out. If, however, there’s neither a camera nor a chain, this area will be great for catching home runs during games, especially for the fan in the front row who’s sitting closest to the pole. Here’s a look at that same area from above:


More weird angles:


I really don’t understand the point of all these walls and railings. I think the architects were just showing off. And here’s the weirdest one of all. I’ve never seen anything like this in ANY stadium. Can someone please explain this? Here…look:


Yes, that’s right, there’s a random row, right in the middle of all the other rows, where the seats are elevated a few feet. If there were an aisle in front of the elevated row, I could understand it. You know…give people a spot to cross through the seats. But no. It just randomly…goes up…and there’s not much extra space. Maybe a few inches. You know what that means? I’ll tell you. The people in the elevated row will be the only people in the stadium without cup holders. This means they’ll be forced to put their cups on the ground (life is hard) and then those cups, when kicked over (and they WILL be kicked over) will splash the people’s heads sitting in front of them. Brilliant. And even if the people sitting in front don’t get splashed, they will definitely get kicked in the head, especially when little kids are sitting behind them. Just look at this absurdity:


Why not just have the entire lower level of seats slant up uniformly? It seems to work fine in every other stadium. Ready for something else? This’ll look like an ideal spot to catch foul balls and get autographs…


…except you will never, EVER be allowed to go down there. Not even God will get to sit there. I have no idea what those fancy seats are for (millionaire fans and their disabled companions?) but I can guarantee you they will be totally off limits. It’s just another example of opportunities to collect being taken away. And wait…it gets worse. Ready for THIS? The entire seating area behind home plate is completely sectioned off. I think it’s called the Sterling Club, or some nonsense like that, and the face value on those tickets starts in the triple figures. Here, have a look. I’m standing at the edge of the section (you can see the railing at the bottom of the photo), and I’ve drawn a red arrow which shows the boundary on the other side. That is a LOT of real estate which is now completely off limits:


At least the water fountains are good:


The field level concourse behind home plate? Awful. The ceiling is claustrophobically low to make room for an extra level of suites. Look:


But okay, I’ll take a break from my complaining to show you the magnificent Rotunda. This is truly incredible. HOK deserves some props for this:


I had to talk my way down into the seats behind the third base dugout. It looks a lot like Philly, except there are railings on the staircases. Pretty standard design. I can work with that:


The St. John’s players began warming up…


…and even though I didn’t bring my glove or bother to print their roster, I still got one of them to toss me a ball. I learned later that it was a player named Scott Ferrara, who can supposedly run the 60-yard dash in 6.3 seconds. Hey look! There’s more weird space around the left field foul pole:


I returned to the foul line when another group of players began throwing and I got a second ball from a freshman named Kevin Kilpatrick. Here are the two balls (which will NOT count in my collection):


Did I mention that the balls will NOT count? Good. Okay. Ready for another critique? This one is minor, in the grand scheme of things, and it’s going to take three photos to illustrate my point, so bear with me. Here’s the first. It shows the ramps leading up to the “Empire,” “Excelsior,” and “Promenade” levels:


(By the way, what’s with the fancy names of the seating levels? Are they actually planning to play baseball here or are they just gonna sit around and plan wars?) Here a photo of the first landing. Notice where the big metal beam is?


It’s right at eye level! It completely blocks the view! DUH!!! Why not put that beam a couple feet higher and create a nice little area where people can look out and catch their breath? Am I crazy?


Here’s something that actually looks pretty…


…but upon closer inspection, there appears to be a bit of a drainage problem:


Here’s a nice look at the lowest concourse from a couple levels up…the third deck…the Excelsior Level:


Here’s the field from the third base side. Not bad:


This brings me to the club itself. I don’t know if it’s going to be open all the time, or if this was a special day. I hope it’s open all the time because people seem to like it, and the more people who go up there, the fewer people I’ll have to deal with in the seats. It was “nice” in that it was clean and spacious and well designed, but I think the design would be more appropriate for a mall and/or an airport:


I mean…really?

All right, here’s the single greatest thing about Citi Field. If you can afford $150 tickets (or whatever they cost…probably more on StubHub), you’ll have a phenomenal foul ball opportunity behind the seats on the Excelsior Level. Here’s the view of the field…


…and here’s the view to the left:


Wow! The only problem is that in order for the ball to reach the aisle, it’ll have to fly back on a line or else it’ll clip the facade of the upper d–err, I mean, the “promenade” level. But seriously, if I can find a way to get into that heavily guarded section during the regular season, I’ll be a happy boy.

I bought a six-dollar slice of pepperoni pizza. It was small (the baseball is in the shot for perspective) and forgettable. It was like college-cafeteria-quality pizza. Soooo not worth it. Granted, I only tried a couple items, but my early assessment is that the food at Citi Field sucks bigtime. Do yourself a favor and eat before you go to the ballpark, then pack a protein bar and avoid having to eat there. Stick it to the Mets for raising ticket prices and trying to sell crappy food:


I wandered up to the right field corner…


…and saw the very nice bridge from above, as well as the old home run apple…


…and made it to the top corner of the second deck (which is the top deck in right field):


There was a big open-air concourse up there, which looks a lot like the one in Anaheim:


Then I went to the Promenade level and got a photo from the highest/furthest corner in right field:


Here’s the Pepsi Deck from above. I think you’ll see guys like Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder hit balls completely over the seating area. It should be fun up there during the Home Run Derby:


I’m not sure how far back foul balls will fly (I can’t judge distances in a college game where the pitchers are topping out at 81mph or whatever), but I’d say that some foul balls WILL reach the top deck. This is the view from a potentially good foul ball spot up there:


It’s good because of the room to run on either side:


But like I said, there might not be too many balls that go up that high. We shall see. Here’s the view from the last row of the upper deck directly behind the plate:


Here’s more weird random space, this time between the staircase and the wall, under a lowish ceiling:


Check this out. Look how easy it’ll be for people to jump onto the roof and run around near the fans and cause all kinds of trouble. People WILL do it. People will get drunk and clown around and climb up there, with very little effort, and if they stick their fingers into that machinery…yeah:


Here’s the Promenade concourse:


I want to see Fred Wilpon and the CEO of HOK sit and watch a game from the last row of the Promenade level in left-center field. This is what it’ll be like for them:


What the bloody hell is the purpose of that obstruction? Why have it in the first place? And why build seats that’ll force people to stare at it? Here’s another look from the side:


Here’s one final shot from way up high that shows the area behind the batters eye:


That’s it. I know I complained quite a bit, but it’s more fun that way, right? I have to be critical because I’ve been to 44 other major league stadiums, and this is the one I’m going to be stuck with for the rest of my life. My overall assessment is that it’s a quality structure. Aside from several drainage problems, it’s well put together. Solid. Pretty. Nice. I just question some of the choices that were made. The third base side looks like Philly. The left field seats look like Cincinnati. The right field seats look like Washington D.C. combined with Arlington. It’s like a big Mr. Potato Head stadium. Too segmented overall. Too complicated. It’s like a poster with ten different fonts and too many exclamation points. It’s trying sooooo hard to be nice, and in most places it succeeds, but if you look closely and KNOW what you’re looking for, you can see a lot of flaws. Fan interference is going to be a big problem at this stadium because there’s nothing that separates the fans in the front rows from the field. No gaps. No flower beds. Nothing. So get ready for that. The whole place strikes me as a haphazard collection of quirks and interesting features without much consideration about how it’s all going to play out and what it’s going to be like for the majority of fans who either want to collect things and get close to their favorite players or who simply can’t afford the best seats. The main thing that’ll make this place tolerable is that it will open two and a half hours before game time. Eventually, when the Mets lose 100 games and Citi Field is old news and the crowds shrink to 20,000 or so per game, this place might be great, but until then, I don’t expect to average much more than my typical seven balls per game. And even THAT might be tough to achieve here for quite some time.


  1. dannymb87

    Awesome critique Zack. It looks like a solid stadium with a whole lot of features that no other stadium has… whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing? We’ll find out. A lot of weird bounces in this place perhaps.
    Any idea what they’re putting in place of Shea? Parking spaces?

  2. padreleigh

    Hey Zack….

    Nice critique. The railings in between sections and the LF overhang remind me of PETCO, but in NY it’s on a larger scale. The spaces by the foul poles remind me of Great American Ballpark in Cincy. It looks like you’re going to have to be very sneaky this year getting down to the lower sections. Even during BP. Too much money to buy a ticket just for access during BP. That green, slanted area in center reminds me of right center in Anaheim. The good news is that NOTHING in your pics remind me of Dodger Stadium. Ha ha. It will interesting to see how the ushers and security act there once the season starts. Good luck. Go Padres on the 13th!!



    Zack, I agree with everything that you said, except the food. I thought the prices and the food were pretty good, and once the season starts and they are offering all of the food (you could only buy certain foods at this game) and it is fresh, it will be good.
    The only things that I liked about Citi, were the skyline in center field that you showed, and I liked that they moved the old apple to the new stadium. However, those things were unique to She Stadium, and just moving them over to Citi is nothing special

    Also the row of seats that is higher up is probably to designate a change in ticket price. And if you look closely, just below that row, there is an indentation in the seats where an usher could sit and check tickets (again.)

    Also didn?t HOK design the New Yankee Stadium?

  4. baseballexperiences

    Nice critique, the ballpark doesnt look as nice as i thought it would, just looking at the pics. Do you think during the game you could sit in the lower levels if you pay off one specific usher? what’s the deal with those unused random spaces? Joe

  5. thet206kid

    I cant wait til my first game on April 18th, Zack I have a few questions and hope you can help me out, The game I am going to is at 1 pm on a saturday, what time would they open the gates? Also in your opinion do you think it is going to be harder or easier to get a ball or autograph the way the stadium is set up? Thanks Zack, hopefully I will see ya soon

  6. cookandsonbats

    Very interesting, Zack. Sorry to hear the designers didn’t take ball snagging interests into account in designing the field. That handicap seating area in front of the foul seats looks similar to down the third base line at PNC Park. At least at PNC, they let you in there during pre-game and its pretty nice for getting balls and chatting up players.

    Do you think the Mets will sell out this year? I was surprised to be able to walk up day of game last September and get two tickets for a Mets-Phillies game with all sorts of playoff implications. I’d like to be able to get cheap and easy tickets like that in the future.

  7. .

    Yesterday I noticed most of those weird spots as well, especially the extra row of seating that is nowhere to be found. I can see where most of your complaints are coming from, being the person you are (a baseball collector), but as for me, just a fan without worrying about snagging that one baseball a game, I love it. As you heard my opinion in the video, my impression of Citi is just about 93% positive. There are those views where you can lose track of the ball which suck, especially in left field, rows 10 and up, but, if you chill in the Field Level most of the game and walk around (which is downright amazing!), you have nothing to worry about really. I’ll be in foul ball territory, two rows from the field with my father on Friday against the Sox. Let’s see if I can’t use the skills I learned from you…

    – Donnie

  8. ceetar

    I just want to say, that while some of your critiques are valid and bewildering (I understand some of the space stuff, due to angling and probably not wanting people flush up against the wall for ocmfort, I don’t understand the raised seat thing..) I think you’re giving it a hard score. Remember Shea wasn’t very good for snagging either, but through hundreds of games, you learned the little tricks and secrets and nuances. You don’t know those yet, but Citi Field will probably have even more. And as you get some games under your belt, I think you’ll have an even bigger advantage over the average half-hearted fan (me for instance) than you did at Shea.


    Zack, for the first time I can honestly say your blog wasn’t fun at all. Informative as always, but just very critical and almost bordering on mean. The stadium is wonderful, not perfect, but wonderful. Wow, all the negativity spewing from you, I am slightly surprised, but more disappointed. I hope others will feel like I do and tell you about it. If the stadium were designed like you wished, it probably wouldn’t open on time and as it is, this one isn’t completed. I will always miss Shea, I know you won’t, but we really didn’t need a new stadium. Shea had its charm, and people still wanted it out of there. Hoping your blogs from this day forward will be fun like previously. In that I have faith in you.

  10. braves04

    Your summary of the stadium sounds a lot like the Mets in general. Always trying sooo hard to be perfect, yet still flawed. Nice stadium, but those railings and walls are out of control. Even the sightlines aren’t that great from way up top. Things like that irritate me about new stadiums because the focus is always on high dollar seats and amenities. The cheap(er) seats still get shafted.
    Wish me luck at Turner Field for this week’s exhbitions vs. Detroit. Anything I snag WILL count because it’s in a major league stadium and if you can count the Home Run Derby, I can count an ACTUAL baseball game lol. Good luck this year!

  11. snagfan


    Thanks for the AWESOME intel report. You are correct the rails in the middle of the rows are a major pain in the A**. CoMerica Park has them. Believe me I have almsot suffered broken ribs twice while tracking Jim Thome’s bombs in the Right field bleachers at the COPA.
    After looking at your review. I am awfully thankful that I have the COPA to snag balls at. (Even though snagging devices are HEAVILY frowned upon…).
    Mike in Detroit…

  12. goisles

    Your Mr. Potato Head of stadiums is spot on. I saw so many other different stadiums in the ballpark–it was bewildering.

    I guess for most Mets fans, they will enjoy going from Shea (which was truly a dump) to this place. And for those who do not go from ballpark to ballpark, everything will be new and exciting.

    Having been jaded by visiting so many ballparks, nothing really stood out for me as unique–except perhaps the urinals in the bathroom, which had a look I’ve never seen before. It also was such a foggy and overcast day, you couldn’t check out the views from the stadium at various points. However, Nats fans can take heart that the cement factory (or something like it) across the street from Nationals Park is no longer the worst eyesore from a ballpark ramp. That crown now belongs to the Mets for the multiple auto repair/junk yard heaps that lie just beyond the RF/Pepsi scoreboard Excelsior concourse

    Parking will be a nightmare until they get the old Shea cleaned up and turned into a parking lot. It seemed like every available space was used up for a crowd of 20,000.

    While the raised row is strange, after more reflection, I actually think it’s one of the nicer innovations in the place. In addition to potentially delineating seat prices, I think it will greatly improve the sightlines for fans who get stuck in those middle field level seats, especially down the lines. I know that you would never allow yourself to get stuck in such a place, but for a crowded stadium, the seats at rows 25 -50 on field level can be tough for watching a game down the lines–and this is a barely perceptible but vast improvement from the fan’s perspective.

    As for quirks, I hate how the fences are pushed back about 20 feet in the RF power alleys, but unlike you, I love the steep seats in RF down the lines on the field level. It reminded me of the bleachers in LF for Cleveland and I think it makes those seats a much better place to watch the game. On the flip side, I can easily see someone falling and breaking a leg during a scramble in BP.

  13. mlbtoday

    Wow, the stadium seems really nice but there seems to be a ton of obstructions in the higher level seating and nearly impossible for any BP fan to run freely to snag a HR ball. Thanks for going and posting all of those pictures.

    – Jason of

  14. nycautographcollector

    very nice critique zack- it seems like you pretty much hit the nail on the head with a lot of your claims…and i have to say i agree with them all pretty much. it should be a fun place to snag, and im sure on the right day against the right team, you’re gonna have plenty of nice games, just like you do in philly.

    food wise…im sure some of the food is very good. the restaurants and whatnot and some of the stands…next time your at citi and want to spend money on food, i would personally suggest the corn dogs…theyre so freaking good and i think like $1 less than the hot dogs…and they also do this thing where you can sign up to be a designated driver and you get a free soft drink…

  15. jerseyboy

    Since I’m running late for work, I didn’t have time to finish reading your article, but will later. Just wanted to comment real quick. I was with a group of 6 other people. They were in love with the damn place. I “tried” to ruin that for everyone with my obsessive criticism. I HATE it. I HATE this new place that is supposed to be called “home.” I’m not having it. When you walk into the stadium, and get your first view of the field, which by the way, you have to walk 100 yards either left or right to see the field, cause home plate is an area that only people who spend $100,000 a season for a pair of seats can see field from, home plate is in the wrong place!! That’s another thing, you can’t even stand behind home plate to see the game unless you are a millionaire. It’s ridiculous. It’s GATED OFF!!! I hate this place. It makes the difficult task of being a collapsing Mets fan even harder. And when you walk in to the stadium, when you first enter, the damn place looks like a mall. “Hey kids, let’s go shopping at Citi Field today!” Ridiculous. And the remains of shea are such a heartbreak. Unbearable to look at. OH, and did you see where they have the city skyline in the centerfield food court, if you turn around and face towards the field, look up, there is a scoreboard up there! WHY!?!? Because citigroup is so rich they can afford to sponsor this? Or is New York just doing another great job of throwing away taxpayers money? Honestly, it doesn’t feel like a baseball stadium. Not one bit.
    “Come see Citi Field, where baseball has gone to die.”


    The staduim is wonderful compared to shea, and its wonderful if you’ve never been to any other ballpark, and if you are planning to sit in you upperdeck seat the entire game. but for him (and me) its nothing special

  17. districtboy

    Looks like a brick version of Nationals Park plus a rotunda. From what you described Citi sounds pretty tough to interact with players but it was nothing I wasn’t expecting. The tough fact is that we are in another cookie cutter ballpark era, and although they are “nicer” than than the doughnuts, they are just BORING. There were two outside-the-box ballpark designs in the works, but the “Cisco Experience” is now never going to happen and I’m not that confident in St. Pete’s new park going through now either. Miami will eventually have that huge Toaster though. Anyways, Citi still looks OK, and it’s not like it’s Dodger Stadium or AT&T. Exclusive clubs behind home plate just irk me so much. As you know, they have that in Washington and I can’t stand it because it would be so easy to fix it; just cut out a couple feet of railing from both sides and everything is hunky dory. And I though the Cell’s design was annoying…


  18. sbiiichamps

    Zack.. not everything is about you, and your unhealthy obsession with catching baseballs. Time to grow up, aren’t you in your 30’s? The Stadium is BEAUTIFUL. You chose to dissect it negatively because it does not cater to YOUR entertainment. I’ve seen you at tons of games, it’s really annoying seeing you get all of these baseballs, when the younger kids would love to get a ball, and cherish it even if it’s just one. Enough already… oh man the ceiling is too low!! OH NOOOOO WERE GONNA DIE!!!! You say “I’ll be a happy boy.” That scares me..

    So how about this, don’t go to Citi Field.. and that’s it, problem solved. Move to San Fan.. and buy a canoe.

  19. raysrenegade

    I expected nothing less from you than a through filing on Citi, and we got it and more.
    I also wonder about those spaces near the foul poles. In the Trop., that would have taken out my seating area, and that is not going to happen on my watch.
    I have a feeling that the stadium food in the next few years will not up to snuff anyways. If you can use a cheaper cheese or sauce for the pizza, that will be the rules.
    Thanks again for the great insight into Citi field.
    I am going up in June, and you gave me a complete format of where i want to try and get a seat, and where I want o try and see a few of my buddies on the Rays and Mets while i am there.

    Rays Renegade

  20. 81timesayear

    Hey Zack, thanks for the extensive posting of photos from citi field. i will be attending a couple of games there in july and have been very anxious to see the what the view to the field will look like. however, i do disagree with most of your critiques. the biggest problem in my mind is the angle of the upper deck. I hate that all the new ballparks try to bring everyone so close to the field that the decks are angeled so that sitting in any one seat, you view to one of the corners will be cut off. also, from those seats on the third deck in right field – if you are not sitting in the first row, will you even be able to tell if the ball goes over the fence? i feel that these are the biggest problems, not the railings in the aisles, required by building codes by the way, or the low ceilings in the concourses. still cant wait to get there in july.

  21. Howie

    Thanks for including me in the entry. Except you spelled my dads name wrong, it is JON. Anyway, My final stats are:
    1 ball, 13 autos, and a bag of dirt (because you are that close to the field)


  22. 81timesayear

    whats the deal with the bridge and the tables above the bullpens? are those being sold as seats or are they first come first seated? would love to sit there and watch santana warm up.

  23. Jake

    Hey Zack, I liked the entry. To my point of view, the ballpark looks downright amazing. I like the way the outfield wall is shaped, could get some funny bounces off of those. Anyway the DBacks open on the 6th and I’ll probably be at a game by the 9th. Here’s to good luck for the upcoming season.


    It’s zacks opinion! his opinion is based on HIS intrests. he is entitled to his opinion, and so is everybody else!

    he judges EVERY ballpark w/ snagging in mind, and if he thinks a design is bad, then he thinks a design is bad!! stop bashing him for it.

    he could design a house that had all of his favorite things in it, and he loved it, but you might think that is it the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen, because you think his favorite things are stupid!
    if you dont like HIS OPINION and critiques, dont read them!

    and sbiiichamps, i bet that you have some obseesions too, so you shouldnt critice his.

    and he gets all the balls because he TRIES, whereas the youngster is probably eating cotton candy.



    And if you haven’t seen the stadium in person, you shouldnt be saying anything about it, because you havent actually been in the place.

    and the stadium is beautiful compared to Shea, but it just has some stupid/weird design quirks


    Also nteresting that all of the stadiums that Citi looks like in some places (Nationals Park, PNC Park, Camden Yards) were all built by HOK.


    donnie- is that sarcastic or not? thats what i hate about this i can never tell if people are being serious or sarcastic.

  28. districtboy

    We can all agree on this, right?:
    HOK as run out of creativity.
    I don’t want to bash a firm that was so revolutionary, but many of the unique parks like Arlington, Arizona, Fremont (R.I.P.), Milwaukee, and Seattle all were built by different firms.


  29. jonnnnnn

    awesome post dude. you’re the man. i find myself wondering what your favorite stadiums around the league are?? I’m assuming you’ve been to PNC Park? What’d you think of it?? Maybe you could make a post about this kinda stuff… unless you already have and I missed it…

  30. rockiesfanatic14

    Seriously people, if your going to read a blog about baseball snagging then what the hell is your problem when Zack writes a critique on a stadium that is ballhawking based. Plus have you ever heard of positive criticism? If your gunna try to help Zack with his critiques then don’t totally bash him. (sorry Puck if I’m kinda copying you but this has to be said)
    Anyway Zack, I thought the critique was good. I’m an American and Americans love neggativity. I thought you were honest, rather then some people that just say that Citi is great because that is the only stadium they are going to see in the next ten years and they are in denial of it being crappy. I might be at the Dodgers series at Coors if you decide to go so I hope I can meet you.

  31. goisles

    My only concerns with Zack’s post is the criticism of HOK. I suspect that if you listed the dozens of criteria that an architect looks at in designing a ballpark, “ball snagging” does not make the list. To the extent it does, it probably only comes into play with something like “fan proximity to the field.” In addition, many of the decisions on what to go with–including blocking access behind home plate, are primarily the choice of the team and not the architect. The Wilpons could have easily said that we want our fans to have some visibility of the playing field from behind home plate. That might have at the expense of some luxury perks, but still, that is not necessarily the designer’s choice.

    Of course, it’s interesting to look at Zack’s pictures and see that the best seats behind home are unoccupied during the game–much the same way they are unoccupied in Washington. For a regular fan, seeing those luxury seats sitting empty is hard to accept.

    As for the cookie cutter nature of most new parks, let’s face it, how much more innovation can there be? Fans like huge concourses that give a view of the field from most points in the ballpark, games, and big jumbotrons with HD. Unless you are utilizing the local landscape or scenery (e.g., PNC, SF, even Cleveland) what more can be done that has not been done already? That’s why I liked the raised seating midway at field level, I think it’s an addition that enhances watching the game.

  32. cookandsonbats

    I only care about the Mariners and my favorite stadium of all time is the Kingdome. That said, I appreciated the review. Personally, I think it looks pretty nice although with some well-noted flaws. My biggest disappointment is the green seats. I was probably only ever at Shea 6-7 times, but I always enjoyed the bright team colored seats. Seems like most new parks all go with dark green – with notable exceptions that come to mind being Citz. Bank (blue) and Great Am (red). Green seats and excessive railings aside, I’m still excited to come up and check out the new stadium at least once this season.

  33. zackhample

    Thanks for checking out my pics and critique. Sorry if I offended anyone. I’m just having fun with it. The stadium is obviously gorgeous. I just think some of the details/choices are kinda dumb and/or unnecessary, but overall it’s really great. I know the world doesn’t revolve around me or snagging, but c’mon, this is my blog, and it’s a blog that focuses on snagging, so gimme a break. Some of you guys made some *excellent* points. You gave me some some extra things to consider. Unfortunately I don’t have time to answer everyone individually, so I’m just gonna respond to the people who asked questions…

    Just parking, I think. Hopefully they’ll mark the spot where home plate once was.

    I think it’ll work just like in Philly and Denver and Pittsburgh, etc., where all you’ll have to do is get past the one or two ushers at the top of any staircase, you know, right in the concourse, and then you’ll be good to go. Usually those ushers stop checking tickets after a few innings, but things might be tougher in NYC.

    The stadium will open 2.5 hours before game time. Autographs will be slightly harder. My prediction is that getting balls will be easier during BP and harder during games.

    There will probably be some individual tickets for sale thoughout the season, if not more. Even the very first game at Yankee Stadium has seats available. (Unfortunately, they’re the ones for $2,600.)

    I can’t believe we didn’t meet. But after seeing you in the video, I have to say that you look awfully familiar. I think I *did* see you from afar on this fine day.

    GARY (and everyone else who’s been asking)-
    I am not going to attend any (other) exhibition games. The next time I set foot in a stadium will be Opening Day on April 6th in Toronto.

    Sorry about that. Thanks for letting me know. I fixed it.

    I have no idea, and I kinda *like* having no idea. I enjoy unraveling the mystery of a new stadium.

    Thanks very much. Pittsburgh is really nice, but it’s much better to simply LOOK at than it is for actually snagging baseballs. I still did okay there last summer, so no major complaints. Here are the two entries I wrote about it:

    My favorite stadium is Camden Yards. It’s quiet and calm and simple and friendly, and it’s not too expensive, and there are some UNIQUE features in the place. And when you spend $6 on pizza there, you get about four times as much (and four times the quality) as that dinky slice I got at Citi. AT&T Park is also incredible. The only complaint I have about that place is that there are some aggressive fans out there, but I would hardly change anything about that stadium. So yeah, I’ll go with Camden and AT&T Park.

    Thanks! Still no decision yet on Coors.



    Leave Zack alooooooooooone!

    I think Citi Field looks kinda ordinary. I was expecting to be blown away by this new structure, but it’s just…new. Big whoop. I wanted to see something special. Oh well.

    But…back to the negative comments on here…

    if you don’t like Zack, then don’t waste your precious time reading *his* blog. (Duh!)

  35. padreleigh

    Hey Zack….

    Hey man, I just wanted to let you know I liked the critique of the field from a snagging perspective. That’s why I read your blog. I appreciated all the facts from YOUR perspective. Keep up the good work. I can’t wait till you put the place to the test during a regular season game.


    Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain. Remember that. You may have to account for it later. I liked your post though.


  36. snagfan

    So much for a shot at Sheff’s 500th HR ball. (Unless he signs with Toronto). Detroit released him today. I seriously don’t know what the hell Dombrowski is doing at this point….

    Mike in Detroit..

  37. jere80

    Zack–I came here to offer my condolences on Sheffield’s release. At least you’ve got that friend to see.

    Padreleigh–people are allowed to take whatever lord’s name in vain and still be a good person. You can be a good person without religion. Or even a better one.

  38. txfilmmkr

    Left field at Citi reminds me of right field at Minute Maid Park. Those half-handrails are annoying and the lack of a cross aisle makes for some perilous sprints from one section to another, especially when tracking a ball in flight.


    Hi Zack,
    I was wndering if you took the picture of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda (77_rotunda_pregame.jpg) in March 2009? If so, I was wanting to get permission to use it for a presentation cover for a meeting that will be held at Citifield in September 2010. Also, If you have a higher-res image I would really appreciate a copy. Let me know if you would like a photo credit or if there is a usage fee. If you didn’t take it can you point me to who did?
    Thanks much, Tom

  40. zackhample

    In a word: thanks.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Oh man, I was so bummed when he was released. I still think about what might have been…

    Nice point about religion.

    Not as much as I love you.

    At least there’s not a bullpen jutting into the LF stands at Citi like there is in RF at Minute Maid.

    I just sent you an email about this…

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