It's the little things that count. Last night (Saturday night) I was at Citi Field. It was a big game, with lots of subtext. Enough that it was a sellout and near record crowd (a few people shy of 43,000). Citi Field has been around nearly 7 full seasons and there just haven't been many big games or even large crowds. But last night, there was an energy that I noticed (and several other people also felt) for the first time since Shea Stadium. Having 43,000 people should bring about an energy unlike what you'd see at a typical mid-week school night game. I think it was more than that.
On a personal level, last night was a little different from many other games I've attended at Citi Field. I usually go, and whether it's planned or not, I wind up running in to or meeting up with friends, and I don't always sit in my seat for the entire game. That's just how it's been at Social Citi Field. Kind of like watching a baseball game with Attention Deficit Disorder, where you can't simply focus on the game. Citi Field was built for that. It never used to be that way at Shea. At Shea, I would just sit in my seat and watch the game, keeping score along the way. That's what Shea was built for. Last night, despite 43,000 other Mets fans in the building (actually, quite a few Nationals fans were there), I couldn't find any friends to either go with or meet up with, but I still wanted to go because it was such a big game. So I went by myself, sat in my seat, and kept score. I attend about 10 games a year and get to do that maybe twice each season. I did that at almost every game I attended at Shea Stadium as well as at other ballparks. It's something I miss doing (and it actually forces you to watch the game, even from your seat). Since I don't get to do it often, I feel somewhat nostalgic of the old days at Shea when I do get to keep score at a ballgame.
The energy generated by spontaneous and loud "Let's Go Mets" chants also makes me feel nostalgic from the good old days at Shea. You hear it a bit at Citi Field, but nothing with the energy that I felt last night. It felt good to hear and take part in.
And there was a little scoreboard thing that I always liked at Shea which seemed to have been abandoned at Citi Field. They would take the scene from the movie "Network" where Howard Beale urged his TV viewers "I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell:" with the last part replaced by the "Let's Go Mets" chant. I don't know when it started at Shea, but it feels like it was there for a long time. This is the scene from "Network" to help job your memory. Greg Prince referenced it earlier this year in a different context (and he writes better than I).
Anyway, the Mets brought it back last night...sort of. Branden, of Citi Field in-game hosting and Mets game promotions fame, tried to recreate it. He didn't do well, but I'll say that it's the thought that counts. It felt like Shea. They need to get the old video back.
These little things helped make Citi Field feel a lot like Shea last night. I could feel it. Not any single game, but just a flood of memories from various points, both in the winning days (there weren't many in my 22 years there) and all the others.
Do you feel it too?
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