Monday, March 30, 2009

Mets Field

Citi Field opened yesterday and fans filled the rainy stadium to check it out. On the evening news, a few expressed that in the planning of the stadium, the regular folks had been ignored in favor of the corporates. Still, Bernie Madoff's seats, right behind home plate, were likely empty, so some of those corporates just won't be coming.

I happened by the ballpark on Friday, on a trip to Flushing, and took a run around the place. On the 7 train, before you pull in to the station, you pass the rubble of Shea. An ignominious reminder of what was. Couldn't they have cleaned this up before the opening?

I found the old home-run apple stashed away on a side street, looking a little forlorn at the bullpen entrance. A barely rescued artifact, it doesn't even have a full view of the field. Meanwhile, the bigger, shinier, new apple is polished and ready to pop (probably with a Mac logo stamped on it and accompanied by the computer's start-up sound).

The Mets' new home is a nice-looking stadium, made of brick and archways, but that name. Oh, that regrettable corporate name.

George Vecsey at The Times asks us to: "Suspend for a day that the name of the field is currently Citi Field, named for a banking company that has pledged $400 million over 20 years in naming rights while pocketing a gigantic bailout from the government, that is to say, from us."

That's hard to suspend.

The MTA's got it right, as they seem to be boycotting the name. What used to be Shea Stadium... is merely "Mets." Maybe they're waiting for Citigroup to go under with the rest of the banks, or just hoping, like many of us, that the stadium gets a decent, human name. Something that actually has to do with baseball.

What if we all just refuse to call it Citi Field? What if we all agree to call it Mets Field? (Or, as a commenter notes happened with Candlestick Park, just keep calling it "Shea.") It could work. The Flatiron Building was originally the Fuller Building, but people preferred the nickname. It stuck. This kind of thing happens all the time.

Whenever you utter "Mets Field," think of it as one small way to take a little something back from the banks.


Someone Said said...

Great to read about resistance to that horrible corporate naming.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeremiah, Nice post.

The only reason Citi Field isn't on the subway stop isn't because the MTA took some principled position, unfortunately. It is because Citibank wouldn't *pay* to have their name listed (??) so the MTA decided on just using Mets.

I am in agreement on boycotting the name.

It's like way back (but not that long ago) the performing arts center in New Jersey was the Garden State Arts Center until the name was sold to (I think) PNC Bank. But no one I know calls it that - although many do (who don't know the history).

Some attention would need to brought to this via, say, a petition or web site (or blog!).

The selling out of the name was another new low in our city's history as governed by Mayor Bloomberg. But even Shea's family didn't object!


EV Grieve said...

I like Grieve Field, especially come late September/early October.


Very sad note about the old Home Run Apple. Is that really going to be its final resting place? An obscured view?

Anonymous said...

Here's a name change with a happy ending: - BN

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks BN, i added the link to the post.

Anonymous said...

I very much like the idea of just calling it Mets field. Eventually a company other than Citibank will pay to have it named for them and the signs would have to be changed. Then someone else and another change. But presumably, the Mets will be the team playing there for a long while.

I'm not sure about the Arts Center. But I do know the same sort of thing happened to Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey. At least 15 years ago (probably more) Continental Airlines paid to have it re-named "Continental Airlines Arena." You can guess what people call it. Brendan Byrne was one of NJ's better governors and it pleases me to see his name still attached to the building, at least in the minds of the citizens.

Cav said...

I'd suggest calling it Willets Field since the subway stop is Willets Point

Flipcide said...

Payson Field. In memory of the Met's original co-founder and owner. I'll never call it Citi Field.