When you go to a baseball game, the primary focus is on the actual game and what takes place on the field. But today, there’s more to a trip to the ballpark than just balls and strikes, runs and hits, and what the scoreboard says at the end of the game. Sure you want your team to win, but you can still have fun at the ballpark with your family from the time you go through the turnstiles until the time you leave regardless of whether your team won or lost.
That’s exactly what the New York Mets are all about as they get ready to begin the 2019 season. While there are many who feel that the Mets have built a roster capable of winning the National League East and that in of itself is reason to come out to Citi Field, a trip to Flushing is also just as much about the entire of experience of spending a day or night at the ballpark.
On Thursday, the Mets held their “New For 2019” event at Citi Field and it’s clear that the 2019 season may be the most exciting season since the beautiful ballpark opened in 2009.
“We’re excited,” said Lou DePaoli, the Mets’ Executive Vice-President and Chief Revenue Officer. “Our team works hard making sure that we keep raising the bar every year, not only on the food experience but the fan experience trying to incorporate more history and make sure the ballpark looks fantastic.”
The event began with a visit to the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum where the discussion centered around the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 1969 World Championship team. The Museum has a new 1969 display case featuring some Amazin’ artifacts like Ron Swoboda’s game-used glove from the “The Catch” in Game Four of the World Series, Gil Hodges’ manager contract, and many more awesome pieces of Mets history.
The Mets will be also be holding a weekend-long 1969 celebration at Citi Field June 28-30th when the Atlanta Braves visit Flushing. On Friday night June 28th, all fans in attendance will receive a 1969 replica jersey with the game starting at 710. Then on Saturday June 29th, first pitch is at 410pm and there will be a special pre-game ceremony with members of the 1969 team. Also, the first 15,000 fans will receive a 1969 Championship pennant. Then on Sunday June 30th, the first 15,000 fans on hand for the 110pm game will get a 1969 replica ring.
This weekend has been in the works for a while.
“We’ve been planning this for a couple of years,” said DePaoli. “We knew this was happening so we said let’s get ahead of it and start planning and try to make it as memorable of an event for not only our fans but for the players.”
Unfortunately, the greatest player in franchise history won’t be able to attend the celebration.
Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver was recently diagnosed with dementia and has retired from public life. Although “The Franchise” won’t be able to be at Citi Field for the 1969 weekend, the Mets are still planing to honor “Tom Terrific” in multiple ways. His family will be on hand for what will be just the start of what the Mets are planning to do for Seaver.
“We’re very excited,” said DePaoli. “It’s unfortunate that he can’t be here because we’ve been working on some of these things with Tom and (his wife) Nancy and his family for a few years. We’re so excited and obviously Tom is our greatest player and one of the greatest players of all time. It’s nice to be able to do something to honor him with multiple ideas that we have.”
The first step in honoring Seaver will be a permanent change to Citi Field’s address. On Thursday June 27th, there will be a ceremony to announce a permanent change to 126th Street that will pay tribute to Seaver. This process began a few years ago when Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon approaches New York City officials with his idea.
“It’s not ceremonial,” said DePaoli. “This is literally a permanent street change. It will never be called 126th Street anymore. The whole street will be named something in honor of Tom.”
According to multiple reports, the new address for Citi Field will be “41 Seaver Way”.
Following the discussion of the 1969 weekend, the media and invited guests were brought upstairs to the Porsche Club where the Mets unveiled their 2019 promotional calendar. The Mets are bringing back popular giveaways like “Free Shirt Fridays”, bobbleheads, caps, socks, and Gnomes along with fireworks nights.
Among the promotions this season will be a Todd Frazier WWE Bobblehead on Saturday April 6th, a Jacob deGrom Cy Young bobblehead on Sunday April 7th, a Game Of Thrones/Noah Syndergaard Bobblehead on Saturday April 27th, a Brandon Nino Gnome on Saturday June 15th, Seinfeld Night on Friday July 5th, National Baseball Card Day Pack on Sunday August 11th, and a Buil-A-Bear Teddy on Saturday September 14th.
Each year, the Mets do a great job putting this schedule together as they put a tremendous amount of effort and planning into determining what the fans would be excited about..
“We think that this is our best promotional calendar yet,” said DePaoli. “We’ve spent a lot of time and effort partnering with a lot of pop culture relevant brands like WWE, Game Of Thrones, Seinfeld, Star Wars and couple of more that we haven’t announced yet. We see that it brings a different fan to the ballpark. That’s how we we get your kids here and other millennials here to the ballpark.”
The day concluded as the Mets unveiled new food options at Citi Field for the 2019 season. Among them are “Pizza Cupcakes”, “Sliders and S/inkers”, “Destination Dumplings”, “Marty’s V Burger”, “La Newyorkina”, “Emmy Squared” serving “The Colony” and “The Emmy” pies, and “Stuf’d” offering sandwiches served on French Toast Style Challah.
With a combination of an improved ball club, new features around the ballpark, a tribute to the 1969 championship team, exciting promotions, and tasty new food options, a trip to Citi Field in 2019 is all about fun and excitement. The Mets are expected to play some exciting baseball this season, but a visit to Flushing will be so much more than about what happens on the field.
Going to Citi Field is always about the overall fan experience all over the ballpark.