10 Never Before Seen Facts on Citi Field NY

By: Sports Teller


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10 Never Before Seen Facts on Citi Field NY

Citi Field is one of New York’s best professional stadiums every sports fan has on their bucket list. In fact, the Mets stadium opened in 2009 and hosted the All-Star Game in 2013. Any New York fan that bleeds Mets orange will know every information possible, from the team playing in the 2015 World Series to Jacob deGrom winning multiple Cy Young trophies (2018 & 2019). However, there are new Citi Field facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to 10 Never Before Seen Facts on Citi Field below!

10: The Tampa Bay Rays were the “Home” Team at Citi Field in 2017

Over the last 20 years, home teams were forced to play somewhere else due to circumstances out of their control. One example was that the Orioles were the home team vs. Rays at Tropicana Field due to the 2015 civil unrest in Baltimore. Another example was that the Astros had to play a home series vs. Cubs in Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike in Houston in 2008. One final example saw the Blue Jays played as the “home” club against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park due to a G20 Summit in Toronto. But did you know that the Tampa Bay Rays were the “home” team at Citi Field in 2017?

Originally, the Rays/Yankees series in 2010 was meant to be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. However, the series was moved to the Big Apple due to Hurricane Irma impacting Florida and other southern states. Because of this rare change, Citi Field had to follow the rules of the Rays being the home team. That meant a designated hitter was applied instead of the pitchers’ at-bat since Tampa Bay was an American League club. Also, the Rays started each series in the top innings and not the bottom innings. 

9: New Mets Stadium was Originally Going to Have a Retractable Roof

Retractable roofs can provide a relaxing atmosphere for players and fans alike. They can protect fans from potential rain delays and thunderstorms. In fact, those features can help with climate control to avoid possible heat waves during the summer months. So far, only eight teams play in a stadium with a dome/retractable roof: Rays, Astros, Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Mariners, and Brewers. But believe it or not, Citi Field almost had a retractable roof. 

In the early 2000s, both the Mets and the Yankees were searching for new homes after playing in aging stadiums. Interestingly, city officials originally agreed to build retractable roofs for the two New York clubs. Unfortunately, Citi Field and New Yankee Stadium ended up not getting the roofs because of a financial fallout from the September 11 attacks as well as a change in political office. Perhaps another factor in the Mets not getting a retractable roof was due to Citi Field’s soil not being sufficient enough to support such features. 

8: Citi Field was Initially Going to be Used for New York’s 2012 Olympics Bid

Since the current ballpark opened in 2009, Citi Field has hosted many great sporting events. For example, the Mets venue served as the home of the 2013 All-Star Game along with the 2015 World Series. Citi Field also hosted the 2018 NHL Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres. Every season, the Amazin’ Mets include post-game concerts for select nights at the ballpark. But did you know that Citi Field was initially going to be used for New York’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics?

In the mid-2000s, New York City expressed serious interest in hosting a future Olympic games. The United States was just a couple years removed from hosting the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. Anyway, New York was coming up with ideas for the opening/closing ceremonies and one of them was West Side Stadium in Manhattan. However, that plan fell through due to opposition from the region’s residents. Luckily, for Plan B, New York City decided to have the ceremonies at Citi Field. But unfortunately, the 2012 Summer Games were given to London and New York has not placed a bid for the Olympics since. 

7: The Shea Big Apple was First Located Inside the Ballpark’s Bullpen Gate

The Big Apple home run feature is pretty much Citi Field’s most popular attraction for fans to see. Whenever a Mets player hits a home run, the Big Apple in center field would rise up and down. Also, the home run feature has been a Mets tradition as the normal occasion was developed during the Shea Stadium years. When the Amazin’ Mets were looking for a new home venue, they wanted to bring a piece of Shea with them. But believe it or not, the Shea Big Apple was originally inside the bullpen gate when Citi Field first opened. 

During the 2009 campaign, the old stadium’s feature was situated in the outfield concourse beyond the entry gates. Fans got to take pictures with the Shea Big Apple, especially when the old venue’s not there anymore. Most importantly, the old home run feature served as a reminder for those who had season tickets at Shea Stadium. One year later, the Mets decided to relocate the Shea Big Apple to the front of Citi Field’s home plate entrance. It’s possible that the team wanted the new location so fans could pose for selfies with the old feature with or without a ticket. 

6: Citi Field Did Not Have its First Statue of Player Until 2022

Player statues can be a great way for teams to honor their legendary players other than retired jersey numbers. For instance, Fenway Park has a statue of Ted Williams giving his hat to a young child. Another example is that Wrigley Field has an Ernie Banks statue located outside the stadium. One more thing to showcase is that Petco Park has a Tony Gwynn statue situated in the venue’s outfield park. But perhaps the most mind blowing thought for the Mets is that Citi Field did not have its first player statue until 2022. 

In April 2022, the Mets paid tribute to one of their greatest pitchers of all-time: Tom Seaver. The structure, which weighed over 30,000 pounds, is located between Citi Field’s home plate entrance and the Shea Big Apple. The right-hander led New York to a 1969 World Series championship and won three Cy Young Awards (1969, 1973, and 1975). In addition, Seaver had his jersey number (41) retired by the Amazin’ Mets. Sadly, the Baseball Hall of Famer never got to see his statue because he passed away in 2020. 

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5: A Stadium Employee Choked to Death at Mets Stadium in 2018

Sometimes, unfortunate things can happen to stadium employees and construction workers at the ballpark. For example, a food concessions employee was killed in 2007 when he fell into an elevator shaft at Citizens Bank Park. Another example is that 3 construction workers passed away in 1999 when a towering blue crane fell on the then-Miller Park. In the late 1990s, a construction employee was electrocuted when his crane made contact with a live wire at the Dbacks venue. But tragically, for the Mets, a Citi Field employee choked to death during a baseball contest in 2018. 

When the Mets/Phillies game concluded in July 2018, a then-30-year-old Pakistan immigrant Hussnain Shah collapsed after choking on food. Soon, medical authorities arrived at the scene to perform Heimlich and CPR on him. The food stand employee was later rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Shah’s employer, Aramark®, issued a statement on the tragedy and sent condolences to his family and friends

4: Mets Have to Pay $20 Million a Season for Stadium Naming Rights

Naming rights to a sports venue can be a great asset for companies because they can create a collaborative relationship with teams. Firms that have their name on a stadium building would get the chance to advertise via word-of-mouth. However, teams can back out of a naming rights deal if companies violate ethical standards (like the Astros with Enron® in 2002). Also, signing a ballpark name agreement can have financial roadblocks for teams. Well, that’s what’s happening with Citi Field and the Mets during the mid-2000s. 

In 2006, the Amazin’ Mets reached a deal with Citigroup® for naming rights for the soon-to-be built stadium. At the time, the contract was worth $400 million for 20 years with $20 million a year. And if that’s not eye-catching enough, the Mets’ naming rights deal was nearly canceled. As a result of the economic recession in 2008, Citigroup® received over $40 million in government aid and lost thousands of jobs. Despite the then-ongoing corporate changes, the Mets still went on with their naming rights deal and the park became Citi Field. 

3: Citi Field is the Only MLB Ballpark to Have Orange Foul Poles Instead of Yellow

Citi Field has a plethora of unique attractions for fans to see during a Mets game. The stadium is notable for having the Jackie Robinson Rotunda located inside the home plate entrance. In addition, Citi Field has the Shea Bridge that is situated in the right field concourse. Pretty much every single Mets fan likes the “Big Apple” home run feature located in centerfield. The Queens ballpark is a great sight to see during the game on and off the field. But did you know that Citi Field is the only MLB stadium to have Orange foul poles instead of yellow?

The Mets decided to have orange as the main color for the foul poles so they could match their team’s identity. Of course, those one-of-a-kind foul poles have been a fan favorite since Citi Field opened in 2009. But in 2019, the Mets installed Chick-Fil-A® signs on each of the orange features. Immediately, the fried chicken-branded poles were commercially panned and the new signage was deemed an eyesore. Two years later, the Mets removed the Chick-Fil-A® signs from the foul poles. 

2: A Fan Fell to His Death in 2021 During a Rock Concert at Citi Field

Injuries and accidents can happen to anyone everywhere, especially at sports venues. Those accidents range from slipping on a wet floor to spilling food on the floor. However, injuries resulting from those accidents can sometimes be fatal or even life-threatening. Unfortunately, that happened at Citi Field in its first years of existence. In August 2021, a fan fell to his death during a rock-and-roll concert at Citi Field.

On a summer night at the Mets stadium, Dead and Company (a spinoff to the Grateful Dead) performed in front of thousands and thousands of spectators. During the concert’s intermission, a 46-year-old unnamed man was seen trying to do a body flip on the 200-level staircase. Then, the man fell over 45 feet to the ground-level concourse. Medical and law enforcement officials rushed to the scene and believed the fan died instantly when he fell. The fan was soon sent to the hospital where his passing was confirmed. 

1: Mets Fans Used to Peek Through the Scoreboard Operations Booth

Citi Field has so many things for fans to see and do during an Amazin’ Mets contest. They can visit the Mets Hall of Fame Museum just to the right of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda in the home plate gate. Fans can also grab a bite to eat at the outfield concourse with restaurants like Shake Shack® and so much more. The Queens faithful can even check out the Jackie Robinson Rotunda to find out who’s in the starting lineup for the day. Interestingly, there was an attraction at Citi Field that is no longer available to this day. 

During the first decade of business, the current stadium used to have a window on the Excelsior Level where fans could peek through the Scoreboard Operations Booth. The experience turned out to be a free behind-the-scenes look at how daily in-game entertainment was made. In fact, the operations room has dozens and dozens of computer/television screens. Unfortunately, 2021 was the last season for the behind-the-scenes look of the operations booth because the window was reportedly replaced by a wall a year later. Maybe the scoreboard workers eventually got tired of fans staring at them and flashing photos at the room. 

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