Yesterday, I went inside Citi Field. I’m talking about the pretty spectacular 4th floor, where the executive offices are. Along with a couple of colleagues from Hofstra, I had a meeting with some Mets executives about the conference we’re going to have at Hofstra in a few years to mark the 50th anniversary of the New York Mets. The Mets could not have been more helpful. We’re probably going to have an official announcement of the conference next month.
Unfortunately, because everything was encrusted with snow and ice, we didn’t get a tour. I wouldn’t have been able to take any pictures on a tour, but while I was at Citi Field, I was able to take some pictures. This first one is heartbreaking and needs no comment or elaboration.
There, that’s done. These next two are pictures of The Home Run Apple. This is not the new 16-foot, 4800 pounder that will actually go up and down at Citi Field when a Met hits a home run. As you can see, this is our old friend, the 9-foot, 582 pounder. This is its new home. This is where it is going to be now, under a bridge out in right-center field, visible through the railings along 126th street.
The apple took me by surprise as I walked towards the entrance to the offices. I had heard that it was being brought over, but I didn’t know where it was going to be. Well, it’s here. And look at it covered with snow.
I can’t help but think that this image contains a great deal. On the one hand, the old Apple, this symbol of what the Mets have been in the past, looks like a troll perched under a bridge. It could be friendly, a remnant of the past gazing benignly at the bright new world that has replaced it. Or you could think it looks a little forlorn or resentful. Out in right field. Under a bridge. I can’t be sure until the stadium opens whether this will be a prominent spot or a kind of Siberia. Just as we don’t know how Shea, or the Mets’ past, will figure in the minds and hearts of those who will see ballgames in Citifield. The Mets site says that there is a bridge motif in the new stadium, symbolizing the bridge with the Mets past. I like that. Let it be like that.
I’m glad the apple has been brought over. As I wait to form my impression of the new stadium, I will choose to think that the bright red giant Apple looks like a heart. This is where I want the heart of the new stadium to be. We may not have racked up a great many championships in those first 48 years, but we accumulated a very great amount of heart. Enough emotion has been expended at Shea to power several civilizations. And it is all right here in these 582 pounds of fiberboard. The new apple will be bigger (the only thing about Citi Field that will be bigger). But the old apple contains more tears, grit, and hoarse-voiced happiness than Citi Field can possibly contain for a very long time. Welcome, old friend. It is good to see you in the new place. It is good to see someone we know.