It has been a long time since the New York Mets have been a legitimate, playoff contender in August, but in 2015 they are legit as ever. During the past weekend, the Mets entered Friday just three games back of the Washington Nationals for the National League Eastern division and it just so happens that they were going to play them in a three-game series. This was a golden opportunity for the Mets to gain some ground and at the very least tie for the lead in the division.
New York won the first two games of the series in dramatic fashion as Citi Field was rocking like never before! When I found out that I was going to the Sunday night game to perhaps see the Mets tie for first place with a potential sweep, I was beyond excited.
I was excited because I never thought I would ever see the Mets at Citi Field at all this season because I live in Lawrenceville, NJ now and because this was going to be the biggest game of the season! I was excited to be part of a loud, rowdy crowd that hasn’t been around Flushing Meadows since the Mets were legit contenders back in 2006, 2007 and 2008 during the final years at Shea Stadium. Of course, I grabbed my camera and was ready to go!
After a long hour car ride and three train rides on the PATH, the N train and the 7 train, I finally arrived at Citi Field with my brother, my father and his Aunt Virgina and Cousin Rosa visiting from Puerto Rico. It was their first time at this ballpark; my seventh overall visit. When we stepped off the 7 train, I immediately saw the large “Citi Field” letters on the side of the ballpark (Photo Above). I framed it perfectly with the 7 train passing by in the bottom of the frame. The trees nearby and the sun setting really gives this that mood of a summer night at the ballpark.
From the subway platform, my family and I went down the stairs through the tunnels to the ballpark when suddenly the Mets crowd started to get amped with large “Let’s Go Mets” chants. This was the perfect time to use the recording features of my DSLR:
I have been going to Mets games all my life, but this was the first time I have had ever seen fans cheer loudly before entering the ballpark. With the game being nationally televised on ESPN and the opportunity for the Mets to get first place, Mets fans had every right to be excited. Hell, even I joined in on the cheering action.
We arrived at the front of the park around 7:55 P.M with the game about to start around 8:10 P.M. Wasting no time, we decided to head to our seats all the way in the upper deck in the 515 section just in time to hear the starting lineups.
Unlike my last visit to Citi Field, I didn’t get the chance to roam around the ballpark to get a ton of photos since we arrived pretty late. Plus, I wanted to stay in my seat because this was a very important game with one of the big Mets aces, Noah Syndergaard a.k.a Thor, on the mound.
Despite the seats being high up, we were still behind home plate with a gorgeous view of the entire ballpark! Besides, no matter where you sit in Citi Field there’s always a good view of the field. With this opportunity of this view I went with a wide shot, making sure I had everything in the frame as possible (Photo Above).
For the rest of these night shots, I shot in program, ISO levels set to auto and the white balance at Florescent: Daylight. In this wide shot, I did the best I could to get everything in the shot without anything getting cut off, especially the Pepsi Cola sign that gave me a hard time.
Back in the Shea Stadium days, planes flying to and from nearby LaGuardia Airport would constantly fly over the ballpark, making things ten times louder. It had always been part of Shea’s charm. That’s not the case anymore as not that many planes fly over Citi Field. There were a few flying by during this game, however, and this is one of my favorite plane shots (Photo Above).
Just as the plane flew by, I quickly tilted my camera up before the plane went out of frame. As the plane ascended to its destination, I captured it perfectly above the middle of the scoreboard.
As the game went along, the ballpark ended up getting filled up as all the Mets fans were able to get out of the parking lot and off the 7 train. I decided to take another wide shot of the ballpark since more night shots of the ballpark wouldn’t hurt (Photo Above).
The crowd really makes this photo shine as everyone filled a seat, making it look like the good old Shea Stadium days. The only difference in this shot from the other previous wide shot is that now the Mets are out on the field and I purposely included a few fans in the bottom of the frame to show just how interested everyone was at the game.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Mets were trailing 1-0 before hitting three huge home runs to give them a 5-1 lead. Curtis Granderson started it with a two run-homer to right field. Daniel Murphy followed that with a huge solo bomb of his own to the Pepsi Porch at right field and after Yoenis Cespedes singled to left field, Lucas Duda copied Granderson with a two-run homer on the Pepsi porch sign to right field.
The ballpark just absolutely exploded with everyone screaming and cheering “Let’s Go Mets!” and the ballpark was alive with everyone jumping up and down like a rock concert. I was screaming like a mad man and was in disbelief of what was happening. I started hugging my brother and father, high-fiving my Aunt as well as with other Mets fans that I didn’t even know. For a few minutes, I thought I traveled back in time to Shea Stadium circa 2006.
After the inning was over, I went downstairs to get some Gatorade at the concessions to clear my throat as I completely lost my voice. On the way, I saw a nice potential shot (Photo Above). Quickly, I went down on one knee, positioned and framed the number of the ballpark section “515” on the right side as the main focus. I also wanted to capture the rest of the field on the left side with the Mets fan hanging his arm on the rail.
The shadows of the rails cast by the ballpark lights adds nicely onto the “515” sign. I wanted to capture this photo to remind myself where I was seating on this night since this section reminded me so much of the upper deck red seats back in Shea and I say that because both sections have the most rowdy, passionate fans in the ballpark.
Since I’m on the subject of the 515 section, there is a tradition only found in this area of Citi Field. Every time the opposing batter strikes out, Mets fans will hold up their right arm, shake their hand and yell “Heeeeeeeeee” for a few seconds (maybe a minute) then shout out “STRUCK HIM OUT!” by moving the right arm back and forth as instructed in this video I shot below:
After a huge strike out to end the top of the seventh inning and the “HEEEEE” cheer, I turned around and quickly took a photo of the man in charge of the cheer: Mike Casiano a.k.a “The King” (Photo Above). He is the man in the middle of the photo above wearing the grey shirt and light blue shorts. To read more about him check out these two blog posts about him from The 7 Line and Royalty Tours USA.
In the top of the Ninth inning, Mets brought in reliever Tyler Clippard to close and get the final three outs with the Mets leading 5-2! The crowd was on their feet for this inning as they were the entire night. Here’s how it all ended with the final out with this video I shot:
With the fly out to center field caught by Juan Lagares, the Mets won 5-2 and swept the Nationals in the three-game series which in result tied them for first place!
Everyone erupted in a large cheer as this was hands down the best Citi Field Mets game I have attended to date! With my voice completely gone (even now as I type this) I had the only smile on my face! The “Mets Win” graphic was displayed on the scoreboard and I took a quick shot of it quickly before it disappeared to seal another memento of the night (Photo Above).
Right before leaving Citi Field to take the 7 train home, I looked back one last time at the gorgeous ballpark at night. I backed up a few steps to get the entire lit up the rotunda of the ballpark from right to center where the entrance is located (Photo Above). The columns of the stadium looks just beautifully lit up as they are perfectly symmetrical from top to bottom. I love the stadium lights on the far right shining over a new field of dreams. Citi Field truly looks better at night.
This night was so damn great, seeing the Mets win one of the loudest games ever at this six year old ballpark. It brought back so many memories of going to Shea Stadium, seeing a great Mets team and celebrating with my family. My grandfather’s sister, Virginia (my Aunt) and my Cousin Rosa had an outstanding time in their first visit to Citi Field as they will bring their memories of this night back to Puerto Rico (Photo Below).