Amid one last blast of noise and one final jolt of electricity, the Mets said so long to Citi Field Sunday night, certain that it never will look the same to them or their fans.
The place now is more than just a nice park with good amenities (and some unusual dimensions and curious emphasis on Brooklyn Dodgers nostalgia). It has become a true home, with its own images and family history. The club's postseason run, which featured a final home appearance Sunday night with Game 5 of the World Series, transformed Citi Field into just what Mets management had envisioned: small enough to be intimate, big enough to brew magic.
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"Those are things you can't force, but you hope that's the case," chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said during a private tour before the grand opening in 2009.
Michael Cuddyer, one of the most experienced players on the Mets, said before Game 5 Sunday: "It's loud everywhere [in the majors]. Obviously, you're in the postseason, you've got 40,000-plus people in every stadium. Here, it's a different kind of energy."
Terry Collins repeatedly has referred to the July 31-Aug. 2 sweep of the first-place Nationals as the time when Citi Field really came alive. There was no turning back after that.
Whenever Mets fans of this generation come to Citi Field or see it on TV, their minds will flash back to the sight of Wilmer Flores crying on the field just before that Nationals series and of the raucous celebration when he raced home after hitting a 12th-inning walk-off homer July 31.
Because of this year, those fans will always look at certain parts of the park and remember where Steven Matz's base hits touched the grass in his major-league debut and where Daniel Murphy's postseason homers landed.
Their memories will conjure David Wright's first World Series home run. They will recall Curtis Granderson hitting one out in the same game, and Michael Conforto becoming the first Met to hit two homers in a World Series home game (Gary Carter did it in Boston).
They will never forget the intensity of the booing for Chase Utley. They will realize that sound can bounce around here as well as it did at Shea Stadium.
"We get a single and the place erupts," Collins said during the NLDS against the Dodgers.
After Game 3 of the World Series, Tyler Clippard said: "It was by far the loudest crowd this postseason, of anywhere we've gone. They didn't disappoint. They were great."
During the postseason, the Mets have promised that this run can only help the futures of their young players. It already has vitalized its young ballpark.