79° Good Afternoon
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Citi Field tour shows stadium ready for new season

Kidsday reporters Ryan Belcher, left, and Owen Shortell

Kidsday reporters Ryan Belcher, left, and Owen Shortell toured Citi Field, home of the Mets. Credit: Kidsday / Pat Mullooly

On March 30, Citi Field, home of the N.Y. Mets, hosted members of the press to view and sample the many exciting new attractions for the 2016 season. Harold M. Kaufman, executive director of communications for the Mets, led the tour, which started in the perfect location to view the new on-field interactive displays: behind home plate. The largest new addition, a 26-by-84-foot full-color LED Coca-Cola sign, hangs over right field. The seats underneath the sign will now be known as “Coca-Cola Corner.” The sign will light to mark high points of the game and trigger an interactive display around the rest of the screens in the stadium. Although the seats were empty, you could almost hear the roar of the crowd as the lights flashed above and all around.

Citi Field has also found a way to make fans feel like they are part of the stadium. Thanks to a new Nikon sign posted over center field, fans can now take photos at different places in the stadium and post them to social media to instantly become part of the action. Photos taken from those points will be seen right above center field on the interactive screen for all to see.

A new partnership with Ford will be highlighted during the fifth inning of each game. People in costumes of Ford cars will race from left to right field. Characters such as FDNY Frankie, NYPD Petey, Louie the Limo and Tammy the Taxi will be the stars of the show. Ford is also hosting trivia throughout the stadium where fans will be given prizes for coming up with the right answer to questions asked by the driver of a Ford vehicle.

The tour then moved inside the Chop House restaurant where Mr. and Mrs. Met were waiting to show off the promotional items and events that will be available to fans this season. Some of the favorite giveaways included the Noah Syndergaard-en Gnome, which will be free to the first 15,000 ticket holders on April 30, and the orange and blue plaid fedora hat, free for ticket holders July 9. Shirts that will be given out on “Free Shirt Fridays” were also available to preview. If free stuff isn’t enough to get fans to the field, then thrilling pre- and postgame events will. Lucky fans will get to see fireworks hosted by Coca-Cola at three games this season. Postgame concerts will give fans the opportunity to rock out with Andy Grammer and Styx.

Kaufman began the final segment of the tour by saying, “Many people who come to the ball field are not here to see the game.” After sampling the many culinary delights that will be available for fans this season, it is clear what draws those who are not following the score. Grilled cheese will never taste the same once you’ve sampled the gourmet varieties, including a sandwich made with applewood-smoked bacon and another made with kale pesto and broccoli raab. If you are looking for variety and flavor, the wings from Dan & John’s Wings are phenomenal. The wings come in a variety of flavors and you can get as much or as little spice as you like. Not to mention, the service and kind conversation will keep you coming back for more. There was also Grandma Bess’s pizza. The pizza was delicious but the best part was the cannoli! If you are a sushi lover, you are in for a treat. The stadium hosts variety and presentation to rival any Japanese restaurant. Fans looking for traditional ballpark fare will enjoy Mr. Softee, Nathan’s hot dogs and of course, Coca-Cola. This Citi Field tour made one thing clear. The fans have an exciting season to look forward to and they’ll be a great baseball team to watch, too! Let’s go Mets!

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