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Finally, Citi Field gets its chance to shine as Mets host Dodgers in NLDS Game 3

A worker paints the National League Division Series

A worker paints the National League Division Series logo on the field during a baseball workout Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in preparation for Monday's Game 3 between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field in Flushing. Credit: AP

The Yankees did all they could last decade to build a new Yankee Stadium that looked and felt like old Yankee Stadium - with wider concourses and craftier beers, of course.

Mission accomplished. Then the team itself emphasized the point by winning the World Series in its first season there, just as it often had across the street.

Citi Field? From Day One it bore no physical resemblance to Shea Stadium. Citi Field has been a mostly quaint and quirky new home that was a welcome departure from the obsolete dump it replaced.

But from Day One there has been a bit of a problem in Flushing: awful baseball.

At least the Mets finished their stay at Shea with three consecutive strong seasons, even if the final two resulted in spectacular late fades.

Citi Field has been light on memorable moments, outside the occasional Johan Santana no-hitter.

Then came 2015 and all sorts of fun, never more so than Wilmer Flores' walk-off homer to beat the Nationals July 31.

Now, at last, seven seasons into the stadium's history and 200 words into this column I will make my point:

It is time for Citi Field's close up Monday - a national, prime-time stage for Game 3 of the NLDS featuring the nation's two largest media markets and Gotham's newest villain, Chase Utley of the Dodgers, facing Matt (Dark Knight) Harvey.

(Citi vs. Chase! Now THAT is an appropriate old-school rivalry for the capital of American banking.)

Actually, as of Monday morning it was unclear whether Utley would be eligible to play, given his pending appeal of a two-game suspension for sliding into and breaking the leg of the Mets' Ruben Tejada.

But whether he makes an appearance, the Mets and their fans will be charged up as never before at the newish stadium.

"I think it's exciting," Harvey said Sunday during a news conference in which he delicately alluded to the likelihood he will plunk someone on the Dodgers without actually saying so. "Regardless of how things shaped up [in the first two games], I think we're all excited to be back at home."

The fact the Dodgers are in town adds to the dramatic backdrop. Remember, Citi's design was heavily influenced by Ebbets Field, the Dodgers' old Brooklyn home and the boyhood baseball temple of Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

Many initially thought the design went too far in that direction, and the Mets eventually added more Mets-ian touches.

Demand for tickets to the Mets' first home playoff game in nine years has sent prices skyrocketing on the resale market.

According to, which monitors a number of secondary market sites, the average asking price for Game 3 of the NLDS as of Monday morning was $891.41, with a low of $325.

Chase Utley's controversial slide into second base in Game 2 Saturday ramped up the hype in advance of Game 3 - which Harvey is slated to start for the Mets - but the average asking price already was over $800 Friday.

And it is only the first of what the Mets hope will be three more weeks' worth of home playoff games.

You might recall their last postseason home game, in 2006, when the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright threw a famous breaking ball to Carlos Beltran to end Game 7 of the NLCS.

That was only seven months after Twitter's first tweet, and few people knew what it was. And anyway, there were no iPhones to post tweets even if one wanted to.

The world has changed since then, many times over, including the Mets' home office.

Even Citi Field itself has been altered greatly since opening, with outfield fences that now are far more reachable than they used to be.

What has not changed is the appetite of Mets fans for some rare postseason glory. They surely deserve it.

Whether the team delivers, the anticipation for Monday night is what everyone has been waiting for since the gates to a new Mets era swung open in 2009.


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