(photograph by Jesper Eklow)

The New York Metropolitans
‘ new venue, Citi Field (above right), “is far more intimate than Shea and corrects some of Shea™s worst faults” opine the New York Times’ Ken Belson and Richard Sandomir.  For instance, Aaron Heilman won’t be in the home team’s bullpen.

The walk from the subway station to Citi Field™s front entrance will take about as long as it took to reach Gate E at Shea, but an acre of planters, trees and other landscaping will usher fans to the new park™s brick exterior and ornate rotunda named for Jackie Robinson. Bricks embedded in the capacious plaza include inscriptions from fans who paid $195 to $345 for the privilege. Several applications were rejected because the language was deemed insulting of New York™s other baseball team.

Citi Field™s exterior is a splendid architectural response to the dullness of Shea, while the inner bowl is muted. Shea™s candy-colored plastic seats are gone (along with generations of chipped paint on the handrails) in favor of dark green seats everywhere.

œDark green is the color of a classic ballpark, said Dave Howard, the team™s executive vice president for business operations, as he stood ankle deep in snow. œAnd we thought the other team in town would use blue.

Citi Field, with 28 different seating categories, also feels more fragmented than Shea, which had sections of box and reserved seats that stretched from one foul pole to the other. The collection of far smaller blocks of luxury suites, party rooms, restaurants and exclusive box seats spells exclusivity or exclusion, depending on your point of view.

Everything has a new name, as well. There™s the Ebbets Club, the Delta Sky360 Club and the Caesars Club. Seaver, Hodges and Stengel have their names on three of the five party suites. The name game is not done, either.

œIn this economy, you don™t turn down sponsors, Jeff Wilpon said. œAnyone who™s willing to pay. …

, Jeff? Really?