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Old timers: New Mets park no Ebbets Field

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The Mets say their new stadium design was “inspired by the tradition” of Ebbets Field.

Them’s fightin’ words in these parts.

True, I may be the only person in Brooklyn who admits he never saw a game at Ebbets Field. But even without having seen the Dodgers’ beloved cathedral of baseball, I find it hard to believe that any new stadium where a cheap seat will cost in the double-digits, where the only trolleys being dodged will be commuter buses in the parking lots, where the music will be pounded into our skulls through the PA system rather than played liltingly by the Sym-Phony Orchestra, where ballplayers get paid more per at-bat than most people make in a year, and where you can’t even curse in some sections will compare with the great old ballyards of my (or, more accurately, your) youth.

But you don’t have to take my rant for it. I asked a bunch of old guys what they thought of the Ebbets-inspired design (see it for yourself at www.mets.com) and they found it lacking:

“The only thing that resembles Ebbets Field was the [new park’s] exterior,” said Brooklyn Borough Historian Ron Schweiger.

“Ebbets Field had a seating capacity of about 33,000. The new one will seat 45,000, which makes sense because the Mets have already had two games this season with more than 50,000 people.”

Not one of them was Schweiger, of course. He complained of the high ticket prices and the much-higher players’ salaries.

“I’m still a big Mets fan, however,” he said. “In fact, I have four favorite teams: the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Mets, the Brooklyn Cyclones and whoever is playing the Yankees!”

Fellow old-timer Carl Prince chimed in: “All that’s missing is some ambience! Perhaps they can add two- or three-hundred seats directly behind a support beam so your view is blocked. Then it would be perfect.”

Of course, no modern stadium could be Ebbets Field, with its 297-foot-short distance from home plate to the right field wall, and the 40-foot wall protecting Bedford Avenue pedestrians from Duke Snider homeruns.

I knew one old guy who would be bothered by that.

“That right-field wall is what made Ebbets Field Ebbets Field,” said Dad (not his real name). “And where are the double-decked bleachers in center field? I used to sit up there and call balls and strikes. No one did it better!”

The old man was getting angrier by the second.

“Where are the pillars? And why are there so many seats? And what’s with all the escalators and elevators? We didn’t have those.”

Still, I got the sense that the old man was hiding something.

“Do you think you can get us a pair of tickets for Opening Day?”



Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at gkuntzman@cnglocal.com
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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