The Mets are in a pennant chase with the first place Washington Nationals coming into town. I know the last 36 hours have been rough between the blown trade and blown save, but the Mets are still in this thing . . . even if they do nothing else at the trade deadline.
If you have a little one, it is a great time to bring them to their first Mets game. The Mets will be throwing their stud muffins out there. Citi Field should be electric. This is a great opportunity to get your little one hooked on baseball. However, when you go to the ballpark with little ones, you have to be extra prepared.
When we brought my son to his first Mets game, my wife tasked me with one responsibility. I had to make sure there was a place to breastfeed our son. Now, if you have $10,000 laying around, you can always get a suite at Citi Field and have all the privacy you want. If you’re like me, that’s not an option, so I had to find a real solution. If it couldn’t be done, we were not going to the game. I love the Mets, but I wasn’t going to let my child starve for the better part of the day to watch the Mets get pummeled by the Nationals (they did lose 3-0 and it wasn’t that close).
Now if you go the Mets’ website, there is nothing there about breastfeeding at Citi Field. I was undeterred, and I did my research. I visited every mommy site there was. I was fairly confident I found the area where a mommy can breastfeed at Citi Field. We got tickets, and the whole family went to the game. Unfortunately, the mommy websites were very wrong.
I’m not going to link those websites because I do not want to embarass them because I’m sure they meant well. They did, however, leave us in a lurch. We had to find a solution and fast. We first went to the Nurses’ Station as instructed by the mommy blogs. There was no room at the inn. First of all, they cannot permit you to breastfeed in there if the rooms are full. Secondly, they are not enthusiastic about allowing you back there because someone may need to come in and use the room. That means your child will have to stop feeding immediately, and your wife will be exposed to the public. Not exactly a recipe for marital bliss. Now, I know there are family restrooms. However, they are always locked, and you can never find someone who can open them. Jimmy Hoffa can be in there for all I know. That eliminated the family restrooms. We were at a loss, and we were on the verge of going home.
With seconds remaining before going home, we stopped at Fan Assistance. They were as baffled as we were about where in Citi Field you could breastfeed a child. To their credit, they were very helpful. They arranged for us to use a small ticket office in the Promenade section (not the ticket windows, it’s in the opposite side) to breastfeed. An employee stood guard while my wife and I went in. This is not the ideal situation, but at least we were in private. It was an acceptable solution. This prevented my wife from having to feed our son in public, and it permitted us to stay for the game. It was also nice an employee stood outside making sure no one entered while we were in there.
So my recommendation to you is if your wife is breastfeeding, immediately go to Fan Assistance once you enter the ballpark. They will be very helpful. If not, please advise them that you were able to breastfeed in the ticket office in the Promenade section before, and you wish to go there again. It is the best of a series of bad choices.
As to the other issues a parent may have, Citi Field is accommodating for parents with infants. Each and every restroom has a changing table. They permit you to bring formula and bottles into the game. If you do choose to bring formula, I suggest you might want to get the travel pouches of formula as security might have a problem bringing white powder into the stadium. You can bring bottled water into the park to mix the formula. You can bring an umbrella stroller, which Fan Assistance will make you check with them.
When you stop by Fan Assistance to check in your stroller make sure you ask for a certificate for your child’s first Mets game. If you do, make sure you write very carefully and neatly otherwise you’ll have a misspelled name on your certificate like I do.
Overall, if you are better prepared than I am, you can have a fun filled day at Citi Field. In the end, it turned out to be a reasonably nice day, and my son was able to stay for all nine innings. It looks like he was born a Mets fan just like his “Mets Daddy.” If you go the game this weekend, I wish you the best of luck. Have fun at Citi Field and Lets Go Mets!
Yesterday, I had the joy of bringing my youngest to his first ever Mets game. With this being the second time for me and my family, there are some suggestions I can make to get the most out of the experience:
1. Bring Everything
At Citi Field, you are allowed to bring food and drinks to the game. The caveat with the drinks is they can only be boxed drinks or plastic bottles, no cans. They will say you can only have one bottle per person, but I’ve yet to see them enforce it. In the event they do, it is all the more reason to park close to the ballpark.
Bringing food will limit the chances your child is asking for a hot dog or french fries or ice cream or popcorn . . . . If you don’t have your child asking for these things, you don’t have to deal with saying no to everything. At a minimum, it will limit the chances.
More important than the food is the extra clothes. Make sure you have a change for everything. The weather changes. Things get spilled. Accidents happen. Instead of having a child too hot or too cold, you can switch to pants and you can throw on a sweatshirt. This will also limit the need to go to a souvenir stand, overpay for a sweatshirt, and deal with a child wanting everything in the store.
An important note is the Promenade and the back rows of any level have the wind whipping through making it all the chillier than you’d expect. It’s not quite AT&T Park chilly, but it should give you an idea as to how to prepare.
One other note, get stuff ahead of time. You can get the Oyo figures ahead of time for cheaper. You can get the shirseys cheaper before the game. You can get a whole slew of other stuff as well. Pack it, and just give it to your child at the game instead of dealing with them running around a team store looking for things to buy.
2. Avoid the Big Giveaways
When you have a bobblehead day or gnome day, the crowds and lines outside the ballpark are going to be ridiculous. You’re going to get bumped into, and you’re going to deal with a lot of angry people who are anxious they are not going to get their freebie despite getting to the ballpark hours before the game. Moreover, you don’t want to create excitement for your child over a big giveaway only to not get it.
3. Go On A Sunday
When it is not raining, Family Sundays at Citi Field are great. There is always a giveaway. There are events outside the stadium. There is the Mr. Met’s Kids Club in the center field area with fun things like face painting. While he’s always present before the game at at the second inning, Mr. Met is also a little more prominent in the stands on a Sunday as is Mrs. Met. You can go get your picture with Mr. and Mrs. Met in this area.
You can also do the dunk tank, hit in the batting cages, play video games, and do the tee ball home run derby in this area. Of course, this is all dependent upon the weather. All of these things will be shut down if it is raining. Although, they will let you run around for a bit:
If your child can make it to the end, they also have the opportunity to run the bases after the game. If aren’t a part of the Kid’s Club, you will want to get out there by around the seventh inning as that line gets real long real quick.
4. Buy Tickets Last Minute
While it may take some planning to get your whole family together for the event, if at all possible, you should look to do a game like this at the last minute. Weather is fickle, and kids are all the more so. In the blink of an eye, the weather or a child getting sick can wipe away days, weeks, or even months of planning. On another note, if you wait to the last minute, you increase you chances of getting discounted tickets on Stub Hub, especially in a down season like this one. If at all possible, get your tickets near the bathrooms as this will make the trips to the bathroom for potty or diaper changes less of a walk.
5. Bring Help
It always helps to have grandparents or an aunt and uncle at the game with you, especially if you have more than one child. Instead of having two kids in tow everywhere you go, you can divide and conquer. You can also accomplish this by bringing your spouse as well, but both parents will constantly be running around all game. It’s nice to have a buffer and a break.
Another possible benefit is they will want to spoil them. That could be a souvenir or something like ice cream or cotton candy. Really, any burden you can take off yourself is always good. Also, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are always looking for these opportunities, and this is a good setting for it.
As an aside, don’t bother with the Family Bathrooms. I’ve been doing to games with my oldest for four years now, and I’ve yet to see one of those be accessible.
6. Get There Early
For some children, the biggest issue for baseball games may be the crowds. Getting there early allows you get there and get acclimated before there are too many people at the ballpark. As an aside, it also allows you to get a great parking spot near the ballpark to minimize the walking you have to do with the little ones.
7. Stop at Fan Assistance Immediately
Enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. If you enter through the Rotunda, there are areas for family photos like by the giant 42. Entering through there also makes it easier to stop by Fan Assistance as they are just left of the escalators. At Fan Assistance, you can get passes to the Mamava pods, if you are breastfeeding your child.
At Fan Assistance, you can also sign up for a certificate to commemorate your child’s first game at Citi Field. You can pick them up at the seventh inning, or you can have them mailed home. It will be easier to get them mailed home as it is one less thing to have to worry about on your way out of the ballpark. It’s also one less thing you need to carry.
Fan Assistance also has bags you can get to help you carry things like the giveaways. Really, if you need any help, they can help you.
8. Good Family Photo Spots
As noted earlier, you can stop behind center field to get a family photo with Mr. Met. Admittedly, this can be dicey for a few reasons. First, Mr. Met may not be there if there is rain. You also may have to wait in line, and you may have to deal with your child being afraid of a giant baseball head. With that, you may want to look for other key spots.
Now, many people like to stop at the Shea Bridge. Don’t. There’s far too much traffic, and you run the risk of getting bumped into or getting your photos photo bombed.
Instead, just off to the side is the M&M seats. There you have the red and yellow M&Ms holding up Lets Go Mets signs and wearing “foam” fingers. It’s cute and fun, and it is never crowded allowing you to get that great and easy family photo you wanted.
Another spot worth your time is the Nikon photo booth. There they have a giant glove for you to sit in with props like bats and foam fingers. The bonus with the spot is they will email you the photos. Double and triple check they have the correct email address, otherwise, you will be like me without that great photo you wanted so much.
Also, the Home Run Apple outside the stadium is a good spot, but you’re going to have to deal with some form of a line and with people just blatantly ignoring your taking a picture.
9. Know Where To Get Your Free Stuff
To do this, it is easiest to head through the Rotunda, go up the escalator, and proceed left to hit all of the spots. As already mentioned, there is the Fan Assistance area with the certificate, and the Nikon photos are atop the escalator. After those spots, hit up the Designated Drive booth.
When you sign up, they give you a voucher for a free drink, which may come in handy on a hot day. Now, they put a bracelet on your wrist to indicate you are not drinking. Of course, you can get around that if you really want a drink by taking it off.
As you proceed further down, around Section 121 by the ramps leading out of the ballpark, there is usually a wheel. You and your child can spin the wheel for past promotion items like t-shirts and caps. They will also have Mets baseball cards and signs. Usually in the walk up and just past this, you have those booths where you get free stuff just for signing up for some dumb mailing list or contest. (They’re supposed to check your license to ensure it’s you, but really when you have a couple of kids and a bag on your shoulder, they usually let you go unchecked).
Also as noted prior, you can get face painting and the like in the center field area. One other note is if you take the elevators, the attendant always has Mr. Met stickers on them.
Overall, if you work your way around the ballpark, you will have some free stuff and souvenirs ensuring your child has something to take home with them without you so much as having to reach into your pocket.
10. Just Have Fun
Ultimately, you are there because you are a Mets fan, and you want your children to be one as well. If they need to leave early, leave early. If they want to walk around, walk around. If they need you to plop them on your lap and explain everything to them, do it. Honestly, this is part of the memories and how your child becomes a Mets fan just like you (which may not be a good thing).
Really, there will come a time where you child wants to stay the whole game and they don’t want to do anything but watch the game – just like you. I’m sure when that happens, you will miss the times watching them try to launch homers at the tee-ball field or their wanting to make sure they don’t miss Mr. Met.
For my part, I can tell you when I came home from the game last night, my oldest was all excited to tell all of his friends he got to go to the game, see his favorite player Todd Frazier, and he saw Michael Conforto jump into the stands and hit a homer. We even had to do wash late last night so he could wear his shirt to school.
Back in 2014, my son was a little over nine months when we went to his first Mets game. There was a condition precedent for us going to the Mets game – there had to be an area where our son could breastfeed. I had done my research, and my wife was satisfied with the results of my reasearch.
Unfortunately, the information provided on the various mommy blogs were completely wrong. There really wasn’t an area to breastfeed at Citi Field.
During that September 14th game, my wife searched high and low for a place to breastfeed. First, we went to the nurses’ station, which was the recommeded area. We were turned away. Next, we tried to go to one of the family rooms you see scattered across the Field Level. They’re all locked. We tried speaking the ushers, but they had no idea. Finally, we made our way back to Fan Assistance where they arranged for my son to be fed in a right field promenade ticket booth while an employee stood outside the door preventing anyone from entering. This is not an ideal situation, and it really prevents families from bringing their little ones to games. Fortunately, the Mets have remedied this situation.
Now, the Mets have a Mamava Station located at the Empire Level of Citi Field. Note, all moms are allowed to use this station regardless of where they are sitting. All you need to do is to contact guest services, and they will assist you. Your best bet is probably to to go Fan Assistance the minute you get to the game and figure out how the process works. In this private booth, mom is able to either breastfeed her child or pump. I’m assuming it’ll be easier to bring a handpump into Citi Field. I’d also caution that there only seems to be a USB station and not an outlet listed in the amenities located in the booth. One thing that is really nice about the booth is that it’s air conditioned so mom can be comfortable while she is breastfeeding the baby.
The Mets should really be commended for making this addition to Citi Field. Anything that encourages families to attend Mets games is a good thing. Anything to helps mothers is an even better thing. Unfortunately for me, it was about two years too late.