The curse of the Billy Goat and the Curse of the Bambino are two of the best-known curses in all of baseball. But could there now be yet another curse on the rise? Indeed, there is. This curse affects New York’s favorite National League team, the New York Mets. What is this curse though? Think of it this way: the Mets have not had an above .500 season since 2008, which was also the last season they played in Shea Stadium. Since then, the Mets have yet to win more than 79 games, and have only finished above fourth place once. Therefore, it is needless to say that the Mets have fallen under the Curse of Citi Field.
In 1957, the Dodgers played their last season in Ebbets Field, and in 1958, they began to play in Dodger Stadium located in Los Angeles, California. This drove National League fans in New York insane, because not only did the Dodgers leave New York, but they brought their rivals, the New York Giants, along with them. New York went through a four year National League Baseball drought after the Dodgers and Giants’ move to New York, but in 1962, the Mets had arrived to play in the NL for New York City.
For their first two seasons, the Mets played in Manhattan, New York’s Polo Grounds, which was previously used by the New York Giants. The Mets had a total record of 91-231 while playing in the Polo Grounds, and in 1964, they moved to Queens, New York, and opened up Shea Stadium.
The Mets won two World Series titles while playing in Shea, and both clinching games were played in the stadium. Fans loved Shea, and so did the players. It was a bit odd, as the ballpark was circular, but it showed team spirit with the blue walls and the orange foul poles. This stadium was built to replicate no former ballpark, and it was definitely more special that the other ballparks, too. The Diamond Vision Score Board in the outfield, and the Seventh Inning Stretch “Kiss Cam” were two attractions that fans fell in love with, and the atmosphere of New York made the players love the stadium as well. Shea would stand for 44 years until it was demolished and turned into the Citi Field parking lot, and fans still miss it to this day.
When Citi Field became the new home of the Mets, it got a lot of people talking. For one, it looks almost identical to Ebbets Field, and it also had terrible dimensions. In fact, the walls were so far back on the field, that the front office voted to move the outfield fences ten feet in for the start of the 2012 season. But before the fences were moved, the Mets struggled offensively, and also defensively. Players were not hitting home runs, and outfielders were having trouble tracking down balls. Players WAR’s also went down, as the top WAR on the Mets has begun to belong to players around the 5.0 mark. The run production also went down, as star players such as Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, David Wright, etc. were beginning to struggle severely.
Since 2008, the Mets have tried different methods to building a winning team, and so far, none of them have worked. The only good thing that has come out of Citi Field is Johan Santana’s no-hitter, which was the first in Mets history, but even that ruined his arm, and possibly his career. So, what is the reason for these struggles? It is not the management, and it is not the players either. The only other option is the stadium, and as history of the Mets shows, replicating old stadiums is clearly a bad idea.