It’s hard for many of us to believe, but this is the Mets’ 10th year playing home games at Citi Field. To commemorate that milestone, let’s take a look back at some of the team’s best moments at their (at this point, not so new) ballpark. It’s always to easy to quibble with lists like these, so let us know how you’d change the order or if there are any worthy moments you think we left out!
10. Harvey’s bloody nose
With Matt Harvey in the news for all the wrong reasons, it’s easy to forget how big of a role he played in this franchise’s turnaround. One game in 2013 was particularly emblematic of the tough, aggressive attitude he brought to the mound, and the dominance he exhibited on it. On a Tuesday night in May, Harvey developed a bloody nose in the first inning of a start against the White Sox. Unfazed, the right-hander proceeded to dominate Chicago for nine shutout innings, striking out twelve while walking none, and surrendered his first and only baserunner on an Alex Rios infield single with two outs in the seventh. While the game didn’t mean a whole lot in an otherwise poor season for the Mets, it helped establish the legend of the Dark Knight and was really an incredible performance to watch.
9. Dickey’s 20th win
Before Harvey established himself as the team’s ace, the Mets had another unexpected star of a very different variety. In 2012, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey became just the third Met to win a Cy Young Award and, in the process, put together one of the most dominant runs of any player in team history. The righty struck out 230 batters that year while walking just 54, an almost unthinkable feat for a knuckleball pitcher. Highlighted by back-to-back one-hitters in June, Dickey’s starts became appointment viewing, and his 20th win in late September was a gratifying moment that made him the first Mets pitcher in 22 years to accomplish the feat.
8. Harvey outduels Strasburg
In a precursor of the Mets-Nats rivalry to come, Harvey took the mound against Stephen Strasburg on a Friday night in April of 2013. Amid chants of “Harvey’s better,” the Mets’ right-hander threw a gem, surrendering one run and striking out out seven in seven innings. When he walked off the mound after his final inning of work, Harvey gave an emphatic “yeah!” that captured the moment and became a signature moment of his career. The Mets won the game, 7-1, on the strength of multi-homer games from Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in what was one of the first playoff-like atmospheres ever at Citi Field.
7. Asdrubal’s walk-off bat flip
The Mets played one of their most exciting games at Citi Field in late September of 2016 in the midst of a late-season playoff push. After already having come from behind twice that game, the Mets again fell behind by two runs in the top of the 11th. With two runners on, Asdrubal Cabrera came up in the bottom of the inning and delivered a bomb to right-center field, followed by one of the most assertive bat flips you’ll ever see. The home run sent the Mets one step closer to back-to-back playoff berths and prompted an epic double “outta here!” from Gary Cohen.
6. Wright and Harvey headline All-Star Week
They weren’t official games, but the All-Star festivities in 2013 were some of the first big moments at the Mets’ then-young stadium. Wright started things off by homering five times in the first round of the Home Run Derby. While it wasn’t enough to advance him to round two, Wright’s performance created a nice moment in front of a home crowd that went absolutely nuts throughout it.
The following day, Harvey took the mound for the National League to start the All-Star game in front of a similarly ecstatic home crowd. Harvey put two runners on base to start the game, but proceeded to retire the side by striking out two of the next three hitters. He followed that up with a one-two-three second inning. At the time, Wright and Harvey represented both the Mets’ old guard and its new, and showcased—on a national stage—a franchise that was starting to turn the corner in a big way.
5. d’Arnaud hits the Apple
The Mets did indeed turn a corner and reached the postseason in 2015 for the first time in nine years. After beating the Dodgers in a hard-fought NLDS, New York opened the NLCS at Citi Field against the Cubs. Harvey gave the Mets a strong performance, surrendering just two runs over 7.2 innings, while striking out nine. Perhaps the biggest moment of the game came in bottom of the sixth. With the Mets leading, 2-1, Travis d’Arnaud came to the plate against Jon Lester and hit an absolute rocket off the Home Run Apple in center field, giving New York an insurance run on its way to a 4-2 win. The home run helped set the tone for the series, which the Mets ended up sweeping in four terrific games.
4. Syndergaard’s first pitch and Wright’s first World Series home run
Speaking of setting the tone, Noah Syndergaard did just that in the Mets’ first World Series home game in 15 years. Alcides Escobar led the game off after tormenting the Mets in the first two games of the series, of which the Royals won both in Kansas City. Syndergaard’s very first pitch, a 98 mph fastball, sailed over Escobar’s head, to the delight of Met fans in the ballpark, but to the extreme consternation of the Royals’ players. Regardless of Syndergaard’s intent and of how some feel about throwing pitches like that, the right-hander made his point—especially when he struck Escobar out three pitches later.
Wright capped off an eventful first inning when he came to the plate in the bottom of the frame. With a runner on first, the Mets’ captain hit a moonshot to left field to give his team the lead. It was an emotional moment for Wright, who hadn’t played a World Series game in his first 11 years in New York, and who had missed most of the 2015 season to injury. The Mets won the game in a 9-3 rout, their only victory in that series.
3. Utley booed and Cespedes flips his bat
Although this game occurred in an earlier playoff round than did either of the last two, it featured two moments that were arguably more iconic given their context. The first came before the game, the third of that year’s NLDS, when the Citi Field faithful greeted Chase Utley with a hearty series of boos after he broke Ruben Tejada’s leg on a slide in game two. Met fans rallied around Tejada, who received a deafening ovation when he limped on the field with a Mets-themed cane during pre-game festivities.
In the fourth inning, Yoenis Cespedes hit what is arguably the most famous home run in Citi Field’s 10-year history. With the Mets up, 7-3, Cespedes put the game out of reach by belting a three-run shot down the left field line. To cap off the moment, he flipped his bat about 15 feet in the air and jogged to first as the crowd went absolutely berserk.
2. Flores’s tears; Flores’s redemption
The Wilmer Flores saga hardly needs to be retold as it’s already become the stuff of Mets lore. After believing that the Mets traded him to the Brewers just before the 2015 deadline, Flores displayed emotion that you simply never see from athletes on the field of play. By demonstrating in such a raw and genuine way how much playing for the New York Mets meant to him, Flores left a lasting impression on the fan base.
When he hit a walk-off homer against the then-first-place Nationals two days later, Flores cemented his folk hero status and helped spark one of the most exciting three-month runs in Mets history.
1. Johan’s no-no
While the game didn’t have playoff implications by season’s end, Johan Santana’s 2012 no-hitter remains a seminal moment for Citi Field—and for the Mets’ organization. From ending the team’s infamous no-hitter drought to Yadier Molina’s, Adam Wainwright’s, and Carlos Beltran’s roles in the affair, the game created a palpable sense of catharsis that the Mets’ booth captured when the last out was made. It’s one of those moments that causes fans to remember where they were and with whom they were when it happened, and it’s pretty special to look back on to this day.