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Colorado Rockies 1976

Has anybody been to the Izod Center lately?

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I guess it's one of those things that a corporate guy looks at the demographics and sees a lot of money without really understanding how a fan's mindset works. North Jersey is densely populated and is one of the richest areas in the country, throw in a big brand new arena, and someone figures they'll go see a team that's their own. Unfortunately half if not more of your potential fanbase are already Ranger fans and their kids are going to be Ranger fans.

When you think about it, it's amazing that the Devils are still in NJ. Hockey is barely a major sport, yet there are more hockey teams in the metro area than baseball, football or basketball. (At one time you could even consider the Whalers to be part of the same market).

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I remember Walt MacPeek (used to cover hockey for the Star Ledger back in the 80s-early 90s) wrote a blurb about the Devils possibly moving to Milwaukee around '91 or so...never heard anything about that from anyone else though.  And of course, we know about the whole Nashville thing (I'll always wonder how close that really was to possibly happening).  The other rumor was that the Whalers would've moved to NJ to fill the void. 

 

It's actually pretty laughable that the Scouts lasted all of two seasons in Kansas City.  All the research that goes into finding expansion sites and selecting viable markets...all the hard work...who the hell thought KC was going to work out?  I'm sorry, if a team bails after two seasons (and Kemper Arena was brand-spanking-new and modern at the time, so the building clearly wasn't the problem), then someone did some pretty sh!tty research. 

 

Anyway, the hockey market was really already covered here, no one was screaming for a 4th team in an already crowded market, even if the uniforms had "NJ" on their chests, and yeah, NHL hockey is clearly #4 in this area...a lot of people flat-out don't give a sh!t about it.  I've tried to recruit some of my friends, taken a few of them to games...they have fun while they're there, but they don't start really following it...once they leave the arena, they promptly go back to not caring about it.  But they'll watch the Mets constantly no matter how bad they suck (in fairness I do the same, being a Met fan), they'll still follow the Knicks even though they've been bad most seasons as of late...and of course, the Jets and Giants will always have hardcore support.   

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976

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I remember Walt MacPeek (used to cover hockey for the Star Ledger back in the 80s-early 90s) wrote a blurb about the Devils possibly moving to Milwaukee around '91 or so...never heard anything about that from anyone else though.  And of course, we know about the whole Nashville thing (I'll always wonder how close that really was to possibly happening).  The other rumor was that the Whalers would've moved to NJ to fill the void. 

 

It's actually pretty laughable that the Scouts lasted all of two seasons in Kansas City.  All the research that goes into finding expansion sites and selecting viable markets...all the hard work...who the hell thought KC was going to work out?  I'm sorry, if a team bails after two seasons (and Kemper Arena was brand-spanking-new and modern at the time, so the building clearly wasn't the problem), then someone did some pretty sh!tty research. 

 

Anyway, the hockey market was really already covered here, no one was screaming for a 4th team in an already crowded market, even if the uniforms had "NJ" on their chests, and yeah, NHL hockey is clearly #4 in this area...a lot of people flat-out don't give a sh!t about it.  I've tried to recruit some of my friends, taken a few of them to games...they have fun while they're there, but they don't start really following it...once they leave the arena, they promptly go back to not caring about it.  But they'll watch the Mets constantly no matter how bad they suck (in fairness I do the same, being a Met fan), they'll still follow the Knicks even though they've been bad most seasons as of late...and of course, the Jets and Giants will always have hardcore support.   

 

Weren't a lot of the teams added to the NHL in the 70's was just a way for the NHL to block WHA teams from moving into those cities?  I know the Islanders were one and I think Atlanta was another.  But whoever thought a team in KC would survive was completely nuts.  I mean they joined the league the same time as the Caps, who had a worse record than the Scouts yet survived because they were in a better market.

 

 

I have been to CAA (I don't like calling it Izod) once since 2007 and that was about 3 years ago when my gf graduated from grad school.  It was only half-filled for the graduation but to me it just seemed smaller.  The signs were still the originals as other have pointed out and even half-full the concourse was far more crowded than the worst at the Rock because of the stupid 1 concourse design.

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Weren't a lot of the teams added to the NHL in the 70's was just a way for the NHL to block WHA teams from moving into those cities?  I know the Islanders were one and I think Atlanta was another.  But whoever thought a team in KC would survive was completely nuts.  I mean they joined the league the same time as the Caps, who had a worse record than the Scouts yet survived because they were in a better market.

 

 

I have been to CAA (I don't like calling it Izod) once since 2007 and that was about 3 years ago when my gf graduated from grad school.  It was only half-filled for the graduation but to me it just seemed smaller.  The signs were still the originals as other have pointed out and even half-full the concourse was far more crowded than the worst at the Rock because of the stupid 1 concourse design.

 

Economy was also bad in KC at the time (same as in Denver later).  Even if it was all about blocking the WHA, why even bother if the market can't sustain a hockey team?  They had 2,000 season tickets sold for what would've been their third season of existence when they needed four times that to survive.  No one saw that coming?

 

re:  CAA, that used to drive me crazy too...if there were more than 11,000 fans or so at any given game, those food lines got very long very quickly, and I remember the servers not exactly busting their tails once it was clear that the Devils would soon be moving on.  10-15 minute wait times were not terribly uncommon.

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DM, I think you're right about certain markets only coming into the NHL to block the WHA. I know for sure that's why the Islanders exist. I always thought Long Island was an odd place for an expansion franchise lol.

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Economy was also bad in KC at the time (same as in Denver later).  Even if it was all about blocking the WHA, why even bother if the market can't sustain a hockey team?  They had 2,000 season tickets sold for what would've been their third season of existence when they needed four times that to survive.  No one saw that coming?

 

re:  CAA, that used to drive me crazy too...if there were more than 11,000 fans or so at any given game, those food lines got very long very quickly, and I remember the servers not exactly busting their tails once it was clear that the Devils would soon be moving on.  10-15 minute wait times were not terribly uncommon.

 

I think I remember hearing that the NHL owners were still pretty scared/concerned that they had the first real threat of competition in decades and they went to great lengths to make life on the new league as hard as possible.  Hell both the Toronoto and NY WHA teams were tenants to the NHL owners in their own building and were eventually chased out because of the conditions/demands of their NHL landlords.  The NY WHA team had to relocate to Cherry Hill and play at an arena that had at one point a chained-link fence instead of glass boards and was sloped (the EHL Devils I think used to play there too).  The NHL probably saw the KC franchise as a necessary loss to prevent the WHA from expanding further.  A small loss over 2 years is not as bad as potential huge losses over many years if the WHA became successful.

 

As for the long waits, there was a food stand right on the concourse right across from our section (101) that I used to go to all the time.  They used many retired senior citizens to man the stands and for many obvious reasons they were not exactly fast.  However, after eying the lines for a few games I found out one guy was much faster than the rest and would always go to his line no matter how long it is, as eventually the wait will still be shorter than lines that were shorter but with manned with slower employees.

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Concert promoters like the CAA because it has a larger capacity than the Rock.  They only really care about the total gate, and they feel they can make more money by selling out the CAA than the Rock for larger acts.  That contract with LiveNation is the only thing that prevents the building from turning a massive loss year over year.  While "on the books" the arena allegedly generates approximately $2 million in profits/year, apparently some Lehman Brothers type accounting has been going into those figures.

 

The building will have to really become dormant before the State will even think of closing it.  There are some powerful Bergen County politicians that have resisted shuttering the CAA since the Rock opened, and they hold major political sway in this state. 

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I think I remember hearing that the NHL owners were still pretty scared/concerned that they had the first real threat of competition in decades and they went to great lengths to make life on the new league as hard as possible.  Hell both the Toronoto and NY WHA teams were tenants to the NHL owners in their own building and were eventually chased out because of the conditions/demands of their NHL landlords.  The NY WHA team had to relocate to Cherry Hill and play at an arena that had at one point a chained-link fence instead of glass boards and was sloped (the EHL Devils I think used to play there too).  The NHL probably saw the KC franchise as a necessary loss to prevent the WHA from expanding further.  A small loss over 2 years is not as bad as potential huge losses over many years if the WHA became successful.

 

As for the long waits, there was a food stand right on the concourse right across from our section (101) that I used to go to all the time.  They used many retired senior citizens to man the stands and for many obvious reasons they were not exactly fast.  However, after eying the lines for a few games I found out one guy was much faster than the rest and would always go to his line no matter how long it is, as eventually the wait will still be shorter than lines that were shorter but with manned with slower employees.

 

The one thing I'll say about KC is that I don't think they ever thought of themselves as a sacrificial lamb for the NHL to keep out the WHA...they built the Kemper Arena strictly to attract an NBA team and an NHL team (which worked, as the arena opened in 1974 with the Scouts and the KC Kings as their NHL and NBA tenants)...city officials were apparently thinking big at the time.  Clearly they miscalculated horribly (the Scouts left after just two seasons, and the Kings left for Sacramento in 1985 after averaging five figures in attendance during only one of their seasons in KC).  Scouts owners lost some pretty major coin in those two years (I'm sure that they wouldn't have gone in if they didn't think it could work, right or wrong)...rumors have gone around that the reason the Scouts went 1-35-8 to close out the '75-'76 season (after having started the season 11-21-4) was that the players feared that they soon might not be getting their paychecks.   

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The one thing I'll say about KC is that I don't think they ever thought of themselves as a sacrificial lamb for the NHL to keep out the WHA...they built the Kemper Arena strictly to attract an NBA team and an NHL team (which worked, as the arena opened in 1974 with the Scouts and the KC Kings as their NHL and NBA tenants)...city officials were apparently thinking big at the time.  Clearly they miscalculated horribly (the Scouts left after just two seasons, and the Kings left for Sacramento in 1985 after averaging five figures in attendance during only one of their seasons in KC).  Scouts owners lost some pretty major coin in those two years (I'm sure that they wouldn't have gone in if they didn't think it could work, right or wrong)...rumors have gone around that the reason the Scouts went 1-35-8 to close out the '75-'76 season (after having started the season 11-21-4) was that the players feared that they soon might not be getting their paychecks.   

 

True and I agree that KC built that new arena to attract a professional team.  However, I think the NHL would have passed on it but maybe didn't because maybe a WHA team was eyeing it and the NHL figured to just grant an expansion franchise there just to keep a WHA team out of a brand new arena at no matter what the cost.

 

This is pretty much what happened with the Nassau Colisseum when it was being built 2 years prior and the NHL just granted an expansion team there just to prevent a WHA team have a state of the art arena to themselves and forcing them to be tenants to MSG.  It just turned out that the Islanders got real good real quick and was able to start winning within a few years of existing.

 

 

However this is all theory so I might be wrong.  However, that's the only theory I have as to why the NHL even granted an expansion franchise to a mid-western US city experiencing an economic downturn.

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Anyway, when I think of going to games at CAA, one of my first thoughts was always those colorful, tacky clown/circus banners they hung in the rafters lol

god i loved those circus clown banners. DAMNIT who used to have the handle "clown banner" or something or other? ...i guess im showing my njdevs age here.

anyway, ive only been back to the izod center once since the devils left - i didn't really feel any negative feelings nor did i feel nostalgia. i just felt like i was "at the caa" for another event. it's definitely outdated, it definitely screams of about 359 fire code violations, but it's what it is, more or less. i think myself, like many devils fans (or patrons of the arena in general) have tripped up or stumbled down the steps at least once it its heyday lol. that xanadu sh!t is horrendous though. i still don't understand what purpose that was supposed to serve.

with that said - maybe i'm flying solo here - but it took me a while to become adjusted and feel comfortable at the rock. i think it's because i grew up at the brendan byrne/caa. i was in my 20s (yes, still young) but the time the rock opened its doors and i was at opening night no less - but it felt odd to me. i've now grown to love the arena and its attractions, but it definitely took me a few years. i guess i was still a little to wide-eyed and confused to get what was going on. i was used to $7.50 chicken tenders and fries. you add an extra $2 to that and i'm thrown for a loop, for sure.

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I've been once since, for a Nets game just a year or two later. I've always said it would be incredible to have a game there before they demolish it, like the Sixers did with the Spectrum a few years back. I know it won't happen, but.

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god i loved those circus clown banners. DAMNIT who used to have the handle "clown banner" or something or other? ...i guess im showing my njdevs age here.

anyway, ive only been back to the izod center once since the devils left - i didn't really feel any negative feelings nor did i feel nostalgia. i just felt like i was "at the caa" for another event. it's definitely outdated, it definitely screams of about 359 fire code violations, but it's what it is, more or less. i think myself, like many devils fans (or patrons of the arena in general) have tripped up or stumbled down the steps at least once it its heyday lol. that xanadu sh!t is horrendous though. i still don't understand what purpose that was supposed to serve.

with that said - maybe i'm flying solo here - but it took me a while to become adjusted and feel comfortable at the rock. i think it's because i grew up at the brendan byrne/caa. i was in my 20s (yes, still young) but the time the rock opened its doors and i was at opening night no less - but it felt odd to me. i've now grown to love the arena and its attractions, but it definitely took me a few years. i guess i was still a little to wide-eyed and confused to get what was going on. i was used to $7.50 chicken tenders and fries. you add an extra $2 to that and i'm thrown for a loop, for sure.

 

The walk to the top row of the upper deck was LONG back then.  Plenty of opportunities to trip and stumble.   

 

It's funny, once I came to the Rock it felt like home pretty quickly, all things considered.  But CitiField (where the Mets now play), despite it clearly being a much better ballpark from a technical standpoint, still feels like a place the Mets happen to play in, as opposed to their true "home", and there's other Met fans that feel the same way. 

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The walk to the top row of the upper deck was LONG back then. Plenty of opportunities to trip and stumble.

It's funny, once I came to the Rock it felt like home pretty quickly, all things considered. But CitiField (where the Mets now play), despite it clearly being a much better ballpark from a technical standpoint, still feels like a place the Mets happen to play in, as opposed to their true "home", and there's other Met fans that feel the same way.

I agree 100% about citi, even the name feels weird. But a lot of that has to do with the memories built there- Shea had 50 years of memories as well as being the mets' first real home. 2 championships and great players played there. So far with citi it's been disappointment turned to disgrace with some mediocre mixed in. Once the team gives us something to remember citi for I think it'll feel more like home.

On the other hand the devils moved after only 24 years and did have early success at the rock- maybe no deep playoff runs until 2012 but they were a very good team.

Look no further than the hilarious dichotomy in the first games played- the devils first game at the rock was a 6-1 beat down of the bolts, compare that to the mets first game at citi where pelfrey gave up a lead off home run to freakin Jody gerut (who probably hasn't hit a home run since) and they lose 6-5.

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Last time I was there was for a Nets game and oh man did I get nostalgic (which is funny that some of you others didn't, since I didn't go to more than 20 games in my life before the move to Newark).. Immediately walking in we got hit with that smell of popcorn.. Then you walk around that concourse (1 for both levels? were they nuts?!) and it all came back.. Didn't matter if it was midweek Thrashers or a weekend Rangers game, I remembered a sea of people trying to squeeze through that concourse after games haha.. Then you look at the food options and it reminds you why you were excited when the Rock first opened.. A sad sight when nachos and mini pizza are your 2 best dinner options.. Definitely got the cavernous feel in the bowl because of those high black ceilings.. Then you see that old scoreboard and it's like "man I love that thing! Just not enough to ever want it to replace our new board haha".. The screens in the corners and game clocks at center court/ice, I mean come on! So many memories

 

Overall, I loved it.. Don't get me wrong, it's horribly outdated but man that building saw the rise of the Devils' golden age.. I mean just knowing that it all began right there (the franchise, our success, and my love of the team) made me completely nostalgic.. I would love for them to hold a preseason game there one last time before knocking it down, but that'll never happen, so I hope to make it back for one last event.. Love it or hate it, that building is where it all began.. I'll probably even try to buy a pair of seats if they ever sell them

Edited by Colin226

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I agree 100% about citi, even the name feels weird. But a lot of that has to do with the memories built there- Shea had 50 years of memories as well as being the mets' first real home. 2 championships and great players played there. So far with citi it's been disappointment turned to disgrace with some mediocre mixed in. Once the team gives us something to remember citi for I think it'll feel more like home.

On the other hand the devils moved after only 24 years and did have early success at the rock- maybe no deep playoff runs until 2012 but they were a very good team.

Look no further than the hilarious dichotomy in the first games played- the devils first game at the rock was a 6-1 beat down of the bolts, compare that to the mets first game at citi where pelfrey gave up a lead off home run to freakin Jody gerut (who probably hasn't hit a home run since) and they lose 6-5.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't the first game a loss against the Sens with B. Gionta scoring the lone goal for the Devils (I think the score was 3-1 or 4-1 Sens)

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I agree 100% about citi, even the name feels weird. But a lot of that has to do with the memories built there- Shea had 50 years of memories as well as being the mets' first real home. 2 championships and great players played there. So far with citi it's been disappointment turned to disgrace with some mediocre mixed in. Once the team gives us something to remember citi for I think it'll feel more like home.

On the other hand the devils moved after only 24 years and did have early success at the rock- maybe no deep playoff runs until 2012 but they were a very good team.

Look no further than the hilarious dichotomy in the first games played- the devils first game at the rock was a 6-1 beat down of the bolts, compare that to the mets first game at citi where pelfrey gave up a lead off home run to freakin Jody gerut (who probably hasn't hit a home run since) and they lose 6-5.

 

Devils lost their first game at the Rock to the Senators 4-1 (after a nine-game road trip to start the season).  I remember the 6-1 beatdown...that was their second game there.

 

The Wilpons of course screwed up their building, thinking that somehow Mets fans would be more interested in going to a building that seemed to pay more homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers than to the team that actually played there.  They've since taken some positive steps to correct, but that misstep left a bad taste in Met fans' mouths that still lingers even now.  You are right, I think it's going to take some serious winning to wash that out.

 

 

Last time I was there was for a Nets game and oh man did I get nostalgic (which is funny that some of you others didn't, since I didn't go to more than 20 games in my life before the move to Newark).. Immediately walking in we got hit with that smell of popcorn.. Then you walk around that concourse (1 for both levels? were they nuts?!) and it all came back.. Didn't matter if it was midweek Thrashers or a weekend Rangers game, I remembered a sea of people trying to squeeze through that concourse after games haha.. Then you look at the food options and it reminds you why you were excited when the Rock first opened.. A sad sight when nachos and mini pizza are your 2 best dinner options.. Definitely got the cavernous feel in the bowl because of those high black ceilings.. Then you see that old scoreboard and it's like "man I love that thing! Just not enough to ever want it to replace our new board haha".. The screens in the corners and game clocks at center court/ice, I mean come on! So many memories

 

Overall, I loved it.. Don't get me wrong, it's horribly outdated but man that building saw the rise of the Devils' golden age.. I mean just knowing that it all began right there (the franchise, our success, and my love of the team) made me completely nostalgic.. I would love for them to hold a preseason game there one last time before knocking it down, but that'll never happen, so I hope to make it back for one last event.. Love it or hate it, that building is where it all began.. I'll probably even try to buy a pair of seats if they ever sell them

 

I thought I would feel much more nostalgia than I did.  I think some of it was stripped away by the mess that sprouted up around it...I remember tailgating in the parking lot back in the day during playoff games. 

 

BBA was heavily criticized for having just the one concourse (terrible idea), and yeah, that had a way of crowding up in a hurry between periods and after games for sure.  I never really minded CAA overall when I was watching games there...it served its purpose well, even if it lacked personality. 

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Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't the first game a loss against the Sens with B. Gionta scoring the lone goal for the Devils (I think the score was 3-1 or 4-1 Sens)

bah you and CR are right I seem to have forgotten that first game. I was in college at the time and looking it up that was a Saturday night so I might not have been watching that one haha...

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Since the Devils left, I've been back to the old arena a few times for a few concerts and most recently in January for Disney on Ice.

 

The thing that strikes me most each time I'm there is not the small size of the concourse, which I remember very well, but the poor lighting. At night, the whole concourse is dimly lit. It almost seems like you're walking around in a yellow haze.

 

Also, as has been mentioned, the surrounding area looks so different these days. I know the huge parking structure had already been erected before the Devils left, but for the majority of the years it was a wide open parking lot in front of the box office entrance. And someone already mentioned the tackiness of the Izod signage on the outside.

 

Still, though, if the Devils ever played a game there for old times sake, I'd definitely go and have fun.

Edited by 95Crash

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I will tell you one thing I don't miss about CAA and that is that friggin cattle walk they had there from Giants Stadium.  I still remember the original wooden one they had there and that thing could get scary at times.  It was dark, narrow and when it was filled you can feel the entire thing vibrating as you were walking in there.

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The Izod bookings through spring are not impressive. Imagine Dragon? Demi Lovito? Has anybody heard of those acts?

Granted they do have Cher and some wrestling show but I doubt either pack 'em in anymoe

Those are two incredibly popular acts in the younger age brackets.

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The walk to the top row of the upper deck was LONG back then. Plenty of opportunities to trip and stumble.

It's funny, once I came to the Rock it felt like home pretty quickly, all things considered. But CitiField (where the Mets now play), despite it clearly being a much better ballpark from a technical standpoint, still feels like a place the Mets happen to play in, as opposed to their true "home", and there's other Met fans that feel the same way.

I'm totally with you on CitiField. It pretty much signaled the end of me being a due hard Mets fan. The Wilpons botched it pretty good. When you think about it, us Devil fans are damn lucky the Rock came out so perfectly. It's not a guarantee a new arena will instantly feel like home, or be an all-around gem, so for us to get both with the Rock...well thank you JVB and HOK architects...and Port Newark for their lease money which funded construction.

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I will tell you one thing I don't miss about CAA and that is that friggin cattle walk they had there from Giants Stadium.  I still remember the original wooden one they had there and that thing could get scary at times.  It was dark, narrow and when it was filled you can feel the entire thing vibrating as you were walking in there.

 

Oh yes I remember that too.  Used to leak quite a bit when it rained.  It was a tradeoff...you could either park at Giants Stadium and avoid the traffic (but freeze your ass off in winter walking back and forth), or park at the arena and get stuck after the game unless you practically sprinted to your car (or left early).

 

BTW, here is what is planned for what was Xanadu...doesn't look bad until you realize that Triple 5 predicted that this would be up and running by late 2013.  The latest I saw somewhere now says 2016.  Meanwhile the "new" buildings are already starting to show signs of neglect.  Hard to have much faith in this thing ever being resolved.

 

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Demi is huge. She'll sell that arena, as will imagine dragons. Must not turn the radio on much do you?

The Izod bookings through spring are not impressive. Imagine Dragon? Demi Lovito? Has anybody heard of those acts?

Granted they do have Cher and some wrestling show but I doubt either pack 'em in anymoe

Edited by CarterforPresident

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Saw Dave Matthews Band there in the summer of 2012. Don't remember the building, I was pretty drunk

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The walk to the top row of the upper deck was LONG back then.  Plenty of opportunities to trip and stumble.   

 

It's funny, once I came to the Rock it felt like home pretty quickly, all things considered.  But CitiField (where the Mets now play), despite it clearly being a much better ballpark from a technical standpoint, still feels like a place the Mets happen to play in, as opposed to their true "home", and there's other Met fans that feel the same way. 

 

They botched it badly from the beginning by not really being in tune to what mets fans wanted or needed...but since then there have been some fixes. Blue walls, friendlier dimensions, more Mets stuff in general, Mets HOF. And the Mets have given us some good moments in the building despite not being very good over the last few years (Santana no hitter among other things)

 

I wonder what's left? Do they have to make the playoffs for it to really feel like home?

Demi is huge. She'll sell that arena, as will imagine dragons. Must not turn the radio on much do you?

 

well I don't listen to garbage if that's what you mean

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Maybe so. I don't fancy imagine dragons myself, nor much of Demi but she's a icon for younger girls and both are very popular.

They botched it badly from the beginning by not really being in tune to what mets fans wanted or needed...but since then there have been some fixes. Blue walls, friendlier dimensions, more Mets stuff in general, Mets HOF. And the Mets have given us some good moments in the building despite not being very good over the last few years (Santana no hitter among other things)

I wonder what's left? Do they have to make the playoffs for it to really feel like home?

well I don't listen to garbage if that's what you mean

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