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New looks for the Mets



stadium

First Data Field will have a big ballpark feel when a new concourse around the outfield is completed with hundreds of additional seats, allowing fans a 360-degree walk to see the game from any angle. GREG GARDNER

Both parent team, its minor league stadium and training center are set for an overhaul

BY GREG GARDNER

While the New York Mets rebuild the team after an injury-plagued 2017 season, St. Lucie County is giving First Data Field a refurbishing following an agreement that will keep the team in Port St. Lucie until 2042.

The $55 million improvements will begin after spring training ends and take about two years to complete.

“This will improve the fan’s experience and increases the capacity of the stadium,” said Jeff Bremer, deputy administrator for St. Lucie County. “Overall, this is a sprucing up of the facility designed to provide a better entertainment experience for fans. The new concourse will have a different look and everyone will be pleased when it is done. There will be some cool changes.”

Fans will notice the transformation immediately in a new outside facade with the relocation and addition of ticket booths.

The most striking change to the field will be the 360-degree connected concourse with walkways and seats in the outfield.

“If you want to catch home runs, bring your glove,” Bremer said.

Obvious renovations to the 30-year-old ballpark will be a new team store and a third elevator, improved scoreboards, landscaping, and signage, and replaced railings and roofs. Largely unnoticed by the public, improvements for players and staff will include renovation of visiting and home team clubhouses, a brand new full-size practice field with artificial turf, new commissary, upgraded batting cages, new player and fan walkways, new washers and dryers, and a new minor league clubhouse.

“Some facilities will be moved around, but we will work diligently to be the least disruptive during the spring training and minor league seasons,” Bremer said.

Engineering and architecture services to draft final plans have already been earmarked for $6 million with the remaining $49 million going to construction. Funds to pay for the project come from New York.

NEW MANAGER, PLAYERS
As the team’s 21st manager, former pitcher and pitching coach Mickey Callaway may be the Mets best hopes for the playoffs, if the pitching staff can recover from last season’s injuries. Pushed aside, but not out the door is the seven-season manager Terry Collins, who will stay on as a special assistant.

Coming off the disabled list are pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo. In the offseason, the Mets acquired free agents: relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak, outfielder Jay Bruce, third baseman Todd Frazier and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was signed as a free agent, while outfielder and slugger Curtis Granderson was traded. Outfielder and designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes, who played only half of last season due to a hamstring injury, is expected to make a full recovery in time for spring training.

The Mets are also looking for outfielder Michael Conforto to return to the team in May following his recovery from shoulder surgery. Franchise third baseman David Wright is on the roster, but is not expected to start the season due to his ongoing spinal stenosis.

TEBOW INVITED BACK
A St. Lucie Met last season, Tim Tebow, former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback, is listed as a non-roster invitee and will play in Port St. Lucie during the Florida Grapefruit League season, likely appearing in some of the 17 home games. Last year, the St. Lucie Mets’ home attendance record was broken with 13 games left. Several Florida State League ballparks reported record crowds at games where it was announced Tebow would be playing.

The World Champion Houston Astros will visit the Mets for four games and the Miami Marlins will also come to Port St. Lucie for four games. So far, the only game that has sold out is the March 7 game when the Yankees come to town.

Another benefit of the long-term extension deal allocates $400,000 annually for advertising both inside and outside Citi Field, in New York City, the county’s No. 1 domestic tourism market. Tourism officials will also man booths at several games.

“The synergy with the Mets and St. Lucie County and Port St. Lucie tourism has been strong for 30 years and this will continue well into the future,” county Administrator Howard Tipton said.



METS 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

DAY/DATE OPPONENT TIME
  • Friday, Feb. 23 vs. Braves 1:10
  • Saturday, Feb. 24 vs. Cardinals 1:10
  • Sunday, Feb. 25 vs. Marlins 1:10
  • Monday, Feb. 26 at Astros 1:05
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 vs. Astros 1:10
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 at Braves 1:05
  • Thursday, March 1 vs. Marlins 1:10
  • Friday, March 2 vs. Nationals 1:10
  • Friday, March 2 at Astros 6:05
  • Saturday, March 3 at Marlins 1:05
  • Sunday, March 4 vs. Nationals 1:10
  • Monday, March 5 vs. Tigers 1:10
  • Tuesday, March 6 vs. Astros 1:10
  • Wednesday, March 7 vs. Yankees 1:10
  • Thursday, March 8 at Nationals 1:05
  • Friday, March 9 at Tigers 1:05
  • Saturday, March 10 at Yankees 1:05
  • Sunday, March 11 vs. Astros 1:10
  • Tuesday, March 13 vs. Astros 1:10
  • Tuesday, March 13 at Nationals 7:05
  • Wednesday, March 14 at Marlins 1:05
  • Thursday, March 15 vs. Marlins 1:10
  • Friday, March 16 vs. Orioles 1:10
  • Saturday, March 17 at Nationals 1:05
  • Sunday, March 18 at Orioles 1:05
  • Monday, March 19 at Astros 1:05
  • Tuesday, March 20 at Cardinals 1:05
  • Thursday, March 22 vs. Nationals 6:10
  • Friday, March 23 vs. Cardinals 1:10
  • Saturday, March 24 at Cardinals 1:05
  • Sunday, March 25 vs. Marlins 1:10

  • Get tickets at newyork.mets.mlb.com