By: Stache Staff

Throwback Thursday: Citi Field With A Retractable Roof


Welcome to another edition of the Stache’s Throwback Thursday posts where we take a look back in Mets history for something interesting to post on a Thursday.

For today, considering the rain out that the Mets had in Philadelphia on Wednesday, we wanted to show everyone one of the early concepts the Mets had when they first talked about replacing Shea Stadium back in the late 90’s


As you can see the Mets wanted a retractable roof over their stadium so that rain would never be a problem ever again and would allow for other events to take place.

The events that would have taken place for example could be concerts on a year round basis, presumably college basketball (maybe even a Final Four) and maybe even an NHL Winter Classic (which is still possible in the future).


Look at the scoreboard that would have been in left field. We really like the bridge idea they had that was behind the scoreboard. What would have been interesting (annoying? stupid?) would be the design of the left field fence.

It looks like a bad looking puzzle piece or a crude outline of some stairs. Although the Great Wall of Flushing was pretty dumb in it’s own right when you consider it was not only 16 feet high but 384 feet to Left Center.

The bullpens would have been in left field instead of where they are in right field and the Pepsi Porch would have still existed but the wall below it would be a straight line instead of the old Mo’s Zone and the current fence that we have today.

Also, based just on the pictures alone this domed park would have been just as huge, if not bigger, that what Citi Field ended up being when it comes to the dimensions. Have we made it clear how much we hated the original dimensions, cause we did… a lot.


So what exactly happened to this roof idea? Well in this post from ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin from 2012 there were two factors that squashed this idea.

The bottom line: It cost too much.

…Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon years ago, before the Mets’ stadium had opened, had cited the figure for Citi Field as adding $200 million or more to the cost of what became an $850 million project anyway.

Levine also had cited George Steinbrenner’s preference for an open-air stadium in the Bronx in the Newsday article. In the Mets’ case, that objection may not have existed, but the numbers just did not make sense for these reasons:

The soft Flushing soil conditions near the bay did not support a roof without significant additional costs that made it prohibitive.

Of course the money part was pre-Madoff so we can’t blame him for no roof. A retractable roof on a stadium is crazy expensive and it is why not only do the baseball stadiums don’t have one here in New York but it is why MetLife Stadium doesn’t have one either.

One of the things that was innovative at the time the original design came out was that they would have a rolling field where the field could be rolled out on tracks outside the stadium to give the grass more sunlight.

The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona where the Arizona Cardinals and the Fiesta Bowl are housed actually uses this system now for it’s grass field.

At the end of the day, Citi Field was built without a roof and we still have to deal with rain, cold and other elements that can disrupt the enjoyment of a baseball game.

So there is your look back at some interesting Mets history in our Throwback Thursday post. Tell us what you think and if the Mets missed out by not putting a roof on Citi Field.

(All pictures and some information used in this post come from

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