NEW YORK -- More than the new angles, nooks and crannies, the most striking renovation at Citi Field is the color of the outfield walls. Bright blue with a line of orange trim, the walls appeared to sparkle Thursday as they reflected sunshine in the hours leading up to Opening Day.
Yet of more interest to the Mets was the layout of those walls. Though the team had plenty of opportunity to take spring batting practice on Field 7 at Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the Mets put new fences in place over the winter to reflect the changes at Citi Field, there is no substitute for the real thing. So manager Terry Collins was thrilled to see several balls clear the new walls -- but fall short of the old ones -- during batting practice Thursday.
"It's beautiful," Collins said. "They've done a great job. It looks terrific. ... Certainly, as we get into the season, we're going to see a major effect."
Collins' only regret was that the Mets had precious little time to get acquainted with the new dimensions. Because they played a game in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon, the Mets hurried home for a quick night of rest before arriving at Citi Field early Thursday morning. Unlike in years past, there was no off-day between the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season.
"There are things that are out of your control, and you can't worry about them," Collins said. "We knew going into Spring Training what the end was going to be like. We knew we were going to be tired. You can't spend six weeks down there, especially as hot as it was the last 10 days in Florida, and not be tired. But today is a day that you refresh."