NEW YORK -- Over the first decade-plus of Citi Field’s existence, no matter if it was empty, full, or somewhere in between, the ballpark was a frequent host of history. The Mets have already played some of the most memorable games in franchise lore at Citi Field, which opened in 2009 on a plot of land adjacent to where Shea Stadium used to be.
Here are the top five games in Citi Field’s relatively young history.
1. Oct. 30, 2015: World Series Game 3
Mets 9, Royals 3
Even consecutive losses to open the World Series in Kansas City could not dampen the atmosphere in advance of the first Fall Classic game at Citi Field. Heading into the night, much of the pregame talk revolved around Royals leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar, who had tormented teams all month with his first-pitch swinging -- including the Mets, who had allowed a first-pitch, inside-the-park home run to Escobar to lead off Game 1. Noah Syndergaard ensured there would be no repeat performance early in Game 3, knocking Escobar to the dirt with a 98 mph fastball before striking him out on four pitches.
In the bottom of the first, David Wright hit a go-ahead, two-run home run to send a sold-out crowd of 44,781 into hysterics. The Mets piled on late and, while they went on to drop the Fall Classic in five games, Game 3 marked a high point for the team and its hungry fan base.
2. June 1, 2012: Johan Santana's no-hitter
Mets 8, Cardinals 0
With rain in the forecast and school not yet out for the summer, only 27,069 were on hand to see Santana throw the first no-hitter in Mets history. Those who were present witnessed not just a no-no, but one of the more dramatic ones in recent memory. Carlos Beltrán nearly broke it up in the sixth inning with a hot line drive that appeared to fly over the third-base bag, but umpire Adrian Johnson called it foul and, without the benefit of instant replay, the Cardinals could do nothing more than argue in vain. In the seventh, Mike Baxter crashed against the outfield wall to make a sensational catch on a Yadier Molina fly ball, robbing Molina of extra bases while breaking his collarbone in the process.
This all played out before the ghosts of decades past, as the Mets were one of only two teams to have never recorded a no-no. On his 134th pitch, Santana changed that, striking out David Freese to finish off one of the most memorable games inside Citi Field’s walls.
3. Sept. 29, 2018: David Wright’s final game
Mets 1, Marlins 0
Like several games on this list, Wright’s career finale included a unique wave of anticipation leading up to it. Wright had announced in early September that his debilitating back, neck and shoulder injuries would force him to end his career, but that he intended to play one last game on Sept. 29. The Mets' captain suited up on Sept. 28 as well, grounding out in a pinch-hit appearance, then woke up the following morning knowing it would be his last as an active player.
Hundreds of fans from a sold-out crowd not only showed up early to greet Wright as he entered the park, but they also stuck around for 13 innings to hear him deliver a heartfelt postgame speech. Wright’s family was on hand, including his 2-year-old daughter, Olivia Shea, who threw a ceremonial first pitch to her dad.
4. July 31, 2015: Tears to cheers
Mets 2, Nationals 1
Two days before the 2015 Trade Deadline, Wilmer Flores openly wept on the field after finding out midgame that he had reportedly been traded in a deal for Brewers outfielder Carlos Gómez. It wasn’t until afterward that Mets officials announced the trade had fallen through, leaving Flores back with the only organization he had known. Minutes before the deadline on July 31, the Mets instead dealt a different package to the Tigers for Yoenis Céspedes.
That night, in the first game of a huge series against the Nationals with the potential to determine first place in the National League East, Flores hit a walk-off home run, grabbing the “Mets” lettering on his jersey as he rounded the bases. The entire sequence of events turned Flores into a cult hero with Mets fans, who remain fond of him to this day.
“Fans want to know that you care,” Flores said. “When they find out you do, it makes it a different relationship.”
5. Oct. 12, 2015: A rude welcome
Mets 13, Dodgers 7
Anger filtered through the visiting clubhouse in Los Angeles following Game 2 of the NL Division Series, after Chase Utley’s late slide into second base resulted in a broken leg for Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. Many Mets players called it a dirty play. The fan base was equally livid. So when the teams arrived in New York two nights later for the first postseason game in Citi Field history, everyone was ready.
Before the game, a Mets cameraman lingered on Utley during pregame introductions, allowing fans to boo him relentlessly. The same crowd erupted in cheers when Tejada came out to the field on crutches, and it continued buzzing as the Mets built a four-run lead over the Dodgers. That was when Céspedes crushed a 111-mph, 431-foot home run (per Statcast) into the second deck in left field, turning a close game into a blowout. The Mets went on to win the NLDS in five games en route to their first pennant in 15 years.
In terms of pomp and circumstance, not much can top Citi Field’s official opening on April 13, 2009, though the Mets lost to the Padres. … Matt Harvey authored several of the finest moments in Citi Field's early history. In his dynamic second season, Harvey outdueled Stephen Strasburg in a much-anticipated game on April 19, 2013, that the Mets won, 7-1, over the Nationals, as fans chanted “Harvey’s better!” from the stands. Less than a month later, on May 7, Harvey tossed nine one-hit innings against the White Sox in a 1-0 thriller. … Asdrúbal Cabrera’s famous bat flip punctuated his walk-off home run in a 9-8, 11-inning win over the Phillies on Sept. 22, 2016, which kept the Mets atop the NL Wild Card race with a little more than a week left in the season.