Like at every noteworthy speakeasy, it started with a knock.
After Chad Thompson and his wife, Kitty, found the secret door in an unassuming section of Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, they faced one more test that day in June before securing access to perhaps Major League Baseball’s most exclusive new fan experience. They needed to recite the correct password. It had three words.
“Let’s go Mets,” Mr. Thompson, a resident of Manhattan, told the guard.
The couple walked into the Cadillac Club to catch a game between the Mets and their crosstown rival Yankees. Once inside, the Thompsons snacked on bacon-wrapped dates and complimentary glasses of prosecco and Glenfiddich 15-Year-Old Solera Reserve. They sat in plush brown leather seats with personal TVs attached, where they were served Shake Shack burgers and Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars. Directly in front of them, through a metal fence, was the diamond’s right field. Starling Marte, the Mets outfielder, tossed a few balls over to the fans seated in the club.
“It definitely does give you that V.I.P. feel, but you are a little isolated from the normal ballpark,” said Mr. Thompson, who was given the tickets (membership cost: up to $25,000 each per season) through a friend. “They make up for it, by just giving you this one-of-a-kind experience where you’ve got this bullpen perspective of the game.”
In recent years, America’s favorite pastime has struggled with attendance and fan engagement. Aside from during the pandemic, the 2022 M.L.B. season posted the lowest attendance numbers since 1997. Hip lounges, inventive culinary offerings and original in-game vantage points are some of the ways M.L.B. teams are elevating the ballpark experience this summer.
“Today’s fans go to the ballpark to hang out, not to watch a game closely,” said Kevin Reichard, the founder and editor of the publication Ballpark Digest. “Now, everyone wanders around that stadium, they want to check out the food.”
Here are four other M.L.B. locations that are stepping up to the plate with fresh ballpark amenities.
Milwaukee: tee time with field views
The twisty white slide (for children, not reporters) in the left field of American Family Field seems out of place, almost gimmicky. But the Milwaukee Brewers are unapologetically bold with the amenities inside their ballpark. In addition to the slide, the current big swing (pun intended) project is a partnership with X-Golf, a virtual golf lounge chain. American…