NEW YORK -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel admitted on Monday afternoon that he hasn't had the time to really take in the essence of Citi Field. But following Monday night's 6-5 loss, the skipper made clear that the Mets new digs would house brighter times.

"We would have liked to put [the home opener] behind us with a win, but it's good to move forward," Manuel said.

"We shouldn't have any problem getting accustomed to this beautiful ballpark. I think there's going to be a lot of good things happening here, I really do."

With a sellout crowd of 41,007, Mets fans came out in droves to witness Citi Field's first game. And while the game's outcome left much to be desired, the inside of the Mets' new stadium had just about everything.

"Everything is beautiful here," Carlos Beltran marveled prior to the game. "It's going to be fun for us, fun for the fans.

"We just can't wait to get out there and win ballgames and bring a lot of memories to this field."

The clubhouse earned high marks from the Mets, with amenities ranging from a training room equipped with an underwater treadmill and hot tub to the players' lounge pool table and wealth of high definition televisions.

"Just to know that this is your home, it's always wonderful to come to a nice place instead of old stadiums," Gary Sheffield said.

A 22-year veteran of the league, Sheffield put Citi Field in his "top three" ballparks, and half-kidded that the state-of-the-art facility meant "guys don't really have any excuses anymore."

Instead, the Mets are hoping their fans will pardon Monday night's loss and look forward to creating winning memories at Citi Field.

"It just is a bummer," outfielder Ryan Church said. "Everybody, packed house. Opened up a brand new stadium. Being a part of something, you know, history. We [would have] loved to get a 'W.' But we'll be back on Wednesday."

And the Mets hope their state-of-the-art stadium will continue to showcase -- and cater to -- a distinct home-field advantage. In addition to the odd nuances in the outfield, Citi Field's seats are closer to the action and put fans literally in the game.

"That's why we play -- it's for the fans," reliever Brian Stokes said. "And [to] try to get them involved as much as they can. For them to be closer to the game and see exactly what's going on, I think it's going to be great. It's going to be nice and intimate and I think they will be into it."

Reliever Pedro Feliciano agreed.

"Forty-thousand plus [crowd]? That's a good deal," he said. "I hope they come back to support us on Wednesday."