As a baseball fan, I’ve been planning my vacations around the schedule so I can take in a game while I’m away. This time, I deliberately chose to go to Philadelphia so I could see the Phillies host the Mets. I hadn’t been to Citizens Bank Ballpark yet, so there was an extra reason for going.
All of Philadelphia’s sporting venues are clustered together at the southern end of the city. Mass transit is pretty good; the Broad Street subway line ends nearby. It’s a couple of minutes to walk to the stadium past acres of parking lots; it seems that’s the best they could do with all the new stadia construction coming after the subway was finished.
Anyway, once you’re in, it’s pretty easy to get around the ballpark. The majority of food places are behind the bleachers, which seems to be the standard design for the latest generation of ballparks. It’s named “Ashburn Alley” after Phillies’ great Richie Ashburn. There you will also find their “Wall of Fame”, with plaques honoring the greats of Philadelphia baseball. This is something that also seems to be a standard these days.
I sprung for a seat in the “Hall of Fame” level. That’s a semi-luxury box level that has its own concession stands in an air-conditioned promenade. That’s also where they have displays honoring Phillies championships, and Hall of Famers and other greats from both the Phillies and the Philadelphia Athletics. It’s a nice way to kill time while waiting for the game to start.
Approximate view from my seat:
Try the “crab fries” from Chickie and Pete’s (crinkle cut french fries with crab seasoning instead of salt) and Yards’ Pale Ale. Or anything from Yards, actually. They’re not big enough to sell much outside Philly (yet), unlike Yuengling. So try some if you get the chance.
The game itself, between one team at the very bottom and another seemingly trying desperately to get there, turned out to be a one-sided affair.
It wasn’t quite a perfect example of a contemporary baseball game (filled with home runs and strikeouts), but it was close (4 HR for the Mets, and a total of 24 strikeouts). One other thing I noticed was that thanks to the efforts by Major League Baseball to speed up games, there isn’t enough time between innings to really do anything – like go to the rest room. If you don’t want to miss any action, you pretty much have to anticipate the end of an inning and move to the exit from your section so you can dash to the nearest facility once it’s over. And then dash back once you’re done.
I also have to gripe about their main videoboard. They were pretty poor at showing replays. Most stadia will show replays of great or close plays for the further entertainment of the fans; at this game, I didn’t see any replays at all. Well, not on the screen, at any rate. Fortunately, my seat was close enough to the broadcast booths so I could see their monitors.
Note that it was Rhys Hoskins’ debut. He struck out in his first at bat on a wicked pitch from Jacob de Grom, which prompted me to say aloud, “Welcome to the Big Leagues, kid.” From the looks of things so far, he’s doing quite nicely. And if he turns out to be one of the Greats, I can say I was there for his debut.
I’ve got a few more things to say before I leave the City of Brotherly Love. Stay tuned!