And the winner is … Citizens Bank Park!

June 24, 2008 at 12:38 am | Posted in Baseball | 2 Comments

My wife and I returned home today from our weekend road trip. We were fortunate to be able to attend games in two Major League stadiums that I had not been to before – Nationals Park in Washington and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. They are both beautiful new parks, but I definitely preferred Citizens Bank Park. I’ve now been to 12 Major League stadiums (three of which are no longer in use). I’ll rank the 12 stadiums tomorrow, but for today, I will tell you my thoughts on Nationals Park and Citizens Bank Park.

First, Nationals Park, which just opened this year. We attended the game on Friday when the Nationals beat the Rangers 4-3 in 14 innings. We only stayed through 12 innings because our friends’ 4-month old baby needed to go home and sleep. The stadium had all of the modern amenities. On the plus side, the huge high-definition video board in right-center field is spectacular, and the variety of food available was one of the best I’ve ever seen at a stadium. That said, the stadium seemed kind of plain to me. There wasn’t much that jumped out as being unique. I feel pretty much the same way about it that I do about Turner Field in Atlanta; it is a perfectly nice stadium, but not one that I’d rave about or tell anyone that it is a “must-see” stadium. Also, the fans were very laid back. It may be because the Nationals are a relatively new team or because they’re not a very good team, but most fans were more interested in the food (causing very long lines at the concessions) than the game. A lot of the people sitting around us were having conversations with each other and not paying attention to the game.

The view from our seats:

The very cool high-def video board:

Josh Hamilton at the plate:

My least favorite player and total scumbag, Elijah Dukes, who was the Nats’ hero of the game:

Lastings Milledge bolts for second as Kevin Millwood pitches:

Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington in the Presidents Race:

Picture of Washington Senators great Harmon Killebrew in the concourse:

On Sunday afternoon, we were in Philly to watch the Angels beat the Phillies, 3-2. I had a feeling that I was going to love Citizens Bank Park from what I had seen of it on TV, and sure enough, I was blown away by it! The stadium is absolutely beautiful and the atmosphere and the passion of the fans added to the experience. I would wholeheartedly recommend seeing a game in Philly to any baseball fan. Just make sure that the Phillies are not playing your favorite team; otherwise be prepared to face the wrath of the hardcore Phillies fans if you’re cheering for their opponent.

The stadium was a perfect blend of the old-time stadium feel plus the modern amenities. A highlight is the Ashburn Alley area beyond right field where fans can get some great food, check out the plaques for the Phillies Centennial team and a display on the history of Philadelphia baseball, get an up-close view of the visitors’ bullpen, and get a great view of the entire stadium. They also have the great looking liberty bell in right field, a terrific scoreboard in left, a beautiful playing surface, great food options, seats with terrific angles towards the field, and one of the best mascots in sports, the Phillie Phanatic! It’s a true baseball heaven! Adding to it is the passion of the Philadelphia fans. The fans have a reputation for getting rowdy, but I think that the bottom line is that they just love their team. The vast majority of fans were focused intently on the game, and cheered or jeered every ball and strike call. I had never seen such enthusiastic fans at any other baseball stadium. This was exemplified when Casey Kotchman of the Angels hit a home run into the right field stands and seconds later, the fan who caught the ball threw it back on the field. Some pics from the game:

Historic marker showing where Veterans Stadium once stood:

Statue of Mike Schmidt outside the stadium:

Stand where they sold baseball cards and game-used collectibles. They had over-priced Topps and Upper deck blasters and retail packs here. They also had game-used balls, official lineup cards, and a game-used base (for $200), which were pretty cool:

Vote for Chase! And not Dan Uggla! Sorry, Mario:

The liberty bell:

Plaques for the Phillies Centennial Team:

Jered Weaver warms up in the bullpen before the game:

The view from our seats:

Cole Hamels delivers a pitch, with Jimmy Rollins behind him:

Rollins at the plate:

And on the basepaths while Erick Aybar plays with himself:

Video scoreboard in left field:

The Phanatic in action:

And finally, me:

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2 Comments »

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  1. Great post! We agree that ballparks where the fans are very into the game make the whole experience more enjoyable.

  2. Thanks, Patricia! I have enjoyed reading your blog on multiple occasions. It is great that your daughter Lucy is getting into collecting!


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