Citizens Bank Park
Review by Mike
Citizens Bank Park is home the of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. The Phillies 4th ballpark is a world apart from their 3rd, Veterans Stadium, despite having been built right next door. Still located in the "Sports Complex", well south of downtown, this beautiful ballpark has all of the modern amenities and feels very cozy and fan-friendly.
Downtown locations have their negatives in the form of traffic and even more difficult parking, but they do allow people to enjoy the city prior to the game rather than having to make a choice between an evening in town or getting to the game on time. Citizens Bank Park does not lend itself to enjoying a nice meal before strolling to the ballpark, which is a shame.
The field-level concourse wrap around the entire stadium and allows fans to stand and watch the game from any vantage point without being blocked by executive clubs, as in some new stadiums. What's more, there are high metal counters all the way around that allow standing fans a place to put their drinks or a plate of food, or simply to lean and relax.
There are nice views from the upper deck. You can see the skyline over left-center field, the sunset behind the left field corner, the Walt Whitman Bridge between a gap in the stands to right and even the smokestacks of the SS United States, an old transatlantic steamer permanently moored on the Delaware River.
The ballpark is very much the home of the Phillies, with Liberty Bell motifs all over, the old Phillies fight song painted onto a brick wall and pictures and baseball cards of Phillies greats spread around the concourse.
Surprising for a new stadium, the scoreboard is a reasonable size, large, but not over-the-top so that it doesn't draw the eye away from the action on the field. The crowd, as one would expect in Philadelphia, was energetic and engaged. This is not a ballpark whose intent is to entertain the crowd by itself, but rather to provide a comfortable and intimate setting in which to enjoy a baseball game.
And now my complaint. I suppose I will never get used to paying $18 to park, but it feels even more egregious in the sea of emptiness that is the surrounding neighborhood. There is no excuse for this other than that they can get away with it, but paying $8 for a ticket to have the run of an entire baseball stadium and $18 to rent a small rectangle of blacktop for three hours is just ridiculous.
The ballpark, however, is a gem and Phillies fans should be rightfully proud of it. No, I did not have a cheesesteak, having instead filled up with some marvelous shaved noodles, tofu pudding and donuts in Philadelphia's excellent Chinatown neighborhood and the Reading Market.
"The biggest and most unique aspect of the park is the massive Liberty Bell in right center field. This mechanical, lighted replica of the original bell “rings” and lights up after every Phillies home run and victory. As we were there for a day game, some of the luster was missing as it looked more skeletal rising 100 feet or so from street level, but I am sure looks very cool against the night sky. We did hear the bell ring after a Marlon Byrd 2nd inning homer, but the lights were not too visible on a sunny June afternoon. The view of the entire stadium and city in the distance was stunning and I am sure a capacity crowd here would have energized the place as the city’s fans are known for. Still, Citizens Bank Park is a great place to catch a ballgame.”
Reds perennial All-Star Joey Votto hitting a solo home run in the 1st inning of what would become a 4-2 Phillies victory.