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Saturday, June 16, 2007
I just watched the Phillies on tv have the bases loaded at Citizen's Bank Park against the Detroit Tigers during the bottom of the first on Saturday night. They looked like they were about to break the game open. To start off, Chase Utley hit a massive drive to deep right center, it appeared to be a homerun. Wrong, a fan reached out and made a great catch but pulled the ball up and over the fenced area along the front row of right center. Ground rule double it is ruled, and that fan probably felt like a complete idiot, and the fool of the ballpark for doing it. Welcome to Citizen's Bank Park... Up close and personal. I'll continue on with the inning. Ryan Howard walks and goes to first base. Pat the Bat is now up and this looks serious. Pat's up there looking at a couple pitches but what I notice isn't anything to do with the game on the field. I am thinking about the fans, here's a great opportunity and there is nothing but silence coming from the fans in a full looking Citizen's Bank Park. They're quick to boo, but do you think we can make some noise when the Phils have something going on? Nope, nothing ... Zilch, you can hear a pin drop! I don't entirely blame this on the fans and this may be the very reason that the Phillies are doing terrible at home. In the not to distant past, at Veteran's Stadium that place would have been rocking. The Veteran's Stadium crew would have had the 'clapping hands,' if your old enough to remember those, out on the scoreboards at the Vet! going crazy along with some cool organ music that made you want to clap and cheer and see your team succeed. Well, not at Citizen's Bank Park, not a peep from an organ, no sir nothing. To finish the inning Aaron Rowand gets hit by a pitch goes to first and loads the bases, then Abe Nunez promptly looks at called strike three and the inning is over! No music, no clapping hands before the pitch, no nothing. This is the problem at Citizen's Bank Park!
You've got a multi million dollar facility that basically doesn't have a soul. It's a nice place don't get me wrong, but very short on things to get the fans pumped up and moving a little. Have the Phillies brass forgot about all those wonderful things that used to make going to a ball game and watching the Phillies at Vet's Stadium such a treat. How about Phanavision? Did they forget that and all those cool things that used to be baseball in Philly? You had cool organ music and other things going on when the Phils got some offense going to get you excited and I think even the players got into it more at the Vet. I've already ranted about the seat size at the new ballpark, the seats are just too small, look on tv the next time you get a chance at a Phillies game then remember how close the people in the 'regular' seats are to one another, then watch an out of market game on ESPN and see the difference. In Kansas City last week, it looked as though if people had a least 1 1/2 times as much room as you do at Citizen's Bank Park. It's just not right. A couple weeks ago I sat up in Section 318 and I noticed a group of seats amongst the 'regular' sized seats that were the size of the premium seats there was quite a difference. In the middle of all these seats was 3 larger sized seats that looked so much more comfortable I just couldn't understand why they were located where they were. I was so moved by it that I took a picture of them before the game.
People are going to continue to go to games, they are going to continually going to be squeezed into small seats at Citizen's Bank Park, but can we have a little entertainment while we're knee to knee and shoulder to shoulder? It's not too much to ask is it?
Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils Blog