Sunday, July 12, 2009

Smashed Penny: Betsy Ross House

When I quickly went into the Betsy Ross House to see a small Play Ball exhibit on July 8, 2009, I got a smashed penny in the gift shop. Mik did not go in, so he did not want a smashed penny from here. The only one I got ended up being a rather pathetic smashed penny, as it did not end up working out very well. It does have the design of the 13 Star Betsy Ross Flag, but it has the words Betsy Ross House Philadelphia barely on it.

Smashed Pennies: Independence Visitors Center

At the visitor’s center for the Independence National Historic Park back on July 8, 2009, we found a penny smasher machine with a few designs. All of the designs have a back design that says Independence! Visitor Center. Mik and I both got the same two designs here.

One has an image of the Liberty Bell with a star border. I am not sure what is up with it have the six stars in the middle, but there are 13 stars on the top border and 13 on the bottom border, which seems to symbolize the 13 original colonies or might just be a coincidence.

The other design has the more normal dotted border. In the center is a design with Independence Hall in the center. Around Independence Hall it says City of Firsts Philadelphia.

Baseball Museum 12: Play Ball A History of Baseball in Philadelphia at the Betsy Ross House

Most of the places we visited in Philadelphia other than the Phillies game was left to Mik to decide to do or not. There was one thing I learned about after we got there, though, that I forced him to let me do anyways because it was baseball related. This was the Play Ball: A History of Baseball in Philadelphia at the Betsy Ross House. By the way I only have photos of the outside of the Betsy Ross house, since no photography was allowed in the exhibit.

The Play Ball: A History of Baseball in Philadelphia is not very big and is housed in a small room at the back of the gift shop. There is a small admission if you want to go into the Betsy Ross House, but I was able to go to just the baseball exhibit for free. This area is also the only accessible part of this attraction, so Mik could have seen it even though the actual Betsy Ross House is not an accessible place. Mik did not want to, though, so Dad just stayed with him in the car while I quickly saw this small exhibit.

The exhibit tells the history of baseball in Philadelphia, which is kind of similar to what we later saw in the Ashburn Alley area of Citizens Bank Park. This is actually more simplistic of a timeline than at the park, but there are actual items to see here. The items on display include seats from Shibe Park, seats from Veterans Stadium (you can actually sit on these), 1929 World Series tickets, brick from Shibe/Connie Mack Stadium, Philadelphia Athletics jerseys, old Phillies jerseys, 1950 World Series tickets, and 2008 Philles World Series Champions stuff including tickets, champagne bottle, and base.

I enjoyed going to this small exhibit. It is way better than just seeing the timeline at the park since it has actually artifacts to see first hand. The Betsy Ross House was a somewhat crowded attraction, but everyone that came in while I was looking at the baseball exhibit skipped it and went straight into the house. They might have come to see early American history and baseball history does not quite go that far back, but this exhibit is worth stopping at as it does have early Philadelphia baseball history.

Day 50: Liberty Bell and Other Historical Spots in Philadelphia

On July 8, 2009, before going to the Phillies game we stopped for Mik to see some of the historic sites of Philadelphia. His request was to see the Liberty Bell and since it was his morning to choose what we did we ended up not going inside Independence Hall. We did miss a few things by letting Mik make the choices, but at least he behaved at the game that night and was not a butthead until the next day other than having a fit in the Phillies parking lot, however that was just Dad being obnoxious trying to run the bases with Mik.

The first stop as we toured parts of historic Philadelphia was the Independence National Historic Park Visitor Center. Here I got my National Park Passport stamped and we picked up a map before continuing to the Liberty Bell. Center

The Liberty Bell is housed in a building that sits on top of the site of the slave quarters that were next to the Presidential House, which served as the ‘White House’ while Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. They have the walls of the buildings part of that complex marked outside along with a display about the Presidential House that once stood there.

Visiting the Liberty Bell begins by going through displays about the history of the bell. It is very well done with lots of info, but also a good amount of artifacts to look at as well. One of the most interesting things is a cast of the words on the bell displayed in a flat line right before you get to the bell. You are encouraged to touch this partial replica of the bell to keep you from touching the real Liberty Bell. At the end of the building is the Liberty Bell in a room with windows that give a view of Independence Hall, where it was once located.

After seeing the Liberty Bell we walked in front of Independence Hall and took some photos. We then headed to the graveyard where Benjamin Franklin is buried. We looked at his grave site from the other side of the fence and that was it. I really wanted to go in the graveyard, which only cost about $2 a person, but Mik again said no.

Car Sticker Update: New York Mets

For the New York Mets we did not just get a team logo sticker like we have done for most teams. We went with the special Inaugural Season one like we did for the Yankees. Not that the new field for the Mets deserved a special sticker for the car, but oh well we got it before we really got into the rest of the park and experience the rather monotonous ballpark experience that is going to a home Mets game.

The sticker is actually pretty interesting. It has the Citi Field Inaugural Season 2009 logo on the left side. On the right it says New Home of the Mets with the Mets being the Mets baseball skyline logo. Also on the right is a view of the ballpark, but it is kind of crappy at least when put on the dark window of the car. It can be noticed if you get close to it, especially if you know to look for the outline.

Day 54: Anderson Jockey Lot Market

This morning Dad dropped Mik and I off at the local flea/farmer’s market here in South Carolina on his way to church. We spent about two hours browsing through the place. There was some great stuff, although not as much as the website made it seem like there was. Perhaps it is bigger on Saturdays.

We only spent $49 on stuff plus a little more for a birthday present for Mom, which I cannot post about until Tuesday. Most of the stuff we got was for Mik, but it was all pretty good deals. Mik got Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer DVD for $5 and Lakers The Complete History DVD set for $10. He also found Top Spin 3 for the Nintendo DS for $12. He also found a Grumpy Happy Meal toy that he had to have and the only way to get it was to buy the whole set of the dwarves, so that was his $10 splurge. The things I choose to get were four packs of Olympic Centennial Trading Cards for $0.50 each, a bundle of baseball cards for $1, Eight Men Out DVD for $4, and Flyboy DVD for $5.

Accessibility Review: Citi Field

Citi Field is rather accessible being a brand new park this year. It was a disappointing baseball experience with no unique character to it, but at least the accessibility was pretty much as expected from a modern ballpark. There really is not any major complaints about the ballpark in terms of accessibility and most of the complaints are related to just the general experience here.

Parking at Citi Field was rather easy. We parked in Lot F, which is accessed through Gate 3. It is a reserved parking permit lot, except for those that need the accessible spots in the front of it. The spots are right in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, so nice and close to the stadium.

Our tickets said to enter through the Rotunda gate, so that is what we did. The whole going in is part of the disorganized mess that the Mets staff and ballpark are, which is inexcusable for this late in the season even though it is a new ballpark. You can technically go in through any line, as there are access gates between each turnstile. However, after bag check is security wand check and the bag check guy said we had to wait for an escort to go further. This makes absolutely no sense for us to wait standing in the way for a supervisor escort that never appeared. They soon just let us go through and the whole situation was confusing and only Dad ended up even being wanded. I do not see why they could not just keep the process moving by wanding Dad and I and patting Mik down like they do at the airport. Not that they seem to care much in the end anyways.

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda is where the Team Shop is located. The Team Shop is not very accessible at all with it being very cluttered with displays. It did not help that it opened 15 minutes after the park and by then the crowd to go in was quite large already. Mik could not even get to the stand the mini bats were in and Dad even knocked down a large banner stand because the area to stand next to the mini bats was so small and crowded by the banner.

The Rotunda itself is somewhat interesting, but on the bottom level the only thing to really see is the giant number 42. The main stuff, though, is the murals on the top of the Rotunda. The poor design with the maze of escalators and stairs, however, make them rather impossible to see from the bottom. I suppose you could see it from the top, but the elevator up does not drop you off there and we forgot to go try to find the way into it from the top level. By the way the elevator up from the rotunda is rather small and was barely big enough for Mik and the two of us much less the one staff member that squeezed in to go up at that time.

Once up on the main concourse the accessibility issues end. The concourses are wide as expected from modern ballparks. Also, the elevators up to the seats are more normal sized than the one near the rotunda. They are large like the ones at Yankee Stadium, but they are good enough, especially since there was not a crowd trying to get on them like at the Yankees.

Our seats were in section 413. The section is located right in front of the windows of one of the club seating areas. Thus it seemed to for the most part have minimal foot traffic behind us and very few people straggling to stand and watch the game. However, for several innings a photographer was annoyingly behind us using a monopod. It was quite annoying to have him standing right behind me do continuous shots when they could have been considerate and moved down just a little to where no one was sitting.

The view from the seats was pretty good, though. The bar in front was a little high, but it angles towards you at the top, so Mik could get up close and see quite well. Sitting in the permanent seat, though, the bar was in the way for me unless I say on the very edge of the seat because the seats are rather far back from the bar. One of our spots was one with a fold up chair, so I ended up switching with Dad and was able to get right up to the bar like Mik and then the view was unobstructed. We were up above home plate mostly looking over the backstop net, so the view of the whole field and scoreboard was great.

Overall the seats and accessibility turned out pretty good, especially since we left through a different exit than the rotunda. The view of the game and the seats having cup holders make the upper seats great, especially since they are raised enough above the row in front that seated it is always possible to see over people in front even if they are standing up. The decent accessibility, however, does not make up for the rather bland ballpark experience that lacks any atmosphere.