Wednesday, July 8, 2009
After pathetic Mets game and the dismal experience at Citi Field last night it did not take much to make tonight more enjoyable, so of course the experience at Citizens Bank Park was a million times better than last night. It is not quite the best ballpark, as Wrigley and Fenway are definitely above it, but it is among the best of the modern ballparks about on level of Jacob’s Field and Yankee Stadium. It might seem better just because of yesterday’s experience and otherwise I might see it as a middle of the road ballpark with little bad and a good amount of positives. However, I really think it is a great ballpark even if the Phillies are currently leading the division the Nats are in. It is not like the Nats are in contention for anything as they pretty much have last place in the bag for the whole Majors, so I have no bad feelings toward the Phillies in that respect and even rooted for them to beat the Reds tonight.
We got to the ballpark around 4:15pm and barely got into the Team Shop before they closed until one and a half hours before the game. It was so much better to get that out of the way first thing again compared to the crowded late opening store at Citi Field last night. After the shop we headed back to the parking lot. No I am not mentioning that to simply inform you that we put the souvenirs in the car. The real reason to go back to the parking lot was to go to the far end and find the statues marking the old Phillies park, Veterans Stadium (I think the NFL Philadelphia Eagles also played here), and the markers for the bases, pitching mound, and home plate. More to come on that in a separate post eventually, though.
After exploring the parking lot and Dad totally annoying Mik by trying to run the bases with him, we headed to the Ashburn Alley entrance to the park, which opened two and a half hours before the game. Only the outfield Ashburn Alley area is open until about an hour and a half before the game, but at least here you enter an area with plenty to do and everything open. Here we saw the timeline history of the Phillies the Phillies Wall of Fame. There is plenty of food options here and really the best place in the park for food, but we were not that hungry and just got some fries to share, drinks and found a place to sit until the rest of the park opened.
Once the park opened we just headed to our seats. Not sure if there is anything worth seeing beyond the stuff in Ashburn Alley, but I am pretty sure it is just shops and food places beyond Ashburn Alley. Our seats turned out to be good and the accessibility was great as expected from a modern ballpark other than Toronto, which proved to be a poor accessible modern ballpark.
The game was a great one, especially in comparison to last night. It started with some great pitching with only 3 total hits allowed by the two starting pitchers in the first three innings. Then the 4th was a hitting inning with the Reds scoring 2 runs and the Phillies scoring 1. The Phillies tied it up with a homer in the bottom of the 6th. Both teams then remained scoreless until the bottom of the 9th when the Phillies scored a walk off run. The run was scored with a single to the outfield with two outs and a man on second (the winning run that ended up scoring) and a man on first. By the way the winning run was an RBI by Victorino, who is one of the five finalists for the last position on the National League All Star team. I would not be surprised if fans vote him in, as the Phillies were really promoting voting for him and they have a large fan base having sold out a lot this season and coming off being World Series Champions last year. Of course, I want the last player to by the Nats player, Christian Guzman.
Overall tonight was a great baseball game experience and something we really needed after last night. I am so glad we did not have to go more than one day between seeing the Mets and another ballpark, as it is nice to get a good ballpark back to being fresh in my mind. Of course, it helped that Mik was well behaved once he got done with his fit in the parking lot and the game began. With it tied in the 9th, though, he was getting ready to throw a fit if the game went into extra innings, so thank goodness it did not and the Phillies still won in an exciting way (some may say nail bitter way).