Friday, April 15 – Nationals 9, Phillies 1. The Washington victory thrilled my baseball side, and a pleasant evening exploring Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia got the ball park side off to a good start. CBP offered good food, easy access, and one of my top criteria — excellent game views while standing on the concourses. This was the first stop of the season, so opinions may shift as more comparisons come into play.
Access: This three-game weekend is the trains part of the summer. I took Amtrak from New Carrollton, MD (close to my office) to Philadelphia and the made an easy $1.80 connection on SEPTA (the subway) to CBP, a short walk from the station. On-site ticket purchase and random questions went great with the very helpful Sue. Return after the game to Amtrak for the overnight trip to Boston was just as easy.
Seats/Pricing: I like to watch from high behind the plate. A front-row seat in the top tier cost $30, which seemed okay, especially with no convenience fee or other add-ons. Others who were walking up and asking for the cheapest available were generally paying $16.
Views: Great views of the Philly skyline from up high before dark. Not so much after dark when there was little visible lighting from the buildings or the bridge to New Jersey.
Food: I asked some ushers what the best food was. They sent me to Tony Luke’s for a cheesesteak. I endorse their recommendation. Lots of beef, sharp provolone, and a foot-long bun for $11.00, a fair ballpark price. I guess that’s why there was a long line!
Beer: A variety from basic $7.75 draft at a Bud stand to a selection of more than 20 labels at Brewerytown from $8.75 to $13.50.
Crowd: 22,624. Maybe a third full, though announced more. When Michael Taylor homered on the second pitch of the game, resignation set in among regulars around me, and it grew quickly when the Nats added four more runs in the first. The biggest reaction not spurred by “More Noise” signs on the scoreboard was the repeated booing of ex-Phillie Jason Werth, who quieted the dissidents with a bases-clearing double in the first.
Men’s rooms: Basic one room, concrete block. Clean early, pretty clean late.
Neighborhood: CBP is in an open area close by venues for the Eagles, Flyers, and 76ers. No real streetscape.
Art and visuals: Many huge arrays of blooming tulips. Bigger than life-size statutes of past Phillie greats such as Mike Schmidt and Robin Roberts. Not great art, but good for stimulating memories.
Baseball moments: In the ever-expanding world of replay, there was a double protest on an apparent double play. The Nationals appealed the out call at first base, and it was reversed. So the Phils appealed that the new slide rule should have been imposed at second for a double play. But they lost. And, Bryce Harper homered. (Don’t be fooled by the 42; it was Jackie Robinson Day, so everyone wore 42.