Forgive me for saying this (my blue pinstripes may be taken away for this), but I went to the baseball stadium in Philadelphia on Sunday and enjoyed the ballpark. The Mets lost (so what else is new). But my friend and I walked all over the ballpark and we really liked it.
There was a great atmosphere in the park. The home team is in first place. The fans were all into the game, and the day. Cheering on their failing closer and other stars. Making noise mostly without being asked to do so. Almost everyone there was wearing a Phillies jersey of some sort (they have a few different types, all represented in my section), and none of these were cheap knockoffs (and not saying all of our Mets jerseys are, and meaning that the proper colors were used for the name and number of the back of the jersey). The seats are all Phillies-blue (it's a seldom used color, but it's there), and it was a really good visual contrast with the fans in the seats wearing different whites and reds, showing you all of the team's colors. It was good. It was fun.
Walking around my eyes started seeing many comparisons to Citi Field. A Phillies fan may come to Citi Field and call it a cheap knockoff of the Philly park. So let me begin the comparisons in the outfield area.
They had lots of open space, wide and open concourse, varried concessions, sunshine, and just a feeling that this park belonged to the Phillies (I couldn't quite put my finger on it). The outfield area is the most unique. Wikipedia describes Ashburn Alley better than I do. Hidden behind the pictures on your TV is a Phillies Hall of Fame. A big, but not eye sore-big, scoreboard is over there too. And bullpens that you could spit into.
Except for the food, Philly set up the space better. A bar and grille named after a popular broadcaster (Harry the K's after Harry Kalas) - does anyone want a place at Citi Field called "The Happy Recap" named for Bob Murphy? A BBQ pit named after another well liked player ("Bull's BBQ" for Greg "The Bull" Luzinski, or for the Mets, "Rusty's"). The whole open area named for a popular Phillie player and broadcaster (how about Casey Stengel Plaza at Citi Field, I like it for the area above the Rotunda on the Promenade level).
Inside, where the color of the brick fits the Phillies scheme, there's plenty of Phillies stuff inside, but otherwise almost identical to Citi Field. Except that I noticed something while going over the pictures, something that Citi Field was lacking that I just couldn't put my finger on. Sunshine. The Philly ballpark main concourse is at street level, so the entrances from outside go right there. Openings in the brick castle. As someone once sang, "Let the sunshine in" (or was it "Let the sun shine in"?). The two parks were so alike that the layout of the concourse and steel in RF and the bridge from the 2nd concourse above me to the RF area looked almost exactly like Citi Field. Another thing inside, and a few of my blogger-friends can appreciate me saying this, were hanging banners of different Philly players. Something greatly missing at Citi Field.
Citi Field's Excelsior level seemed to be modeled after the second deck in Philly. My friend and I went up to our seats out in LF (this part is miror image from Citi Field - Citi has the LF landing and Philly has it in RF). We got up, went to walk, got two sections over, and got stopped at the entrance to the Hall of Fame club. The RF side looked bigger but we never got over there. Many suites, and many were full for a Sunday afternoon game. Their seating comes out to meet the regular folk.
Upstairs to the very open upper level (I think they call it the Terrace there). Very similar design to what Citi Field has, except for one big thing that I noticed in the pictures. There are no back walls, so it feels real open and the sun shines in (concessions along that side did have back walls though, but the concourse wasn't completely enclosed0. Even the staircases are open, and not enclosed (probably bad in a rain storm, though, to be open). This level also had a Phillies feel. Even the steel beams in the ballpark are the old Phillies maroon color.
They did appear to do something better in Philly - access to the upper seats (the seats above the concourse). It's a staircase underneath the seats that winds up to the middle of the section (think of the seats behind home plate at Citi Field where you basically walk over the club into the seats). So the fans in the first rows aren't distracted by those plexiglass railings and barriers, or even by people entering the seating area. That's really the way it should be.
One other thing that I saw on the LED ribbons was something that said "Welcome to Citizen's Bank Park - Home of the Philadelphia Phillies". Has anyone seen something similarly worded at Citi Field? Maybe I just didn't notice. My friend didn't recall seeing one.
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