Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Training 2013 - Day 7

Day 7 - March 12, 2013 - Tigers-Phillies @ Clearwater

Day 7 had me traveling to Clearwater, Florida, to see how the Philadelphia Phillies fans live during Spring Training. The Phillies play in 10 year old Bright House Field, named for a local cable television company, which was built as a replacement for their long-time spring home Jack Russell Stadium, also in Clearwater. And the Phillies phans phlock (okay, flock) to Clearwater to fill this ballpark.

The Tigers bounced back from yesterday's massacre beating the Phillies 10-5 with most scoring coming in the first half of the ballgame. The Tigers got to Phillies ace Roy 'Doc' Halladay. A couple of home runs hit in the game.

There are some really nice features at Bright House Field. There are no hidden concourses, like you have in most spring training stadiums. Concessions run down the base lines and behind home plate, just in back of the wide concourse which is at the back of the seating bowl. All with some view of the field. There are suites and a press box and a small amount of upper level seating on a second level that covers the concourse area, mostly behind home plate and towards first base. That provides a wide area of cover (good for today since it was raining up until game time) and shade (good for today since the sun came out before the end of the game). The steel and signage reminds me of the Phillies regular stadium, Citizen Bank Park, with the font used and the color (their dark maroon color from the 1980s).

The other nice feature in the stadium, which I think is becoming a trend in new stadiums in both Spring Training and the big leagues, is the 360 degree concourse. Well, in this case, it's a 360 degree walkway. There's a rather large Tiki bar beyond the left field wall where fans congregate followed by both team's bullpens in left-center, and then berms on either side of the Center Field batter's eye, so they need walkways to access everything, so it was all connected with the main concourse. That also leaves lots of berm seating to help increase the capacity to over 8,000.

It does look like it could a bit of an upgrade in the OF scoreboard and video screen and maybe a new paint job to refresh the color. They could also use better parking. They have fields about a block away (doesn't seem like much, but it was a long walk back to the car after the game, and they had a shuttle bus running before the game because it was raining). And it was $10 to park there. It seemed like they had some land a bit closer to the ballpark (at least on the same side of the street) to use for parking.

But overall, if you can get past the Phillies fans, it is a good ballpark.

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