Citizen’s Bank Park. It’s empty now. There’s still some leftover snow on the ground and the trees are mid-winter bare. It’s cold.
A casual passerby might not realize that within the space of a a few days all that will dramatically change. The trees might take longer to bloom but temperatures will inevitably rise, snow will melt, birds will sing, and the fans will come – millions of them.
It’s time for the Philadelphia Phillies to return from their spring home at Bright House Field in Clearwater and take up permanent residence at CBP. It’s where they belong.
On most days from April through the end of September (hopefully, October) over 44,600 zealous “phan-atics” will fill all 21,000 parking spaces in the sports complex, sit in every sapphire blue seat and visit all 61 public restrooms each furnished with a baby changing table. Dads take note.
When they’re not changing babies, fans can stroll the spacious 360-degree main concourse that keeps them visually linked to all the action on the field.
CBP is a place of unexpected beauty. From 1,000 trees planted around the ballpark to stunning flowers gracing both bullpens to wall-climbing ivy which forms the batter’s eye in center field, even a non-baseball fan would find it a pleasing venue.
And if the structural and horticultural aesthetics don’t entertain, there’s more.
Home games at CBP also feature a living legend – the Phillie Phanatic. This environmentally green, huggable, and overly rambunctious mascot keeps children and adults entertained throughout games.
Forbes Magazine voted him (her?) the best sports mascot in the country in 2008 and 2011.
CBP has also seen its share of baseball excellence including the Phillies defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays to win only the second World Series championship in franchise history.
It’s interesting to note that the first pitch at CBP was thrown by the Phillies Randy Wolf on April 12, 2004. It then took six and a half years for the first no-hitter to be thrown at CBP. Phillie pitcher Roy Halladay accomplished that feat on October 6, 2010 against the Cincinnati Reds in game one of the NLDS.
Just days away, the curtain on the current season will soon rise. The date on which the last game in 2013 is played at CBP is still to be determined. Sometime time late in October would suit the Phillie faithful.
The fans who make the journey to CBP this year will bear witness to it all. From the thrills of victory to the agonies of defeat.
No matter the outcome. This is one great place to watch a ballgame.