MUSIC - I love music by the O'Jays
Photographed in 2002 and 2005 using film. Photographed in 2007 using digital.
Citizens Bank Park - Opened on April 12, 2004 and is still in use.
Location - 1 Citizens Bank Way Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- Bounded by Pattison Ave., S. Darien St., Phillies Drive.
Citizens Bank Park is heaven compared to it's former next door neighbor, the old Vet. After 33 seasons of bad astro turf, rats the size of cats, an ash tray feel of a stadium, and miserable clubhouse facilities, the Phillies moved into the modern era of parks. To say Citizens Bank Park is an upgrade is an understatement. To me, it is one of the best of the new parks. It ranks up there with Camden Yards just down I-95 in Baltimore, PNC Park across the state in Pittsburgh, and ATT Park in my area of San Francisco.
Citizens Bank Park was literally built in the shadows of the old Vet. Directly to the east of the Vet in the parking lot to be exact. Phillie fans going to games at the old Vet could watch the new digs spring up from the lot. Located just east of Broad Street on Pattison Avenue, the new park is part of the stadium complex. Directly across the street from Citizens Bank Park is Lincoln Financial Field, or the Linc as it as known. This is the new nest for the Philadelphia Eagles. To the direct west of the Linc is the Wachovia Center, which is home to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Wachovia Center was built on the site of old JFK stadium, the onetime home of the Eagles. JFK stadium stood from 1925 thru 1992, but is probably best remembered as the site of Live Aid in 1985. It was demolished in 1992. The original home of the Flyers is still standing directly to the north of the Wachovia Center. The original Spectrum still hosts small concerts and the Philadelphia Phantoms hockey team.
Opening day for the Phillies new home was on April 12, 2004. The opponents were the Cincinnati Reds. Randy Wolf was the Phillies starter on opening day. Bobby Abreu had the first hit in the new park. Ironically it was also the first home run. He connected in the first inning off the Reds starter Paul Wilson. The Phillies eventually lost the opening contest 4-1. The first victory would come one day later with a 6 - 4 decision over the same Reds. Rheal Cormier got the win with Billy Wagner getting the first save for the Phillies in the new park.
People have said its a "band box." It may have a distinct hitters advantage. Keeping the ball down is important here. After the 2005 season, fences were moved back 5 feet and raised 2.5 feet. This cut down the home runs a fraction. With boppers like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, they are going to get their share of home runs no matter what. Ryan Howard is the only guy to ever hit one in the right field third deck. The Yankees Mike Mussina served up the blast to Howard. The ball traveled an estimated 437 feet. The Phillies painted a white H on the seat where the ball landed. The longest bomb at the new park was also hit by Howard, when he cleared the brick backdrop in centerfield. It is estimated at 505 feet. The longest home run by a visiting player was hit on July 13, 2007, by the Cardinals Albert Pujols. I was fortunate enough to be at that game, and I watched as the ball flew on to Ashburn Alley.
Citizens Bank Park is a great place to see a game. A wide concourse circles the whole park. Lots of good places to eat dot the park. From Harry the K's in left field (named after Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas), to the bull's BBQ (former Phillie slugger Greg Luzinski's place), to Tony Luke's cheese steaks (my PERSONAL Philly cheese steak favorite), the park has a lot to choose from.
On a personal note, if you ever get to Philadelphia and want a great Philly cheese steak, GO to Tony Luke's. It is about 10 minutes east of the ballpark. It's on Oregon Avenue, just east of Front Street in south Philadelphia. My favorite is the pepperoni pizza steak. To die for. Pat and Geno's are OK, mostly tourist traps, but Tony Luke's beats them hands down in my opinion.
It is light years better than its old counterpart the Vet. As Citizens Bank used to be a parking lot for Vet patrons, now the Vet is returning the favor. Citizens Bank Park will be around a lot longer than the 33 years of the old Vet. GOOD JOB Philadelphia! You did it right!
The main entrance to the park. Just off Pattison Ave. You can see the Mike Schmidt statue to the right of the photo. It is just above the truck in the picture. Sept. 2007
The new park going up. Taken from Pattison street, adjacent to the Vet. 6/02
Looking at what is left of the old Vet. You can see how close it was to the new place. Photo from internet, date unknown.
The first base side of the park opposite the main entrance. June 2005
Opening day 2005. Shot from the parking lot where the old Vet was. April 2005
The first ever pitch to the Washington Nationals. John Lieber delivers to Brad Wilkerson of the Nats. April 2005
Mike Schmidt's statue in the foreground. The Wachovia center is to the left, and the old Spectrum is to the right. The Wachovia center was built on the site of old JFK stadium. JFK stadium is where live aid was in 1985. April 05
The Spectrum, Wachovia center and Lincoln financial field. That is Pattison Ave running east to west. April 05
Downtown Philadelphia from the upper deck. April 05
Looking west, you can see the huge dirt lot in the middle of the picture. That is where the Vet once stood. It is in the process of being paved over for parking. You can also see the Connie Mack statue at the bottom left of the picture. April 05
Another shot of where the Vet once stood, and how close it was to the Spectrum. April 05
The eastern entrance to Citizens bank. You can also see a jet in the middle of the picture. Philadelphia international airport is about 10 minutes south of the park on I-95. April 05
A great view of Lincoln financial field. Warehouses were once on the site of the Linc. April 05
Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles new nest. April 05
Another view of the Vet site. The Phillies team store is at the right of the picture. April 05
Citizens Bank Park from the Linc parking lot. The clouds are grey as a huge thunderstorm is approaching. I ought to know! I flew out that day and was stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours at the airport due to this storm. July 07
A good view of the Spectrum. I saw one Flyers game there in 91 (pics to follow at some point) and I liked it. July 07
The Wachovia Center and the old site of JFK stadium. July 07
The Linc from the Spectrum parking lot. July 07
Approaching the park on Pattison Ave. July 07
The main entrance and a huge crowd. Cardinals vs. the Phillies. On this night, Albert Pujols hits the longest home run ever by a visiting player. He hit the ball off Phillies reliever J.C. Romero. July 07
The "liberty bell". It glows and rings after every Phillies home run. July 07
The rooftop bleachers above Ashburn alley in the outfield. July 07
Home plate in the visitors bullpen. July 07
Chase Utley has just homered and the bell is going off. July 07
The view from Ashburn alley. You can see the 2 bullpens. The one on the bottom is the Phillies, and the one at the top is the visitors. Philly fans are known for being kind to the opposition (insert sarcasm here!). July 07
Looking at Ashburn alley. Named for former Phillies great and hall of famer, the late Richie Ashburn. July 07
The concourse behind third base. July 07
More concourse shots behind third base. July 07
The main entrance at night. I wish I could have done a time exposure, but no tripod. July 07
Another view of the park from the Linc parking lot. July 07
The marker outside the gates where the Vet once stood. September 07
Another marker noting the site of the Vet. Sept 07
The first base concourse. They are alot wider than the old Vet. Sept. 07
A great view of the bell and Ashburn alley. Sept 07
A very crowded Ashburn alley. Sept 07
To the right is memory lane. A history of Phillies baseball right behind the batters eye. Sept 07
Another view of memory lane. Sept 07
Ashburn alley and the rooftop bleachers. Sept 07
Ashburn alley, the alley store and the rooftop bleachers. A fun place to hang for the game. Sept 07
The left field seats, and Harry the K's restaurant. Named for team broadcaster Harry Kalas. Sept 07
Downtown Philadelphia at night from the upper deck. Sept 07
The Linc at night from the upper deck. Sept 07
The Wachovia center at night. Sept 07
The bull's bbq in the right field corner. Greg Luzinski is always there signing autographs. Sept 07
A great new park. The Vet was long obsolete. A new park was needed for both the Eagles and the Phillies. The city of Philadelphia should take a bow. They did both stadiums right. And they kept them in the same area as the old Vet. Citizens Bank Park is at the top of my new park list. Very comfortable, great sight lines, great food, easy accessablity, lots of seat room. If you ever are in Philadelphia, take time to stop in and see a game. It will be well worth it. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a strong 9. Sept 07