We woke up on the morning of August 19, 2008 at home. But the baseball roadtrip wasn’t complete just yet. Tim, my dad and wife relaxed around the house all day while I went back to work. In the evening, Tim, my dad and I headed down to South Philadelphia for the fourth and final game of our first baseball roadrip: the Washington Nationals vs. the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The entry will be a little light on the pictures because, although it was my dad’s first game at Citizens Bank Park, I’d been there plenty and, following my first game ever at Great American Ball Park and Progressive Field and probably my third game ever at PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park just didn’t seem that special or in need of photographing at this game.
We parked in the Phillies lot to the northwest of the ball park and made our approach…
…we were in for a shock. Veterans Stadium was always at about 50% capacity when I went there and, while Citizens Bank Park always had good crowds, I’d never felt the need to pre-purchase tickets to a Phillies game. Yet, for this Tuesday night game against the Nationals (a team 25 games out of first place), all that was left at the ticket office was standing room tickets and “foul pole” tickets. We made the silly mistake of buying the $24 foul pole tickets rather than the $14 standing room tickets.
Tickets in hand, we entered the park and walked around so my dad could see the lay of the land…
Before heading to our seats behind the RF foul pole, we headed up to the rooftop bleachers walkway where you can get a good elevated view of the ballpark from centerfield…
Then we headed up to our seats. The late afternoon sun was blazing down in our eyes as we headed into our row of seats…
My dad and Tim were sharing a pretzel and were ready for some baseball.
So, how about that foul pole thingy the ticket salesman had mentioned. Here it is, the official “foul pole” obstructed view from Citizens Bank Park section 205, row 10, seat 15:
Well, its not too bad. It could be worst. For instance, if we were sitting in seats 13 or 14 instead of 15-17, we would have had a straight shot at the bulky part of the foul pole.
Here is a closer look of our view of home plate:
Actually, looking at it now, I doesn’t seem too bad. But it was pretty annoying. I was instantly thinking, “why in the world didn’t we go for the standing room tickets?” Really, it didn’t make any sense. That was what Tim and I usually got anyway. I think we got these because my dad wanted to have an actual seat — he’s old fashioned that way.
Anyway, we didn’t stay here long. In fact, I’m not even sure if we were still here when Willie Harris staked the Nationals to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run off of Joe Blanton in the top of the first inning.
I know, however, that we certainly were not in the foul pole seats anymore by the bottom of the second when former Mariner Greg Dobbs hit a sac-fly to score Ryan Howard and even the game at 1-1.
So, if we weren’t in our foul pole seats, where were we? You guessed it, we were in our usual $14 standing room spot.
One our way down to the field level, we swung by and said hi to an old friend who was “hanging out” in the field level 3B concourse…
It was time for an ice cream helmet…
…we went to our usual lady midway down the 3B line. Its as if she doesn’t know how to turn the ice cream machine off. She loads up a single ice cream helmet with enough ice cream to fill two helmets. As you can see, with two ice cream helmets worth of sprinkles topping the chocolate monstrosity, Tim greatly approved.
If you are looking for this uber-generous ice cream lady, go to the Old City Creamery behind section 137…
As happy as Tim was to have a mountain of ice cream, it was too windy for him at our standing counter space in the field level concourse.
So, with the score 4-3 Nationals, we relocated again to our final spot of the night. The standing room area behind section 243 in the LF porch. This spot was great because (i) it wasn’t windy, (ii) the seats behind us were elevated 5-6 feet so we could stand there without bothering the people sitting in the top section, and (iii) there was a big open handicap accessible seating area right in front of us with one one in it.
Of course, Tim wanted to play in that big open area…
…and this provided a very unique experience. The fans in Philadelphia are famous for being…well…not all that nice or polite. But on this night, they’d come to Tim’s aid. Tim was happily playing around in the big open space, not bothering anyone, when an usher who was working the ailse way between sections 243 and 244 came to kick Tim out of that area. She didn’t look happy or nice. She bent over to stearnly address Tim when from all around us we heard, “HEY, LET THE KID PLAY, LADY!!!!!! LET HIM PLAY! LET HIM PLAY! LET HIM PLAY!!”
It was great. The usher was obviously embarrassed by the public attention for trying to rain on a young boy’s parade. I could see a switch go off in her head. She turned to the crowd and yelled something in her defense…I can’t remember what it was. And then she told Tim to “be careful.”
By the end of the night, Tim was literally making her do races back and forth across the length of the handicap area — from section 242 to section 244. She ended up giving him a souvenir Phillies hat (I’ve never actually let him wear it). It was a pretty awesome turn of events prompted by the crowd coming to Tim’s defense.
As a side benefit, since she couldn’t kick Tim out, a couple more kids came to play with him. And she couldn’t kick them out either.
Maybe due to the outpouring of brotherly love flowing from the LF porch area, the Phillies decided to send the entire crowd home happy. Down by one run in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies tied it up at 4-4 as a result of singles by Pat Burrell and Greg Dobbs followed by a sac-fly by Chris Coste.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies took their first and final lead of the game on a solo home run by Jayson Werth.
Brad Lidge then nailed down the save — his 31st save of the season in 31 save opportunities.
It was official, happiness all around. We celebrated by making that usher take our pitcher in the once-forbidden handicap accessible seating area:
Stay tuned in June for reports from The (Third Annual) Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010.