Ballpark Survival Guy’d: Citizens Bank Park

Cincinnati Reds v Philadelphia Phillies, Game 2

Citizens Bank Park  l  1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148  l  Official Website

Our next installment within the Stadium Guy’d tour takes us to Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, the newest sports venue in the City of Brotherly Love.

Opened in 2004, CBP is the seventh ballpark for the franchise – and never has viewing the Phillies been such an experience.  Gone is the AstroTurf, rabid fans and shoddy video monitor of Veteran Stadium and in its place is the perfect blend of history, food and more.  The old Vet might be gone but if you walk around the parking lot adjacent to third base, you’ll still see markers of where the bases once were.

Fun Facts

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Originally founded in 1883 as the Quakers, the team changed its name to the Philadelphians a year later, which was soon shortened to Phillies.
  • The Phillies have won seven pennants (NL championships) and two World Series in both 1980 and 2008 – a team Chase Utley lovingly referred to as World F***ing Champions!
  • Philadelphia shared two teams – the Phillies and the Athletics – from 1901 to 1954, at which point the Athletics moved to Kansas City, before making Oakland its home.
  • The Phillies’ mascot, the Phanatic, is often revered as the best mascot in sports.

Ballpark Perks and Information

Citizens Bank Park tour

The Phillies offer fans a chance to tour the park, including the dugout, the broadcast booth and more.

Hands on History

Given their tenure in Major League Baseball, the Phillies have a rich history and the franchise made sure to show it off at the ballpark.  Ashburn Alley, named after Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn and located behind the outfield, features a statue of Ashburn, along with a Wall of Fame and Memory Lane – which is a look back at all of the years of Phillies baseball.   

Is Food Prohibited?

While CBP does not allow cans, glass bottles or open containers, food is permitted into the stadium, though we’d recommend placing it in a clear bag – coolers are prohibited.

Snapshots

Where to Take Your Picture

Behind home plate, with the city in the background, is certainly a must.  Along the first base line, in sections 112 to 108 are perfect for a celebration, as the 102-foot tall Liberty Bell “rings” and lights up after every dinger and home victory.  The first several rows in left field are also great.

Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies

There are several statues that can be found in and around the park.  Legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas is located behind Section 141, Richie Ashburn, as we mentioned, is in Ashburn Alley, Hall of Fame pitchers Robin Roberts (at the First Base Gate) and Steve Carlton (at the Left Field Gate) and lastly, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is fittingly located at the Third Base Gate – all are photo-worthy areas.

Citizen Bank Park Attractions

Ashburn Alley

  • All-Star Walk: Granite markers pay tribute to the Phillies who have participate in the mid-summer’s classic, which dates back to its inception in 1933.
  • Games of Baseball: An interactive area featuring video trivia game, where participants can compete for prizes, as well as a game for fans to throw at targets.
  • Bullpens: Located in right field, the bi-level bullpens let fans get up close and personal with their favorite Phillies relievers – and those on the opposition.  The section above the bullpen that is closed to the public 30 minutes prior to first pitch and remains closed until the game’s conclusion.
  • Rooftop Bleachers: Inspired by the stands on North 20th Street outside the old Shibe Park, this section typically offers special pricing, as well as food offers and events.
  • Starting Lineup: The Phillies’ starting lineup can be found at the left field gate in the back of the stadium and features the players on 10-foot tall baseball cards.

The Phanatic

The green, bi-pedal creature was spawned after the 1976 and has become a staple at each and every Phillies home game.  Complete with a back story that included his origin from the Galapagos Islands, the Phanatic often imitates popular Philadelphia icons and drives around the field on his ATV.  Every game, he spends a few minutes shooting hotdogs into the crowd and dancing on the dugout home team’s dugout.  These tactics are much calmer than when he used to skydive into the stadium and live on the edge.

Shopping

  • Majestic Clubhouse Store: Open year-round, the two-level clubhouse store not only serves as the starting point for ballpark tours, but also as the main point for merchandise.
  • Mitchell and Ness Alley Store: Named after Philadelphia’s most successful sports retailer, the store offers plenty of vintage jerseys, hats and more.  But it’s only open during home games.

Where to Sit

Although there is not a bad seat in the house, there are one or two areas that stand out as exceptional – but it really all depends upon the viewer’s preference.  If the hitter’s perspective is your thing, sections 118 through 120 are for you.  If you like the pitcher’s perspective, you can’t go wrong with section 143 – but beware, you cannot see the main scoreboard, although sometimes tickets are cheaper. 

Even the standing room only seats are a smart buy.  Throughout the park are metal counters around the concourse which fans can use to lean on or serve as a tray to eat some of CBP’s goodies.

The Phillies virtual venue can be viewed here.

What – and Where – to Eat

This could be one of the most difficult decisions of your experience.  CBP is always among the tops when it comes to stadium food and was ranked No. 1 by Food Network in 2007 and for good reason – there’s plenty to choose from.

  • McFadden’s Bar and Grill: Located at the Third Base Gate and open year-round, McFadden’s offers some local flare and has become quite the popular postgame hangout.
  • Crab Fries: The No. 1 ranked sports bar in the U.S. has the city’s favorite snack – crab fries.  Chickie and Pete’s took the French fry and simply added an Old Bay-type seasoning to it.  Sure, Maryland had done it long before, but add in some melted American cheese for dipping, and it’s safe to say Philadelphia does it as good, if not better.
  • Bull’s BBQ: Located at the east end of Ashburn Alley, it’s named in honor of former outfielder Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, who greets fans at every game, and serves up solid barbecue.
  • Harry the K’s Bar and Grille: Named after Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas and located at the base of the scoreboard in left field, the sit-down restaurant offers a wide variety of finger foods and sandwiches.
  • Cheesesteaks: You certainly have your choice of cheesesteaks with both Campo’s and Tony Luke’s located in Ashburn Alley.  While we’re somewhat partial to the latter, you cannot go wrong with either choice.  Just make sure you say “Wiz Wit” (a cheesesteak with cheese wiz and onions) or “Wiz Witout” (a cheesesteak with cheese wiz and no onions).
  • The “Schmitter”: Quickly becoming a CBP staple, the Schmitter is a delicious concoction thought up by a local bar.  Made up of cheese, special sauce, grilled salami, steak, more cheese, tomatoes, fried onions, more cheese and a kaiser bun, it’s a must.  Make sure to pair it with a local brew by the folks at Flying Fish or Victory – and grab some napkins. 

You can find a full list of concessions, including healthier choices, here.

Where to Party with the Locals

Given that the sports complex is located in somewhat of a factory district, there isn’t too much around.  Your best bet is Xfinity Live, which is chock full of bars, restaurants and a huge viewing area.  It might be packed on gameday but it is well worth the wait.  But if you don’t mind walking:

Hotels

Top Rated on Yelp, Closest to CBP

Much like with the restaurants, your choices for places to crash are somewhat limited.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/holiday-inn-philadelphia-stadium-philadelphia-3

http://www.yelp.com/biz/courtyard-philadelphia-south-at-the-navy-yard-philadelphia-2

Where to Visit Nearby

With the city of Philadelphia basically at your fingertips – within a short subway ride – there’s no shortage of places to visit.  Do your best Rocky impersonation at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, check out the Liberty Bell, get some grub at the Reading Terminal Market, or track down Paddy’s Pub (owned by the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).  You’ll be glad you did.

Phillies CBP Moment You Need to Know

The stadium is still in its infancy, so it’s safe to say that winning it all in 2008 is the greatest moment CBP has experienced to date.  It was Philadelphia’s first major championship in 25 years, after all.  

What Locals Don’t Want to Hear

  • Anything about, well, basically any other team – specifically the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets, the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees.
  • Anything bad about cheesesteaks, CBP or your other opposing sports teams.
  • The hometown athletes – because sometimes that’s their job.
  • People trying to start ‘the wave’.

Don’t Wear…

Anything by the aforementioned teams, or anything by the opposition.

Numbers to Know

Fans can confidentially text the word “PHILLIES” to 69050 for any questions or concerns.

Transportation Tips

Car

Driving to the venue typically isn’t much of an issue.  It can, however, get a little tricky around rush hour.  I-95 is typically your best bet, as sometimes I-76 can get randomly backed up.  If you are downtown, your best better is most certainly public transportation.

Parking prices range from $16-$32.

Public Transportation

As per the Phillies website:

SEPTA’s Broad Street Line is the absolute best route to all the events at Citizens Bank Park.  AT&T Station is located at Broad & Pattison – a short walk (about 7 mins) to Citizens Bank Park.

Ed Miller is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty