As Phillies fans we get to watch the majority of our team’s games at Citizens Bank Park. After a few seasons, we’ve all become accustomed to where our favorite vendor spots to hit up are at. If I want a Yuengling I know where to go for it, and when the mood strikes I know exactly where to go for a Schmitter. I know where I like to park and I know where I like to sit. What about road games? That gets a bit more difficult due to the fact that we’re unfamiliar on another team's turf.
I haven’t travelled as much to see the Phillies as I have to see the Flyers, but I’ve done some good trips and whether they’ve won or the lost most of the time I’ve had a good time. As a visiting fan, you have to be prepared if the Phils lose you’ll get some trash talk, and if they win the home fans will automatically pull out the "Philly fans are the worst" cliché. I’m going to go over a few of the places I’ve traveled. I’ll even throw in a few things I would recommend about the city to try so if you ever find yourself in one of these places you might have an easier time then someone without any recommendations.
The first Phillies trip I ever took was to see the Phillies take on the Cubs at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Prior to the trip, there was a slight chance the series was going to be shifted to U.S. Cellular. This was because part of the stands had concrete falling from them posing a danger to the fans below. Fortunately for us, the city of Chicago deemed it safe and as a precaution the Cubs put safety netting throughout the stadium.
This was my first time in Chicago and on the way to the stadium I was lost and several people realized who I was and instead of giving me directions simply said "Good luck finding Wrigley Field," but I was able to find my way and before walking in I walked around the stadium to take in the sights and heard a lot of trash talking from the roof tops. It was nothing severe it was just "You Suck" and other simple things. During the game, I remember the fans in my area being polite and showing good baseball etiquette so I won’t go into trashing the fans.
The games while I was there is a different story. I had tickets to the Friday and Sunday games. Saturday was a day to see the city. Friday, the Phillies jumped out to a quick lead on home-runs by Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell. Both would go on to hit two homers each, but the Phillies would drop the game by a score of 10-7 in a game that had eight home runs hit. So yes, the wind was blowing out that day at Wrigley. The next day was the MLB trade deadline and I didn’t have tickets to the game so I called my family and spent the day with my cousins watching the game that the Phillies won across the street. The rubber match was another Cubs win by a score of 6-3. This game was also Nomar Garciaparra’s first game with the Cubs after being dealt there the previous day.
The following season, I did see a game at U.S. Cellular in a game between the Sox and Dodgers. It doesn’t have the same aura as Wrigley, but I like the environment better there. Unless you count being herded to our seats like cattle to prevent people with upperdeck seats from walking around the lower concourse after highly publicized incidents of fans attacking players and umpires. The concessions I remember getting were hot dogs and Chicago’s Old Style beer. If you go to Chicago I recommend you check out the bar scene if that’s your thing. The bars are open ridiculously late and I remember getting in at five and being annihilated.
Last season after the Phillies got Roy Oswalt in a trade with the Astros, I called up a few friends, including Kornhole’s Alley writer, Jim Korhan, to go down and welcome him to the red pinstripes. We weren’t the only ones making the trek down there as hundreds of Phillies fans made the drive down south to Citizens Bank Park Jr, or CBP South in Washington D.C. The game sucked and the prices were too high. The fans had no etiquette and we missed half the game as fans were continually walking up and down during at bats. They don’t have a please wait until the at bat is finished policy, and it was very frustrating. Add that to the fact that the Phillies were playing a terrible game it made for a bad night.
Korhan and I decided to walk around the stadium and see what they had to offer. Quite honestly, it’s nothing in my opinion. Don’t let this persuade you not to go though. If you do buy the cheapest tickets and just go out into the bar in center field. The beer selection is better than the rest of the stadium and it’s the best environment in the stadium. We stood there for two innings and no one said anything to us. If you find yourself attending a game in D.C., I recommend finding the exit as quickly as possible and leaving. Just kidding. I suggest you take a ride up New York Avenue and check out the Kentucky Fried Chicken we stopped at.
By far the best trip I’ve been on was the trip I took to San Diego last year. The Phillies won both games I was at and the stadium was full of Phillies fans. It was like Citizens Bank Park South West. There weren’t many Padres fans there that would trash talk since it was mostly a family affair out there. After the game, we found a few fans who would yell things about our reputation, but nothing serious. The stadium, in my opinion, is awesome. I know some who don’t agree, but I loved the palm trees out there and the park out in center field was great. One of the games, I attended people were allowed to bring their dogs and it was quite a site to see a parade of dogs on the field prior to the game.
The games were both Phillies wins. The tickets we bought were OK for the first game considering we walked up to the box office. We were put in the second deck in right field, but it was a good view. The next day was an afternoon game and I decided to try Stub Hub and found great tickets for a great price. We sat just below the Western Metal Supply building in left field and it shaded us very quickly after we got there. The section for the second game was almost all Phillies fans. We were the first to arrive and Padres fans said we picked a bad section to sit. For the next half hour, Phillies fans were piling in until the Padres fans were outnumbered and were upset there were so many of us. The one downside of the stadium is that you can’t walk around the lower level without having to go up and down steps a few times. The outfield is a lot lower than the rest of the stadium so therefore you have to walk down the steps. It’s really only an issue if you’re drunk though, so I guess it’s not bad.
I’m partial to San Diego since I was stationed in the area while in the Marine Corps. The city has so much to offer. Beaches, bars, restaurants, Sea World and of course the world famous San Diego Zoo. The zoo was amazing. There was too much to see in one day. The nightlife is great if you’re in the gas lamp. We ate at a place called Brian’s 24 and the portions were enormous and were so good. Also if you want to drive, in Carlsbad California which is forty minutes north there’s a good night life also. For breakfast, we did the Broken Yolk which also has ridiculously large portions and was featured on Man vs. Food.
After those trips, I still see CBP as home sweet home. I could go further into it, but this is already long and I want people to actually read it.
To view more of the San Diego photos click here
Quick tidbits for the week from Kornhole:
-- Last week’s article I discussed the Phillies offensive woes and screamed not to worry. I believe I also guaranteed an offensive explosion. I was wrong about the explosion but I still feel people are panicking.
This team is trecking out there Mike Martinzez, Pete Orr, a freaking Sardine, Wilson Valdez amongst others night after night. Fear not my friends. Chase Utley returns tonight. He may not come out hitting like Ichiro but he will help this offense. Let’s see what happens over the next two months. I believe that the Rube will make a move.
THIS WEEK IN PHILLIES FUTUREThe Phightins embark on a four game homestand with the Sweepinati Reds. It’s the return of everyone’s favorite Phillie. The Icon of Philadelphia the one and only Vance Worley. Vance fills in for Fat Joe Tuesday and will pitch a dominating 6 innings but it won’t be enough.
I think the Phils actually split with the Reds this week and take 2 of 3 from the Mets. A 4-3 record. I honestly believe the offense will continue to struggle until next week when they bombard Washington and the official "Hitting Season" that Charlie speaks of officially begins.
I’ll be back in full swing next week. Thanks Eugene for another great article. And don’t forget to e-mail me at email@example.com. Peace out Cracka’s! Go Phightins!