Philadelphia Phillies: Ranking Citizens Bank Park's Top 10 Moments of 2011
The Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in the MLB, and they have had some great moments at home in Citizens Bank Park. Whether it's Hunter Pence or Cliff Lee making a debut, or it's an exciting play, there have been a lot of great moments this year.
When a team is 83-46, and 46-22 at home, they are bound to not only be an excellent team but also be exciting to watch.
This Phillies team has battled through injuries and adversity to take over a healthy lead as the No. 1 team in baseball.
There have been many great moments this year, one of which was the best in baseball this season and perhaps beyond. If you want to know what I think could be the greatest moments in a stadium in AT LEAST a decade, keep reading.
Honorable Mention: Cliff Lee Makes His Phillies Debut...Again
Cliff Lee was a great pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies when he was traded to them in 2009, and when he decided to sign with the Phillies during the offseason, we were all waiting to see his debut.
Lee did well, only allowing four hits and three earned runs in seven innings pitched, and the team won 9-4. The best part, however, was that Lee struck out 11 batters, recording more than half of his outs with the strikeout.
Phillies fans were excited to see Lee again, and he has gotten better and better this season and will appear on a few more slides.
10. Cliff Lee Closes out Incredible June
Cliff Lee had a historic month of June for the Philadelphia Phillies, going 5-0, pitching 42.0 innings, allowing only one earned run, striking out 29 batters while walking only eight, and recording a 0.21 ERA for the month. Lee made four of his five starts at home, and his last was his best.
Lee had a formidable foe when he took the mound against the Boston Red Sox and their league-leading offense. Lee, however, didn't get the memo, and he shut down the Red Sox like they were a Little League team.
Lee pitched a complete game shutout (his third in a row), allowing only two hits while striking out five batters. Lee's two hits and 112 pitches were his lowest of the month, and the fans were partying the whole time.
This was a great moment in Citizens Bank Park, but it is not even Cliff Lee's best.
9. Chase Utley Returns from His Injury
Chase Utley is one of the most important players for the Philadelphia Phillies, but he started the year on the shelf. The Phillies struggled to put up their normal offensive numbers to start the season, but Utley's return sparked the Phils.
Utley returned to Philly on May 23, and the team won six of the first seven games Utley played in.
Utley has been a hero for the Phillies over the past four seasons, and his return was a great moment for the Phillies and their fans.
8. Chase Utley's Inside-the-Park Home Run
On July 26 in the home-opener against the San Francisco Giants, Chase Utley gave the fans something to cheer about. While trying to prove that they were still the dominant team in the National League, Utley smashed an inside-the-park home run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Chase Utley started things off by hitting a pitch thrown by Barry Zito off the top of the center field wall. The ball then skipped away from the outfielders.
Utley rounded second and took third easily. He then decided not to wait for a teammate and sprinted home, just barely getting under the tag at the plate. The crowd went nuts over Utley's third inside-the-park home run of his career.
7. Domonic Brown Blasts Two Home Runs
Domonic Brown was supposed to contend for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, but he started the season on the DL for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Brown returned to the team on May 21 and showed off his power on June 14. Brown stepped up against the Marlins and hit two home runs in their 9-1 bashing of the fading Marlins.
Brown showed the Phillies Phans what he could do, and the excitement from the stands that night was incredible.
6. Cliff Lee's First Career Home Run
Playing in the AL for most of his career, Cliff Lee didn't have a lot of at-bats for the first seven-and-a-half years of his career. While Lee has the ability to hit well for a pitcher, he never had the chance to hit the long-ball.
Lee certainly showed that he could hit in his first game with the Phillies in 2009, hitting a double that fell less than 20 feet short of being a home run.
His first career home run, however, was not until this season, when he hit a ball 399 feet off of Atlanta Braves' pitcher Tommy Hanson. His home run was the only run for the Phillies in the 4-1 loss, but the fact that Lee did as much as he could that night was impressive, and the fans appreciated it.
5. Hunter Pence Makes Phillies Debut
Hunter Pence was the biggest name traded at the 2011 MLB trade deadline, and he went to the Philadelphia Phillies. Pence is an All-Star in the middle of the best year of his career, and the expectations for him were sky-high.
Pence made his Phillies debut on July 30, and his reception was one of the warmest we've seen in a while.
Pence being added to the Phillies' under-performing offense had great impact, and the fans expected it. This was why his reception in his first game at Citizens Bank Park was such a great moment.
4. Walk-off Home Run in 10th Inning to Beat the Braves
July 8 was a great day for the Philadelphia Phillies, as they beat the Atlanta Braves to put themselves 3.5 games ahead in the NL East.
The teams were tied 2-2 after nine innings, and the opening game of the pivotal series headed to extras. It was in the bottom of the 10th inning that Raul Ibanez showed why he is still starting for the Phillies.
Ibanez came up to the plate and smashed a walk-off home run to right field on a 2-0 pitch. The Phils won the game because of Ibanez, and they added one more game to their lead on the Braves. The crowd went wild because of the walk-off, and even more so because it came in such an important game.
3. Wilson Valdez Does His Best Babe Ruth Impression
May 25 was a day to remember for the Philadelphia Phillies, their fans, and especially Wilson Valdez. What started off as a game against the Cincinnati Reds went to extra innings. The two teams couldn't finish each other off after 10, 11 or even 18 innings.
The Phillies were burning their bullpen arms, and they turned to infielder Wilson Valdez to pitch. Yeah, Valdez.
Valdez came in an pitched a scoreless top of the 19th, hitting one batter but retiring the other three. The Phillies then won the game in the bottom of the 19th, and Valdez was the winning pitcher.
So who was the last player to start a game in the field and then be the winning pitcher? Babe Ruth, hence the title of this slide. This was definitely a game to remember.
2. Mayberry's Opening Day Walk-off
John Mayberry, Jr. is one of the Philadelphia Phillies outfielders, and he was the hero on Opening Day against the Houston Astros.
The Phillies were trailing heading into the bottom of the ninth. They then strung together some hits, tied the game and loaded the bases with one out for the pinch-hitting Mayberry.
As the outfield crept in, Mayberry hit a ball over the center fielder's head, winning the game 5-4 for the Phils.
Mayberry was an unlikely hero in a game that needed saving, and the Phillies began their great 2011 campaign with a win.
1. We Got Osama
This has literally nothing to do with the players, but everything to do with the fans.
On May 1 on Sunday Night Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the New York Mets. The teams were tied in the ninth inning when the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed broke.
The world watched the game between the rivals, and the breaking news flashed on the screen. The fans soon got word from their phones and other mobile devices, whether they were told by friends watching the game or they looked it up.
The news slowly reverberated around the stadium, and Phillies and Mets fans joined together in chants of U-S-A, U-S-A. Bitter rivals put their differences aside, and they celebrated the death of the man responsible for thousands of deaths on September 11, 2001.
The fans of America's favorite pastime showed their love of the USA, and while the players did not know what was going on, they were soon filled in and also rejoiced.
This video gives me chills, and it is the best moment in Citizens Bank Park this season, in the MLB this season, and—in my opinion—the best in sports in years.
Josh Schoch is an aspiring sports writer, bringing you everything related to the MLB, NFL, NBA, college basketball, the US Open and much more. Follow him on Twitter.