If there ever was a team that needed a new stadium it was the Philadelphia Phillies. The concrete wasteland that was known as the Vet was the biggest abomination in the history of American sports. Veterans Stadium was home to the worst turf in baseball, a court house in the basement, and more rats than all other stadiums combined. The wrecking ball finally came and the Phillies moved across the street to the baseball-only Citizens Bank Ballpark.
This is what Old Jeb from the Beverly Hillbillies must have felt like moving into his new digs. Talk about an upgrade! The Phillies went from having the stadium in the country to having one of the best.
Citizens Bank Ballpark has great sight-lines, lots of fan interaction and above all, one of the best food options in Baseball. To my knowledge there is no one on this earth who has enough will power to walk down the faux street “Ashburn Alley” and resist the smells of an Authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteak. Or how about some crab fries from Chickie and Pete’s? It contrast to Philadelphia food culture, this park also won an award for having the most Vegetarian options in MLB.
Citizens Bank also passes the test when it comes to beer they pour. The options are the best at Brewery town, where they specialize in local beers, imports and microbrews. It’s worth searching out one of these stands and getting your brew there.
Another thing that makes Citizens Bank so great is that fans can have different experiences depending upon where they sit. The lower seat area’s are reserved for the baseball purist types. The upper decks are mainly reserved for families and the outfield sections are great for the causal fan who is just looking for a place to hang out with their friends.
Most of the seats are pretty decent, but some of the upper deck seats (especially the outfield section) are pretty far from home Plate. This is made up for by the very large video board in left field. There is a great out of town score board on the right field wall. If you are looking to save some coin, there are plenty of standing room only spaces to watch and enjoy the game.
McFadden's is a bar located on the third base entrance. It’s a “Irish” bar that is open year round. It’s the substitution for the lack of nightlife activity in the immediate stadium area.
Most people drive to Citizens Bank. Interstates 76 and 95 intersect right there in South Philly by the ballpark. The Walt Witman Bridge from New Jersey practically casts a shadow on the park. Philadelphia’s under developed expressways are a complete mess, even during the best of times. During a game day, it’s brutal. Fortunately the Broad Street subway line runs from Center City right to the sports complex. This is by far the best option if you are coming from Center City.
Citizens Banks however, is not perfect. For one, the area surrounding the park is a virtual wasteland of parking lots, warehouses and sleepy urban neighborhoods. The only real option for a bar outside of the stadium is Chickie & Pete’s and even that is a bit of a drive. Tony Luke’s is a great place to snag a hoagie (The Roasted Pork come highly recommended).
Citizens Bank is one of the Crosshair Guides favorite ballparks. What it lacks in history it more than makes up for in charm and amenities. No wonder Phightin Phils put together this first championship in 25 years. They finally have a place that players want to be, a place where fans want to be, and place that the City of Philadelphia can be proud of and call home.