San Francisco Giants v. Philadelphia Phillies @ Citizen�s Bank Ballpark

The Philadelphia Phillies were blown out by the San Francisco Giants yesterday by a score of 16-6. Barry Bonds hit HR number 689 and JT Snow saw his 2004 HR total jump to nine from a previous six. Snow also walked twice in the game but unfortunately whiffed on a home-run swing in his last at-bat on a 3-2 count.
I attended the game last night, and came away dissapointed by the ballpark. Unlike SBC Park in San Francisco, which I visited earlier in the year, Citizen�s Bank doesn�t bombard you with the name of the park, although it gets tiring to see �Welcome to Citizen�s Bank Ballpark� for an hour and a half straight on the scoreboard (we entered the gates at 5:30). About SBC, I wrote that �the stadium is nice, sure. Clean, attractive, but completely and utterly devoid of personality.� I got the same feeling about Citizen�s Bank Ballpark, but even worse. There were no quirks.
SBC had a big glove in left field, McCovey�s Cove, an entertaining scoreboard, and a great view of the bay. Citizen�s Bank Ballpark has an annoying scoreboard (more on that later) for the most part, nothing noteworthy outside of the playing field (such as the big coke bottle and glove at SBC) and the �view of the city�s skyline� which is incredibly generic these days.
Citizen�s Bank Ballpark is 200 yards from the Philadelphia Eagles� digs, Lincoln Financial Field. Lincoln is a more modern structure, while Citizen�s Bank jumps on the �new park that looks old� feel that started with Camden Yards and is horribly generic these days. PNC Park and SBC Park are the last of this new feel that was acceptable. The designers of Citizen�s Bank Ballpark really mailed it in, didn�t make the park noteworthy at all.
We ate at McFadden�s, a restaurant that was part of the park, then headed into the park. The concourse was very similar to SBC, it was wide and open, with lots of restaurants – unfortunately, the same three restaurants over and over again. They had a good selection of food, but I didn�t find it very wide-ranging, like the Red Sox have. If you walk all over the park, you are pretty much blown away by the choices of food you have.
Like SBC, to get down to the grandstand, you have to walk �down� to the seats. The concourse has an open view of the field, not like Fenway. If you�ve never been to Fenway, when you enter the park, it is all enclosed by concrete, and you have no view of the field. If you need to go to the bathroom or get food, you lose sight of the field as soon as you walk down the ramp to enter the concourse. We took the ramp up to our seats after watching batting practice. I sat in Section 420, Row 10, Seat 10 ($20 bucks). This was high up, behind home plate.
The only thing of note I found very interesting and cool was the fact their bullpens were double-tiered. The Phillies bullpen was on ground level, and above them, on the second story, were the Giants. Great space saver that I think the Red Sox should look at. This is only an idea, but why not rip the bullpen up, put seats in there, then put double-tiered bullpens in the Green Monster (with plexiglass covering the bullpen of course). The question would then be what to do with the scoreboard, but it was only a thought.
Generally, Phillie fans are very appreciative of hits that the Phillies get, and good plays. Outside from those bursts of cheering, though, I found a general lack of �energy�. I have yet to feel energy at any park other than Fenway. (My pedigree: Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium (former Padre digs), Veterans Stadium (former Phillie digs), Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals), SBC Park, Citizen�s Bank Ballpark.)
The Phanatic was as always, hilarious. Flashing the crowd, taunting the Giants. One thing I found great was when the announcer announced the Phillies� starting pitcher, Brett Myers. The Phanatic made the sign of the cross and then pretended to pray. The Giants players were getting a kick out of this, and loved when the Phanatic started flapping his arms and making aggressive gestures when center-fielder Marlon Byrd was announced.
Ah, the scoreboard, which I hated. It is a behemoth with �PHILLES� smack on top. It was a large scoreboard. The bottom part was video, and the top part was just black-and-yellow. If you�ve been to ballparks, you know what I mean. The problem is that basically, the scoreboard was the only place you could look for Balls, Strikes, and Outs. They made it really hard for you to find it, it was in small type stashed away in the corner. That was very annoying. It is beyond belief how easy it is to find out the count or outs at Fenway. Another thing I detested were the stats they put up when batters came up to the plate: AB, H, R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG. No walks or OBP! Insane.
Some interesting things that happened during the game:
In the bottom of the second, Brett Myers came to bat. Jason Michaels had gotten on via JT Snow being pulled off the bag, resulting in a safe call on a groundball Michaels was sure was an out. Marlon Byrd then hit a ball to Ray Durham, who couldn�t handle it. Pedro Feliz, the third-baseman, ran through some signs to inform everyone how to handle the bunt that would be coming up with Brett Myers. The rookie SF pitcher making his second start didn�t know what the signs were, so Feliz told him. So Feliz was CLEAR on what was happening, for he gave the signal.
Myers bunted to Feliz, who looked to third and saw no-one covering, then threw to second, pulling Durham off the bag. Michaels would have been safe anyways. The bases were loaded, and the scoreboard played Homer Simpson repeatedly going �D�Oh!� The only good thing about the scoreboard all day. Placido Polanco then had a run-scoring single, Chase Utley knocked in another run with a single, and then the rookie Giant pitcher, Brad Hennessey, got Thome, Abreu, and Lieberthal to make outs.
Another thing the scoreboard informed us was Jason Michaels� career statistics versus � Colorado.
Brett Myers was pinch-hit for by another pitcher, Randy Wolf, who had just hit two home-runs in a previous game. Wolf got a very good hand from the fans, and sharply rifled a liner back to the pitcher. The pitcher knocked it down and threw Wolf out at first.
In the top fourth, there were men on first and second with one out, and Bonds was at the plate. They decided to pitch to Bonds, but a wild pitch advanced the runners, so Phillie pitcher Brian Powell (Wolf did not come in to relieve, Wolf was a starter, and just pinch-hitting) decided to walk Bonds. Lieberthal called for an intentional ball two and three. Powell then took the ball back after the third ball and started walking around the mound, preparing himself for the next batter. He had thought he walked Bonds. After realizing this, he walked rapidly do the mound, did a half-hearted wind-up and threw ball four. Never seen anything like it.
Former Phille Ricky Ledee (traded for Felix Rodriguez at the deadline) pinch-hit to a good hand, and struck out. With the blowout, the Phillies finally pitched to Bonds (they either intentionally walk Bonds, pitch around him, or actually pitch to him � I find it incredible he has 30 HRs in 230-odd at-bats, considering he has about 400 plate appearances) and Bonds crushed a homer. The Phillie fans liked this and gave him a good hand. Hey, it�s Barry Bonds, chasing history, and already written in as one of the top ten players ever to play the game. You have to appreciate every time you get to see him play in person.
And that was the game. I don�t know about you, but I prefer Fenway over any other park. Good thing I visit Fenway tomorrow. Hopefully Arroyo will go for the series win, not to salvage a lost series.

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