Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way, 215/463-1000,
No team has lost more games for more years and in more torturous ways and circumstances than the Philadelphia Phillies. The oldest pro team in the city, the Phillies have been instilling cynicism into the hearts of baseball fans since 1883. They’ve won a grand total of one championship—the World Series of 1980.
In 2007, they lost their 10,000th game, setting a record for most losses of any professional team in any sport in American history. Their one World Series victory shines bright as a lonely reminder of one of the few periods of success and optimism in the franchise’s history.
Before this starts to sound totally depressing, I will add that many superb ballplayers have worn the Phillies uniform, and every so often a great team takes form and gives the fans a wild and unexpected run. The Whiz Kids of 1950 and the ragamuffin squad of 1993 gave the city thrilling rides to the World Series before losing—both remain etched in the memories of fans. The 1964 team was 6.5 games in front with just 12 games to play when they lost 10 in a row and missed the playoffs, becoming forever the gold standard of choking in baseball.
In 2007, the Phils led the biggest comeback in MLB history to beat the Mets and become the National League East Division champs. It was their first playoff run in 14 years, and the city rejoiced, if only briefly. The team was swept by the Colorado Rockies in the next series—the first time since 1976 they were swept in a series.
But despite long stretches without a playoff appearance and a multitude of bad free-agent signings, bungled trades, and unfortunate injuries, the fans keep wearing their Phillies shirts and caps and trudging to the ballpark every summer. The current team shows much promise and fans hope that the trio of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins (2007 National league MVP) will someday join the Philly legends class.
Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, replacing the cavernous relic of Veterans Stadium. While many die-hard fans were resistant to the change, the bright, clean, modern stadium has been a big hit with fans and a major marketing tool for the franchise.
Always a great spectator sport with its unique rhythm and laid-back atmosphere, baseball in Philadelphia is, more than ever, a fun night out. Crowds are a mix of families, couples, college kids, and rowdy fanatics, all united in the mostly fruitless endeavor of cheering the Phillies towards victory.
It should also be noted that the one member of the organization who always does his job is the mascot, the Phillies Fanatic—hands down the greatest mascot in all of sports. He alone is worth the price of admission. Tickets, relative to the other sports, are affordable and easy to snag, ranging $14–100.
Tickets are usually available on game day. And, though it’s illegal, it’s also not uncommon to encounter scalpers before the game.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition