The new home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Park hosted it's first game on April 12, 2003. This ball park is very different from the previous Phillies home, Veterans Stadium, which was a multi-purpose stadium that was also the home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Citizens Bank Park holds 43,647 Phillies fans. Unlike "The Vet", this park was built just for baseball. And what a great place to see a ball game! I've been there many times and it's just a neat place.
Walking out of the Citizens Bank Park parking lot, you can enter the park through the center field gate and you'll find yourself in "Ashburn Alley" which is a tribute to Phillies Hall Of Famer Richie Ashburn. It's called Ashburn Alley after the slightly over grown grass along the third base line at the Phillies old Shibe Park, where Ashburn was famous for dropping down bunts that just stayed fair.
Ashburn Alley is a walkway featuring restaurants, games and memorabilia from Phillies history. Ashburn Alley also features a memorabilia shop and a large bronze statue of Ashburn directly behind center field, as well as the U.S. flag, the flags of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia, a POW/MIA flag and the flags from the Phillies' championships.
As you stroll around this open air stadium, you can see the playing field from just about everywhere. The bull pens are located in center field just below the railing. You can stand just several feet from the pitchers.
The playing surface is natural Kentucky Bluegrass which is much better than the old artificial turf. It just looks like a baseball park.
In 1998, the Phillies, Eagles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers made requests to the state of Pennsylvania to replace Veterans Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium with four brand new stadiums. Pressure for the new venues increased when a railing at the Vet collapsed during an Army/Navy football game.
The Pirates threatened to leave Pittsburgh in 1997 which helped convince Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh to approve the plan.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia legislature was stuck in a debate over the location of the new stadiums. The Phillies originally wanted a downtown location. The team and the city announced that the site would be at 13th and Vine streets, just north of Interstate 676, within walking distance of the Center City downtown district. There was enormous support for this location from fans and businesses, but residents of the city's China Town section protested. It was eventually decided to build the new Phillies Ball Park next to where Veterans Stadium was demolished, and the Eagles got their new Lincoln Financial Field right next door.
The Phils new stadium was named when on July 17, 2003, Citizens Bank agreed to 25 year, $95 million dollar naming rights deal.
Originally, the two tiered bull pens had the Phillies pitchers on the top level. This was switched in 2004 so that the Phils pitchers could have a better view of the game and to heckling by the Philadelphia fans. After the 2005 season the left field fence was moved back five feet. Even with the longer left field, 149 home runs were hit here in 2009.
The park features many food and drink stands including "Bull's Barbeque" which is operated by former Phillie Greg Luzinski. Also "Harry The K's Bar and Grille" named for the late Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas
The park's dimensions are 329 feet down the left field line and 374 in the left center power alley. Straight away center field is at 401 feet. Right center stands at 369 feet and it's 330 feet down the right field line.
Citizens Bank Park is such an awesome place to see a ball game you have to see it to believe it!
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