On Tuesday evening, I made my maiden visit to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, a city once labeled by Maxim as "a glorified piss break between New York and Washington."
A photo album has been posted (the usual few good ones, the rest whatever) on my Fotki account, and here's how things went down:
Having arrived early, travel partner J-No and I took in some batting practice from the right-field seats. That's when Derek Jeter almost broke my right hand. Yep, El Capitan scorched an opposite-field drive into the stands, close enough for me to reach out and try to make a one-handed stab. It hit me flush, but all I caught was a sting for the next 15 minutes. About two pitches later, another missile came within several feet of me. No fucking way was I going after it.
Sampled a CBP specialty sandwich called The Schmitter, which is basically a cheesesteak with fried salami, tomato and special sauce. Thankfully, I didn't have to run for the Schmitter after eating it. Good stuff.
The guy who wore a Yankees cap and a Cowboys jersey to that place? That took balls, man. That being said, I didn't see a single fight, even thought the locals were a little less receptive to this NY invasion than, say, Baltimore. But really, who can Philly even try to rag on? Among cities with teams in all four major sports leagues, Philly has suffered the longest without a championship (Sixers in 1983). Those fans chanting "Yankees suck!" is like the folks at Ask Jeeves busting on Google.
In the middle of the first inning, the PA announcer delivered a lengthy warning that abusive, disruptive conduct and pretty much any behavior associated with being a modern-day assclown will not be tolerated, and that patrons are encouraged to seek stadium staffers if a problem arises. Thought that was pretty cool.
If anything could make me chuckle during the national anthem, it's seeing the Philly Phanatic cover his heart. I mean, that's just a little bit corny, no?
If Ryan Howard had hit a bomb off Mariano Rivera in the ninth, giving him three home runs, a triple and all 10 of his team's RBIs in a one-run walk-off victory, that may have been the greatest solo act in baseball history.
To the steady stream of people who hit the exits during a seventh-inning tie at 9:30 p.m.: You came to the park why?
Bernie Williams went 5-for-5, with two extra-base hits, yet managed just one run scored and one RBI. That's pretty hard to do when your teammates notch 10 additional hits, three walks and a HBP.
With his double-play ball to end the eighth inning his second of the night Alex Rodriguez had accounted for six of the Yankees' 24 outs up till that point.
J-No and I agreed that the scoreboard looked like it read Red Sux 8, Nationals 0, in the second inning, at around 7:20 p.m., but it was too early in the evening and Livan Hernandez's number was still on the board (he wouldn't have lasted that many runs, I surmised). Soon thereafter, we saw it change to Red Sux 2, Nationals 0. Now that made more sense. What was possibly an 8 really had been a 0, as we'd hoped. A couple innings later, it actually did become 8-0 Sux. Can't even compute the odds on that coincidence.
Citizens Bank Park was much like Camden in its kick-ass-ness. Open-air, great views, huuuge scoreboard, lots of food and drink stands, no wait to take a piss and, best of all, plenty of public areas to move around, shoot photos and watch the game from a variety of vantage points. Counting the days till the new Yankee Stadium opens.