A View From The Park: Philadelphia

NOTE: This post is the fourth in a series of Features describing the author’s first visits to various MLB ballparks around the country. After stopping in Pittsburgh on my trip across the country to take in a Pirates game at PNC Park, I finished my drive east at my birthplace of Philadelphia, where a week spent among my relatives culminated in a visit to the Phillies’ home, Citizens Bank Park.

My gameday experience at Citizens Bank Park was unlike my other ballpark visits this season, for several reason. For one, I was not alone in Philadelphia; I was joined at the Phillies’ game against the Boston Red Sox by several of my relatives. Indeed, one could fairly say that I joined them, as my aunt and uncle bought the tickets and treated me to the evening at the park.

That fact—that I did not buy my ticket—also meant that I did not choose my seat but took what was given to me. As it turned out, we were destined for the park’s “Hall of Fame” club area—a mezzanine level that fronts a high-end, restaurant-style facility that sits within a section of the concourse devoted to greats and memorable moments from the team’s past. All well and good, I suppose, but that’s the sort of thing one can appreciate on a leisurely second or third or thirty-eighth visit to the stadium; for my purposes, my primary interest lies in the fan’s experience in watching the actual game. And so my focus remains, for this as well as future reports.

Speaking directly to that focus, I can report that the fan’s experience watching a game at Citizens Bank Park is…OK. Not spectacular; just OK.

Pregame Citizens Bank Park Panorama
A panoramic view of Citizens Bank Park from my seat in the Hall of Fame level just before game time

Continue reading A View From The Park: Philadelphia

A View From The Park: Pittsburgh

NOTE: This post is the third in a series of Features describing the author’s first visits to various MLB ballparks around the country. The first two visits, to San Diego and Anaheim, happened during an April visit to Southern California. The third stop, at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, was the first of several stops planned during a cross-country trip from California to Philadelphia and back.

I screwed up.

I was in Pittsburgh on Saturday, June 10th, having arrived in the Steel City the day before after four days of cross-country travel. I woke up early enough to take in downtown Pittsburgh’s Saturday morning scene, including a walk down to the Fort Pitt site at the famous confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, before returning to my hotel room for a little relaxation and a pre-game nap.

The nap part, it turned out, was a mistake.

Roberto ClementeThe great Clemente stands guard over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

I set my alarm for 5pm, certain that that would get me to the ballpark in plenty of time for the game. Unfortunately, that night’s game was actually that afternoon’s game, with a 4pm start. When I woke up, they had already reached the third inning, and I had to hot-foot it back through downtown and across the iconic Roberto Clemente bridge to join the game in progress. By the time I found the available open entry–most of the gates were closed by the time I arrived–got up to the third level, bought my food, and settled into my seat, it was already the top of the fourth inning and the visiting Miami Marlins were ahead 3-1 over the homestanding Pirates. Continue reading A View From The Park: Pittsburgh

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Best Served Cold

You know what they say about revenge, don’t you? Well, there’s a group of basketball players who’ve been know to hoist a few shots in Oakland who can vouch, after Wednesday night’s game, that the old saying is very, very true.

And they have Kevin Durant for playing the Master Chef and serving up a frosty platter to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of Game 3.

Kevin Durant: Golden State’s Master Chef of revenge

And make no mistake: after the Cavs knifed the Warriors in the back in last year’s Game 7, that win Wednesday night was not just revenge in the form of a return stabbing — it was more like KD took a chainsaw and carved up the James gang like a Texas maniac. Continue reading Best Served Cold