Tag Archives: Citizens Bank Park

Five things for Phillies fans to be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day

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The Phanatic and the beautiful Citizens Bank Park are among many things for which Phillies fans should be thankful

 

Despite an eighth consecutive season without a winning record or postseason appearance, there remain a number of things for Phillies fans to be grateful when it comes to their favorite ball club on this Thanksgiving Day 2019.

In that spirit of gratefulness which most of us are examining on this uniquely American holiday, here are five things in no particular order which I believe all Philadelphia Phillies fans can agree on being blessed to experience.

ACTIVE, DETERMINED OWNERSHIP

It has become clear over the last two decades that few members of the Phillies ownership group are more interested and invested in winning than John Middleton.

Over the last five years in particular, Middleton has taken a more active role, becoming the public face of that ownership group. Three years ago, Middleton was elected as the club’s “control person”, making him directly accountable to the commissioner’s office.

Last off-season, it was Middleton’s direct involvement in the Bryce Harper negotiations that finally lured the young superstar to Philadelphia.

The owner has proven his willingness to get personally involved, and to write the big checks necessary to lure the biggest names to the Phillies. For that, we fans should all be grateful.

FRANCHISE HISTORY

This could be laughed off by anyone who wishes to point out that fact that the Philadelphia Phillies have suffered more losses than any professional sports franchise in American history.

However, most of that massive losing took place in the 1930’s and 1940’s. For the last four decades or so, the Phillies have given fans much to cheer, including 11 division crowns, five National League pennants, two World Series championships.

The Phillies have also become one of the best teams in all of baseball at celebrating their history. Numerous reunions and other celebrations and memorials of players and other significant figures are frequent and always well done.

The Phillies Wall of Fame has become a particular highlight. Established in 1978, there are now 41 individuals enshrined on the wall. Each year, one new person is added. The coming years will see many recent-era favorites join their ranks, with historic celebrations to honor those players and their teams.

CITIZENS BANK PARK

There are few more beautiful ballparks in all of Major League Baseball than this now 15-year-old shrine in South Philadelphia.

The facility itself is gorgeous on the outside, but it is even more so once you enter. From many sections you get a panoramic view of the downtown skyline. The open concourse allows a view of the game action from nearly everywhere you walk. Sight lines and seating angles are perfect no matter where you purchase.

The food options at Citizens Bank Park are the envy of baseball, in fact, of all sporting venues in the nation. From traditional Philly fare such as cheesesteaks and soft pretzels to traditional baseball fare such as hotdogs and Cracker Jack to pub-style bar food and sit-down restaurants, the ballpark has it all.

Chances to purchase all manner of clothing, paraphernalia, and memorabilia abound. You can find these items as well as the great food selections around the concourse, or along the outfield in the gathering spot known as Ashburn Alley.

There is plenty to keep the kids occupied. At the outfield section known as “The Yard” they can experience a miniature version of the ballpark, challenge themselves with a rock climbing wall, and more. In the Phanatic Phun Zone, smaller kids can lose themselves in a Phillies-themed playground.

And then there is that favorite of Phillies fans of all ages, the Phillie Phanatic. The big green fuzzy guy has entertained fans for more than four decades, and has become a beloved, and still fun, institution.

NEW GENERATION PLAYERS

When the Phillies began to turn the page from the winning decade of the 2000’s, the process of moving on from a host of fan favorite players was excruciatingly slow.

However, over the last year or two, new players have emerged from the farm system to become favorites to a new generation. The club has also swung a few key trades and made free agent signings to bring in more popular players.

Homegrown favorites include pitcher Aaron Nola, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and versatile Scott Kingery. Trade acquisition J.T. Realmuto and free agent signee Bryce Harper were the two best Phillies players during this past 2019 season, and promise to  remain fan favorites for years to come.

Management and ownership are now under a mandate from the fans to continue adding to this new base of favorites, bringing in a few more players to finally push the team over the top and back to consistent contending status.

Oh, and of course, I would be remiss to not mention that we have a new manager with a mostly new coaching staff. Joe Girardi is a proven winner who did so in the media and fan crucible of the Big Apple. He was the Phillies fans choice, so again, someone for whom we should be grateful is now on board.

HOT STOVE ANTICIPATION

Just as with a year ago when the Phillies were considered leading contenders to land either Harper or the other major free agent, Manny Machao, this off-season finds the club again under the ‘Hot Stove’ spotlight.

Both general manager Matt Klentak, whose future may be directly on the line over the next three-to-four months, and Middleton have publicly stated that rebuilding is over, and the time to win is now.

That management and ownership knows that they have a solid base of players already who put together a .500 season this past year. Now their job is to find the pieces to make it a winner.

There are any number of free agent starting pitchers who would improve the Phillies rotation, from ace-caliber arms to mid-level experienced pitchers. The club needs to add two of these hurlers, and that process will keep fans interested over the coming weeks and months.

With needs beyond just starting pitching – at least one more starting caliber position player, a couple of proven veteran bench options, maybe even another bullpen piece – there will be much to keep fans interested during the long, cold winter to come. For true baseball fans, that is always something for which to be thankful.

 

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Hot Dbacks try to take series as Phillies try to hold first place in NL East

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The Phanatic will entertain kids of all ages on Tuesday night

The Philadelphia Phillies (37-29) and Arizona Diamondbacks (35-32) will meet again on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Last night the two clubs combined for 13 home runs to set a new Major League Baseball record.

Whereas Monday night’s tilt was delayed at the outside by rain on what was a dreary weather day in the Philly area, today will be just the opposite. Clear skies and steady breeze will be the conditions under which they will play on Tuesday evening.
For the Phillies, it will mark the first time since late April that they open a game not sitting alone on top of the National League East Division standings. Their loss on Monday coupled with a victory by the Atlanta Braves left the two rivals tied. The Phillies and Braves will meet this weekend in Atlanta in what should be a real barn-burner of a series.
But before that takes place, the Phillies need to find a way to cool down the red-hot Diamondbacks. Arizona has now won five straight games, and they are within 2.5 games of the final NL Wildcard playoff berth. They have scored the most runs and have the fourth-highest OPS in the entire league.
One key for the Phillies, perhaps the biggest, will be getting a strong performance from starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. The 33-year-old veteran right-hander leads the starting rotation with eight Quality Starts. However, Arrieta has been shelled in his last two outings, and has not looked good in four of his last six, incurring the wrath of some in the fan base and on local sports talk radio.

TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS


INJURY REPORT

Phillies: The Phillies bullpen remains decimated by injuries with seven key relievers currently on the IL. Also, outfielders Andrew McCutchenRoman Quinn, and Adam Haseley are out. However, both Quinn and reliever Edubray Ramos are on rehab assignments and could rejoin the team within the next week.
Dbacks: Three of Arizona’s projected key hitters are either on the IL or otherwise struggling with injuries in outfielder Steven Souza Jr.and infielders Nick AhmedJake Lamb, and Wilmer Flores, yet it hasn’t slowed their offense one bit. Bigger losses have been pitchers Taijuan Walker and Luke Weaver.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

Jake Arrieta, Phillies: 5-5, 4.29 ERA, 1.431 WHIP, 82 hits allowed over 79.2 IP across 13 starts with a 65/32 K:BB
Jon Duplantier, Dbacks: 1-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.136 WHIP, 17 hits allowed over 22 IP across 7 games (2 starts) with a 23/8 K:BB. Duplantier is a 24-year-old right-hander who bats left. The rookie was the Dbacks third round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Phillies have won 22 of their 34 games at Citizens Bank Park this season and their .647 winning percentage at home ranks third in the National League.
  • Since 2017, the Phillies are just 3-10 against the Diamondbacks and have been outscored 63-37 in those 13 contests, their worst record against any team in baseball since the start of 2017. The Phillies are 0-4 in their last four series against the D-backs and have not won a series since they swept a three-gamer at Chase Field from June 27-29, 2016.
  • Arrieta has nine career starts vs Arizona: 4-3, 2.23 ERA, 0.989 WHIP, 45 hits allowed over 60.2 IP. He made two strong starts against them a year ago with the Phillies, allowing seven hits over 15 innings. He beat them in April at Citizens Bank Park, then took a tough 3-2 loss in Arizona on August 6.
  • J.T. Realmuto leads the Phillies and all catchers in baseball with 2.6 WAR. He has moved into the top 10 among all NL position players in WAR (Fangraphs) as well.
  • The Phillies Phestival to benefit ALS research will be held during an off-day on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. Since the Phillies adopted ALS in 1984 as their primary charity, over $18 million has been raised for patient care and services in the Greater Philadelphia area.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Philadelphia Phillies receive recognition and hand out honors to cancer survivor

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The Phillies have been recognized by US Department of Homeland Security

For fans of the Philadelphia Phillies who may have found themselves stuck waiting in long lines to enter Citizens Bank Park at times this season, the cause has not simply been the increased crowds due to increased interest in a winning ball club.

There has been an increased emphasis on security at the ball park. That increased vigilance has a direct correlation with increased incidents of public violence around the country in a number of settings including workplaces, movie theatres, places of worship, and more.
Last month, the Phillies organization was awarded a SAFETY Act designation by the United States Department of Homeland Security. This special designation came as recognition of the club’s increased commitment to fan safety in the ballpark during not only Phillies game, but also concerts and other special events.
Security is paramount at Citizens Bank Park,” said Salvatore DeAngelis, Phillies Director, Operations/Security per a mid-April press release from the team. “The safety of our fans, employees and players is of the utmost importance. The recognition by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security took place after an almost three-year process and we are honored to be recognized for our efforts.
Over the last handful of seasons, the Phillies have incrementally undertaken a number of security measures in and around the ballpark. They have installed magnetometers at the gates and static crash-rated bollards (operable barriers) near the ballpark, along with portable anti-ram barriers on closed streets.
We have 40,000 people in the park on any given night,” DeAngelis said per Adam Hermann of The Philly Voice. “We want anyone coming to our games to feel safe.
Fans now notice explosive detection canine teams at all vehicle entry points and routine canine patrols at gates. There are counterterrorism officers and mounted police units all over the facility, and improved security collaboration with law enforcement. This includes increased police resources, regular exercises and drills, and ongoing training for club personnel.
The SAFETY (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act was part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, part of the immediate response to the 9/11 terror attacks. It provides incentives for the development and deployment of anti-terrorism technologies by creating systems of risk and litigation management.
PHILLIES WILL ALSO HAND OUT AN HONOR
On Sunday, May 19 prior to the home game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will honor Andy Sealy. The 39-year-old from Delaware County made national news back in 2017 when she held a “goodbye party” for her breasts after she had found out she had breast cancer and needed a double mastectomy.
The Phillies will be specifically honoring Sealy for her extraordinary commitment to “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” and she will take the field that day as part of Major League Baseball’s Honorary Bat Girl program. All 30 teams have selected an individual for their team honors, most of which will take place on Mother’s Day. Since the Phillies are on the road that day, Sealy is being honored on May 19.
I speak out on my disease as often as I can,” said Sealy per an official May 7 press release by the team. “Statistics say my median life span is three years. I don’t follow statistics…never have! I am no longer working, but I am grateful for every breath. This is my NEW NORMAL. THIS is metastatic breast cancer.
MLB has partnered with CrowdRise by GoFundMe to host a fundraising contest for each of the Honorary Bat Girls. The winner of the contest will receive a trip to the 2019 World Series. MLB will donate all funds from the contest to SU2C and Komen.
Phillies fans can support their honoree, Andrea “Andy” Sealy, by making a donation to benefit Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) and Susan G. Komen at this link: VOTE FOR ANDY SEALY.

It’s time for the Phillies to finish off the Bryce Harper negotiations

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Middleton (L) hasn’t had a slugger like Howard in years

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money. And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”
This was the statement made by Philadelphia Phillies principal owner John Middleton at the Major League Baseball owner’s meetings back in mid-November. His statement lit a spark that blazed up Hot Stove logs in the fireplace of Phillies fans everywhere.
We believed all along that Middleton was the ultimate answer to the Phillies returning to the consistent glory that so many in that fan base had come to expect. Remember, this was the man who, after the club had dropped the 2009 World Series in six games to the New York Yankees, made the following statement to Ryan Howard“Ryan, I want my fucking trophy back. It’s fucking ours!” 
From 2001 through 2012, a period of a dozen seasons, the Phillies were playoff contenders nearly every year. But then the bottom dropped out, and for five years the team and those fans wandered through the darkness of a bleak losing wilderness.
For the first decade after Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 those fans swarmed to the beautiful South Philly ballpark. More than three million tickets were sold in eight of those 10 seasons, including a half-dozen in a row. The ballpark was the place to be, a social happening every single game.
But as the losing began and club management and ownership seemed to give up on putting out a winning product, fan interest waned. The Phillies didn’t even draw two million for three straight years from 2014-17.
Things appeared to be turning around last season. The club was a surprising contender for much of the summer, leading the division for more than a month from July 6 through August 12. Fans responded to the winning and some strong promotional events by filling more than 30,000 seats for 18 games between late-June and mid-August.
But as the team collapsed to a 12-28 record over the final six weeks, fan interest dried up. The Phillies drew that 30,000 figure just five more times. All of those were on weekends, with three specifically for Sunday promotions.
The message from last year when viewed against the previous handful of seasons is clear to Middleton. Do your job and put a winning team on the field and fans will respond. The message from a decade ago is also clear. Put players on that winner who those fans can relate to and who excite them, and they will come out in droves.
General manager Matt Klentak has performed well thus far. In what has been by far his best off-season to date the GM has signed free agents Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson and swung trades to bring in Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto.
Middleton does understand. He is one of us in this regard: he is also a fan. He is driven. He wants to win. That is why he fueled up his private jet with the red Phillies “P” branded on the tail and had the pilots fly him out to Las Vegas, hometown of the biggest fish in this off-season’s large free agent lake, Bryce Harper.
But it isn’t enough. Look around at the other National League contenders. The Phillies are improved, but so are any number of other teams that already appeared to be ahead of them. The fans realize that this team has a chance to contend for a Wildcard spot now. But that is not what spending “stupid” money is supposed to get you.
The players added thus far by Klentak are respected by most of the fan base. But to really fill up the ballpark again it is going to require star power. Even with the additions and maturation of players like Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola, it is lacking marquee star power. There is no Mike Schmidt or Jim Thome.
After the other big free agent whom the Phillies took a run at this off-season, Manny Machado, signed with the San Diego Padres, Klentak stated “If the reports are true, then this contract will exceed our valuation and sometimes you have to be willing to walk away.” This is not one of those times. In fact, sometimes you have to be willing to go beyond mere numerical valuations.
That is where Middleton comes in at this point. Harper is the big fish, the top prize. He would bring the tremendous raw power to the lineup that has largely been missing since Howard’s 2006-09 peak years. He would bring star power not seen around these parts since ‘The Big Piece’ and his teammates began to age-out and break up earlier this decade.
After meeting with Harper, his wife Kayla, and agent Scott Boras this weekend, Middleton flew home on Saturday night due to a prior engagement. While he was gone, representative of the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly slipped into Vegas on Sunday and tried to take one last shot at luring Harper with a short-term deal.

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Would Bryce Harper be interested in a short-term, high AAV deal with the ?@Ken_Rosenthal discusses the Dodgers reported interest in Harper on .

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I have never met the man, but I believe that I know John Middleton. He is not going to let this get away from him. At least not over money and desire. I fully expect the Phillies owner to be back on his plane and heading back out to Vegas to close this thing out. It may be happening as you read this, in fact.

It is time, and he knows it. When a big game is on the line at the end, you send in your strong-armed closer. When an important business deal is getting down to the brass tacks of final negotiations, you send in the big guns to close. John Middleton is the closer, the big gun. It is time to close out Bryce Harper.

ESPN to open 2019 Sunday Night Baseball at Citizens Bank Park

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The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball team will open 2019 at Citizens Bank Park

We are still four months away from the opening of the 2019 Major League Baseball season. But as we move through this off-season, Phillies fans will be clutching at any news of the team to help make it through these cold months.

Today comes word that the Phillies have been chosen by ESPN to host the network’s first Sunday Night Baseball telecast of that 2019 season. The game on Sunday, March 31, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park will have a 7:00PM EDT start time.

 

That information first came out on Monday afternoon in a Tweet from Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic.
Montemurro followed up that this will be the first time that the Phillies have led off the Sunday Night Baseball coverage since the 2009 season, with the team as defending World Series champions at that time.
The Phillies’ game against the Braves on March 31 at CBP has been chosen as MLB’s first Sunday Night Baseball game of the season. Will be a 7 p.m. start on ESPN.

 

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This time around the Phillies will be hosting the division-rival Atlanta Braves. The Phillies and Braves battled for the lead in the National League East Division over most of this past summer.
The Phillies spent most of July at the top of the division with the Braves doing the chasing. Atlanta finally passed the Phillies on August 14 and pulled away to win the division. The Phillies actually faded to finish in third place, falling behind the Washington Nationals by the end of the season.
The Braves are likely to enter 2019 as favorites to successfully defend their division crown. However, the Phillies are believed to be major players for a handful of big-name impact free agents who could quickly change that line of thinking.
The Phillies and Braves are scheduled to open their 2019 season with a 3:05PM game on Thursday, March 28, 2019. The two teams are then scheduled to meet again on Saturday, March 30 with another afternoon game scheduled to begin at 4:05PM.
ESPN has been broadcasting the Sunday Night Baseball program since the start of the 1990 season. Matt Vasgersian handled ESPN’s play-by-play duties this past season, with former softball star Jessica Mendoza and MLB all-star Alex Rodriguez joining him on the broadcasts as color commentator and analyst respectively.

 

We may still have months to go before that Sunday night, but those months will indeed pass. Before you know it, it will be time to head down to South Philly to enjoy a Phillies game at our beautiful ballpark. Or you can just stay home and enjoy the games on TV, including this broadcast from ESPN.