One magical, puke-stained summer, Citizens Bank Park was my second home. Not only was I reaping the benefits of left field seats in the “Let’s Just Scream at Pat Burrell” section, but I found myself no longer in college, and gainfully employed by the stadium itself. I, in essence, worked for the Phillies. Which put me on the same exact level as my heroes. Were Chase Utley exactly the same? I wouldn’t say “yes,” but I certainly would think it audibly.
Some would demand, “Now hold on, how do you, an ex-FanFoto photographer, expect to compare yourself to a professional baseball player?!” To which I would merely wink, and then punch them in the stomach.
Point is, I would have argued that I know more about that place than anyone could tell me, even if I gave them five bucks.
Kurt Smith is asking you to do just that, and if you’re as smarmy, self-indulgent, or maniacal like me, the standard Phillies fan, than you would probably take some sort of offense to the notion that your knowledge of our home isn’t at its peak. But Kurt, and his $5 ballpark e-guides, only wants to help. So I say we listen, because there’s probably something we could learn from the Citizens Bank Park guide. Also its the off season and blog post topics are harder to come up with, so shut up, we’re doing this.
Veterans Stadium really blew, guys. It’s true, we all know it. The idea is to describe as comically terrible as possible in order to squeeze some entertainment out of the torturous memories we have of that concrete facade. Then he insinuates that Tug McGraw smoked weed. Its a superb one-page history lesson on a topic we can all get excited about.
Next, we learn about the present, detaching all flashbacks, as if we spent decades fighting a purposeless war in the Vet (which we did). Kurt’s description of CBP is concise and correct, and he uses the words “bongs” and “lustily” without ever mentioning illegal drugs or sex (on the fourth page). Which is amazing. The man’s use of wordplay is kind of astounding.
Kurt goes through all of the necessatry info after the introduction, like tickets and seating, as well as directions, where to eat, how to negotiate the urine-soaked labyrinth of SEPTA, and why you should be grateful to the Chinese (they “…sav[ed] us $350 million in land acquisition costs for Philly’s new ballpark.”) There’s also a recurring section called “Tightwad Tips,” which is exceptionally valuable for those of us who lack the necessary “jobs” to acquire “money” and “pay for things.”
I also didn’t know that McFadden’s Ballpark was voted Philly’s “Best Place to Meet a Guy” in 2004, but with all the friendly, outgoing drug dealers I’ve met there who try to promote their personal websites to me and whomever I’m with, I am not at all shocked.
When you get down to it, there’s not a ton of material in here that will blow a Phils fan’s head off. If you’ve had any sort of multiple-game ticket package, you know most of this stuff–the giant Liberty Bell, McFadden’s, the Wall of Fame, Ashburn Alley. There’s a few snippets of info that may be new to you, but this guide is for rookies. But Kurt’s take is informed and friendly–he even addresses the “issue” of Philadelphia fans, and in my opinion, probably gives us a little more credit for civility than we actually deserve.
That said, if you’ve never been to the place (which, if you’re trolling for lower echelon Phillies blogs on a Sunday morning, probably isn’t the case), this thing would come in handy. It is, like, 20 pages long, so I can’t reccomend bringing it with you–consulting the material while navigating a clusterfuck of children or drunk friends would be useless.
But if you’re headed out this way, and you want to find all the insider shit on CBP; the locale, the sights, the seats, the food, the public transit, and the quick history–Kurt Smith’s e-guide for the Bank is like having a friend whose been there, only you don’t have to go through the hassle of calling them and hearing their bullshit stories about their kids. Which, in my opinion, is well worth five dollars.