Phillies eyed mid-August to invite fans back before city ban

A general view of Citizens Bank Park (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
A general view of Citizens Bank Park (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Cardboard cutouts

The Phillies have confirmed that cardboard cutouts will be filling the seats at Citizens Bank Park in 2020. They are just not sure yet of how many will fill the seats, nor cost.

Buck said the organization recently finalized which company they will use; fans will be able to use a simple app to upload their picture.

Then, fan cutouts will begin to fill the empty, blue seats during the August 7-10 home series against the Atlanta Braves, according to Buck. Prior, during the season-opener homestead against the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees, the Phillies are planning something special as it relates to the cutouts.

“I think it’s going to be super cool the first weekend what we’re doing and who we’re honoring,” Buck said. “After the first weekend, we are going to open it up to season ticket holders and fans to purchase it.”

Buck said the Phillies were planning to have fan cutouts fill the Diamond Club, but may start looking elsewhere, such as above the dugout, given players who are not in the game are using the area to socially distance.

“We hope to have a lot; we have a way to secure [the cutouts] to the seats. We think it’s kind of fun,” Buck said.

Phillie Phanatic (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Phanatic

Buck said the beloved Phillie Phanatic mascot is considered a tier 3 employee, the same as him.

“We’re not even allowed to get near tier 2 and tier 1, or the players. He’s nowhere near anybody,” said Buck, who continued the Phanatic will likely roam the ballpark and in the stands during games.

Also, Buck said he would not be surprised  if, during the first homestand, the Phanatic will “have some fun” messing with cardboard cutouts of Marlins fans wearing Marlins gear.

“The Phanatic’s best friend is pretty creative, so he’s got some things planned. He’s talking about doing virtual Zoom dances with fans during the game,” Buck said. “I think he’ll be in the TV booth a lot, too.”

“He loves his TV time.”

Moving forward

It’s hard to believe, but just nine days remain until the new-look Phillies kick off the 2020 season.

Buck said the imminent Opening Day is “absolutely exciting” for everyone, given the events over the past three or four months in the world.

“I guess there were times I wasn’t sure we were going to get here. Then, about two or three weeks ago, I’m like, ‘This is gonna happen,'” Buck continued. “It’s going to be weird and it’s going to be different, but we’re all getting very excited.”

Even when Bryce Harper steps up to the plate for the first time, or Aaron Nola takes the mound for the first time, things still just won’t be the same for the Phillies without fans and most of their gameday staff.

“You miss the fans and miss all the gameday employees and people. We’re kind of a big family and we’ve been around these people for 20-30 years, some of us,” Buck said. “It’s been really hard, but, knowing that baseball’s going to start next Friday and whether it’s one percent normal or 5 percent normal or whatever, I think it’s a very big positive for us.”