Can You Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park?

Citizens Bank Park


Can You Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Like with most ballparks, fans can bring food into Citizens Bank Park in Philly…which is a great money-saver for fans.

The Phillies allow a 16*16*8 soft-sided cooler in the ballpark, subject to inspection: no alcohol, no glass bottles or containers, and nothing that can be used as a projectile.

But since Ballpark E-Guides always takes the extra base for readers, in addition to answering whether you can bring food into Citizens Bank Park, here are a few suggestions of where to get cheap outside eats…

Hoagies. All you need to know in Philly.

Pastaficio’s. Pastaficio’s is a fresh pasta and Italian foods outlet located in the same plaza as the Packer Avenue Chickie’s and Pete’s…if you’re using the Taxi Crab, it’s a great food stop. Locals rave about the chicken parm sandwich, but all their offerings are good…Pastaficio’s is a hidden gem.

 

Not nearly enough fries here for most Philadelphians.

Chickie’s and Pete’s. And there’s Chickie’s and Pete’s of course, purveyors of the famous crab fries in the ballpark itself. The actual restaurant offers valet parking for a couple bucks cheaper than the ballpark, and that Taxi Crab will take you to the game. Get two orders of the crab fries to go…which come with two cheese containers that cost extra at the ballpark, and you’re getting the iconic Philly fries at almost half the cost.

 

bring your own food citizens bank park septa

Gangway! Peanuts coming!

Nuts To You. Nuts To You isn’t very close to the ballpark, but there is a location very close to the Walnut_locust Station on the SEPTA Broad Street Line…making it a perfect stop for Jersey fans using the PATCO-SEPTA combination to get to the Bank. Nuts To You features every kind of snack imaginable, from sesame sticks to wasabi peas, but best of all they sell fresh, warm peanuts in a paper bag…still the go-to ballpark snack.

There’s three great options to bring food into Citizens Bank Park…and remember, it’s still a place where you can eat very well inside. Be sure to be prepared with this handy insider’s guide to the home of the Phillies!

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

 Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

Save

Save

Visiting Citizens Bank Park – Five Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Citizens Bank Park in beautiful Philadelphia for the first time, or if you’re coming from out of town, there are definitely a few things you should know…here are five tips for a great Philadelphia ballpark experience.

visiting citizens bank park phillies tickets

No, we don’t have Red Sox tickets.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #1: Phillies website or secondary market for tickets? It depends, of course. The Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox are high demand games, as are New Jersey native Mike Trout’s Angels, so you’ll do better looking through the Phillies website rather than paying the third party markup for those. Fireworks nights are also very popular. When the Phillies are good they draw very well; when they are not so good and especially when they were expected to be good, deals can definitely be had on StubHub for Phillies tickets. Try my friends at SeatGeek for low demand games; I’ve gotten great deals through them.

 

visiting citizens bank park

Still some good seats available for the riffraff.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #2: Find low seats. The seats in the upper deck at Citizens Bank Park are nice and cheap if you’re on a budget, and it’s not that they’re bad seats, but they are way up there and definitely not for the acrophobic. In my experiences I have always preferred sitting down the first base line…once you get past the infield the price isn’t bad at all and you’re much closer to the action. Nothing wrong with the third base side, but the view of the scoreboard isn’t as good.

 

visiting citizens bank park pattison

Yep, I think that’s the ballpark.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #3: Drive to the game. The SEPTA Broad Street Subway is nice and convenient and can save you some money traveling with one or two, but it isn’t the most pleasant of rides. (I’ve seen large rats.) There is ample parking at in the Philly Sports Complex and there are a couple of nice cheap spots, like the lot south of the Jetro warehouse. If you want to tailgate, lots south of Pattison Avenue are legal for tailgating, and the Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles) lots feature a pretty decent pregame grill scene.

 

visiting citizens bank park cheesesteaks tony lukes

The onions should be fresh early in the game.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #4: Get your cheesesteak on early. There are at least four types of cheesesteaks at Citizens Bank Park, if you include the generic Cobblestone and the vegan cheesesteak at Harry The K’s. But if you want one of the two kingpin cheesesteaks here…the Tony Luke’s “Whiz Wit” or the Campo’s “Heater”, you’ve got to get in line in their Ashburn Alley stands early. On high attendance nights especially, lines for both stands get long and stay long all night. Oh, and don’t forget the fine cheesesteaks at Delco’s in the left field area…a great alternative to Tony Luke’s and Campo’s with meatier sandwiches!

Don’t want a cheesesteak? Head for Bull’s BBQ for a turkey sandwich or Bull Dog…I’ve never had a bad meal there. And get a Federal Donut for dessert.

 

visiting citizens bank park phanatic

What’s funny is that he looks genuinely surprised at being wanded.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #5: Don’t miss the Phanatic. He is the best mascot in sports, bar none. He shoves umpires, taunts the opposing team (and their visiting fans) rides around recklessly in an ATV and dances on the Phillies dugout. He’s a riot…and Phillies fans love him.

Finally, if you want to know what to wear, so long as you’re not wearing Cowboys, Giants (NFL), or Penguins gear, you’ll probably be fine. If you show up at a Philly sporting event wearing a Cowboys jersey, don’t blame me for what happens.

And when you really want to rock the house at the Bank for less money, get yourself one of these.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

Citizens Bank Park Seating Tip – Stay Low

Posted by Kurt Smith

Philadelphia has a great ballpark, but when it comes to Citizens Bank Park seating, it’s one of the few places where I would prefer to be in the outfield on the lower level than behind home plate in the upper level. If your funds are limited as mine often were before I made untold millions selling ballpark knowledge (joke), the lower level in right field is a good bet.

The reason for my lower level preference is that between the Hall of Fame Club seats and the suites, and the open concourse on the lower level, the upper level gets pushed up fairly high. Besides this, the angle is fairly steep, and it’s definitely not for the acrophobic. If you get into the right field area past the gap, the seats are lowered somewhat, but you will be pretty far from home plate.

citizens bank park seating third base side

The grandstand goes almost straight up.

This is one place where you may be better off paying a few extra dollars for a lower level seat. Or, if you don’t have a need to be sitting along the baselines, an outfield seat will take care of you just fine here.

The outfield seats in right field especially have several advantages. First and foremost, you’re closest to Ashburn Alley and its many attractions, making it easier to tolerate the long line you will likely endure if you go for a Tony Luke’s cheesesteak after the game starts.

Secondly, unlike the seats in left field, you don’t have to turn completely around to view the big scoreboard and the impressive new Jumbotron that was recently added, although you won’t be able to see the out of town scoreboard. Third, if you’re in the 101 or 201 sections, you will be very close to the visiting team’s bullpen, where you can rattle their pitchers. Keep it clean though, the Phillies aren’t as lenient on over-the-top behavior as they used to be.

And finally, there’s a chance one of those young Phillies could send a homer your way, which you can then have them autograph and send to you.

citizens bank park seating bullpens

NOW the opposing pitchers can hear you.

OK, so maybe that last one isn’t very likely. And the outfield seats don’t have a view of the skyline in right center field or of the Liberty Bell. But it may be the best bang for your buck at the Bank.

That said, even the upper level seats are still good seats here, and even if you don’t get the perfect seat, chances are your seat here will be good enough. Every seating area at the Bank has its own advantages (which are explained in detail in the Citizens Bank Park E-Guide), and there aren’t too many really bad seats in the place.

So when looking at the Citizens Bank Park seating chart, if the choice is a lower level seat, that is usually a better bet. But there’s no need to be too fussy. Most all of the seats are very good here. But you should still consult this handy little guide when it comes to seating.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

The Best Way To Get To Citizens Bank Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

It being my home ballpark, I have tried just about every method to get to Citizens Bank Park: driving my car, driving someone else’s car, the PATCO-SEPTA combination for Jersey residents, the Chickie’s and Pete’s Taxi Crab, you name it. In the end it is still simple. Just drive your car.

The Bank is located on Pattison Avenue near Broad Street, convenient to both I-95 from north-south and I-76 (called the Schuykill or Sure-Kill by Philadelphians) from the east or west. New Jersey fans can use I-76 from the Walt Whitman Bridge.

get to citizens bank park walt whitman

The easy way to beautiful New Jersey.

Several exits off of both interstates are considered “Sports Complex” exits, but these do get backed up as game time nears, especially when the Phillies sell out. You can use these but from about an hour and a half before game time till about the third inning, you may run into stopped traffic, not good.

At that time you are better off using one of the Penrose Avenue exits, which will take you to Pattison Avenue. From there you can approach the ballpark from the west rather than from the east and north like everyone else.

There is no shortage of parking at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have their own lots, and Lincoln Financial Field also has plenty of parking. There is also the Jetro Warehouse lot, which is just as close and more tailgate friendly than the rest.

All of the different lots mostly cost the same, so there is no real need to search for one that is less pricey. There is a church lot north of the park off of 10th Street, on the other side of I-76, and there is a lot on Pattison Street well east of the ballpark that are both slightly cheaper. Both these lots are a hike to the ballpark, however.

get to citizens bank park church lot

Have the Lord watch over your car.

I used to recommend the NovaCare lot just off of Penrose Avenue for the easiest out, and for that it’s still good, but it’s a hike from the ballpark and isn’t any cheaper. My favorite lot now is the church on 10th Street, just north of Packer Avenue. It’s cheaper than the Phillies lots and isn’t much further, it’s not too difficult to leave, and the approach to the ballpark is sweet, seeing the inside of it from the street.

I also have found some free street spots, which, along with all the other ways to get to Philly’s ballpark, you can learn about in the Citizens Bank Park E-Guide.

If you’d rather be closer to the ballpark, I highly recommend that you plan your route in—and out. Citizens Bank Park is surrounded by parking lots, and you’ll want to be sure that you’ll have as little trouble as possible getting out. Again, remember that the Sports Complex exits get backed up heavily, so avoid using them if you can.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

One Way To Citizens Bank Park – The Taxi Crab

Posted by Kurt Smith

One of the many goals of Ballpark E-Guides is to let people know where they can get a meal and possibly get an inexpensive brew before or after the game, and the Taxi Crab gives Phillies fans the best of both worlds.

Ballpark beers are running $7.50 and up these days, and we all know how much ballpark food is. At Chickie’s and Pete’s, you can get their famous crab fries cheaper, with a cheaper beer to go with it.

taxi crab

This truck plays loud music as it goes by.

The Taxi Crab is a shuttle run by Chickie’s and Pete’s, a popular Philadelphia area restaurant chain. It carries passengers from the restaurant’s nearby location on Packer Avenue to Citizens Bank Park (or any of the sports venues in the complex).

It will also pick up passengers at the park to take to the restaurant for a meal and good times, and then return them to the parking lot when they’re finished, giving them something to do as the parking lot slowly empties.

The shuttle is free; unfortunately you have to pay to park at C&P’s. It costs a small bit less than parking at the Bank, but at least your car is valet parked, and you won’t have to deal with the sometimes rough post-game traffic in the Bank’s parking lots.

In addition to getting a better deal on parking and an easier exit, you can enjoy a meal at a popular local institution. This is a much easier way to try Chickie’s and Pete’s famous crab fries.

taxi crab crab fries

At the ballpark, you’re paying extra for the cheese dip.

They have a stand in Citizens Bank Park, but the lines for the fries get long, and they’re much more expensive at the game (they charge extra for the cheese sauce, too). If you’re interested in trying the crab fries, try going to the restaurant and using the shuttle.

Besides the fries, Chickie’s and Pete’s has some pretty good grub at reasonable prices. You won’t save too much money eating here over eating at the game, but there’s a good selection of seafood and a long list of different beers. They were voted #1 Sports Bar on the East Coast by ESPN, and the Best Seafood and Wings by the Philadelphia Inquirer. And the beer is cheaper.

So there are three benefits to the Taxi Crab: less of a wait for the crab fries, less post-game traffic hassles, and a less expensive place for a beer or two before or after the game. Worth a shot for something different.

And when you want to know about every route to the Bank, including the SEPTA Sports Express and the least trafficked side roads, be sure to get yourself one of these.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

Citizens Bank Park Food – Three Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

There is a great range of choices on the Citizens Bank Park food menu, and there is definitely a Philadelphia feel to many of them. Quite a few great local institutions are represented, and there’s a long list of other stuff for your palate too.

I’ve talked about your cheesesteak choices here, but if you’re not in the mood for chopped beef sandwiches, here are three other great grub items you can try…

citizens bank park food federal donut

Pictures don’t do the taste buds’ reaction justice.

Citizens Bank Park Food Tip #1: The Federal Donut. The Federal Donuts stand in the left field corner is an outpost of the local fried chicken and donuts chain that has a half dozen locations in Philly. They sell great fried chicken too, but the donuts are outstanding.

Federal Donuts uses something called a “doughnut robot” to crank out its donuts; they come out warm and crispy and there’s a nice bit of a crunch to them. You can get them with your chicken (or chicken sandwich) or just get a bag of two side donuts for a reasonable price at a ballpark.

And if you want to try the actual store, you can take the Broad Street Line to the Walnut-Locust stop, where there’s one just a couple blocks away.

citizens bank park food bulls bbq platter

Are we at a pig roast?

Citizens Bank Park Food Tip #2: The Bull’s BBQ Platter. I’ve never actually gotten a platter from Bull’s BBQ in Ashburn Alley…it’s generally for more than one person and I’ve never been hungry enough. But I can tell you that everything I have had from Bull’s BBQ has been amazing. And that Bull Dog is a hefty piece of grilled kielbasa.

As you probably know, The Bull is Greg Luzinski, the cleanup hitter from the 1970s Phillies teams who was known for titanic shots in the pre-juice era. Like Boog in Baltimore, the Bull greets fans who patronize his BBQ.

Bull’s food is cooked on a great big smoker grill, and the BBQ sauce is as good as any I’ve tried and is available in local Philly supermarkets. As ballpark BBQ food goes, Bull’s is as good as any I’ve had, and yes, I’ve tried Boog’s.

citizens bank park food alley pastrami

Add some fries inside the sandwich and you could sell it in Pittsburgh.

Citizens Bank Park Food Tip #3: The Alley Brewing Company Pastrami Sandwich. It’s easy to miss that there’s food at the Alley Brewing stand… it’s mostly known for its impressive selection or craft brews on tap. But the pastrami sandwich is worth a look (I mean, look at the thing).

The pastrami sandwich is made with 5-day smoked pastrami (really…the Phillies told me this) and it’s got Russian dressing slaw piled onto it in between two slices of rye. And they make it right in front of you so there’s no cheating.

Alley Brewing is in the right field corner near Bull’s BBQ; you’ll probably want to sit at a picnic table to eat this thing. But if you’re into that pastrami sandwich, this is as good as any you’ll find in a ballpark.

That’s just three of the impressive food choices at the home of the Phillies…without including the cheesesteaks! But there’s so much more…like the South Philly Dog, the chili at Harry The K’s, the Wahoo tacos, Wayback Burgers and much much more. Think ahead…and be prepared with this handy little guide to the Bank.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks

Posted by Kurt Smith

Here are five, yes, five cheesesteaks…or more correctly, five varieties of Citizens Bank Park cheesesteaks…that you can try without having to leave the ballpark and drive around the city. When people think Philly, they think of submarine rolls with sliced beef and cheese in them.

citizens bank park cheesesteaks tony lukes

Wit.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #1: The Tony Luke’s “Whiz Wit”. I don’t know why Philadelphians have such a hard time saying “onions”, but for some reason “with onions” is abbreviated to “wit” here. And Whiz is, of course, Cheez Whiz. The one and only.

Tony Luke’s doesn’t chop up their beef too fine, but they don’t just put the whole slab on the roll either…so they’re something in between Pat’s and Geno’s in Philly, if you’re familiar with the two (I guess if you are, you’ve probably heard of Tony Luke’s too). And I can’t find many other uses for Cheez Whiz, but I will admit it’s great on a steak sandwich.

Tony Luke’s at the ballpark also has a popular roast pork and provolone sandwich, but we’re talking about cheesesteaks here.

 

citizens bank park cheesesteaks campos heater

Not for the faint of stomach.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #2: The Campo’s Heater. Campo’s Deli is a long time Market Street institution…in a city where everyone is advised to try Pat’s or Geno’s, Campo’s is a place that locals know about and patronize rather than getting in long tourist lines for Pat’s.

The Heater is my favorite of the Bank’s cheesesteaks. It’s a cheesesteak kicked up a few notches, or more correctly a few hundred thousand Scoville units, with Buffalo sauce, jalapeno cheddar, and jalapenos piled on if you want.

It seems required to add the jalapenos, because you asked for heat, right? But truthfully, while I do pile some on, it isn’t necessary…the Heater is a pretty hot sandwich on its own. Highly recommend a beer or other drink with it. But it’s not so hot that there’s no taste. Plenty flavorful.

Here’s a pro tip for Campo’s: they have a “Works” sandwich too, with onions and mushrooms and stuff, and you can get that with the Heater cheese and sauce. Makes for one truly awesome sandwich.

 

delcos cheesesteak citizens bank park

Get beefy at the Bank.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #3: Delco’s Original Cheesesteak. The Delco’s kiosk is something of a hidden gem in Citizens Bank Park; unless you are a reader of this website or the Citizens Bank Park E-Guide you may not have even heard of it. In fact, neither did I; it may have been the most egregious omission in an E-Guide in my seven years of doing this.

Delco’s uses shaved ribeye on Liscio’s rolls; it’s just a cheesesteak or pizza cheesesteak with American or provolone cheese. But the nice thing is that they don’t skimp on the beef. I heard a customer saying there was too much meat in the sandwich. He wasn’t complaining, just pointing out the challenge of adding onions.

Delco’s is a nice alternative to Tony Luke’s and Campo’s. As one employee there told me, “We’re on the rise!” Check them out.

 

citizens bank park cheesesteaks harrys vegan

The seemingly oxymoronic healthy cheesesteak.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #4: The Harry The K’s Vegan Cheesesteak. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian sort…as you can see from what you’ve just read…but I do try to eat healthier these days, and besides, I’m looking out for all my readers.

I didn’t expect much from a sandwich with tofu and mushrooms as its filler, but this one wasn’t bad at all. I think they may add some salt to it to improve the taste, but if you can eat a portobello mushroom or one of those veggie patty burgers, you’ll enjoy this.

It’s overpriced as all ballpark food is, but at least it’s a fairly filling sandwich that’s a little easier to digest. And you can sit down waiting for it at a table with a nice view of a baseball field rather than standing in line.

 

cheesesteaks citizens bank park

The generic Buffalo chicken cheesesteak, partly shaded for varying heat levels.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #5: The “Generic” Cheesesteak. The Cobblestone Grill and Germantown Grill stands sell a generic cheesesteak or chicken cheesesteak (with Buffalo sauce if desired). If you’re just going plain Jane, it’s a way to avoid the Tony Luke’s and Campo’s lines.

The beef is from Original Philly, who, according to their website, supplies all of the cheesesteak meat to the Phillies, so the meat is no different from Campo’s. It’s a little skimpy on beef though, so if you’re looking for a heftier sandwich try Delco’s.

 

There you are…five choices of that innovative sandwich, the Philly cheesesteak, at Citizens Bank Park. But there’s a whole bunch of other food choices too…like Federal Donuts, Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries, Wayback burgers, Wahoo tacos and much more…be sure to plan ahead.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

Three Extra Citizens Bank Park Tips

Posted by Kurt Smith

Well I hope you’ve picked up some helpful Citizens Bank Park tips from this website; always helps to know what type of cheesesteak to get, especially in Philly. Here’s a few more things not to be missed at the home of the Phils…

citizens bank park tips phanatic rocky

It doesn’t get more Philly.

Extra Citizens Bank Park Tips, #1: The Phillie Phanatic. The best mascot in sports, anywhere, bar none. The costume itself is funny enough, but what makes the Phanatic so special is his utter disregard for any kind of decorum.

The green creature struts around the ballpark, places his “mouth” on bald men’s heads, shoves his pelvis at umpires, rides an ATV recklessly around the ballpark between innings, and generally causes trouble wherever he goes.

When you see him for the first time, it’s natural to find yourself saying, “I can’t believe the team mascot just did that!” It’s difficult to watch him without laughing; the Phanatic alone is worth the price of admission.

 

citizens bank park tips ashburn alley

Lines begin to form for the cheesesteaks early.

Extra Citizens Bank Park Tips, #2: Ashburn Alley. You have to get to Citizens Bank Park early to really enjoy for Ashburn Alley, named for late Phillies Hall of Fame center fielder and broadcaster Richie Ashburn, but it’s worth it.

Whitey would be really proud; in addition to all of the most popular food items like Tony Luke’s, Campo’s, Chickie’s and Pete’s and Bull’s BBQ, Ashburn Alley features baseball-themed games for kids, the Mitchell & Ness souvenir store, and the Rooftop Bleachers.

There’s a Phillies Hall of Fame with plaques of the greatest Phillies, and an excellent time line of baseball in Philadelphia that includes the Athletics and Negro League teams.

The Ashburn Alley gates open for Alley Hour one hour before the rest of the ballpark does; try to get there then to see all of the sights and get a great view of batting practice.

 

citizens bank park tips phanatic phun zone

It’s like a Phillies-themed Chuck E. Cheese, but with much better pizza.

Extra Citizens Bank Park Tips, #3: The Phanatic Phun Zone. If you’re bringing the young kids (8 and under), it’s up to you whether you’ll want to bring them to the Phun Zone…the young tykes may get so wrapped up in the habitrail and slides that they may not want to watch the game.

The Phun Zone is located on the first base side of the ballpark, near the home plate entrance. This is in addition to the cool older kids games near Bull’s BBQ, like a speed pitch game and, Run The Bases, where kids furiously run in place to advance a marker on the baseball field board.

Like I said, if you want to see the game, you may want to steer the kids clear…

That’s just three tips for getting the most of the Philadelphia ballpark experience. If you want to get the best seat, find a cool way to get there and pick out the best food item, be sure to get yourself this handy little guide.

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE PDF for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this PDF, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

Get on base without swinging the bat…sign up today!

Philly Fans and Santa Claus

Posted by Kurt Smith

No one will get an argument from me that Philly sports fans can be tough, but the record should be known about the Philly fans and Santa Claus story.

Yes, Philly fans can be unsentimental. I’ve seen Flyers fans boo their own team plenty at losing efforts, and as an adolescent at a game at the Spectrum I admit I once joined in an “Islanders suck” chant.

philly fans and santa claus spectrum

A place no hockey team wanted to visit.

Phillies fans have often been tough enough to chase some more sensitive athletes–like Scott Rolen–out of town…although “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker, who had a short stint as a Phillie, praised them for always letting you know where you stood.

Eagles fans are probably the most ruthless of all—a football-mad city that has never seen a Super Bowl trophy, every year their team being good but never good enough, having to watch championship after championship be won by the hated Cowboys with their own endlessly crowing fans or by the divisional rival Redskins and Giants.

Every so often the frustration boils over and an incident happens—ripping into Ricky Watters for a lackadaisical effort, cheering an injured and motionless Michael Irvin, trashing a Packers fan’s SUV in the parking lot. I have seen Eagles fans surround a Giants fan chanting “A**HOLE!” and viciously hounding a Cowboys fan in the parking lot of Veterans Stadium—in July—with words I won’t repeat.

But very often Phillies fans, many of whom are decent people and passionate, knowledgeable fans, take the brunt of criticism for an incident that happened over 40 years ago and is frequently taken out of context.

philly fans and santa claus broad street bullies

But they could play hockey too.

Howard Cosell showed a short replay of Santa Claus being pelted with snowballs on his national NFL highlights show, commenting on the disgraceful behavior of Philly fans. Since the moment the story went national, for 40-plus years it has been the most cited example of the hideousness of Philadelphia fans.

“There’s nothing that sounds worse than throwing snowballs at Santa. It’s like spitting on Miss America.” – Glen Macnow, author of The Great Philadelphia Fan Book

What actually happened was that the once-proud Eagles were playing in the last game of a miserable 2-12 season, where they were just good enough to win two meaningless games and lose the first-round draft pick—which would turn out to be O.J. Simpson—to the Buffalo Bills.

A heavy snowfall had happened the night before, and already irritable Birds fans had to clean off the snow and slush from their seats to sit when the team couldn’t be bothered to do it.

At halftime there was supposed to be a Christmas show featuring a float carrying Santa Claus down the field with the Eagles cheerleaders dressed as elves. But the mess of a field made moving the float nearly impossible, and to make matters worse, the man who was to play Santa was stranded in the snow.

The Eagles asked Frank Olivo, a 20-year old fan who dressed as Santa for the last game of every Eagles season, to take the role of Santa Claus, and to run down the field with the cheerleaders. He obliged.

When a crowd that had just watched the Vikings score a game tying touchdown, threatening another of too many losses, and still sitting on wet, cold seats, saw that the halftime show was going to be a wash, the booing started. Then one snowball was thrown, then another, then 300, several of which hit Olivo.

philly fans and santa claus broad street line

It’s not a coincidence that it’s Flyers orange.

Olivo, who has since passed away, unfortunately, joked even then that some of the fans had better aim than the Eagles’ quarterback. He shook his finger at the fans and yelled that they weren’t getting anything for Christmas. “I was a Philly fan”, he said, “I knew what was what.”

Before you condemn Philly fans for throwing snowballs at Santa, is that not something you think that maybe you might have participated in, even if it might take a beer or two? I have followed a crowd into doing far more regrettable things in my life.

More importantly, I don’t have a problem believing that this could have happened in New York, Cleveland, or even Pittsburgh or Green Bay. Yet it has created a reputation around the City of Brotherly Love, and the story is given new life whenever a Philadelphia sports fan behaves badly.

I won’t say that Philly fans aren’t tough on their athletes, but why shouldn’t people paying the price for tickets expect millionaire athletes to work hard at what they are paid so handsomely to do?

Philly is the home of the Rocky movies. The city has always loved scrappers like Pete Rose and Lenny Dykstra, whatever character flaws they exhibited from time to time. Great as he was, Mike Schmidt, with his apparent lack of emotion, was never really embraced in Philadelphia like he should have been. (I once saw an Old-Timer’s game where Mike Schmidt grounded into a double play. Staying true to their rep, the Phillies faithful booed him soundly, in a loving way of course.)

philly fans and santa claus citizens bank

Drive safely, and watch out for snowballs.

Remember that this is a city 90 miles from New York, a city with more glitter, more notoriety, and yes, more sports championships. And Philly always seems to have an inferiority complex about it. At least their sports fans are more intimidating than those in New York.

I will never condone vomiting on someone, or even throwing snowballs at people on the field for that matter, but would you enjoy being at a Yankees game next to a cell phone yakking corporate bigwig who doesn’t even know who’s playing?

I’ve been to close to a hundred Phillies games. I’ve seen a fight or two, but I have never seen opposing fans attacked or severely mistreated, or cars trashed in the parking lot. (I’m talking about at Phillies games, not Eagles games.)

I’m not saying none of it ever happens or that there aren’t any over-the-top idiots. But the reputation of Philly fans, based on one incident mostly taken out of context, is not a reason to avoid coming to beautiful Citizens Bank Park to see exciting baseball.

Remember, as Sting might say, Philly fans love their children too.

$258.50.

That’s how much it cost a family of four to see a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park in 2016, according to the MLB Fan Cost Index.

Are you planning a trip to the City of Brotherly Love for a Phillies game? Do you want to slash that ridiculous total, AND find a great seat, parking spot, and a tasty sandwich at the game?

The Citizens Bank Park E-Guide is your complete insider’s guide to the beautiful Philadelphia ballpark, full of money-saving tips…and you can download and own it today!

Click the image below to learn more…

Guide to Citizens Bank Park

Complete Guide to Citizens Bank Park!

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Best Mascot in Sports – The Phillie Phanatic

Posted by Kurt Smith

No one in the Philly area would even argue who is the best mascot in sports.

I wear several writing hats in addition to this, one of which is as a staff writer for an excellent publication called JerseyMan magazine. Some time ago they offered me a very cool assignment; I had the privilege of interviewing Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic. You can read the article here or order the April 2015 edition of the magazine.

best mascot in sports phanatic screen

Imagine if this guy was reading a Shakespeare script.

It was an honor to interview Raymond, because as a Philly-area native I have always loved the Phanatic. Every night he rides on onto the field recklessly on an ATV, trips up grounds crew members, thrusts his ample hips at umpires, and dances provocatively on the Phillies’ dugout.

But best of all, he has no qualms about taunting the opposition…to the point where Tommy Lasorda, one of the game’s most beloved figures, once snapped at his antics, and came out of the dugout to beat the s*** out of the Phanatic. Lasorda even once wrote a blog post called “I Hate The Phillie Phanatic”.

It wasn’t until I was putting together questions for him that I realized that one of the reasons the Phanatic worked so beautifully was because of his hometown.

best mascot in sports phanatic dugout

Chicks dig the costume.

Philadelphia fans aren’t the hideous monsters that they are often made out to be (see the real story of their throwing snowballs at Santa Claus here), but they can definitely be tough. Wearing Penguins gear at Flyers games isn’t very wise, and showing up anywhere within a five mile radius of Lincoln Financial Field wearing anything Cowboys-related is justification for a sound beating in many fans’ opinions.

Raymond is a Philadelphia fan himself, and he brought that mentality to the Phanatic character. That is commonplace behavior for mascots today, but back then it was unheard of. Imagine a grounds crew worker taunting an opposing manager to the point of a fist fight; at best he’d be severely reprimanded. But put someone in a big furry green costume to do it, and it’s the stuff of baseball legend.

The Phanatic pushes boundaries of acceptable mascot behavior, yet at the same time he puts a lighthearted cartoon character face on the unsentimental Philly sports fan. He is anything but the harmless, forgettable costumed character that you’d expect to see prancing around a field playing with kids. He is like no other mascot you’ll ever see…unless, of course, another mascot learned his shtick from the Phanatic, as so many today have. But none of them are nearly as funny or endearing.

The Phanatic dances and falls on his big behind, and kids love him for it. He also hassles and badgers opposing players and managers, and Philly adults really love him for it.

best mascot in sports phanatic rocky

Few pictures make me more proud to be a Philadelphian.

Today the Phanatic is portrayed by Tom Burgoyne, who is every bit as good at the performance as Raymond was; a fan would scarcely know the difference. Burgoyne does a great job, but the costume, both Raymond and Burgoyne would probably admit, seems to have a mind of its own.

I’ve often said that the Phanatic is worth the price of admission to a Phillies game. I still think so. He’s a blast like no other mascot, and he fits perfectly in a rabid sports town.

$258.50.

That’s how much it cost a family of four to see a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park in 2016, according to the MLB Fan Cost Index.

Are you planning a trip to the City of Brotherly Love for a Phillies game? Do you want to slash that ridiculous total, AND find a great seat, parking spot, and a tasty sandwich at the game?

The Citizens Bank Park E-Guide is your complete insider’s guide to the beautiful Philadelphia ballpark, full of money-saving tips…and you can download and own it today!

Click the image below to learn more…

Guide to Citizens Bank Park

Complete Guide to Citizens Bank Park!

 

Save

Save

A Young Man’s First Phillies Game

Posted by Kurt Smith

Every baseball fan remembers his first ballgame. Except this one.

I don’t remember how old I was; probably five or so. The family all got in the car and drove to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore from Willingboro. The Orioles were taking on either the Brewers or Twins; according to my brother Tom, the O’s lost 5-3.

first phillies game the final season memorial

Site of my first ballgame, but I don’t remember much.

I only remember a couple of things about my first ballgame. I remember my oldest brother Doug telling me how when it gets dark they turn the lights on and it looks like it’s daytime on the field, and seeing that he was right. I remember Mom trying to point out to me where they were selling hot dogs–probably a vendor in the stands–and looking for a grill that I couldn’t find.

My first game at the Vet, now that’s a different story.

first phillies game vet pre demo

One of the last concrete donuts.

I found the game’s box score on Baseball Reference, which jogged a few memories that I did forget, like Jim Kaat being the starter for the Phillies and Gene Garber getting a win he probably didn’t deserve, and the date, July 1, 1977.

But even three and a half decades later, I still remember an awful lot about that night.

I was nine. The Phillies were playing the Pirates, at the time a tough NL East rival. It was just Dad and me; we sat in Section 320, in the lower level on the first base side. The small scoreboards that showed the linescore of the game called the Pirates the “BUCS”, probably because the word “Pirates” didn’t fit. (The Phillies were called the “PHILS”.) Back then the Vet had a huge scoreboard in right field.

first phillies game pirates

I still refuse to dance to “We Are Family”.

John Candelaria was the starter for the Pirates. Dad said “He’s their ace”; I was proud of knowing what “ace” meant. Even at nine, Dad talked baseball to me like I was an adult, and sometimes it was tough to keep up–as it is today.

Kaat and Candelaria both had relatively strong outings. At the end of nine innings the score was knotted at 4-4. The game continued on into the 14th, still tied. Tug McGraw, one of the most popular and excitable Phillies, pitched three innings of scoreless relief.

In the top of the 14th the Pirates scored two runs. 6-4 Pirates going into the bottom of the 14th. I don’t remember if people headed for the exits at this point or not; they probably did.

But the Phillies didn’t give up. In the bottom of the 14th someone led off with a single, and the big scoreboard proclaimed “It’s only the beginning…”.

A couple of batters later, with two on and one out, first baseman Richie Hebner came to bat. He hit a ball that bounced off of the top of the right field fence, went over the wall and hit the black draping. A home run, without question, for anyone that knew the Vet’s ground rules. But the ball bounced back and right into the glove of the Pirates right fielder, who threw the ball back into the infield.

first phillies game vet panorama

Ah, artificial turf. Baseball would never be the same.

The umpire called the runner at third out, which made the Phillies very unhappy. I remember Larry Bowa in particular furiously screaming at the umpire at second base.

At one point earlier in the game I had asked Dad for another hot dog or something and he said, “Absolutely, Kurt. This is your night. You can have anything you want.” Probably not the best thing to say to a nine-year-old at a ballgame. By the 14th inning, I had a pretty rough stomach ache from several hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream. I was probably the only person sitting down in the stands during the argument. Even Dad was standing, for the first time all night.

After a long argument and a conference with the umps, they appeared to reach a compromise. Dad turned to me and said “They’re gonna call it a double.”

One batter later, Ted Sizemore would get a game winning base hit. Phillies 7, Pirates 6.

It remains today one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen. I replayed it in my backyard for weeks, complete with stepping up onto the mound and holding my cap on my heart for the national anthem.

I was having dinner with Dad on July 1, 2012, and I told him that it was the 35th anniversary of that game. Despite that my father was sharp as a tack at 72, he had no memory of it. I couldn’t believe it.

I had some great memories at the Vet; the 1996 All-Star Game with the long ovation for Cal Ripken and the mammoth home run by Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling’s one hitter, fireworks nights, the Phillies shutting down the Yankees to help the Orioles in ’97, jinxing Donovan Osborne’s no-hitter. And the concerts–Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Genesis. I had a lot of great times there. But that first ballgame, the first visit to the ballpark with Dad, is still the most memorable.

For obvious reasons.

$258.50

That’s how much it cost a family of four to see a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park in 2016, according to the MLB Fan Cost Index.

Are you planning a trip to the City of Brotherly Love for a Phillies game? Do you want to slash that ridiculous total, AND find a great seat, parking spot, and a tasty sandwich at the game?

The Citizens Bank Park E-Guide is your complete insider’s guide to the beautiful Philadelphia ballpark, full of money-saving tips…and you can download and own it today!

Click the image below to learn more…

Guide to Citizens Bank Park

Complete Guide to Citizens Bank Park!

Save

How I Saved $75 At Citizens Bank Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

I live in South Jersey, about a 15-minute drive from Citizens Bank Park. Recently a few of my wife’s relatives visited from North Carolina, and they asked me about going to a game, since none of them had yet seen the “new” Philly ballpark.

I get nervous about things like this, since I have something of a reputation to keep. But we did fairly well.

citizens bank park outside

Where’s the concrete?

There were five of us, and I saved us $11 each on the face price of tickets with SeatGeek ($55 total), and found them a parking spot that was $6 cheaper than the Phillies lots (and closer to the ballpark than some of them).

On the way to the game we stopped at a produce shop for a $3 bag of peanuts that was enough for everyone, so that probably saved about $9 if we had bought peanuts inside. I saved $4.50 myself on a free soda.

citizens bank park ashburn alley

“Now if you squint really hard here, you can see the Bull.”

Inside the ballpark I was something of a tour guide, answering all of their food questions…Wayback burgers, Tony Luke’s, the Schmitter, Federal Donuts, etc. There were two young ones with us that enjoyed the explanation of the neon Liberty Bell in right field.

We had great seats, in the 12th row just behind first base, and they got to try the classic cheesesteaks: the Tony Luke’s with provolone and the Campo’s “Heater”.

citizens bank park cheesesteaks campos heater

Now you know you’re in Philly.

A great time was had by all, followed by a very easy exit out of the parking lot back onto the highway. All for about $75 less than it normally would cost.

I’m not trying to brag here. Well okay, I am a little bit. I was pleased enough with the accomplishment that I literally considered hiring myself out as a Baseball Fan Consultant. <grin>

But think about what it costs to gather a group for a ballgame…the tickets, the parking, the food, souvenirs etc. You’re probably going to do that sometime in the future, or at least be part of such a group, right? Now imagine shaving $75 off of that total cost.

What could you do with that $75 while you’re in town? Get a nice souvenir, like a jersey? Enjoy a nice meal in Center City? Or even get yourself some gray sweats for the authentic “Rocky running up the Art Museum steps” experience?

citizens bank park tips phanatic rocky

True Philly genius.

Your mileage may vary, of course. But everything that I pulled out of my bag o’ tricks that night…and lots of other hip smarts…are all contained in the Citizens Bank Park E-Guide. You can own it now for a paltry $6.99!

That’s just one case study…I will be including more in the future. But needless to say, you can save money with any Ballpark E-Guide…they’re all packed to the gills with insider knowledge to make you a smarter fan no matter what the situation. Sometimes with as much as $75 left over!

$258.50.

That’s how much it cost a family of four to see a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park in 2016, according to the MLB Fan Cost Index.

Are you planning a trip to the City of Brotherly Love for a Phillies game? Do you want to slash that ridiculous total, AND find a great seat, parking spot, and a tasty sandwich at the game?

The Citizens Bank Park E-Guide is your complete insider’s guide to the beautiful Philadelphia ballpark, full of money-saving tips…and you can download and own it today!

Click the image below to learn more…

Guide to Citizens Bank Park

Complete Guide to Citizens Bank Park!

 

Save

Save

Save