Summertime in the city means a lot of things – walking to work in workout clothes, Center City Sips, dogs and babies out in full force in the neighborhood, BBQs with friends, cucumber mojitos, escaping to the beach or to a pool in the ‘burbs. But most of all, for me, it means baseball. And after my first baseball game of the season last week, summer is officially here (summer solstice notwithstanding).
If you had told me ten years ago that I would be an avid baseball fan at any point in my life, I’d have laughed at you. I’ve never been any kind of sports fan – I went to a lot of high school football games back in the day, but – being in the marching band – I wasn’t exactly paying attention to what was going on around me. I didn’t know anything about baseball until seven or eight years ago, when living with a good friend/rabid Mets fan meant watching baseball (whether I wanted to or not). Now, here I am – a Mets fan in the City of Brotherly Love. And let me tell you – there is not a whole lot of brotherly love here for rival sports fans.
Despite rooting for the away team, I do have to say – Citizens Bank Park is a pretty great place to hang on a warm summer evening. I’m convinced that there isn’t a bad seat in the house – and when you’re there with friends, with a beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other, nothing beats it. The food is so quintessentially “baseball,” with a healthy dose of Philly mixed in (holla atcha, Chickie & Pete’s!). And – even though they’re Phillies fans – you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by people who love the game.
The only thing that I could possibly complain about is its location. All of the sports stadiums are located in a complex south of the city – which means you can get a great view of the skyline, depending on where you’re sitting, but that skyline is definitely being viewed from a distance. It’s about a half-hour ride on the subway, which isn’t all that terrible, or sitting in traffic on S. Broad Street for who knows how long, which truly is terrible. The worst thing about the location, though, is that it almost hadn’t happened.
Once upon a time, more than ten years ago, when Citizens Bank Park was first being imagined, there were talks to put it smack dab in the middle of Center City. (Think Camden Yards in Baltimore.) When I think about that, and how exciting and fun and accessible it would’ve been to be able to WALK to the baseball stadium in the summer – my urbanite heart gets a little weepy. The location of the stadiums is a bit distant, a bit sterile, and a bit like no-man’s-land (with a sprinkling of restaurants, thanks to Xfinity Live) – which sometimes takes away from the excitement of a game and its connection to the city.
But, at the end of the day, it’s still baseball — and wherever the baseball is, is where I’ll be this summer.