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May 21, 2007

Citizens Bank Park

I went down to Citizens Bank Field Sunday, with Brad and "Veet", his cousin.052107 001.jpg

It was a beautiful spring day, with temperatures in the 70's, a good breeze and partly cloudy skies. My drive down there was simple, I made it to the ball park in 1 hour 25 minutes from Hoboken. I have been to Veteran's Stadium countless times with my father and brother as a kid. I remember just HATING that stadium for various reasons. It was cavernous, cold, the people were always belligerent, even to their own fans. It just wasn't the kind of place for a family, it was a stadium for angry drunks.

Hey, I know some of you reading it LOVED that.

Even as a single guy today that's something I still don't like in a stadium. I like a place with a good crowd, for families of all ages to enjoy. Sometimes you have to be a bit careful what you wish for, which I will explain later.

So the new place is great. Big, but not too big. Great sightlines to the field. Lots of variety with the shops and food. Still sky high prices on everything, but that's about what I expect at a ballpark. I had my chance to try a Schmitter, but wolfed down two hot dogs and tried a Rick's cheesesteak instead.

Mini review on the steak? Eh. Good, but not great. Certainly not on the same level as Pat's or Geno's but about the same i'd expect from a good pizza place that makes steaks in the suburbs. I wanted to try a Tony Luke's steak next time.

The ballpark was filled with fans, about 39,000 of them and it was MUCH different when compared to the Vet. In the Vet, when you had 39,000 fans, the place seemed dead because it held 62,382 fans. The CB can fit 43,647 max, so the place was just filled with fans, who cheered with every good play and boo'd when appropiate.

My seats weren't too bad. I just went online and ordered them from phillies.com. But I made a catastrophic mistake.

Now, I assumed i'd easily get 3 other people who would be interested in a Phillies game. It was on a Sunday afternoon during spring (not summer). I had lots of friends and family who would go to this.

I was just thinking i'd take Brad, Matt and another person to the game. Matt couldn't go, he had plans with his wife. Brad could go, so I told him to just get two of his cousins and we'd be set. He let me know Saturday night at the bar that he could only get 1 cousin. Yipes.

Sunday morning I called about 8 people. Got lots of voicemails and plenty of others who had other plans, which is understandable. Basically couldn't find another person to join us 3 and ate the last ticket. That sucked.

Another thing that sucked is that "family" thing I was talking about before. I only ran into two problems. You really can't say "Fuck" that often, because there are kids everywhere. I found myself saying things like "Wes Helms is sitting cause he can't get the fucking lumber off his shoulder..." then watching out of the corner of my eye a mom give me a dirty look. Ok, sorry. I guess i'm the angry drunk now. In this scenario, I shouldn't be cursing and I was able to re-train my brain by the 4th inning to replace my curse words with more acceptable replacement terms, like "Darn!" or "Freakin'". Yea, they don't have the same effect.

Somehow it has become acceptable to bring a two year old to the stadium. Next to me, in two seats, were a grandpa and a dad, and their two year old. Now you parents out there, lets have some sympathy. Think about this - a TWO year old at a baseball game who is expected to sit for 4 hours isn't going to happen. So he was a complete monster (yelling, squirming on his seat, changing laps from dad's to grandpa's each inning) for about three hours until he fell asleep in the 8th inning. That's just another example of a parent being selfish that irritates me. There was no reason to bring such a young child to the ballpark, except that the dad wanted to catch the game with his pop, and his wife couldn't/wouldn't watch their son. I personally think in a ballpark there should be a rule that you have to be 5 to 6 or older to enter with your parents. Otherwise, stay home. Part of me wanted to say something, but what could I say? "Hey thanks for Bubba yelling in my ear for the last 3 innings, that was great..."

Otherwise, the day was a lot of fun, and i'd like to go back again soon. My last complaint is the drive home. You know how I made it there in 1 hour 25 minutes? It took me 2 hours and 25 minutes to get home thanks to exit 5 through 8A on the NJ Turnpike. I was a complete idiot and should have taken 95 to Route 1, then Route 1 to exit 9. Learn from my mistakes!

Posted by Furey at May 21, 2007 12:52 AM

Comments

Well, as I mentioned to you a few weeks ago, I am going to Citizens Bank Park with my family on July 1st to see the Mets. I have to admit, I'm a little taken aback by your comments of young children not being allowed to attend games. When my daughter was 2 (yes, 2), she and I, alone, attended her first game ever at Shea Stadium. She could not have been more of a princess, enjoying the day completely while not bothering others. I'm not patting myself on the back here but, sometimes, it's just about the parenting. Children who cannot be controlled (parent's fault/responsibilty) should be removed from the area by said parent so as not to ruin the good time of others. Very simply, just get up with the child and retreat to the concourse/hallway area so no one is disturbed. But a parent should not be denied a day out with the kids by non-parents. Perhaps when you have some children, you'll see and experience the feeling of what I'm talking about. Or, you can just take your own advice and not take your children to any sporting event until they are 5 or 6.

So my daughter's going on 4 and my son will be just about a year old by the time we get to the game. I look forward to it.

Posted by: JoeT Author Profile Page at May 21, 2007 2:57 PM

I bet if I said something to that guy he would have been all upset at me for daring to question his parenting skills. Of course your kid was an angel at the ballpark, but there are far too many bad parents in life who don't know how to control their kids.

Posted by: Furey Author Profile Page at May 21, 2007 5:19 PM

Ah Furey, it kills me when non-parents comment on raising children. I raised 3 kids alone while my husband was in Iraq for 15 months. Now, I did not do a lot of big outings with my kids (b/c I was low on patience most of the time) but I was not going to sit at home all the time either. Give parents a break. You never know how a child will behave when you take them out. I also agree with JoeT. A parent should not be denied a day out with their kids. Besides, an older child can ruin a game too with their complaining!

Posted by: Sue at May 22, 2007 8:54 AM

Not to attack Joe or Sue, but my question is, if you take a kid under 5 to a public place (such as a ballpark) who's really enjoying the experience? Does a 2 yr old know what's going on?

I remember being a kid watching baseball and football with my dad. He never would take me to the Vet for football games. My first game was at 22, b/c it was too rough for a girl (according to him). And my first baseball game was at 10 or so. That was awesome and I remember it (Phillies games were not as rough as Eagles games).

While I understand how difficult it can be to be cooped up all day with children, I'm not sure who benefits from a day at the ballpark at 2 or even 5 besides the parent. And the possibility of your kid having a meltdown and aggravating everyone else who also paid for their seats, well, that outweighs one parent's rights to me.

That all said, I don't have kids so maybe as Sue points out, I could be wayyy off.

Posted by: mel Author Profile Page at May 22, 2007 9:23 AM

To answer your question, everyone involved benefits. While a young child may not remember the experience as a whole, we're enjoying it as it happens, we talk about it from time to time to make the memories last and we have pictures that last a lifetime where I can say to her when she's 25, "This is the first time you were ever at Shea Stadium. It's not there anymore but I'm glad we shared that experience 23 years ago." Etc.

I'm not cooped up all day. I have a wonderful piece of property with a large backyard. I live in a cul-de-sac and it's a great community with plenty to do. It's just that I'd like my children to experience different things. If a meltdown occurs, I handle it. I don't let them cry it out and hope no one is watching.

If that's your line of thinking Mel, then I guess parents should'nt take their young children to some public place like Disney until they can remember the experience, or wherever. Otherwise, we'd be the only ones enjoying Mickey, not them.

And again, it's easy for you to side with the author on this because you are tight friends and have no children but, remember it, so when you have children someday, you can be sure you don't take them to a place where anyone can be disturbed. If you do, then you'd be a hypocrite. Of course, people are allowed to change their minds. Having your own children can do that to you, you see things very differently.

Posted by: JoeT Author Profile Page at May 22, 2007 12:41 PM

I'm in the Joe/Sue camp (apologies to Furey and mel!).

My first memories start around 2-3. I accompanied my parents to business dinners by the time I ws 7. My father's colleagues also said how well behaved I was. Heh. I knew from a very young age that if I said a word, ANYTHING, or misbehaved in any way, I would get "it" so bad from my parents that it wasn't worth it. The only thing I was allowed to do was to whisper in my mother's ear if I needed something (to go to the restroom, food, drink, sweater, etc.). I had some great experiences and memories (including business trips/dinners to/in Paris and London!), and was happy my parents didn't leave me behind with a babysitter. That was one of the bigger threats--misbehave and we are leaving you behind.

The problem, in my mind, in not children being out at public events, restaurants and the like. The problem is UNRULY children and the parents that don't control them. Unfortunately I've also seen plenty unruly adults too who drink too much in public or are otherwise just obnoxious and disruptive to others. This is just as big of a problem in my mind.

The issue generally is people who are self-indulgent, self-centered, and just plain rude in not considering the effects of their and/or their children's behavior on others.

Posted by: a_siren Author Profile Page at May 22, 2007 12:43 PM

yea give me a break--bring a 2 yr old to the ballpark? and expose everyone else to a screaming child just because the (boo hoo) parent deserves a day out? Hire a babysitter! Or go somewhere appropriate for small children! Another bad parenting example is when they schelp all of their little loved ones to a fine dining establishment and let them scream and holler and basically ruin everyone else's experience. Once I was at Union Sq Cafe in NY for a romantic dinner and in came a family camp, in shorts with stroller sets. The mom eventually started breastfeeding to quiet one of the babies. Classy!

Posted by: janine Author Profile Page at May 22, 2007 12:45 PM

Ok Janine, breastfeeding a child is wrong why? Maybe the child was hungy. Hunger = crying babies. God gave women breasts to feed their children with. Don't get me started!

Posted by: Sue at May 22, 2007 9:17 PM

Is that why God gave women breasts? Holy crap, I need to change my worldview!

Posted by: Michael Ferrario Author Profile Page at May 22, 2007 11:09 PM

I'm not denouncing breast feeding for god's sake, i'm saying there is a time and a place. And dinner at a fine dining establishement in the City (ie not a family style restaurant) is not the place to come hunkering in and set up camp with your bottles, screaming children and flapping bras. Parents should use some common sense. Not all parents are like this, but the ones who are have this attitude of "oh i'm a parent and therefore i get a free pass and everyone must suffer with me."

Posted by: janine Author Profile Page at May 23, 2007 1:04 PM

Joe, Disneyworld is FOR kids. That's a whole different can of worms.

Others-Breastfeeding in public is so ridiculous. How about I let my boyfriend suckle my breasts in public? What, it's natural... it's beautiful.... come on? Oh right, because he's an adult it's not appropriate for me to pull out my ta-tas, but if he were my 1 year old child, my ta-tas are suddenly okay to expose in public. Yea, no.

And overall, I guess I just like the "children should be seen not heard mantra" that siren put out there.

Oh and guess what, I don't want kids. See, unlike some parents I see (not posters on here), I realize that if I have a child, my lifestyle will have to change. So I choose to NOT have a child. I can't stand people who have kids and then don't make adjustments and expect the world to cater to them.

Yuck.

Posted by: mel Author Profile Page at May 23, 2007 1:46 PM

Good luck Mel.

Posted by: JoeT Author Profile Page at May 23, 2007 8:46 PM

For those of you that have been to this ballpark, it was built with families in mind. You can go below the stands and they have a playground, and a build-a-bear store to keep the kids occupied. And, if I am not mistaking, there is a a "family" sections that parents of little ones can request for their tickets. The new trend in the new ballparks is to please families and non-family fans alike --thank Ted Turner for this when he converted the olympic stadium to turner field!!!

Posted by: Kathleen Author Profile Page at May 26, 2007 3:04 PM

oh yea and to add to that, my niece has been going to watch the phillies with my brother-in-law and my sister since she was about 2 years old. At 4 she could name the pitching line up. After every game they wait for the players to come out and she probably has just about every phillies autograph. She was also randomly picked (as they do every game in Philly) that a child stands on the field with each player when they sing to the national anthem.

Posted by: Kathleen Author Profile Page at May 26, 2007 3:14 PM

Wow, unbelievable huh? Thanks Kat. Now I look even more forward to my trip. If anyone looks at me crooked for bringing my family to the game, I can say the Philles have encouraged me to bring my children.

Posted by: JoeT Author Profile Page at May 28, 2007 9:54 AM

Joe, they will only look at you strange if you are wearing a mets shirt :)

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/ballpark/not_your_typical_ballpark.jsp#kids

here is link of all the "family" things your kids can do. Sorry I was wrong about the build a bear -it is build a phanatic.

Posted by: Kathleen Author Profile Page at May 28, 2007 2:57 PM

oops, I was incorrect about the kids going on the field at every game --it is just the sunday games.

Posted by: Kathleen Author Profile Page at May 28, 2007 3:41 PM

Thanks again Kat, and you're right, there's tons of stuff for kids. It's a good thing that whoever was in charge of developing Citizen Bank Park was thinking of everyone and not just people who are 5 or older, or only just adults.

And, then it looks like they'll be looking at me strange because I'll proudly, but respectfully, be donning my Mets jersey.

Posted by: JoeT Author Profile Page at May 28, 2007 9:47 PM

Ok, what part of build a bear and playgrounds is about watching baseball? You've proven my point, a child isn't interested in the game.

Furthermore, I love you Kat, but I think you're full of it, when you say your 2 yr old niece can name any line up.

Posted by: mel Author Profile Page at May 28, 2007 10:23 PM

Not when she was 2 when she was 4. My brother-in-law works for a company that has a corporate box so they sometimes sit there and they buy a 20 game package- so they average about 30 games a season. And a lot of the families come early to the game to take advantage of the playground and other stuff.

Posted by: Kathleen Author Profile Page at May 29, 2007 10:09 PM

Regarding the Schmitter.... it was a good pass on your part. Despite all the hype about the sandwich, it was pretty bad. First of all, they pre-make them like McDonalds and have them waiting. So no one knows how many innings its been lying there. Secondly, the sandwich tasted like a Big Mac with steak instead of a burger. And the steak tastes a lot like a burger after hanging out in a foil package for a half-hour. The 'special sauce' tasted pretty similar to that on the Big Mac. Which I guess is fine as people like Big Macs.... but maybe not for $9. Next time, it'll be Tony Luke's for me as well.

Posted by: Geko at June 1, 2007 12:14 PM

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