August 07, 2005

Citizen for a Day

I was among the 35,017 in attendance at Sunday's Brewers-Phillies game in Philly. Not only did my first career visit to Citizens Bank Park move me into double digits in career baseball stadiums visited (including the now vacant Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and Stade Olympique in Montreal), but it allowed me to observe, among other things, one of the most unusual creatures in all of sport: The Philadelphia Fan. The game itself was a sleepy 2-0 Brewers win with a slow-motion feel befitting a hot summer Sunday afternoon, but I found plenty to entertain myself during my three hours at Citizens Bank Park nonetheless. My observations:

-I've only been to 10 professional ballparks in my day, but I feel pretty comfortable extrapolating to say that the urinals at Citizens Bank Park are the worst in Major League Baseball and arguably the most disgraceful on the entire planet. I've got no problem with it when served on a bun with onions and hot peppers, but honestly, I haven't been traumatically exposed to so much sausage in one place at one time since "The Crying Game." Seriously, would it have killed them to build up any kind of side barrier on these urinals? Shielding with the off-hand can only protect so much. I basically felt like I was dropping trow and mictorating against a bare wall whilst a number of co-conspirators looked on. Not the best of times.

-I have to say, my overriding impression of the Philly baseball fans was not what I was expecting. Though there were a few rabid sorts in the bleachers (more on that in a bit), for the most part this may have been the quietest big baseball crowd I've ever seen. To illustrate the silence, at one point in the game, a guy sitting a good 12-15 rows behind me (I was in the tenth row near the right field foul pole) started calling out to Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu. The guy wasn't even yelling particularly loudly, but Bobby immediately knew someone was calling his name. Within about 10 seconds of the guy starting to yell, Abreu turned and gave a casual wave. No way he would have heard this guy at either of the New York ballparks. Hell, he probably wouldn't have heard him at notoriously laid-back Turner Field. But that's just how quiet it was in the park. The odd thing is, it's not like the place was empty (paid attendance was over 35,000, as I said), and furthermore, the fans that were out were repping Phillies gear in a big way. They just weren't making any noise, and didn't make any noise until the 8th and 9th innings when the Phillies brought the tying run to the plate. Of course it didn't help that the Phillies hit like dung all day, but still, there was something odd about how dead this crowd was.

-And speaking of odd, why was my friend Ben wearing blue jeans in 90-degree heat? Talk about perplexing.

-Seeing Brewers' closer Derrick Turnbow take the mound reminded me for the thousandth time that this guy may have the best head of hair in all of baseball. Honestly, the man looks like he hasn't had a proper shearing in years, if ever. Also adding to his charm is the fact that he has the general appearance of a guy the Brewers found rummaging around in the dumpster behind the stadium muttering to himself.
This picture may not quite do his odd appearance justice, but it gives you a sense.

-Good to see that Yankee-hating is alive and well in Philly. Saw one fan sporting an "ARod Slaps Balls" t-shirt. Nice.

-For all my confusion and disappointment at the reserved, almost stoic nature of the majority of the crowd on this Sunday afternoon, there were some Phillie fans who lived up to legend. In particular, I'm pretty certain that I saw a six-year-old girl sitting in my section yell to Brewers' right fielder Geoff Jenkins through a makeshift megaphone fashioned out of a popcorn container, "You're a dickweed." Her father, who was seated next to her, needless to say was not pleased.

He was thrilled.


Blogger jdg said...

Sounds like Michigan football fans. They'll cheer when something good happens, but general pumped-up-ness? Miniscule for a 100K+ fans.

1:22 PM, August 08, 2005  
Blogger jimmyrad said...

Beware of Minute Maid Park. Us Houstonians like to show off our sausages, as well. Nothing like the old Astrodome, though, where they rolled trough style.

6:33 PM, August 08, 2005  
Blogger The OCC said...

That's exactly what the Philly fans were like -- just waiting for something good (or preferably bad, I think) to happen to their team and then react. They were most empassioned when David Bell came to the plate so they could boo him. I hear the scene at Philly football games is quite, quite different.

Thanks for the warning about Houston. The scene in Philly was really quite disarming. I felt like I had accidentally stumbled into the House of Snakes at the zoo.

6:58 PM, August 08, 2005  

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