The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping this season brings maturation and improvement to this talented club. With a new GM in Matt Klentak and a young group of athletes, this squad has all the tools to come together for a promising and bright future. During this offseason, Philadelphia acquired Jeremy Hellickson from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Sam McWilliams, adding to their starting rotation. They also traded pitchers with the Pittsburgh Pirates getting Charlie Morton in exchange for David Whitehead. 2016 will be both Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff’s first full year in a major league rotation so it remains to be seen how they will produce for the club. Just like in the recent past, the Phillies bullpen is a positive and despite the loss of Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon, they will find the right mix of bodies to get the job done again in 2016.
For the first time since the 2001 season, Philadelphia’s opening day lineup will be without the names Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins. Utley was dealt to the Dodgers in August to join Rollins who was already there via trade the previous offseason. Shortstop currently belongs to Freddy Galvis, however he may have a difficult time holding off talented prospect J.P. Crawford. Switch hitter Cesar Hernandez plays well on both sides of the ball and will be looking to really establish himself at second base this season. Perennial first baseman Ryan Howard will play out his last year with the Phillies while across the infield, 23 year-old Maikel Franco is set for his first season in the majors at third base. Philadelphia’s outfield is led by Odubel Herrera along with the speedy Peter Bourjos and Aaron Altherr, who plays well at all three positions.
While the 2016 Phillies may not be in contention for a World Series title just yet, they are young and talented and will be an improvement over last year’s squad. Be sure to purchase your Philadelphia Phillies tickets and come out to support the club this summer. You don’t want to miss any of the on-field action!
History of Citizens Park
For over three decades, the Philadelphia Phillies played at perhaps the worst multipurpose stadium built; Veterans Stadium. Not only did it have awful turf and since they shared with the Eagles you could always see the faint outlines of a football field, but it was enormous housing over 62,000 seats.
Like many others in MLB, by the late 1990’s the Phillies yearned for a ballpark to call their own. Philadelphia City Council approved the construction of two new stadiums for both the Eagles and Phillies, funded in part by a two percent rental car tax, largely paid by visitors. The Phillies would pay for the construction overruns and maintain the ballpark as part of the deal. Citizens Bank bought the naming rights to this new venue for $95 million over 25 years.
Located near the intersection of 10th street and Pattison Avenue, the ballpark is formed by multi-story buildings containing fan facilities, team offices and services which surround the grandstand bowl and face 11th street on the west, Pattison Venue on the south and Darien Street on the east. The north side offers lower scaled buildings parallel to Hartranft Street and creates an open-air concourse. Landscaped entrances with unique character and focus make up the four corners of the ballpark.
On April 12, 2004, Philadelphia played their first game in their new venue versus the Reds in front of a capacity crowd of 43,647 Phillies ticket holders. The ballpark consists of three levels; the lower deck, suite level and upper deck. One notable feature is the seating bowl, which has many angles. The main HD video/scoreboard is perched above these seats. Nearly 400 bleacher seats are located on the roof of the outdoor pavilion and fans can see the skyline of downtown Philadelphia from beyond the center field fence.
When a Phillies’ player hits a homerun, fans get to experience a gigantic liberty bell towering 100 feet above street level come to life. The bell and clapper swing side to side and the neon edges light up and pulsate. Its ring can be heard throughout Citizens Bank Park. Another area of interest is Ashburn Alley, a festive outdoor entertainment area named after Hall of Famer and former broadcaster Richie “Whitey” Ashburn located in the outfield concourse area. It features a street fair type atmosphere containing a picnic area, family amenities and treasured moments in Philadelphia baseball. Five 10-foot bronze statues of Phillies legends Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn, Harry Kalas, Mike Schmidt and Robin Roberts are also found in this interactive area.
Philadelphia Phillies History
The Philadelphia Phillies were one of the professional baseball’s first teams. The club started playing in the National League in 1883 and those first couple of decades had quite a few very good individual seasons, but not quite good enough to win the NL. The first NL pennant came in 1915. This season was a rarity though, as the franchise spent much of the first seven decades just trying to avoid finishing in last place.
The fans remained loyal though, and that devotion was rewarded in the 1970s and the 1980s. Led by Cy Young winner Steve Carlton; one of the best-hitting third baseman of all time, Mike Schmidt; and sweet-swinging Pete Rose, the Philadelphia Phillies reached the postseason six times in eight seasons. In 1980, the club won its first World Series.
That year, the club had won the NL East by one game thanks to an MVP year by Schmidt and a Cy Young year by Carlton. In the postseason, the Phillies played the Houston Astros in the NLCS. After dispatching the Astros in six games, the team would go on to beat the Kansas City Royals in six, with Schmidt adding a World Series MV after hitting .381 with 2 homeruns, 7 RBI, and 6 runs.
The good times would not last, but a nice, but ill-fated World Series run in 1993 with team mullet (Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, and Curt Schilling) held fans over until the Phillies had managed to collect enough talent for a much more sustained run. Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley starred in the batting order and Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels led the starting rotation from the middle of the 2000s to the beginning of the 2010s. Philadelphia baseball fans enjoyed two more World Series appearances and a World Series win in 2008 and are expecting many more in the near future.