One of the great things about being a Phillies fan these days – aside from when the team is playing well – is the ballpark in South Philly. After calling Veterans Stadium home for too many years (that place was a bonafide dump), they moved into Citizens Bank Park, a state of the art facility that opened in 2004.
It's arguably one of the nicer ballparks in baseball these days, with its open air concourse that circles the stadium, it's ivy-covered batter's eye in dead center, and a view of Center City Philadelphia. Not to mention a ton of great places to get a cold one, a cheesesteak or some ice cream in those tiny helmets.
So, it was a bit of a surprise when ESPN's Jim Caple -- who did a veritable ballpark tour to determine the best and worst in the game -- didn't give any love to Citizens Bank Park.
And while there are a lot of givens for the best ofs (Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Camden Yards) and for the worst (Tropicana Field), there is neither hide nor hair for the home of the Phillies. It's totally subjective, but I find it hard to believe that CBP doesn't deserve some mention here, especially when it comes to concessions.
Not only do they have the standard ballpark fare, like hot dogs, hamburgers, Cracker Jacks and so on, they also have crab fries from Chickie's and Pete's, which might just be the most popular dish in the ballpark, as evidenced by the line that never seems to end.
But really, this list is unacceptable for the Phillies and their fans. I understand that Caple has his own tastes and that maybe CBP just isn't his cup of tea, but if he couldn't list the Phillies in the Top 5, he could have had the decency to list them in the bottom three -- just so they can get recognized for something.
To me, things are more interesting if they are really good, or if they are really bad. I love great movies, but I'd watch a masterpiece of horrific proportions over a decent, six-out-of-10 movie any day. Why? Because there is some value in being the worst at something, because when you are the worst, you are quite literally the best at being bad.
It's like this season for the Phillies. I'm not surprised that they aren't leading the division, but I am a little shocked that they are playing as bad as they are, for the reasons that they are. But at least they have the distinction of being in last place, as opposed to being somewhere in the middle, where no one really cares about the mediocre.
But back to CBP: It's one of the better venues in the league, and it certainly deserves some kind of consideration for being on this list. The atmosphere, the location, the architecture -- everything about it is just fantastic. Maybe I'm biased, but I feel like Caple really struck out on this one. Maybe a year's supply of crab fries will change his mind.