Monday, June 28, 2010

The Weekend In Philly

This amusing piece of graffiti we saw in Philadelphia pretty much sums up my feelings on this weekend's series.

In case you didn't already figure it out, it turned out that moving this weekend's Jays/Phillies series to Philadelphia was, in fact, a good move. Shit got crazy on Saturday precisely at the time that tens of thousands of Jays fans would have been trying to either get home or get drunker.

We had a great time in Philly. The Phans were pretty good to us, with only a little bit of good-natured jabbing toward us. We actually got a shitload of free alcohol.

My Critique of Citizen's Bank Park:
Overall, I give it a B+. It is very nice; but there are a few minor things I didn't like. First, the ribbon boards and scoreboards could be bigger. I had to squint to read them, and I have brand new contact lenses. We had good seats, too. I don't have this problem at the Rogers Centre. You shouldn't have to have better than 20/20 vision to check out the stats. I also found it confusing that some boards were being alternated with ads.

Another issue I had was with the sound system. It wasn't too bad for music and live announcements, but when film clips were being played, I couldn't understand a word.

I suppose this is just a matter of personal preference since I'm not a driver, but I much prefer a ballpark in the middle of the city than out in an asphalt wasteland. I like being able to stroll to restaurants, bars, hotels, and public transit. I guess others prefer having miles and miles of parking spaces. To each his own... but if you think it's easier to disperse the traffic from said wasteland, you are wrong. The parking lots were gridlocked for a good hour after the game, and that's not including the time we spent gridlocked on I-76.

On the positive side, I loved the fact that despite a sell-out crowd, there were very few lineups. Beer, food, washrooms... it all moved along well. Why is it that the same crowd on Opening Day at the Rogers Centre seems to paralyze the staff? I remember hearing the excuse from one beer vendor, "there could be way more of us here, and we could never keep up." Bullshit.

The prices on beer and food were pretty good.

I also love any ballpark with an open concourse. Not only is it nice to be able to keep track of the game while you zip up for your beer/bathroom break, it allows a pleasant a breeze on sweltering days such as those we had this weekend.

I have to rant on Sunday's seventh inning stretch. On Friday and Saturday, as you may have already heard, the Phillies' version of J-Force - whatever the hell they call themselves - dressed in mock-ups of the RCMP's ceremonial uniform and sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" followed by, um, the Village Peoples' "YMCA."

Okay, fine. Cute. I'm against political correctness and the RCMP itself perpetuates the "Mountie" stereotype, so no biggie, especially considering that the Phils-Phorce (or whatever) have, for example, shown similar non-PC-ness by dressing up as Hawaiians and doing the hula for Shane Victorino. Fine.

...But Sunday? Apparently, everyone stands up to remove their caps to somberly sing "God Bless America" at all US ballparks. Why? I dunno, and neither does George Carlin, but I digress. Immediately after that, they did the YMCA-Mounties again. That, IMO, was just plain disrespectful and arrogant, considering what was going on back home in Toronto. Quoth Jeff Blair via Twitter, although he may have been quoting others with the "Jays traveling party", whoever they are: "How would the 'Mercans react if we had dancing Marines on the top of the dugouts? That is a valid question, no?" Can you imagine the reaction if J-Force had the nerve to mock 'Mercan law enforcement while shit was going down in the city represented by the other club?

Bad call, Phillies. I found that truly disrespectful. "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" would have been sufficient, doncha think, under the circumstances?

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