To Francesca Green and Augusta Harris, both 17 and from Berwyn, attending a Phillies game means an overflowing ballpark with a view of Center City, a nose-pleasing aroma of Bull’s BBQ and Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks in Ashburn Alley, and a perpetually contending team of all-stars.
Both girls said they had no recollection of Veterans Stadium, where the Phillies played before they moved in 2004 to the new Citizens Bank Park, which has become a major destination for baseball fans, including young people such as Green and Harris.
“Our friends have some seats from the Vet,” Harris said, sounding as if she was talking about some 19th-century antiques.
The Phillies are expected to reach a milestone Thursday night with their 100th straight home sellout, an unthinkable occurrence in the days of the Vet. While the Phillies sold out only 47 regular-season games in 33 years at the large and unfriendly Vet, they already have 271 regular-season sellouts in less than seven years at Citizens Bank Park.
“The Vet was bad,” said Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. “You’d look up and see something like 20,000 on the official attendance and you’d look in the stands and it was like 12,000. There were times you could hear someone whisper.”
The Phillies have sold out just over half of their 539 regular-season dates since the current ballpark opened. The last game the Phillies did not sell out was July 6 of last season when they drew 41,548 for a game against the Cincinnati Reds. It was among only eight games that did not sell out a year ago, as the team drew a record 3,600,693 fans in 81 regular-season games.