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Grapefruiting: Touring BrightHouse Field

It’s been a slow day from Clearwater, but hey, that won’t stop me.

Today, I got my first real glimpse at BrightHouse Field — named after BrightHouse Networks, which is a communications corporation here in Florida — and hey, it’s a damn nice place to catch a game.

In short, BrightHouse Field is modeled after Citizens Bank Park in a way. From first base to third base, a concourse under a balcony features everything you need — a clothing/pro shop, food, drink. It’s here you older fans can grab one of 50 beers at Beers of the World. There I had Shock Top, the Budweiser answer to Blue Moon (a Coors beer) in the Belgian white ale genre. I also grabbed myself a Lager, but was sort of disappointed by the exchange in ordering:

Tim: Can I have a lager?
Server: What kind?
Tim: (mutters “ugh”) Yuengling.
Server: Sure.
Tim: (being an asshole) In Philly, if you just ask for a ‘lager’, they know you’re asking for a Yuengling.
Server: Oh, well we have a lot of lagers here.

The server was nice though, and hopefully she didn’t think I was being an asshole, but hey, it happens. At that point, however, I was tipsy enough not to know if I was being an asshole or not. Bottom line: They serve Yuengling!

The outfield features the giant tiki bar (Frenchy’s), then a long walkway straddling the lawn (divided by the centerfield catcher’s eye). Families take to the lawn. I met a couple families there, most of them not really Phillies fans, but catching the game for the heck of it. In fact, one father had his 9-year-old son with him, and it was the kid’s first game. Both the father and kid were cool, but come on, 9 years old and his first game?! That’s a travesty.

Phillies fans were great. I talked to a bunch of them, and most of them were optimistic about the team this year. As well we should be. We can argue about the fifth starter and middle relief situations, and we can worry about the thin hitting this spring, but hey — we’re healthy, we’re talented and we’re defending a division crown. To me, this is at least an 85-win team, and — no, I’m not drinking the Kool Aid — we can top out at 100 wins. So, as an early predicition (with a full one coming in a week and change), we’re a 92-win team.

BrightHouse Field is gorgeous. It’s the perfect venue for Florida baseball, and I recommend it for both Phillies fans and for regular Floridians. Hopefully, we’ll all come back to BrightHouse next year wearing our World Champion T-shirts. I have a small feeling — yes, it’s there — that we will.

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