It wasn’t all that long ago you could go to the store, buy a can of baked beans and a hearty side of potato salad, add in the buns and a pack of Phillies Franks, and get a free ticket to the game. Not only were you engaging in a hell of a meal, you were on your way to Veterans Stadium thanks to a ticket nestled in links of beef and whatever that juice is when you cut open the packaging.
Think about that for a second. If Phillies Franks still existed, your local Genuardi’s or Wegmans would have had people camping out like Bonnaroo yesterday, waiting for the store clerk to unload the next box of hot dogs in aisle four. Sadly, those dog days are over.
Now, Dave Montgomery and his cohorts sell them for $4 a pop at Citizens Bank Park. And yesterday, you were waiting in line for hours, or gave yourself carpel tunnel attempting to score tickets on the Phillies website. What a difference a decade makes.
With their recent success, the Phillies have become one of the behemoths of the game and with that comes the rush for a seat in the house. By the estimation of the team yesterday, the Phillies have sold out 15 of the 81 home games while unloading over 3.3 million tickets total. Outside of Citizens Bank Park, many went the nostalgic route by standing in line for ticket, an old-fashioned phenomena with the invention of the internet. A friend who was working on Lincoln Financial Field told me he showed up at 6:30 a.m. and the line was beginning to wrap around the stadium.
Strange times indeed for someone who has followed this team through Von Hayes, John Kruk, Tony Longmire, Ricky Otero, Jon Lieber, Brett Myers, and others. Even during the World Series season of 2008, you could walk up to the window and score a decent ticket. Now, forget about it.
The success of the franchise is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, everyone is ecstatic that the team is winning and able to field a team filled to the brim with all-star talent. On the other, many fans have been priced out or pushed out by the sea of newbies looking to get the hottest ticket in town.
Certainly, no one is complaining that this team is in a position to contend once again. However, a justified complaint from the super fans has been heard: if you’re going to pay all this money on tickets, pay attention to the game and stop acting as though this is a frat party. Because there are certainly others who would relish the opportunity to have that seat.
And that’s not a knock on those who want to enjoy the atmosphere of a baseball game. Back in the old concrete bowl, the smell of urine and the sight of rats gave a night out at the park the ambiance of a trip to the scrap yard. No one wanted to go – really, for years, that place was inhabited by only the most ravenous fans, teenagers looking for something to do on a summer night, or the people who worked there.
Now, Citizens Bank Park is teeming with red and white, and that’s cool. But dammit if we don’t get a little teary eyed thinking about those Phillies Franks.