Today was Christmas. If you love baseball and you’re a Philadelphian (or from thereabouts) today was Christmas—when you still believed in Santa Claus.
After years of longing, Phillies fans finally got to enter their brand new baseball palace.
It isn’t quite finished. But when you look at the face of your newborn, you don’t notice the bruises from the delivery. You just see a perfect baby you’ve been waiting nine months for. And today, Phillies fans saw their baby they’d waited years and years for.
It was worth the wait.
So much is done right. The brick and glass of the exterior looks like Philadelphia. It’s just sad that it’s in the middle of nowhere. The design would have fit perfectly in a neighborhood, as original dreams would have delivered. But today’s a day to praise, not pine. And this is a place deserving of praise.
It isn’t that there aren’t some things I’d like done differently. For example, even though the premium seats have cup holders, the drinks should have lids. No one wants peanut shells or, heaven forbid, bugs floating in their drinks. A premium ($6) grilled half-pound hotdog should go directly from grill to bun, not be held in a pretty dish under a lid. It loses the grilled flavor and texture and comes out cold by the time you’ve paid the cashier who can’t count to 10 (yes, everyone in the Baker Bowl stand could see this, but apparently complaints fell on deaf supervisory ears).
Out among the hoi polloi, some of the concession lines in the concourses (for those few that were open for business as usual) are confusing and disorganized. There were some where the line for food went far down the concourse, but there were six cashiers standing around waiting for paying customers. But these issues can all be corrected over time.
And then it struck me, as I walked through the lower concourse, cheek by jowl with thousands of other faces split with the same childlike grin. Yes, there are other new ballparks, beautiful new ballparks. But in each one, even my beloved Pac Bell, my joy was tempered by envy. Today, my joy was pure.
Today I walked through my new ballpark.