New-look outfield for Phillies

Team adds children's area behind right field at Citizens Bank Park, moves Bull's BBQ to left field

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: April 3, 2018

A rendering shows "The Yard," which includes a whiffle ball version of Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park and other attractions for kids. (Courtesy Philadelphia Phillies)

Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies have revamped their outfield attractions at Citizens Bank Park, creating a new kids zone in right field and relocating Bull’s BBQ to left-center, providing greater visibility to the stadium’s signature food destination.

The Phillies invested $30 million for the retrofit as the ballpark enters its 15th season of operation, said John Weber, the team’s vice president of ticket sales and operations. They worked with acclaimed ballpark developer Janet Marie Smith and architects DAIQ, EwingCole and Metcalfe Architecture & Design. EwingCole was part of the original design team.

Citizens Bank Park becomes the seventh MLB ballpark that Smith has worked on over the course of 30 years, dating back before the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992.

The improvements were driven by the team’s desire to improve the fan experience at Phillies games by increasing the number of social gathering spaces as well as to celebrate the team’s history, Weber said. The upgrades represent the first phase of a three-year project for refreshing what is now the National League East’s oldest facility.

The centerpiece of the renovations is “The Yard” in left field, part of the outfield Ashburn Alley area, named for hall of famer Richie Ashburn since the ballpark opened in 2004. It’s now a whiffle ball field modeled after Citizens Bank Park, complete with scaled-down versions of the dugouts, scoreboard and outfield walls and the Liberty Bell sign. A speed pitch attraction, a climbing zone, a hot dog launcher similar to the one operated by the Phillie Phanatic and an ice cream stand are also part of the new attractions.

In its new location in left-center, Bull’s BBQ, named after former Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski and run by Aramark, gets a fresh look. It’s now one of the first things fans see to their right as they enter the ballpark from the left-field gate, Weber said.

As part of expanding the operation there, the Phillies converted a suite patio one level above the BBQ stand into a sit-down dining area. The patio, which had been used for pregame gatherings, does not have views to the game. Fans stay connected by watching the action on new televisions installed in that space, Weber said.

In addition, the Phillies upgraded spaces behind the scoreboard and batter’s eye in center field and the left-field plaza entrance, where the Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame now resides, featuring the team’s World Series trophies and retired numbers of players such as Richie Ashburn, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

The team also removed a wall behind the batter’s eye to eliminate congestion in Ashburn Alley, Weber said.

To develop more social spaces, the Phillies created a standing-room area in the right-field corner by removing 480 seats in sections 106 and 107 and installing drink rails in those areas. Those seats were the last to sell in the ballpark, and there could be more standing-room areas to come in future phases, pending additional research, Weber said.

On the premium level, the three Bill Giles Party Suites down the left-field line, named for the Phillies’ chairman emeritus, have been renovated to include glass walls where fans now have views to the city. The suites, a single-game buy, accommodate groups of 40 to 70 people. This season’s price is $6,000 a game, which breaks down to $150 a ticket for a group of 40 for the all-inclusive package. The Phillies reduced the cost this year from last year’s $175 a person to drive use, Weber said.

The Phillies’ home opener is Thursday against the Miami Marlins.

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: April 3, 2018