Fan Follow Friday puts the spotlight weekly on one of my readers, as they share their favorite ballparks and baseball memories. Hope you enjoy hearing their stories!! This week we catch up with a young ballhawk and blogger, Harrison Tishler, a Philadelphia Phillies fan:
Name: Harrison Tishler
Hometown: Princeton, NJ
Favorite Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Blog/Website: Philadelphia Ballhawk
How did you get into baseball?
It was kind of an inherited thing, from my dad. He grew up in South Jersey, a Phillies fan and by the age of three, I was already going to five to ten games a season. My first game was Kevin Millwood’s no-hitter in 2003, which I obviously don’t remember much from but I do remember a little bit from Veterans Stadium. I was never a big Little League player but I was always analyzing uniforms, stats, and little details of the game, which is what really drew me to it. The game continues to amaze me, however, because the last few years, I’ve really looked at it differently than most people are. Like the last person featured in this series, Mateo Fischer, I am a ballhawk, so I am always at games at least three hours early. It’s interesting to hear players in their bullpen sessions talking about velocity, which pitches they’re going to throw, and stuff like that. Also, through my blogging, I’ve gotten press passes, and been to the MLB Network studio, which is also really cool.
Of course, as a Phillies fan, I want to say Citizens Bank Park, but that is a lie. Last May, I went to Fenway Park, which was really incredible. Just being there, walking a lap around the concourse, or even the outside of the stadium, you can just feel all of the history. There is a kind of charm there, that you just can’t experience at Marlins Park or even modern-retro stadiums like Camden Yards. The seating is so intimate, and you feel like you’re on top of the action, even in the upper deck (I went up there on a tour once). Not to mention, the place is great for baseballs, especially when you purchase Red Sox Nation, which gives you early entrance.
Although I know this should probably be MLB related, I’m going to flip the switch and choose a Minor League Park. I’ve been to some boring, generic MLB parks such as Sun Life and Nationals Park, but I didn’t really get the full experience at either of those buildings, so I’m choosing one that I’ve been to a lot. Now don’t get me wrong, the staff in Trenton is the best, everyone is really nice, the pricing is great, the ballhawking is really easy, but Arm & Hammer Park is so plain and bland, at least compared to the other Minor League parks I’ve been to. There is no outfield seating, instead, four (I believe) levels of billboards are in the outfield. The food is plain, with no real specialty items like a lot of teams extravagantly create and also, there are no quirks in the park, the outfield is symmetric, and their main attraction is the Delaware River can only be seen from a small portion of the seats, which even then, you have to turn around, and you can’t see the field when looking at it. As I said, the workers there are great, and the layout works for ballhawking, but the stadium itself is so blah.
Top Ballpark Memory?
Oh, that’s a tough one. It’s a tie between game one of the 2011 NLDS and one that technically isn’t a ballpark, but for the purpose of this blog being Ballpark on a Budget, I’ll go with the NLDS. It was a chilly October night in Philadelphia, and no one at the time realized how much that game would eventually mean. It was the final playoff series of our mini-dynasty that was starting to form, the fifth straight year we were in. Also, it ended up being the last win of Roy Halladay’s playoff career. We weren’t even supposed to be at the game, but the day before it, the Phillies sent out some email saying that they released standing room only tickets, and suddenly, we were going. Everyone was so psyched to get the game underway, and suddenly, the place was dead, as Lance Berkman hit a three run jack in the first inning. We scored in the fourth inning but really exploded in the sixth. Even before that, Doc was dealing, and he kept us in the whole time. It was a really fun time, and an experience I’ll never forget, even though the Cards took the series in the fifth game.
Advice for fans visiting your home ballpark?
My advice is to do exactly the opposite of what I do at Citizens Bank Park. I run in when the gates open, do my thing at BP, head to the closest concession stand, watch the game and leave. There is a lot to do and see at Citizens Bank Park, from Ashburn Alley, which has a lot of food and Phillies history, such as plaques for every Phillies All-Star, “Memory Lane” (the Wall of Fame), and statues of former announcers, Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas. There’s a lot of food options, and every year, the Phillies seem to have a lot of new things on display. Even in the offseason, there’s a lot to do, as the expansive team shop, which even has a really cool game used items selection is always open, and Xfinity Live, which is right down the block has more entertainment. The city of Philadelphia is great, even with all of the stereotypes, and everyone can find lots of stuff to do year round, whether it’s in the stadium complex, or even in Old City.
Thanks for letting me take part in this series and, Go Phillies!