2002: The best part about the demise of Veterans Stadium, where the Phils played from 1971 to 2003, was that Philadelphians can now speak about Tropicana Field with a smug condescension.
"They play in a dome? With catwalks and artificial turf? How utterly uncivilized." The Phillies and their fans heard - and often eagerly participated in - the same kind of talk about the Vet, especially in the circular facility's inglorious last decade. Throughout its ignoble history, the Vet's playing field had more bad artificial tops than Tony Bennett, most of which were as hard as Norman Braman's heart. Its corridors were dank and spooky. The seats at the top of the 700 level were so far away, fans needed binoculars to monitor Travis Lee's facial expressions, which varied from comatose to dead. But unlike Tropicana Field and Citizens Bank Park - where homers are cheap - it played fair for both pitchers and hitters. As a result, the Phils never were quite certain how to construct their teams. Did they want speed like other multipurpose-stadium, turf teams (St. Louis)? Did they want power (Cincinnati)? Despite the uncertainty, the Phils won their only World Series title in Veterans Stadium, 28 years ago yesterday, Oct. 21, 1980.