November 1, 2013
RECENTLY, while cleaning my closet by the light of a lovely blue moon, I uncovered a treasure trove of photo albums. Mixed in with the pictures of relatives, friends and pets, there was an unusual number of Eagles shots. 1971: A wide-angle view of a sold-out Veterans Stadium. 1978: My brothers holding a team banner with a heartbreakingly hopeful expression in their young eyes. 1982: First game after my father's death, three siblings trying to look happy. There were more photos of Eagles-related activities than of either grandmother, which is both impressive and troubling.
August 2, 2013 |
When Thomas Kearney III was a young boy, he accidentally hit a nun in the head with an errant throw while playing catch in the St. Bernadette schoolyard. "My father said when he found out about it, 'There's no absolution for this!' " Kearney said. Kearney figured he would soon be in hell. He ended up at a ball game. The annual Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) national convention is in Philadelphia this week. Most picture SABR members as stat-heads and mathematicians.
June 3, 2013 |
Rosemary Davolos Curtis and her brothers and sisters got to run the bases at the Vet two years before Larry Bowa and Tim McCarver did. In 1969, construction had been completed on Veterans Stadium, but it would not open until 1971. So on one memorable day in '69, Frank A. Davolos Sr. took Rosemary and his other children to the Vet and let them run on the base paths and across the empty field. "I remember running on the AstroTurf and having a good time with it," Curtis recalled.
May 9, 2013 |
PROMINENT AREA businessman Marty Judge has been the driving force behind a unique Army-Navy indoor football game for veterans that will be played June 22 after the Soul's game at the Wells Fargo Center. The purpose of the game is to bring attention to the difficulties members of the armed services have trying to re-enter the workforce. Judge also is a part owner of the Soul. Former Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs already has promised his support. There will be tryouts leading up to the game, including this Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
August 27, 2007 |
When Jim Thome first walked onto the field at Citizens Bank Park, he had a sensation akin to that of a very hungry man entering a bakery and picking up the scent of a buttercream layer cake. Something was in the air, and he knew he was going to like it. Thome, who hit 47 home runs in 2003, the Phillies' last year at the Vet, still remembers that first batting practice, on April 3, 2004, as the ball club prepared to open its brand-new stadium with an exhibition game. "The ball carried really well," Thome recalled on a June visit with his current team, the Chicago White Sox. Really well.
March 17, 2005 |
Sports fans getting agitated about the Phillies' parking situation probably can safely return to getting agitated about the hitting and pitching situations. Yes, it is taking the Phillies significantly longer than promised to convert the Veterans Stadium demolition site into parking for Citizens Bank Park. Still, the team says there are more parking spaces around the sports complex than ever. That number, they say, is close to 20,000. Team officials said yesterday that, if the weather cooperates, the muddy land at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue should be "parkable," if not fully paved, by opening day on April 4. That would bring on line 2,000 more spaces.
September 17, 2004 |
Back when Veterans Stadium was more than a memory, shortly before 3,000 pounds of explosives reduced it to a heap of twisted steel and smashed concrete, the arena's caretakers carefully carved up its vital parts. Out came the lights, seats, turf, outfield wall, infield dirt, electronic scoreboard, and on and on. Now bits of the Vet, where the Phillies and Eagles played for more than three decades, can be found where the thwack of a Little League baseball, the thump of an amateur soccer ball, the gurrrr of a high school football tackle are heard.
March 22, 2004 |
All that remains of Veterans Stadium, where the Phillies and Eagles played for more than three decades, is a vast pit ringed by shattered concrete and mangled steel. On the edge of the pit, a ticket window remains in one spot, strangely untouched. In other places, stumps of the outer pillars yet stand, some erect, others leaning inward. Elsewhere, there is nothing to suggest that once there was a 62,000-seat sports arena at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. Precisely at 7 a.m. yesterday, the Vet was imploded.
March 20, 2004 |
Pradeep Patel wants it understood that everyone was happy with Veterans Stadium for the first 10 years. "It was the crown jewel of Philadelphia," says Patel, who has more than a passing interest in the stadium that is set to collapse like pickup sticks in an implosion 7 a.m. tomorrow. And while there will surely be hurrahs as the 33-year-old former home of the Phillies and Eagles tumbles into rubble, no cheers will come from him. "It will be difficult for me emotionally," he admits.
December 23, 2003 |
Inside, nearly three months after the final pitch, Veterans Stadium doesn't look that much different than it ever did. The artificial turf remains, as do the huge video screen and main scoreboard high in the seats beyond center field. But 60,000 seats are gone, as are most of the aluminum railings in the seating area. Gone, too, are the outfield fence, the dugout benches, and all the decorative touches that gave the place what personality it had. Outside, the oversize statue of a sliding baserunner and an infielder was removed yesterday, to be held in storage for the next year.