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An 18-month fan drought at Citizens Bank Park ends today with the Phillies home opener.
Things won’t be quite the same as usual. Instead of 40,000 spectators, the ballpark will have just 8,800 in the stands. There won’t be any tailgating in the parking lot. Ticketing is mobile-only, bags are not allowed, and there’s a limited menu at concession stands.
In general, the team stands in a much better position than last season. There’s the seemingly limitless energy of outfielder Bryce Harper, on his third of his record $330 million contract. All-star catcher J.T. Realmuto is locked in, and emoji-wielding shortstop Didi Gregorius was resigned for two years..
The Phils face the Braves for their first three games. Prospects aren’t phenomenal: during spring training, the Phillies finished with a 12-15 record, to the Braves 15-13. MLB power rankings have Philadelphia at No. 18, and Atlanta at No. 4.
But still, baseball is back, and you can catch it live in person. Here’s a guide to what you can expect at Citizens Bank Park.
You’ll need an app to enter
Tickets for games on Stubhub start at a higher-than-normal but still relatively affordable $62, then skyrocket to $10K. To get inside, you’ll need to download and use the MLB Ballpark App, available through Apple and Android. Fans will be seated in physically distanced “pods.”
Designated entrance gates
Each ticket has a designated entrance gate, which will open an hour before first pitch. There will be no temperature checks, but, if you’re feeling unwell, the Phillies advise you to stay at home.
Ban on tailgating
Aaaaand there is absolutely zero tailgating permitted at this time.
Don’t bring bags, or store them in a locker
Plan ahead: fans can’t bring in any bags or backpacks, except those for medical needs or diapers. Also allowed are “single compartment purses,” and all will require inspection before entry. For $10, you can to store bags in the new BinBox lockers on Citizens Bank Way if you want to keep them nearby.
Food and beverages at your seat only
All the regular stands along Ashburn Alley and the Pass and Stow restaurant will be open, but for food sales only and with a limited menu. All food items and condiments will be individually packaged, and you’re only allowed to eat and drink in their seats. You can also bring your own sealed, plastic non-alcoholic beverages or other packaged food.
No player proximity
For the safety of the players, fans aren’t permitted within 12 feet of the dugouts and bullpen, which has a net surrounding it that could block the view. Little Phanatics might be disappointed, but the MLB discourages players from signing autographs right now.
From the parking lot to your seat, masks are required at all times — except if you’re eating or drinking. Game day staff are reportedly trained on “a non-verbal gesture” to remind people to mask up.
Upgraded cleaning, trained staff
Staff has gone through orientation classes with an emphasis on patience and adaptability, according to Phillies Nation. Hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout the ballpark, and the “Clean Team” will disinfect areas before, during, and after the games.