March 01, 2004



My good friend, the Rev. Joe Kendall, attended the opening of the new Philadelphia Phillies spring training ballpark in Clearwater, Fla., on Saturday. Named BrightHouse Networks Field, the park is designed in a classic Floridian architectural style (whatever the hell that means) and offers numerous amenities, including:

*A 360-degree main concourse, open to the playing field.
*7,000 fixed seats with grass berm seating for an additional 1,500.
*A tiki-hut pavilion in left field.
*Group picnic areas, party suites and Club seats.
*A kids play area and team store.
*A state-of-the-art video scoreboard.
(Coincidentally, Alan Snel of Hudsonian fame wrote a story about the opening in today's Tampa Tribune.)

Rev. Joe, who once starred on the PAX TV series "Pastor Cop" and was the 1994 recipient of the Crimefighting Clergyman of the Year award from the Police Chaplain's Association, attended the Friday night gala, and offers an exclusive report and snapshots as Side Salad's spring training correspondent:


I and many other baseball afficianados celebrate that annual rite in March, when ballplayers visit Florida to help the exotic dancer industry and northerners thaw out and get sunburned.

I hit my first ballpark of the Grapefruit League this year -- the Phillies' new
home in Clearwater. I give the new ballyard four gloves on the
five-glove scale, a high rating for a truly wonderful new venue that's open,
inviting and offers a 360-degree concourse.


Despite construction of a new spring training stadium, a memorial endures. This is near the entrance of the Phils' new ballpark.


A phony Lieberthal watches the real Lieberthal throw pegs to second base.


This fella has an electricity-powered bicycle. "When you get to be my age,
you need a little extra charge," said the Philly fan who allowed me to take
the 75-pounder for a spin. "Don't be afraid to put it into gear."


They're very serious about clean at the Phillies' new Clearwater stadium.
This woman was standing proud.


That's a good lookin' schedule there, ma'am.

Posted by Jeff at March 1, 2004 08:07 AM | TrackBack