In the city, signs of spring can be few and far between. The usual first sign of spring, the robin, is sadly absent from our mostly treeless urban brickscape. We have only an increase in squirrels and pigeons to serve as nature’s telltale signs that we are approaching warm weather in Philadelphia.
Out of nowhere, the rise in temperature is piggybacked by countless attractions and distractions that assail our senses and our GPA. But this year, more than any other, baseball is the main springtime distraction.
Undoubtedly, the most anticipated event of spring this year is the inaugural season of Citizen’s Bank Park, the new home of the Phillies. The new park will host two spring training games on April 3 and 4 against the Cleveland Indians, as the Phillies make the transitional move north from their spring training home in Clearwater, Fla.
After spending a week on the road to begin the regular season, the Phillies will come home for the Citizen’s Bank Park inaugural home opener on April 12 against the Cincinnati Reds.
The ballpark, featuring natural grass and a dirt infield, has a 43,500 seating the former and is located across the parking lot from Veteran’s Stadium, which housed the Phillies team for 33 seasons.
The implosion of the Vet will create more parking space for the new ballpark.
In other parts of town, where the seating and parking are free, Philadelphians flock to any of the 65 locations that make up Fairmount Park.
The clogged sidewalks and pathways of Kelly Drive are especially popular in early spring, swarmed with runners, rollerbladers and dog walkers, maneuvering around trees and gardens along the East bank of the Schuylkill River. They are sometimes accompanied by the occasional pack of rock climbers, attempting a free climb over the small cliffs that protrude from the foot of the intersecting Girard Bridge.
Farther north, on the first Sunday of May each year, thousands turn out at the corner of Broad Street and Somerville Avenue in Olney for the Broad Street Run. The annual 10-mile race begins at Central High School and proceeds down Broad Street, all the way to the Naval Shipyard in South Philly. The entry fees benefit Independence Blue Cross and The American Cancer Society.
Springtime is very enjoyable in Philadelphia. So put down the books for a while and spend time catching the sun’s warm rays.
John Alexande can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org