It's time to play ball — Phillies Opening Day is here

Tim Jimenez
March 28, 2019 - 7:05 am
Citizens Bank Park on a quiet Opening Day morning

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The anticipation, the hype — it all leads to Opening Day for the 2019 Phillies season.

Citizens Bank Park, of course, is pretty empty on a Thursday morning, but the atmosphere is anything but muted. Crews have been cleaning up all around Citizens Bank Park, power-washing the seats, wiping down tables.
 The Opening Day logo is painted on the field. Everywhere you turn, the traditional red, white and blue bunting is draped. And later in the afternoon, this place is going to rock.

It was a cold morning. It felt more like football weather, but for the Boys of Summer in red pinstripes, their day has arrived.

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Gates open at 12:35 p.m. Fans will get their powder-blue rally towels.

John Brazer with the Phillies says there’s some celebrity involvement to look out for: "2 o'clock at the third-base plaza, Questlove, Philly’s own Questlove from The Roots, will be DJing.”

And Brazer says the leadoff parade starts at 2:26 p.m., when the team, now with all-star Bryce Harper, will march into the stadium.

Also at the park bright and early was Nix White, a member of the Frog-X Parachute Team. Right before the first pitch, they will hop out of a plane and land on center field to deliver the first balls. 

White has a connection to the very first Opening Day at the ballpark.

"Fifteen years ago I was on the U.S. Navy parachute team, The Leapfrogs, and we jumped into the stadium on opening day," he said. "Fifteen years later, here we are."

White says his team has done this at nearly every ballpark in the majors, but Philly is special because of the passion in the stands.

"When you leave the plane, as soon as you're on the canopy, you might be 3-, 4,000 feet, you can hear the fans," he said.

For hungry Phillies fans starving for a win, or just plain hungry, there is more food to choose from than ever before, says Vonnie Negron, executive chef at Citizens Bank Park.

"We have a lot of different options this year, from a vegan cheesesteak to lettuce wraps, and the traditional ballpark fare as well."

Vegan cheesesteak? Yes. Well, it's vegan if you hold the cheese. It's named after Questlove, and it's a sign of how some tastes have changed.

"People being a little more health-conscious," Negron said. "We have to take that into consideration as well. So, we’re keeping up with the times and maybe getting ahead of the times as well."

Traditionalists, fear not. Those not watching their calories or carbs will still get to fill up. One option: the brand new donut burger.