Rhys Hoskins is on a home-run tear the likes of which Major League Baseball has never seen. Even he can’t help attendance at Citizens Bank Park these days.
Last night’s paid attendance (9/15) was announced as somewhere in the ballpark (pun intended) of 15,000. There couldn’t have been more than 8,000 people there. It was by far the smallest crowd I’ve seen in my fifteen years as a season ticket holder. The upper level was a total ghost town. The lower level wasn’t even half filled. This is a view from section in 111.
With the Phillies up 9-0 early, we decided to grab a beer and take a stroll around the park. We stopped behind section 120 when Rhys came up to bat. He drew a walk.
While watching Rhys, we witnessed an usher approach a younger couple, who were quietly watching the game, and ask them if they had tickets for the section. They didn’t and were asked to leave.
Here’s a photo of the section they were sitting it, as well as they over zealous usher.
The couple was seated in the third row from the back and were the ONLY people in the row.
That’s a total VIOLATION on this usher. And, it’s not the first time we’ve seen or wrote about this happening at CBP with a half-empty ballpark.
The couple wasn’t causing a scene. They weren’t cursing. They didn’t even have beers with them. Yet, this usher had to yield her power and kick them out of the section.
I get that seats in Section 120 aren’t cheap. But, the section is deserted. You can even see that the back rows of the next few sections are empty at a rate of like 90%.
Maybe they had standing room only tickets. Maybe they were from the upper level. Who cares? What’s the harm in allowing well-behaved people sit in seats that they may never be able to afford if they aren’t disturbing anyone and sitting in a seat that isn’t being used. This usher even looked proud of ridding Section 120 of these squatters.
I don’t get this at all. I would think the Phillies would rather have the lower level filled with fans because it would feel like a larger crowd instead of everyone dispersed around the ballpark.
I do get that it is difficult to have a litmus test of when you can and cannot allow people to sit in sections for which they do not have tickets. Here’s an idea. When you cut staff in half at kiosks and completely close down some food and beer kiosks like last night, let the ushers know to chill out with harassing fans about sitting in their proper seats.
The Phillies usually do right by customer service and ballpark experience. They need to tell the ushers to chill. No reason at all to eject this couple out of an empty row in a half-empty section. We’re aren’t being completely radical and asking to allow just anyone to sit with those important Diamond Club members, just a regular seat in a regular section.
Maybe the woman is afraid of losing her job if outsiders are found in her section. I don’t know any ushers to ask if this is a possibility. Do the Phillies run sting operations in an empty ballpark and send undercover operatives in to see if they can sit in sections where they don’t have tickets? I doubt it. If they do, then this is on the Phillies and not the usher, but I can tell you that we didn’t witness any other ushers checking tickets while people hopped around all night.