Inside Access: Arcadia Students Tour Citizens Bank Park
By Michael Schwartz ’14
On the beautiful morning in April, Adjunct Professor of Journalism Larry Atkins took Arcadia students on a tour of Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies. It was a fascinating experience as students were able to see some of the incredible aspects of the cherished ballpark.
The stadium, which seats more than 43,000, has been the home for passionate Phillies fans for close to a decade. It has become the center of baseball lore and fandom for proud Philadelphians who stand behind their team.
Therefore, it was a truly special morning for the students who were able to venture through the stadium. Bob Michael, who is one of many tour guides at Citizens Bank Park, led Arcadia’s group all around some of the most intriguing parts of the stadium, including the radio broadcast room, the press conference area, the suites of the owner and general manager and numerous eating spots.
However, the most memorable highlight had to be walking on the hallowed field and inside the team’s dugout. Everyone was thrilled to walk on the same dirt their beloved heroes roamed on a daily basis.
For Michael, a former school teacher of 38 years, leading tours and speaking with animated fans is something he truly loves. “As far as baseball goes, this is such an integral part of the city of Philadelphia,” he said. “It’s where people from all over the Delaware Valley congregate before and during the game. The Phillies bandwagon has increased as our tours have been sold out, so to give people information on how well they planned and developed (the stadium) is a part of my job.”
Even though Atkins has taken groups to Citizens Bank Park numerous times, he loves the behind-the-scenes aspect of the tour. “It’s the fourth time I’ve taken a class on the tour and every time I learn something new,” he said. “Each tour director has a different perspective and different information and so I really liked it. I thought it was a great trip and I think the students really enjoyed it. They give you a great deal of access that you normally don’t get as an average fan and it’s just interesting to see.”
Adam Stefanik ’14 truly enjoyed the tour, exclaiming, “It was awesome. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and the fact that it was free definitely made it that much cooler. I’m a huge sports fan so for me this is like a thrill and to get to come here through Arcadia was definitely awesome. I wish they did more things like this and I wish we had more access to sporting events because it was cool to see the behind-the-scenes and to feel a part of the Phillies culture.”
Billy Artzeounian ‘13 was also enthralled by the stadium’s inner workings and especially appreciated seeing the broadcaster’s booth. “It was a unique experience. I’m glad the school provided us with the opportunity. My favorite part was the broadcaster’s booth—I really enjoyed that. It gave you the perspective of what they’re seeing and how they call the game.”
Michael is enthusiastic about the Phillies getting back to the World Series to win it all again just like in 2008, as he believes the pitching staff will get them into the playoffs. Yet, Michael is just enamored with the public devotion which he hopes can last for many years to come. “I’m hoping that the excitement factor lasts forever or at least while I’m alive. It’s the best thing that’s happened to the city as far as something positive.”