September 29, 2003

The long career of Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, affectionately referred to here as “The Vet,” came to an end with yesterday’s final game of the Phillies season.

All in all, according to all accounts, the crowd was well behaved. The Philadelphia Daily News reports (“Vet’s Last Day Filled With Tradition,” by Ron Goldwyn):

Unlike the Connie Mack Stadium destructo [sic] in 1970, waves of uniformed police, Phillies security[,] and plainclothes officers kept the Vet virtually intact.

By 6:45 p.m., Deputy Commissioner Robert Mitchell pointed to nine theft-of-property arrests, six citations for vandalism, [and] seven ejections. The numbers were rising, but not by much. [...]

Mitchell called the arrest numbers “disappointing, but otherwise it was a great crowd, a family crowd, that came to enjoy the game.”

Indeed intoxicated fans seemed at a minimum, and security reported only one fight -- appropriately, all in the family, two cousins in the 700 level, both ejected.

The substation had a small pile of loot that included signs reading “Phillies Office” and “Section 702,” one broken blue seat, some screw drivers, [and] a light fixture. One Einstein was arrested with bleeding fingers as he tried to pull a metal fixture off a bathroom wall.

“Disappointing”? In what way? Was Mitchell, in the true spirit of the Vet, hoping for more arrests?

[Post-publication addendum: The Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer had an article about the last game at Connie Mack Stadium -- “Connie Mack Closed with Chaos,” by Larry Eichel -- from which TRR draws this quintessentially Philly reminiscence: “When the game was over, and the Phillies had defeated Montreal, 2-1, thousands of souvenir-seeking fans surged onto the field, grabbing handfuls of dirt and chunks of grass before ripping apart the outfield walls. Some of them left wearing toilet seats as necklaces.” Pretty. (Emphasis added.)]


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