There are 184 million kiosks at Citizens Bank Park.
One of them is occupied by a childhood idol, Bruce Blitz, a cartoonist whose “How to Draw Cartoons” video is something I watched a hundred times as a kid. Blitz was manning one of several Blitz caricature kiosks at CBP yesterday, and I had to stop and meet him.
“This is going to sound weird,” I said, “But I basically learned how to draw cartoons by watching your tape.”
Showing disbelief, I said “Here, I’ll show you,” grabbed his pen and tablet, and sketched a spot-on replica of a typical Blitz cartoon.
Stunned, he asked how old I was and what I do for a living. I told him I was a writer and a designer at the Reading Eagle newspaper and used to be an editorial cartoonist for Penn State’s Daily Collegian newspaper. I think he was pretty touched, and somewhat creeped out.
The only reason I spotted him was because I spent the first two innings exploring the park. I bought a cheap seat, which turned out to be in the first row behind the flower box in left, because I wasn’t sure a better seat behind the Nats dugout would surface from a family connection. Later on, it did, and I was in row seven, sitting right next to Kenny Lofton’s brother and his family. In true Beerleaguer form, Miller Light in hand, I said “You’re Kenny Lofton’s brother, right?” He said yeah. I said “Tell your brother to tell Jimmy Rollins to follow his example and get his butt on base a little more.” He laughed.
I saw about 90 percent of the concourse during my journey, passing an unbelievable amount of kiosks. No matter what is said about the dwindling attendance, they’re raking it in with all those concessions and souvenirs.
The kiosks inadvertently create two traffic lanes, the main flow in front, but also a small artery in back of them. If you’re not paying attention, you could find yourself in a jam-up in the smaller lane for no reason.
I give the stadium mostly positive marks because of excellent seating and the number of bathrooms.
The shortcomings include how foot traffic moves inside the park and how certain attractions are hidden. At times, there’s no rhyme or reason to anything, and I wonder why things like the nice glass-enclosed elevator that links levels one and two isn’t in an accessible spot. I rode solo twice, and I wonder if people think it’s an elevator to the executive offices or something. They're nice inside, and have a small TV to watch the action.
The regular flow of traffic causes one to miss Bull’s BBQ in right, which was a graveyard when I stopped for my beef sandwich with horsy. It wasn’t great by any means, and I've heard mostly bad reviews of the stuff. I was also surprised there weren’t more people waiting for Peace of Pizza, which was my favorite sustenance at Penn State. Ashburn Alley is a good place to hang out for about an inning or before the game because you feel a little detached from the action.
After a half inning in my paid spot in back of the flowers, I sat down in my upgraded seat behind the Nats dugout. I saw pitcher John Patterson’s confused look into the dugout when they had him bat in the eighth, and the great at bats by Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley and David Bell in the ninth.
For the season, I’m 2-0 at CBP, with two wins credited to the dependable Cory Lidle, brilliant again yesterday.
Call it a hunch. I have a feeling Jon Lieber is going to pitch a great game