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Big Concrete Slab: They Imploded Vets Stadium and Put Up a Parking Lot
2004-03-22 00:15
by Mike Carminati

If you missed it, Veterans Stadium, which stood as an empty, concrete husk, was put out if its and our misery in an awe-inspiring implosion at 7:00 AM EST today. The demolition looked like a giant set of dominoes configured in a circle. Once set in motion, the whole structure fell in about a minute, each vertical section in turn falling inward. The result was a cloud of dust around a demolished building, like something out of a war zone, but the dust quickly dissipated and the Vets remains looked like some ancient ruins to a once-great structure, like a corpse at a funeral that looks better than the person it once was.

The implosion was shown from every angle possible on local TV throughout the day. Finally, the Phils' local broadcaster capped the night with a half-hour special devoted to the Vet's history and demolition. They also showed the pre-implosion festivities that included the Phillie Phanatic doing his best Emmitt Kelly with an oversized plunger that he almost triggered on the way to the stage. It also included Greg "The Bull" Luzinski, as the other secret "imploder", the event being dubbed the last "Bull Blast".

You can see the implosion here or here (If you can wade through the commercials).

Here's a quick overview:

The Phils also rebroadcast the ceremonies from last season's final game. It was great to see various ex-Phils, great and small (Terry Harmon, Jerry Martin). It's sad to consider that two of the Vet pillars, Tug McGraw and Paul "The Pope" Owens, have passed away in the intervening six months.

When I visit the new Citizens Bank Park—and could someone come up with a decent nickname for the place—, I will be in my third generation of Phillies stadia. My first game came in 1970, the last season at Connie Mack Stadium, when I was five. I don’t remember much besides the fact that the place was huge and the outfielders appeared to be ridiculously far away from everyone else (which leads me to believe that I had an upper-level seat in the outfield). I also have a program from the game somewhere, which informs me the visiting team was the Dodgers. I remember driving in Philly with my dad when I was in high school and his telling me that a vacant lot that we passed was where Shibe/Connie Mack used to stand. At least the site of the Vet will be used in some connection with the stadium: it'll be a parking lot for the fans, reportedly yielding 5,500 spots. They are also reporting that the outline of the stadium as well as a marker for home will be left in the parking lot. Maybe that's as much as it deserved.

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