For the past 31 years, avid fan Bill Eastman, of Center City, has traveled around the country to catch the Phils in action — 34 different MLB stadiums and counting. Here, his picks for the four best road trips to take this year.
vs. BOSTON Red Sox, June 11th-13th
The stadium: Expect to pay steep ticket prices and endure the MLB’s most rabid fans and tight-squeeze seats. The fare: There’s a convivial atmosphere outside the stadium along Yawkey Way. Knock ’em back with the chowderheads at the Cask’n Flagon. Our record*: 2-7. Stay: The Eliot is a Back Bay boutique hotel that’s a 10-minute walk to Fenway Park. Suites start at $335/night. Eliothotel.com.
vs. PITTSBURGH Pirates, July 1st-4th
The stadium: Laid-back fans and cheap tickets, but the awesome downtown riverside site will make you jealous about what could have been here. The fare: The beer choices rival Citizens’; a Primanti Brothers sandwich is a must. Our record: 12-19. Stay: Say a prayer for a win at Benedictine monastery-turned-hotel the Priory, a 15-minute walk to PNC Park. Rooms start at $140/night. Thepriory.com.
vs. CHICAGO Cubs, July 15th-18th
The stadium: A landmark, this classic park’s old-school hand-turned scoreboard means no crowd-coaching, but diehard fans still know when to cheer. The fare: Drink an Old Style and make friends with the locals. Our record: 22-14. Stay: The chic Majestic Hotel serves free afternoon cookies, and it’s four blocks from Wrigley Field. Regular rates start at $99/night, but ask about baseball game discounts. Cityinns.com/majestic.
vs. NEW YORK Mets, September 10th-12th
The stadium: You’ll pay a lot for tickets (or you’ll need binoculars), and listening to the fans’ grating accents for three hours is tough to handle. But watching their faces during a Phillies win can make it all worthwhile. The fare: Not the best selection of draft beers; get a milkshake from the Shake Shack outpost. Our record: 51-39. Stay: You’ll take the 7 train — you’re not going to stay in Queens, are you? — to Citi Field, so bunk down in Greenwich Village’s comfy Washington Square Hotel, not far from Philly tribute bar Wogies, where you can eat ’thentic cheesesteaks with pride. Rooms start at $222/night. Washingtonsquarehotel.com.
*Phils’ record at that stadium over past 10 years.