Has Phillies baseball returned to its former glory in 2023?

Phillies Bryce Harper MVP
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 26: Philadelphia Phillies fans hold up Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) for National League MVP sign during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 26,2021 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia,PA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

“Baseball is dying” has been uttered millions of times over the course of the last decade. The Phillies and a half-empty Citizens Bank Park supported this hypothesis for a stretch of time.

This phrase has been the furthest thing from the truth and despite growing television numbers, it hasn’t been until this season that people have recognized the game is still strong.

There has been a boom in baseball this season and it hasn’t just been in people sitting in front of their TV. Fans are back in ballparks, and attendance is the highest in years.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper hits a two-run home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

New Rules = More Phillies Fans?

It is hard to argue that the new rules in Major League Baseball have brought in more eyes this season.

Games are shorter, there are more actions, and more teams are in contention for the playoffs than in years past.

Fans have enjoyed the overall changes that have been made to baseball. Even those like myself who did not want the game messed with, have come around on some of the newer additions (or subtractions depending on how you look at it).

Philly is a Baseball Town

Anyone who was around from 2007-2011 knows how passionate Philadelphia is about their beloved Phillies. This town will embrace the Phillies when they are playing well, and fans are starting to return to Citizens Bank Park.

Thanks to the magical run of 2022, and the acquisition of big names like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber in recent off-seasons, the Phillies have seen their attendance increase dramatically.

The club currently ranks 6th in average attendance this season, with roughly 39,074 people showing up for any given home game.

Citizens Bank Park can only seat 42,901 people, so that is a 91% sellout rate for the club.

Jayme Hoskins, front, wife of Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, poses with fans at Game 4 of the baseball World Series between the Phillies and the Houston Astros on Wednesday. Nov. 2, 2022, in Philadelphia. Hoskins tweeted she would buy fans beer before the game at Section 104 of the stadium. She paid for about 100 beers. (AP Photo/Daniel Gelston)

Brotherly Love

The fans that are showing up to CBP aren’t just coming to enjoy a game. These fans are coming to leave their mark on the game, which is a staple of Philly sports.

After a struggling start to his Phillies’ tenure, Phils’ fans rallied behind former All-Star Trea Turner by giving him a standing ovation. Since that moment, Turner is hitting over .400 in his last 10 games, with 2 home runs and 8 extra-base hits.

In his first start at home as a Phillie, Michael Lorenzen tossed a no-hitter. During his post-game interview, he mentioned how the fans energized him late in the game, which gave him the juice he needed to make history.

Phillies eagles
Philadelphia Eagles fans display signs for the undefeated Eagles and the Philadelphia Phillies after an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Rewarding Success

Phillies owner John Middleton has invested a lot of money in his club and organization. Middleton’s commitment to success and winning has attracted fans back to the ballpark. The fans have rewarded his investment by making their own.

Whether it’s coming to a game, buying a shirt and hat from the team store, or getting a hot dog and souvenir cup, fans are happier to spend money when the product on the field warrants it.

This is a simple recipe and organizations (looking at you Oakland) who fail to try and build the best team possible, lose out on fans who want to show their love.

It is amazing to see so many people back at Citizens Bank Park. The playoff run was a feeling that I will never forget. Celebrating the Phillies win the NL Pennant with 42,900 of my closest friends will be a memory I cherish forever.

If the Phillies keep winning, the fans will keep coming, and I expect more magic to happen once the Phillies make it to the post-season in 2023.

Photo By: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire