What To Do When Dreams Become Nightmares

Admit it, you have been fearing all-winter long that Citizens Bank Park will not be completed on time for the Phillies April showdowns with the Cleveland Indians in the "On Deck" series, let alone the April 12 home opener against the Cincinnati Reds. By simply driving past the stadium area one will realize that those reservations may quickly come to fruition.

The team insists the ballpark will be up to working conditions come opening day, but for that to be the case, construction workers will need to push 20 hour work days and hope for good weather almost every day from now until April 1. Lets hope that it doesn't come to it, but it may be time to think about alternate sits for the Phillies Inaugural home stand at Citizens Bank Park.

Some of Philadelphia fans worst nightmares are in the process of becoming a reality on Pattison Avenue these days. Some of the hundreds of construction workers at Citizens Bank Park are still, to this day working without light, in substantial sized puddles and have endured a higher than normal number of injuries ranging from minor, to nearly catastrophic. Plus, as workers rush to finish their work, injuries are occurring more and more frequently. What is most disturbing about the current situation is the fact that many of the workers have almost guaranteed that Citizens Bank Park will not be completed on time.

The Phillies have repeatedly assured the public that the team's new ballpark will be open in time for first pitch April 12th, but you have to wonder; do they really mean what they are saying? During football season, I had the opportunity to witness first hand, the progress workers have made at Citizens Bank Park, and it did not impress me. As late as January 18th, there were still many sections of seats that were not completed, areas were still fenced in, the parking lots were not even close to being finished, and worse yet, Ashburn alley looked like it had not yet made it from the drawing board, to right center field. Fueled by a recent report by a local Philadelphia television station, worries are beginning to intensify and spread throughout the Delaware Valley.

The station reported that conditions became so detrimental to safety of workers that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has actually cut ties with the project, which is the first time the administration has done so for any project in the Northeastern United States. The fact is simple, if the conditions the construction workers are laboring in are not safe; it is nearly impossible to assume the project will be completed on time.

Should Citizens Bank Park not be ready for opening day, the Phillies will have to deal with one of the worst logistical and public relations situations in the history of Major League Baseball. The options for alternate sites, should they be needed, are slim. Because Veterans Stadium has been dismantled and will soon be imploded, fans can rule out a return to the Vet to open the season. Would the Phillies choose to open their season on the road, and switch home and away dates with opponents? That may be unlikely because of the enormous loss of revenue for the team. Perhaps a deal will be struck with either Reading or Scranton to use their stadiums until Citizens Bank Park is finished. Whatever the case, the Phillies and their fans must come to the realization that there is a problem here, and alternate plans must be made soon, before it's too late.

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