Philadelphia fans witness Veterans Stadium implosion

By Kendall Neil
March 25, 2004

Angelina Wagner

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” The familiar song, “Yellow Taxi Cab”, most recently covered by the Counting Crows, would ring through the speakers of Veterans Stadium over the duration of the last few games that would ever be played. On March 21 at 7 a.m., the first step to paving that new parking lot began with the implosion of the Vet. After 33 years of memories, the 3,000 pounds of explosives brought down what the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies had called home. In approximately 62 seconds, it came falling down like dominoes.

The late Tug Mcgraw had originally been selected to be the one to push the red plunger to bring the stadium down, however, former Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski, a member of the 1980 World Series team, and the Phillie Phanatic took on the ever important job. Everything had been taken out of the stadium, what was standing was merely a skeleton. A large area in South Philadelphia surrounding the stadium was closed off and airspace was restricted to 1,500 foot elevation for a quarter mile radius during the implosion. The Phillies plan to paint an outline of the Vet’s playing field across the new parking lot, and place granite markers at the former home plate, pitching mound and base locations

I was one of the many who watched the historical event but I was luckier than most. I got a birds-eye-view from a rooftop in South Philadelphia owned by my boyfriend’s grandparents. After climbing through the skylight, the first thing that caught my eye was the stadium. The memories of going to baseball games with my family, with friends from home and from school on beautiful summer days and cool fall nights, sitting in left field just to watch Pat Burrell, or even going on a first date came flooding into my mind as I just stared at this massive piece of concrete, which would, in less than 10 minutes, be just a memory.

Watching the stadium fall was a sort of rite of passage for me. One door of my life had just shut, but another one is not too far from opening. So while all good things must come to an end, the memories will last a lifetime.

For footage from the implosion, including the look from a camera placed in the 700-level of the stadium, visit ww.wpvi.com.

Posted to the Web by: Scott Fobes

Kendall Neil

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