As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world and how we access it. I understand this but it doesn’t explain what happened yesterday at the Carpenter Complex, the Spring Training facility of the Phillies.
Yesterday, we drove by and while we understand that there was no access to the actual complex, we wondered if we would be allowed to observe from outside the fence. As we drove by we saw that there was no sign at the parking lot that said, “Closed” or “Players and Staff Only” so we pulled into the parking lot. The Clearwater Police officer who was stationed there was leaving for the day and paid us no mind and neither did the guard in the guard shack even though he saw us pull in the lot and drive by him. We drove over to one of the open spots and parked.
I put on my mask, took my camera and walked over. Mind you, the guard is in the shack and when I get over near the fence I deliberately look for a sign or mark or something that would tell me how far patrons are allowed to go. There are none. NOTHING. NADA. There is no way to know where the line is.
The players were on the absolute opposite side of the field, over 300 feet away so I went to line my camera up to take the first shot and suddenly the guard is flying out of the guardhouse screaming, “YOU! STOP!” I moved back to where the sidewalk is and motioned, “Is this ok?” He keeps running screaming like a deranged banshee, “YOU CAN’T GO THERE! STOP! MOVE BACK!” I felt like I was at the fence at a prison and the guard was afraid I was trying to get contraband over the fence to a prisoner inside.
I move back onto the paved lot and he finally got there. “YOU CAN’T BE OFF THE PAVEMENT! YOU CANT GO IN THE GRASS OR TOUCH THE FENCE!” Mind you, he’s like 4 feet from me and I in no way offered any resistance and am totally compliant with his instructions. “YOU CAN’T GO THERE!”
I replied, “I’m sorry, there were no signs, there’s no markings I didn’t know.”
He continued yelling, “YOU CAN’T GO OFF THE PAVEMENT!”
Again, I calmly replied, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. How was I to know where I was allowed if there are no signs or marks?” At this point I am at that stage where I don’t know whether to get mad because I HAVE followed his instructions and he’s still yelling or start crying because I’m the kind of person who follows the rules when they are known.
He must have realized and then said, a bit softer, “I don’t mean to yell, but you can’t go there.”
I simply stated, “Since there was no sign, I didn’t know, now I do. I will not leave the pavement. More importantly, I’m leaving. I don’t need to be yelled at when I didn’t know the rules.”
I’ve been coming here since 2007. I’ve never knowingly broken any rule and never given any attitude or tried to cause any problems. I really don’t understand why there were no signs nor anyone either at the gate or near the fence to tell you what is and isn’t allowed. If they wanted to totally close the complex like the Blue Jays did with theirs, I’m fine with that as well. The Phillies should just close the parking lot. For them not to give you an idea of the boundaries are, then berate you like you were trying to break into a prison is really not a good look and it really leaves me cold. Also of note, at no time were any players closer than 300 feet. So I doubt that with the sun, distance and the fact I was wearing a mask that I was such an imminent threat that yelling like that was warranted.
So if you go to the complex beware! Don’t leave the pavement. Sign or no sign. 2021
Or, you can be like me and not go back. Not this year and to be honest, I just don’t know if I’ll bother going back to the Carpenter Complex next year. Not when you are treated like that, when you have no idea what the perimeters are. Nope.