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April 27, 2017

Do you want to take batting practice at Citizens Bank Park next week?

It’s an absolutely beautiful day for baseball this afternoon in South Philly, where the Phillies will wrap up their homestand against the Miami Marlins today.

The Phillies won’t return to Citizens Bank Park until a week from tomorrow. Cinco De Mayo at the ballpark. As my friend Jim Salisbury might say, it should be lit.

But you can get to CBP much earlier in the week and take part in a pretty great, once-in-a-lifetime-type experience.

For the 20th straight year, the Phillies and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Heart Association are opening the ballpark up for fans to take a round of batting practice on the field.

That’s right, you can step into the same batters’ box Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Maikel Franco, and the rest of your favorite players have hit from and swing for the fences. The 20th Annual Home Runs for Hearts, which takes place in honor of former Hall of Fame Phillies outfielder and broadcaster Richie Ashburn, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week.

So you and your buddies can hit on the field at Citizens Bank Park and the proceeds go to a worthy cause (the American Heart Association)? What’s not to like?

I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in the media portion of this event for the last handful of years. Even getting to run out into the outfield, seeing the CBP Liberty Bell from that vantage point, and shagging fly balls is pretty fun.

I wore a GoPro a few years ago during Home Runs for Hearts Media Day. Here’s the video (but keep in mind, the dates and times for that video do not apply to this year):

Anyway, here at the details for this year’s event, which, again, takes place Monday and Tuesday of next week:

WHO: American Heart Association & Philadelphia Phillies

WHAT: The 20th Annual Home Runs for Heart in honor of Richie Ashburn, legendary Hall of Fame Philadelphia Phillies player and broadcaster, who died of a heart attack in 1997. Participants of all ages will take 20 swings from the home plate at Citizens Bank Park, then have the opportunity to take a 30-minute turn at fielding. Website:

HOW: Individuals – $500. Team of 4 – $1,800. You can register by email or by phone: and 609-558-7249.

WHEN: Monday, May 1 and Tuesday, May 2, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Citizens Bank Park. Participants will enter the stadium through the Hall of Fame Club entrance off Pattison Street. Parking is in Lot P.

WHY: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Philadelphians and physical inactivity doubles the risk. The American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good movement helps Philadelphians get moving and reduce risk by creating a culture of physical activity. Home Runs for Heart directly supports not just this campaign but also funds groundbreaking research at our local hospitals and universities along with lifesaving educational programs across our City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

Here are some photos from this year's Media Day, held last week. It was moved indoors due to rain. Good news: the forecast is calling for near-perfect baseball weather this Monday and Tuesday (sunny, between 74-80 degrees).

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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