DENVER - How's this for strange: From June 25 to 27, the Phillies will be the road team at Citizens Bank Park. They will bat in the top half of innings. And there will be a designated hitter in use.
Because of security concerns surrounding the G-20 Summit in Toronto, the Phillies' interleague series against the Blue Jays, originally scheduled to be played at the Rogers Centre, has been relocated to Philadelphia by Major League Baseball.
"It's going to be very interesting and unusual," centerfielder Shane Victorino said.
Unofficially, the Phillies will play 84 regular-season games at Citizens Bank Park. In the record books, the three games against Toronto in Philadelphia will go down as road games for the Phils. But Phillies fans will far outnumber those of the Blue Jays.
A spokesman for Major League Baseball said a neutral site for the three games was not seriously considered by the commissioner's office.
The G-20 Summit, a two-day international economic forum for world leaders, will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, just down the street from the Rogers Centre. The stadium is situated within the G-20 security perimeter, meaning mass transit and major roads could be closed.
The possibility of protests near the stadium also was a concern. Pittsburgh hosted a G-20 Summit last summer, and police estimated that more than 4,500 people participated in various protests.
The Pirates played at home during the summit but rescheduled a night game in favor of an afternoon contest that was sparsely attended.
With the shift of the Phillies-Blue Jays series, the Phils will have a nine-game homestand from June 18 to 27.
Phillies season-ticket holders will be notified of opportunities to purchase tickets within the next three to seven days, said John Weber, the team's vice president of sales and ticket operations. Within the next 10 to 14 days, the remaining tickets will go on sale to the public, he said.
The Phillies have had 58 straight sellouts at Citizens Bank Park. Weber said only limited tickets remain for most weekend series in 2010. Now the Phillies can sell tickets for three additional weekend games.
The commissioner's office is working on a revenue-distribution plan with both clubs, according to a spokesman from Major League Baseball. Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said in a news conference that he expects both teams to be "revenue neutral" as a result of the move.
"This wasn't a negotiation," Beeston told reporters. "The Phillies are terrific people to deal with. We were fortunate that we were playing the Phillies at this time, so we could sit down with [Phillies president] Dave Montgomery. I've had a number of conversations with him, starting back when it was first announced."
Losing the games in Toronto is a blow to the Blue Jays. With traded ace Roy Halladay scheduled to make his return to Toronto, the team had planned a ceremony to honor the righthander. That game, along with the other two, could have been major draws for the Blue Jays, who were second to last in the American League in attendance, averaging just 15,207 fans per game through Monday.
"It's particularly disappointing for very obvious reasons with Roy Halladay coming back," Beeston said. "It was our opportunity for the fans and for ourselves to give him the appreciation for what he had done and what he had meant to this team."
The attendance figures for the three-game series will count toward Toronto's season total.
Beeston told the Globe and Mail he has asked the commissioner's office to schedule a Phillies trip to Toronto in 2011 so the Blue Jays can honor Halladay.
That will have to wait.
In Philadelphia, the game June 25 will begin at 7:05 p.m. On June 26, the game will be played during the afternoon, Weber said, but no time has been decided. The series finale June 27 will start at 1:35 p.m.