Graffiti Note

Graffiti Note:
Philly Athletics Graffiti
by Kevin Courtney

​Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.

In partnership with educator Joshua Block, students from Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy are creating and publishing their Philadelphia Field Notes. Kevin Courtney shares his love of baseball and the history of Philly Athletics at 6th and Somerset Street in North Philadelphia.


Baseball is my favorite sport in the world. It has always kept me dedicated to learn more, and has helped me stay relaxed and feel less stressed from school. Baseball keeps me active in the game and in life because without it I would possibly be a lazy person and not be in shape. It has given me the opportunity to meet new people and has also taught me communication when playing the game. The most important thing this game has taught me is to have fun.

This place you see in the photo is Philly Athletics. It it located on 6th and Somerset Street in North Philadelphia. Philly Athletics is an old home that was abandoned and it was transformed into batting cages for young baseball players to come work out and get ready for their season and get better at playing the game. I’ve been going to Philly Athletics since my sophomore year of high school and I know this place has helped me enhance my ability playing baseball. My favorite thing to look at every time I get out of the car after driving a half hour from my house is the graffiti designs on the front of the building.

The words spray painted on the wall say Philly Athletics—the name of the place, and Play Ball and Grand Slam, which are baseball terms. Play Ball is usually heard from an umpire right when the game starts and Grand Slam is when the bases are loaded and the batter hits a homerun adding four runs to the board. Each word has different colors, none of which seem dull or dark. Each word has brighter colors like green, blue, red and orange. The colors draw me closer to the building to see the words and also to see what is inside of the building. Even the fonts of the words, all of the shapes and sizes and crazy designs make me want to approach the building to read and analyze what the words say.

If you go down to 6th and Somerset Street, Philly Athletics stands out the most out of that neighborhood and even the abandoned school across the street. Take a look at the beautiful designs on the walls.


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