Catching a Game at Reading

On Thursday morning I applied fungicide treatments and prepared to launch 2010 Fir Experiment #3 on Monday. Throughout the morning, as my to do list was rapidly being decimated by my progress, I began to scheme. That scheming put me on the road to Reading, PA by mid-afternoon.

Yohan Flande on the mound.

The Reading Phillies played the Trenton Thunder. Yohan Flande started for the Phils, he’s on the MLB 40 man roster but I know very little about him. Unfortunately tonight was not his night. He surrendered nine runs in 2.2 innings of work. The first inning was fine, but in the second and third things deteriorated quickly.

The Phils had four hits in the bottom of the first inning. Quintin Berry started things off with a bunt single. He then took a big lead, drawing multiple throws from the pitcher. It was evident Berry was struggling with kleptomania.

Quintin Berry prepares to run.

Suddenly he broke for second, and was easily thrown out. It was a foreshadowing of things to come. But first Tagg Bozied hit a two run homer for the Phils, giving them a short-lived two run lead. How great of a name is Tagg for a ball player?

Tagg Bozied rounds the bases after hitting a home run.

That home run was the high water mark for the Phils on this night. Soon Trenton would hold a 9-2 lead.

I feel compelled to mention how sweet the R-Phils’ uniforms look. The pinstripes are glorious, and the high red socks are pretty glorious too. Best of all, the cuffing on the pants is crisp and clean and the pants themselves are not excessively bunched or baggy. I’m not a big fan of the font used for the number on the back of the jersey, but all in all it’s a great uniform.

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Kevin Nelson behind the plate.

My seat was in section 213. I was beside an elderly couple that had season tickets. The man never spoke to me. Thankfully his wife was much more talkative–and quite knowledgeable about baseball–so we talked about the current prospects in the Phils’ farm system, great players of the past, the history of Reading baseball, pitch counts, designated hitters, and other such things. I also managed to get a complete report on blue chip prospect Domonic Brown’s progress this season.

Domonic Brown at the plate.

During the early innings of the game Neal the Singing Usher sat in the row in front of me. He is 75 years-old and is still belting out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. In the past he used to stand on a dugout or on the field, now his mobility is not as good as it was so he rides on a bike with the Crazy Hotdog Vendor.

Neal the Singing Usher sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

During the game the R-Phils hit two line drives back to mound that were caught by Trenton pitchers. One of them was stabbed barehanded! It was pretty amazing.

The Phils plated five runs in the 7th to make things interesting. They had baserunners in the 8th and 9th but failed to get them home. In the end the 9 runs Trenton scored in the 2nd and 3rd inning held up, the final score was 9-7. The Reading bullpen did an excellent job, throwing 6.1 scoreless innings.

It was a spectacular night for a ballgame. In closing here is a picture that shows all sorts of activity: 1) the on deck batter in the foreground attempts to track the timing of the pitcher; 2) the batter, catcher, and umpire wait for the pitch at home plate; 3) the runner on first prepares to generate momentum toward second base; 4) the first baseman prepares to step off the bag to get into a fielding ready position; 5) the first base coach watches the pitcher’s motion carefully in an attempt to spot clues to pass on to the base runner; 6) down the right field line the bullpen watches as things spiral out of control, several pitchers begin to stretch.

Onions, ogres, and baseball all have layers.

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