|Chronological Tour: Stop 22|
Entrance to FirstEnergy Stadium, Sep-2011.
Interior view from the left-field bleachers, Apr-2001.
The view from home plate: mountains, trees, and scoreboard.
The park, erected in 1950, is the oldest in the Eastern League, and there are places where it shows, such as the narrow concourse. However, a new entry plaza erected for 2011 has taken some pressure off the crowded concourse that may have been suitable when the park opened but no longer worked efficiently.
Much of my warm feeling from this park came from the friendly staff. I especially appreciated hearing the voice of long-time public address announcer Dave “Frenchy” Bauman, who made everyone feel at home even as the team added mascots and side shows in order to enhance the family experience.
However, when the club announced that they were going to change the team’s nickname for 2013, in order to forge a separate identity from the major league club with which they have been affiliated since 1967 (and to sell some more merchandise with the new name and logo), Bauman quickly said that he would not work for a club with a cartoonish nickname. The team promptly called his bluff by auditioning for a new PA announcer, who was in place when the team became the Fightin Phils for the 2013 season.
Parking is free but limited. The spaces nearest the park are subject to attack from foul balls leaving the stadium. Many patrons park in a grass lot behind left field or in the lots of local businesses, although the latter is not an option for a weekday morning or afternoon game (the club plays several 11:00 starts and one 9:30 “third shift worker” game each season).
Lineups, which used to be posted in the crowded concourse below the main grandstand, are now posted on a whiteboard as fans enter the new entry plaza. The club also hands out playbill-size programs.
Player data is displayed efficiently on a new 30-by-60-foot video board which replaced a smaller video board accompanying a dedicated scoreboard. That scoreboard is gone; the line score is now on a ribbon board located in left field and partially obstructed by speaker stanchions and a beer tent. I found the ball-and-strike count on the ribbon board small and difficult to read. In addition, the score is often removed from that board in favor of an advertising display. The old auxiliary scoreboard down the first-base line still operates, but is impossible to see from much of the main grandstand.
The new public address announcer is not as efficient as Dave Bauman was in announcing lineup changes. For instance, at a game I attended in 2015, there was no announcement of any of the three relief pitchers for the visiting team. He is also sometimes hard to hear above the music, and he also occasional struggles with certain player names.
Around 2002, Reading became the third park I know of to add a swimming pool to its facility, joining Zephyr Field in Metairie, La., and Chase Field in Phoenix. There is also a beer garden in left field, along with multiple picnic areas.
Reading also employs numerous mascots to keep the kids entertained, as well as providing between-innings activities throughout the game. There are also kids’ activities in the expanded plaza that also includes the food court.
The 2011 renovation and expansion of the stadium also made the rest rooms a bit less convenient. It is almost impossible now to make a “pit stop” here without missing some of the game action.
|51||Sun 2-Aug-1992||Eastern||AA||New Britain 4, READING 2|
|168||Fri 21-Jul-1995||Eastern||AA||READING 5, Binghamton 0|
|189||Tue 12-Sep-1995||Eastern||AA||New Haven 12, READING 7|
|193||Fri 5-Apr-1996||Eastern||AA||Portland 13, READING 7, 10 inn|
|249||Sun 29-Jun-1997||Eastern||AA||READING 8, Akron 6, 11 inn|
|277||Sun 17-Aug-1997||Eastern||AA||Bowie 7, READING 4|
|301||Sat 11-Apr-1998||Eastern||AA||READING 5, Trenton 4|
|343||Sun 30-Aug-1998||Eastern||AA||READING 9, New Britain 3|
|390||Mon 6-Sep-1999||Eastern||AA||READING 3, Harrisburg 0|
|403||Mon 24-Apr-2000||Eastern||AA||READING 8, Bowie 5|
|440||Thu 7-Sep-2000||Eastern||AA||READING 8, Harrisburg 1|
|453||Thu 5-Apr-2001||Eastern||AA||Akron 3, READING 0|
|492||Wed 22-Aug-2001||Eastern||AA||READING 10, Bowie 4|
|508||Sat 8-Sep-2001||Eastern||AA||READING 2, Erie 1|
|515||Thu 11-Apr-2002||Eastern||AA||READING 4, Akron 1|
|517||Wed 8-May-2002||Eastern||AA||READING 5, Altoona 3|
|580||Thu 3-Apr-2003||Eastern||AA||READING 7, Altoona 6|
|595||Sun 6-Jul-2003||Eastern||AA||READING 4, Bowie 3, night|
|619||Tue 12-Aug-2003||Eastern||AA||READING 13, Portland 3|
|715||Tue 31-Aug-2004||Eastern||AA||Erie 6, READING 5, 11 inn|
|735||Mon 11-Apr-2005||Eastern||AA||Harrisburg 5, READING 0|
|755||Wed 27-Jul-2005||Eastern||AA||READING 7, Bowie 4|
|806||Fri 14-Apr-2006||Eastern||AA||Altoona 12, READING 2|
|815||Mon 3-Jul-2006||Eastern||AA||READING 9, Erie 6|
|860||Fri 6-Apr-2007||Eastern||AA||READING 7, Harrisburg 6|
|888||Fri 24-Aug-2007||Eastern||AA||READING 5, Akron 2, 1st|
|889||Fri 24-Aug-2007||Eastern||AA||Akron 4, READING 3, 2d|
|942||Mon 4-Aug-2008||Eastern||AA||Portland 6, READING 5, 11 inn.|
|987||Sat 11-Apr-2009||Eastern||AA||READING 3, Harrisburg 2|
|1053||Tue 11-May-2010||Eastern||AA||New Hampshire 3, READING 2, 12 inn|
|1116||Thu 5-May-2011||Eastern||AA||New Hampshire 10, READING 5|
|1170||Sat 10-Sep-2011||Eastern||AA||New Hampshire 1, READING 0|
|1181||Sat 7-Apr-2012||Eastern||AA||READING 4, Portland 1|
|1271||Tue 13-Aug-2013||Eastern||AA||READING 7, Binghamton 6|
|1399||Sun 9-Aug-2015||Eastern||AA||READING 4, New Britain 1|
|1517||Sat 10-Sep-2016||Eastern||AA||Trenton 3, READING 2|