I mentioned earlier that I play softball in the Reading-Berks Business Softball League (RBBSL) against the Reading Phillies (and other local businesses). Our season ended in mid-August when Herbein & Company successfully defended its 2008 League Championship. This season, we were playing for more than just bragging rights. Friday, August 28, 2009, would be “RBBSL Night at the R-Phils.” The league champions would be honored on the field prior to the game. Despite my squad’s poor showing and failure to even make the RBBSL playoffs this season (after losing to Herbein in the Championship game in 2008), we were excited for the game. We were all set up with party seating on the LF Coors Light Party deck. I was fully planning on a homerun landing on our picnic table while watching the game.
But there was problem. After a nice sunny day, the skies opened up and the rain began to fall before Tim, Colleen and I even arrived at FirstEnergy Stadium.
When we reached the party deck, this was the scene:
Moments later, they announced that the game would be delayed until around 7:40.
Tim grabbed his trusty bat (more on that trusty bat later)…
…and we headed over to the covered astroturf area so Tim could take some hacks:
This area is down the left field line behind the stands. By day, this is the batting cage for the team. In fact, see that blue fence behind Tim in the shot to the right? Behind that fence is the netting of the cage, an L-screen, and a big cart full of baseballs. Last season, I witnessed some naughty kids (not Tim!) sqeeze in there and take a ball out of the cart.
During games, the cage is pushed back and locked up, and the turf area is left open for kids to run around. Also, people will pull tables over there and hang out and eat some food under cover at times.
Tim ran around on the turf and took a lot of hacks.
After a while, we took a walk around the stadium. This is a look into the concourse under/behind the infield grandstand:
FirstEnergy Stadium has a great old time baseball feel going on in the concourse. As concourses go, I really enjoy this one.
The picture to the left is taken from behind the 3B side as we are walking toward the home plate area. The picture to the right shows the food stands directly behind home plate.
We kept walking toward the 1B side. I think I have mentioned before that the R-Phils dugout does not connect to the club house via underground tunnel. Instead, the players have to walk through the concourse to get to the club house. Therefore, it was not a big surprise when we walked by the R-Phils club house entrance and found a couple R-Phils signing autographs for a bunch of kids:
I’m not sure who these guys are. But it sure looks like the picture (being held by an autograph seeker) in the bottom right corner says “Kyle,” which makes me wonder if the guy in the middle is Kyle Drabek. It doesn’t really look like him to me. Maybe its Scott Mathieson. Any guesses? The guy in the back sort of looks like hot prospect Dominic Brown, but I’m not certain.
[NOTE: in the background, the yellow sign says “PLAYERS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS IN THE CONCOURSE BEFORE THE GAME.” I guess these guys didn’t get that memo.]
We walked right on by the autographing and headed out to the open-air concourse down the 1B line. Someone was there who I wanted to see:
ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Stark was there selling and signing his book. We neither bought the book nor got anything autographed. He doesn’t know it, but I have a past with Mr. Stark. He once made some derogatory comments about my Mariners, and I did not approve. Therefore, unbeknownst to the author, I boycotted Stark for decent amount of time. Maybe a year or two.
But then something happened. Do you ever get the feeling that, despite its massive size and scope, there just isn’t enough suitable baseball content to read on the internet? I get that feeling a lot. Therefore, at some point, I forgave Jayson Stark and I released him from his ban.
From the picture above, you might be able to tell that Tim has not yet forgiven Stark (despite the fact he wasn’t even born yet when Stark made his offending comments). Tim loves everyone he meets at games. But he wanted nothing to do with Stark. It might have had something to do with Stark commenting to us that the Mariners aren’t going to win the World Series (or some nonsense to that effect).
After visiting with Stark, we headed over to behind the R-Phils dugout and took this rainy panaramic view:
Next, we went behind the stands into the open-air concourse and Tim did some dancing to the sweet sounds of a live band playing a set back there:
By the way, the game still hadn’t started, the tarp was still on, and it was probably about 7:30 at this point. Even worse, its started to rain harder:
We headed back to the Party Deck, and an annoucement came over the PA system: the game was cancelled.
We’d get to use our tickets at any future game this season or next. But, shoot, I was hoping to get this game in with my co-workers and softball league-mates.
As the entry title suggests, it was a *minor* dissappointment. A minor league dissappointment, that is. Of course, I must hand it to the R-Phils. They handled this rain out flawlessly, which is more than I can say about the last rain out game Tim and I attended (back on June 3, 2009).
I took one more picture of the rain-soaked field before we headed home for alternate plans – family movie night (“Surfs Up”):
One final note: the game was rescheduled as part of a double-header on the following day. Unfortunately, it poured rain again and the doubleheader was rained out. Therefore, the R-Phils and Bowie Baysox had to play back-to-back double-headers on Sunday and Monday.