In the summer of 1967 on an unseasonably cool day, your dad pulled into the Esso station on Route 30, and filled up the tanks for $4.31. He then picked up your mom and the two of them drove to Reading Municipal Ballpark to take in a Reading Phillies game. It was the first time they had seen this new club with this new name. The Clevelend Indians affiliated squad from 1966 had packed up and moved away, just as had the Red Sox farm club before them.
Your folks were hoping to see Robin Roberts pitch. The 40 year-old future hall of famer had been released by the Chicago Cubs in 1966 and was hoping, in Reading, to prove he had enough cannon left to make it back to the show and maybe hurl a few more innings at Connie Mack Stadium. Roberts did not pitch that day, Instead, while your folks made-out in the left field grandstand, a 32 year-old righty came to the end of his professional playing career. Dallas Green would go on to manage the class A short-season 1968 Huron Phillies to an unremarkable 26-43 and then do some other stuff, but on this day his curve ball wouldn’t break and his fastball couldn’t find the corners. But your folks were just happy to be outside and in love. After the game they stopped at a diner, ate some pie, and then drove up and parked by the Pagoda. You’re dad put on the radio, and neither of your parents were surprised that a track from that new Beatles record was playing. It was the summer of love and we are talking about your parents. I don’t want to give you the jibblies, so lets just gloss over the rest of their date, ‘kay? ‘Kay.
That was 46 years ago, and right up through this past season, you could still go to that same park (though it has a corporate douchebag name now), and see those same Reading Phillies, still affiliated with the Philadelphia club. But a couple of days ago, it was announced that the Reading Phillies, though still an Eastern League AA Philadelphia Phillies affiliate, would not longer be appelated after their big league parent organization. Well … sort-of, but hang on.
Do you want to know the new team name? Do we even know the new team name? Stop asking so many questions and meet us after the jump.
At press event on November 4th, GM Scott Hunsicker announced that the team would be completely re-branding, which means a new name, new uniforms, and new merch. In 2010 when the Orioles ended their 53-year relationship with their Rookie League team in Bluefield, WV, the R-Phils became the longest standing affiliation in Major League Baseball. The Phils and the Reading Justwaitandsees are still gonna be affiliates, and you’re still gonna be able to spend $8 to sit 15 feet from some kid who might one day be a millionaire walking on the parkway with a dog in a backpack, but he’s not gonna be a Phillie. At least not a Reading Phillie.
Now Reading, a loyal outpost on the edge of Pennsyltucky itself (Berks county did go 54%-45% for Obama), is not the kind of urban center that adapts well to change. Though acid-wash is at last a thing of the past out there, it’s a thing of the recent past. So, as you might imagine, people are losing their shit over this. There have been petitions and threats from people claiming they will never attend another game, and Hunsicker’s email and voice mail have been flooded. When asked why the need for change, Hunsicker gave two reasons: First, he claimed that having an identically named farm club so close to the mothership occasionally results in people showing up at First Energy Park, expecting to see Ryan and Jimmy and Chase. I say that’s the idiot tax in effect, but he feels it’s a problem. The second reason Hunsicker cites is a little more pragmatic: The proximity and the overlap often results with radio sports updates on the twos sounding like, “Tough day for the Phils losing 8-2, but the Phils cleaned up winning a close one 4-3 in 13.” This of course was even more complicated when the infield was comprised of Henry Hu, Darnell Watt, and Justin Idunno. Hunsicker has stated that the parent club is aware of all of this, and Don Amaro has given his blessing.
Though Hunsicker is keeping mum on the new team name, Chris Creamer, who’s an (internet) famous logo and uniform blogger did some remarkable digging and discovered that in August the Reading Phillies registered three domain names.
So maybe flipping the fuck out isn’t all that warranted. I suppose I could live with the Reading Fightins, though were it my name to dub, I’d lean toward The Reading Rainbows, or the Isfundamentals, with the Terminals or Railroads being my fall-backs.
Of course, now a conversation might go, “Hey, wanna go see the Fightins tonight? Nah, I’ve already got tix for the Fightins, but thanks.” So we’re back to square one. Hunsicker also said, that the new club will have the most uniform/cap combinations of any team in the minors (ugh, the Oregon Ducks of the Susquehanna Valley). Sigh. Now, they better have pinstripes and those stripes better be red, and more importantly, they better not rename this guy the Bipolar Frankfurter Peddler.
We’ll bring more Minor League hot stove missives as events warrant.
— Adam Brodsky
Adam Brodsky, is, in no particular order, a World Record Holding Folksinger, Writer, Baseball fan, and Beer League First Baseman who hits for average. His Novel will be out when he fucking finishes it, so get off his back! You can follow him @adambrodsky