Gluttony Night

Glutton: noun  excessive eating and drinking.

Gluttony Night: noun a night of all-you-can-eat concessions starting from the time gates open until the seventh inning stretch of a particular Reading Phillies game.

For the past couple seasons, the Reading Phillies have hosted at least one Gluttony Night during the season; encouraging fans to come out to a game and eat as much food as they can in a few hours time.  For a small dollar amount, fans can purchase a brightly colored wristband that allows them to receive foods from a specified list free of charge each time they get in line.

The length of the event is relatively open-ended.  It begins as soon as the gates open and runs up until the third out is recorded in the top of the seventh.  Any baseball fan knows that there is no time-table on how long a game can take.  One inning can last anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on how the team is playing.  For those fans waiting in the never-ending lines during Gluttony Night, long innings are something to be excited about.  The longer each inning takes, the more time the fans have to eat as much food as possible.  As soon as the official scorer records the third out in the top of the seventh, Gluttony Night comes to a close.

As someone who has been on both sides of Gluttony Night, I have witnessed both the good and the bad aspects of the event.  It is entertaining to watch how long people will stand in line to receive a single slice of pizza or a scoop of ice cream.  It is not as entertaining to deal with people who don’t understand the one per wristband rule.  I would have to say the most interesting part of the event, no matter what your role may be, is watching and waiting to see how quickly the lines clear up after it is announced that all food must now be paid for.  It is like watching the newest hit toy fly off the shelves during the holidays; five minutes and every last one of them is gone.  If you have yet to experience a Gluttony Night at the Reading Phillies, I suggest you try to make it a summer goal.  It provides an interesting insight into who comes to the ball park for the game and who comes for the food.

Groundskeepers Make the Best Weathermen

Code red.

To a baseball front office, these two little words almost always bring about a feeling of dread.  It means that the head groundskeeper could potentially run through the office at any minute and drag everyone out for a tarp pull.  It also means that rain is on the way.

In order to become a meteorologist, a person must complete at least a bachelor’s degree and graduate school spending numerous hours studying calculus, physics, chemistry and atmospheric dynamics before being able to say that he or she is a meteorologist.  In order to become a groundskeeper the suggested fields of study are horticulture and sport turf management.

Even though he may not have all the hours of studying or the knowledge of reading all the different maps and screens, it seems that a groundskeeper predicts the weather correctly 95% of the time.  The groundskeeper for the Reading Phillies is one of the best at both caring for the field and predicting the weather.  He can look at the radar and know that in 30 minutes, it will start raining and he needs to gather his tarp crew.  The majority of the time, his prediction is correct. It never ceases to amaze me how one person can take a quick glance at a map filled with green, red, and yellow areas and know that it will soon be raining.

When people talk about groundskeepers, they discuss how they take care of the field during both the offseason and the regular season and how much work they put into making sure the field looks its best.  When I talk about groundskeepers, from now on I will be sure to include the term weatherman in my description.

Yours in baseball,


Telling Time- Baseball Style

The clock doesn’t matter in baseball. Time stands still or moves backwards. Theoretically, one game could go on forever. Some seem to. – Herb Caen

Having spent eight seasons working at a baseball stadium, I have had my share of experiences with doubleheaders.  Playing two games in one day or night can result in a feeling that time has stopped.  The typical set up for a doubleheader is to play two 7-inning games with a break in between in order to get the field prepped and the second set of starting pitchers warmed up.  Going into a doubleheader, there is always the knowledge that it will be a long night of baseball, but also a small spark of hope that it will move quickly.  More often than not, the games go longer than expected.

There is a lost sense of time during a doubleheader due to the 7-inning game set up.  Every employee and fan knows that when the 7th inning rolls around, there are only two innings remaining, as long as the game is not tied.  With a doubleheader ,the 7th inning brings with it a feeling of excitement followed by disappointment when each person realizes there are still 7 more innings to play.  Add in a twenty-thirty minute rain delay and a tie game, and it feels like time has come to a stand still.

In baseball, you will rarely see anyone on the field wearing a watch; they know that looking at the time will not do any good.  Staff members who wear watches tend to get discouraged each time they look at it and some even wish there was a time limit on games.  In the end, time will always take a backseat to the sport of baseball.  To agree with Herb Caen, a doubleheader in baseball can certainly seem to go on forever.