Almost everyone has heard the saying “Breakfast of Champions.” While it started out as a slogan for Wheaties cereal in the 1960s, nowadays the saying generally applies to any bowl of cereal or a hearty breakfast of eggs, pancakes, and some type of side such as bacon or sausage.
What if that breakfast consisted of a hotdog and an ice-cold beer? Instead of cereal with milk, how about a dish of ice cream with sprinkles. While you enjoy this unusual breakfast you can sit back, relax, and enjoy some baseball instead of watching the news or reading the newspaper.
Since I began working at FirstEnergy Stadium 13 years ago, there has always been one game during the season that was designated as the morning game. The game is played at 9:35 in the morning and the main goal is to give those fans who might work late or work solely third shift a chance to see at least one game each summer. The morning game is always an interesting one because it is definitely not your typical baseball crowd.
The best part about the morning game? Getting to the stadium when it’s still quiet and things are just getting started.
Every Summer FirstEnergy Stadium comes alive early in the morning as the Reading Fightin Phils host their annual morning game. (Photo: Amanda Cain)
Believe me, I am not a morning person; I’m pretty much the exact opposite. Still, there is something so enjoyable about being out at the ballpark in the morning. It’s difficult to explain the feeling, but I think it has something to do with the fact that the stadium is much quieter in the morning.
On a typical game night when my sister and I get to the stadium the crowds are already moving around inside the main gates during happy hour. There is usually a musical act performing, some concession stands are already open for business, batting practice is taking place on the field, and on any given night there might be tables set up in the plaza for different groups to share information or sell raffle tickets. Overall, the stadium is already in full swing when we get to work.
The same cannot be said for the morning game.
We typically get to the stadium around 8 on the day of the morning game and the stadium seems to slowly be waking up to start the day. During my internship, I was at the ballpark around 5:45 or so and watched the sunrise from the third base line. When you’re walking through the stadium that early in the morning, there a sense of calm that often comes before a large event. Everyone seems to move a bit slower in the morning, but somehow everything is still ready come game time.
The weirdest part of the morning game? Watching people eat hot dogs for breakfast.
Now, I am a big fan of hot dogs; I just can’t seem to get used to the idea of eating one for breakfast. This is coming from a girl who has eaten some strange things for breakfast, including cold Chinese food. There is just something about hot dogs that I cannot imagine eating one that early in the morning. It’s also strange to me that people will drink beer and eat ice cream that early, but for some reason that I can understand more than the hot dogs.
Are you the type of person who likes to get up early and get a workout in right away? Don’t worry, fans are invited to come out early and stroll the warning track before they begin to prep the field. If you stroll quickly enough, I’m sure you could get in at least a good mile or two. After your walk you can enjoy a complimentary hot dog and cup of coffee.
Hot dogs and coffee – the new breakfast of champions.
In the end, the morning game is always a fun one and it is nice that the teams are willing to change their routines in order to give their fans a chance to enjoy watching them play. While I don’t know that I will ever get used to the idea of eating ballpark food that early in the morning, it’s just one more aspect of this organization that makes it a great place to work.
Confessional: What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten for breakfast? Would you eat a hot dog or hamburger for breakfast?