Greg Gross Will Be Having Dinner Tonight

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The Phillies hitting coach will be joining Tommy John (of the surgery) and Rex Hudler (of your PlayStation) for a banquet in Reading, PA so blazingly wild it will change the axis of the entire planet.The 50th Annual Reading Hot Stovers Banquet goes live tonight at 6:45, with an obnoxiously upper class silent auction and cocktail hour beforehand.  It’s been my experience that combining events with “cocktail” in the title with events that have the word “silent” in the title is a recipe for undesired madness, but hey, this is some classy joint in Reading, not the basement of a Temple frat house, so good luck to ‘um.

The whole point of the evening seems to be to honor young local athletes.  Being born in Terra Haute, Indiana and Tempe, Arizona, John and Hudler’s relation to the region seems invisible.

Hudler played a couple years for the Phillies; or maybe just one–but I definitely remember hearing a heavily pixelated version of him being robotically announced in All-Star Baseball 2000 or Hardball 5 as a Phillie [EDITOR'S NOTE: Rex built two monster seasons in Philly, hitting and average of .171.  In this case, I am referencing the "scary and disgusting" facet of a monster, rather than the usual notion of "monster" meaning "really good."  Why I didn't just use a normal adjective is beyond me.  Good bye.]  The point is, I guess you’ve got to have a couple big names at these things or nobody shows up.

But then there’s Greg, born in York, and currently picking up where Milt Thompson [was] left off.  Greg’s [hopefully] taking time off from all the extra work the Phillies are doing this off season to repair that wheezing offense of old men that are all 30 or older and just way, way too old to be any sort of productive.

So, the big question.  What the hell is this thing even about.  Well, according to themselves, the Reading Hot Stovers are:

…a group of gentleman who have a passion for America’s greatest past-time.

Adultery or masked vigilantism?!

Baseball!”

Yes of course.  How silly of me.

They’re a group who gets together and awards young people for being decent members of society and/or spectacular athletes.

Former heroes at this thing have been Frank Howard, Ricky Bottalico (who at the time was still asking to be billed as “Rick” Bottalico to maintain that tough guy persona), Dave “Cobra” Parker, and the always welcome and now pretty fat Mitch Williams.

So head up to Reading if you’re trying to get your “B-level sports star” on this evening.

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