There is a franchise in the Eastern League that is a constant source of community progress. “Existing” can be a tough verb for any minor league organization, but this one has done so longer than any other in the state. An established fan base, a known and respected presence in the region, and a competitive team with a picturesque facility have all combined to get them nominated for the John H. Johnson President’s Award, given to the franchise that is, for lack of a better word, “the tits.”
Though I can’t really think of a better word. Anyway, that team, as I’m sure you guessed by now, is the New Britain Rock Cats.
The Reading Phillies don’t need a prestigious award to be made aware of their grandeur. No, they’re far more happy to win the popularity contest. And the first step toward doing so is being nominated for the Larry MacPhail Promotional Award for Innovation of Ballpark-Related Insanity.
When Jesus invented baseball, I’ll bet the first part of it he explained was the part where a graphic artist in a wig rode an ostrich onto the field and hurled hot dogs at the crowd. After that facet of the game, the rest of it probably seemed pretty normal. But graphic artists back then were just the guys who could arrange rocks and sticks in the prettiest patterns, so the concept may have been a lot simpler anyway.
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor is just the bespectacled tip of the promotional iceberg in Reading, which includes the Ryan Howard Garden Gnome and the pre-game Mascot Concert, both of which thrill audiences and raise eyebrows simultaneously.
So it makes sense that the R-Phils should get the award for Knowing Hot to Party. They’ve conquered the realms of Longest Running Minor League Franchise Ever and even Get to the Playoffs A Lot, so naturally, their domination of the Eastern League’s Awards ballot should honor their madness quotient.
Also they’re involved in the community and stuff so you can’t even get mad at them for partying too much. If the Reading Phillies were a guy, they’d be the one who is somehow equal parts bad-ass and take-home-to-meet-parents-ass. And that guy hardly exists.