Widespread mass panic is totally under control, reports mayor from helicopter
Reading is more than just a highway exit sign you pass on your way to somewhere more important.
It’s home to one of the oldest traditions in minor league baseball; an industry in which affiliations, nicknames, and locations are as transitory as rosters.
As Phillies fans, Reading has more meaning to us than most other small central PA towns. How many summer evenings in our childhoods did our parents say, “Hey, let’s go to a Phillies game,” only to decide after a quick glance at the bank account that maybe Reading was a more responsible choice than Philadelphia; barring, of course, that nobody picked up the Phillies Franks this week with the free game ticket and image of hearth throb Kevin Stocker.
It’s nostalgia like this that’s about to be wrapped up, dragged to the town square, and ritually slaughtered in front of legions of fans, wailing in agony.
Well… no. But that’s what it feels like. Maybe. This Saturday, the final announcement will come as to what the R-Phils will be known as for years to come. Theories arise that we’ll all be buying Reading Railroaders hats in the coming weeks. As the moment approaches, the people of Reading are going from shocked to antsy to unnerved to riotous.
The importance of tradition in baseball is slipping away. Did you know that there was talk of giving Mike Trout the AL MVP this year just because he was a better player than the guy who won it?! Anarchy, I tell you!
But the Reading Phillies have always been the Reading Phillies. It’ll be weird seeing them as another team, even if their Double-A affiliation isn’t in question. But as the R-Phils explain, the reason they’re doing this is for the fans. It’s because the franchise has the prolonged legacy to stand on that they feel they form their own identity, still loyal to the Phillies franchise, but independent of their brand. Minor league clubs aren’t renown for their longevity; in Reading, the tradition deserves to be noted and rewarded. They call it “Baseballtown,” not “Philliestown” or “Traditionsburg.” Frankly, we’d hate it if they did. Those names are terrible.
There is more to life than baseball. It just doesn’t feel that way because we rely on baseball to provide a protective blanket from all of life’s horrible distractions, like sunlight and relentless emails from your family with “ARE YOU COMING TO THANKSGIVING?!?!” in the subject line.
But change is inevitable, and a lot of things do so with no reason or warning. The Reading Phillies had both. There is no reason to prematurely scoff at what their innovative executives have come up with.
Unless it’s something stupid. Then lets all hate it!