Play Ball

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Jun 18, 2011

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True...and the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona."
George F. Will

It all started when Michelle, the VFCC Director of Marketing, informed me that she was invited by Anthony Pignetti to have our college participate in the PennSuburban Chamber night at a Reading Phillies baseball game. In a matter of days we checked out the idea, a few of us chipped in to pay the modest stipend, and before we knew it 500 tickets were delivered. 

As long as I can remember I have loved baseball. As a child I dreamed of being at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and the count at three balls and two strikes, the bases are loaded and the home team is losing 3 to 0. With the fans standing on their feet and cheering wildly, the pitcher goes into his wind up and with all of his might he throws the ball to home plate. There I am, ready for anything and I take that huge bat and with all of my might I swing it at just the right time. The sound says it all. And there goes the ball toward center fielder. e goes back...and back...and the warning track and as he stands there it flies over his head, out of the park and we win the game. 

OK, so I sort of got carried away. Anyway, I do love baseball. So when this opportunity came to attend a Reading Phillies game we all gave a collective "Yes!!!" The Reading Phillies are the Minor League team based in Reading, PA playing in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League. Since 1967 they have been an AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, and Dominic Brown of the current Philadelphia Phillies all played there. 

Once the 500 tickets came we passed them out to employees and students as well as friends from the community. By the day of the game, only 63 tickets were left. 

For most of the week it had been raining. Those of us who had tickets kept one eye on our work and one eye on the weather forecast. And though the evening did produce a bit of rain, the game took place without a delay. 

FirstEnergy Park seats 9,000 with 500 more places for Standing Room Only. That night 7,910 fans attended to watch the Reading Phillies play the Richmond Flying Squirrels. We all loved the game but in a ball park like that it is everything else that surrounds the game which makes Minor League baseball such a great outing for friends and colleagues. 

We sat in the Red Section (Section 3) which is for General Admission. All around us were our wonderful VFCC family with as many children as adults. We were impressed with the reasonable cost of the food. We were impressed with the activities for children out on the field before the game began. We were impressed by the creativity and fun which engaged the fans between each inning. 

They even invited me to join about a dozen others to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Cameras were rolling and the crowd was watching as we stepped to a portable mound not too far from home plate. How did it go, you ask? Let's just say they didn't call on me later in the game for relief pitching. 

There was so much going on some of us hardly noticed that the Reading Phillies lost the game 4 to 3. They almost won in the final inning and that really grabbed everyone's attention. Minutes later we were featured to a spectacular fireworks display. 

As Evie and I were driving home we were already making plans to return and next time bring our grandson, Noah, when he is in town. 

No wonder Willie Stargell said, "When they start the game, they don't yell, 'Work ball.' They say, 'Play ball.'" 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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