Posted by: Ryan | July 9, 2010

Rowdy Crowd in Reading

For the first time in this project, I missed the opening pitch. I don’t know if New York and PA are spending Stimulus money, but I kept running into construction delays and closed roads as I drove to Reading from Vermont. Arrived at the ballpark right at 7:05, but by the time I got to my seat (carrying a Yuengling and a soft pretzel) the game was in the bottom of the first.

Quick, National League-style game, over and done with by 9:15. At Fenway we would have still been in the fifth inning. Reading won 2-0, over Harrisburg. The Reading pitcher threw a complete-game three-hitter, and hit a home run as well. I love a brisk, well-pitched game.

This was the third time I’ve seen Reading play, and the second time I’ve seen Harrisburg, so it was nice to recognize many of the players. Domonic Brown, who hit a grand slam in New Hampshire the first game of my project, has now gone on to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, one step from the bigs. The people I sat beside knew the exact date Brown moved up.

Hard not to compare Reading with Portland, my previous stop. They’re very similar: both gorgeous little ballparks, with knowledgeable fans and a great sense of history. But the crowd is definitely different in Reading: rougher, rowdier, but endearingly so. It’s a family crowd, if your definition of family includes people doing slightly embarrassing, slightly annoying things. The woman behind me – mid 50’s; her husband had brought a glove – kept yelling, “Balk” at any throw over to first.

Another matronly woman patted my shoulder as she passed by my seat and said, “You’ve got mustard all over you.”

It was true. I’m a horribly messy eater.

I caught my first foul ball of this project tonight. “Caught” is a little generous: I was on the way to the pulled-pork sandwich stand when a ball skipped past, bounced off a brick wall, and came to me. I didn’t even have to break stride. “Your lucky day!” the woman behind the counter said as I arrived, ball in hand. She looked like my mom, and spoke in an accent that sounds like home.


  1. hi mustard dad hows you doing?

    • Hey, kiddo! I’ll try to keep mustard off myself today. It’s raining in PA as well, so I’m not sure if I will see a baseball game tonight.

      Ryan Newswanger


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