As the Reading Fightin Phils prepare to wrap up the regular season, all eyes are focused on the playoffs. Before the historic season comes to a close, however, there is one more celebration to be had.
On September 1, the final home game of the 2016 season, the Fightins will dedicate the night to honoring the to groups that have made the historic 50-year affiliation possible: the fans and employees.
Fan Appreciation Night begins during the pre-game and continues throughout the night. This year, the festivities will include $10,000 worth of prizes being given away. The younger fans get the celebration started with a pre-game on-field candy grab. All Kids’ Club members will also receive a free ticket to the game. The older fans partake in the celebration throughout the night, where contests and raffles will make prizes available for them. The night also features the annual clunker car giveaway. Three fans will leave the stadium with cars, but they won’t be in good condition.
A night dedicated to the fans is a fitting conclusion to the season for an organization that thrives on the strength of the fan base. The Fightins currently lead the Eastern League in both total attendance for the season and average attendance. Before the final home stand, the total attendance sits at 371,031, and the average attendance is 6,082.
The faithful fans are not th
e only people celebrated on this night, the faithful employees are celebrated in the annual Employee Honor Role ceremony. The Employee Honor Roll consists of all employees who have worked for the team for ten seasons or more.
Employees concluding their tenth season, and their families, will be treated to a pool party in the Reading Eagle Pool Pavilion. The employees will also be inducted into the Employee Honor Roll during an on-field ceremony when each employee will be
announced and recognized, and will receive a plaque commemorating their tenth season. The names will then be added to the Employee Honor Roll plaque that hangs inside the employee entrance.
This ceremony is also when the recipient of the Neale Bechtel Employee of the Year Award will be revealed. The award is given to a game-staff employee who embodies the spirit of the organization. The recipient is nominated by the other game-staff employees. The award, named in honor of the late Neale Bechtel who was lovingly known around the stadium as “The Singing Usher,” is typically given to an employee who has become a staple at the stadium; someone who is recognized by employees and fans alike for the effort, devotion, and care they have put into their work at the ballpark.
In the final ceremony of the night, the end-of-season player awards will be given to the appropriate members of the team. These awards, ranging from a community service award to a team MVP award, highlight players who have been successful in every aspect of the game and community.
The final home game of the season is a chance to celebrate and, hopefully, a chance to look forward to the post-season and a potential championship. For the Fightins it is also a chance to thank and honor all of the people, fans, players, and employees, who have made the past 50 years a success for the organization and hope to make the next 50 years a success as well.
For tickets to remaining Fightin Phils’ games, or information on future promotions, visit Fightins.com or call 610-370-BALL.