Just like last year, the Reading Phillies are offering their Kids Club program for kids 12 and under, and amazingly, there is no charge to join. One of the perks of membership is a free ticket for kids to each of seven designated games during the season. How could we refuse such an offer? This past Sunday was the first Kids Club game of the year.
In addition to the free ticket, members of the Kids Club get to take part in a special pre-game activity for club members only. This game’s activity was an on-field photo session with almost all the R-Phils players, with the exception of that day’s starting pitcher and catcher.
Of course, the big draws, top prospect Domonic Brown and newest propects Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies, were at opposite ends of the warning track, with everyone else arranged alphabetically in between. So we needed to make a choice – go to Brown first, or Gillies and Aumont?
We chose Domonic Brown, mostly because I foresee him being promoted from double-A Reading before either Gillies or Aumont. Here are the kids with Domonic:
Domonic generates a lot of speed with those incredibly skinny calves!
We then worked our way around the warning track, stopping for photos with various players, as well as the ever-popular Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. Unfortunately, just before we got to Gillies and Aumont, the photo session ended, as the players had to go prepare for the game. I did manage to snap a quick pic of the two as they headed back to the clubhouse. Gillies, who is legally deaf, wears hearing aids in both ears, and one can be seen here:
After wandering around, getting something to eat, and dealing with minor meltdowns at the gift shop, it was time for the game to start. On the mound for the R-Phils was Yohan Flande:
Flande was sharp through six shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks. Not a particularly hard thrower, he kept the Portland Sea Dogs batters off balance all afternoon. Here, Portland first baseman Lars Anderson has not hit the ball, he’s so far in front of it that the ball hasn’t even crossed the plate yet, and he’s already swung through it:
Starting for the Sea Dogs, a Red Sox affiliate, was Stephen Fife:
In the bottom of the first, he walked the speedy Brown, and then hit Tagg Bozied with a pitch, but managed to escape unscathed.
Domonic Brown makes it back to first in time on a pickoff attempt:
Bozied apparently shook off being hit on the hand/wrist (I couldn’t really tell exactly where – Bozied bats right-handed, so his back was to us, as we were seated on the third-base side) as he ripped a two-run double in the third to put Reading on the board.
After six innings, Reading was up 2-0 in this quick moving pitching duel. Then, the relievers came in. B.J. Rosenberg gave up four runs in the top of the seventh, on a solo home run by Lars Anderson, and a three-run homer by Jason Place. The Sea Dogs now led 4-2.
Rosenberg was later placed on the DL with a strained muscle, so maybe that explains the rough outing.
In the bottom of the seventh, Portland reliever Robert Coello returned the favor, allowing a three-run dinger to Tagg Bozied, the hero of the game, to put the R-Phils up 5-4. Bozied had knocked in all five of the R-Phils runs so far. Here he is about to be congratulated by Reading manager Steve Roadcap after his home run:
In the minors, the manager often doubles as the third base coach.
In other game action, Reading shortstop Freddy Galvis fields a ground ball and fires to first for the out:
Tyson Gillies attempts a bunt, but it ended up rolling foul:
Reading tacked on another run in the eighth, and held on to win 6-4. A great day at the ballpark, with the temperature comfortably in the low 70’s, and an R-Phils victory! Now we have to wait until May for the next Kids Club game.