The stars continued to shine at Waterfront Park during the July home stands as the Reading Phillies visited the Trenton Thunder. As if two rehabbing Major League All-Stars were not enough for the fans to enjoy at the previous home stand, two more joined the mix: Brad Lidge and Shane Victorino. That made a total of 4 all-stars in an 8 game stretch who have rehabbed in Trenton, amazing! Once again I had the opportunity to observe the action as I was ushering between third base and home. The fans turned out in large numbers to watch these stars perform and they did not disappoint. Shane Victorino batted .500 going 4 for 8 in his weekend stint and Brad Lidge, coming off of a poor outing on Thursday against the Thunder, bounced back over the weekend to post back to back scoreless innings. For their efforts, these all-star performers helped the Reading Phillies earn a split with the Thunder.
Speaking of the Phillies, during the last home stand, I chatted with longtime Thunder fan Chris, who shared with me a story regarding the closing of Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium in 2004. Chris attended an auction shortly after the stadium’s closing where he obtained the original Phillies mascot outfits of Phil and Phyllis. The mascots made their debut in 1971, the same year the Phillies opened Veterans Stadium. Phil and his counterpart Phyllis were children dressed in colonial garb and were eventually replaced by the Phillie Phanatic in 1978. Having obtained these vintage mascot outfits, Chris and his son occasionally attend Phillies games at Citizens Bank Park dressed up as these old classical characters to the pleasure of many people who remember their history.
Chris is just one example of the fans who I have met who have been loyally attending Thunder games for many years. Another instance of this would be Ron and Lorraine; they both have been Thunder season ticket holders since the very beginning of the organization back in 1994. They told me that they have attended all 12 Eastern League Ballparks from Portland, Maine to Richmond Virginia. Each ballpark they have visited has had its own unique quality. Whether it be a kid’s park, a restaurant or even a swimming pool, there is something entertaining about each stadium.
Like Ron and Lorraine, Jim and Sarah have also been attending Thunder games for 17 years. Jim mentioned to me that most of the fans that started from the beginning may be vanishing a bit. His reason is that over time people move from the area or as people get older they may find it more difficult to attend. Whatever the reason, Jim says that a new breed of fan evolves, giving a whole new perspective to the game that we all love.