Posts for reading

This Reading Fightins Chase Utley Bobblehead Will Make You Shake Your Damn Head

Kyle Scott - January 29, 2014

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Eat that headline, Upworthy.

The first 3,000 adults to show up to the Fightins opener on April 3 will get one of these bad boys, and you can just pretend it’s the likeness of Chase Utley and not, say, fat James Spader. From the release:

“It’s hard to top last season’s Opening Night, but the 2014 season hits the ground running,” said Fightin Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker. “Our Chase Utley Fightins bobblehead giveaway is an incredible item that only can be found in Baseballtown. We’re bringing back both our jersey giveaway and VIP Warning Track Party again this year due to resounding demand from our fans.”

He starts at second base for the Philadelphia Phillies, was a member of the 2008 World Series championship team, and on April 3, he’ll become a bobblehead when the club gives a Chase Utley Fightins Bobblehead to the first 3,000 adults thanks to CJ’s Tire and Automotive Services. Utley’s stint in Reading will be forever commemorated with the first bobblehead giveaway to feature a Fightin Phils jersey.

Full Reading promotional schedule here. Now, for the next item on The Blacklist!

The Reading Fightins Want to Give You Their Stadium for a Day

Kyle Scott - February 13, 2013

image from mobilwi.typepad.com

Every time I write Reading Fightins and look at that goofy logo, I have a sudden urge to 1920s box… which is totally something you could do at FirstEnergy Stadium if you won this contest the Fightins have going on today.

Here’s the deal: Tickets went on-sale today. For each ticket you buy before midnight, you’ll be entered to win the ballpark for a day (well, a few hours). Really. From the press release:

Any Fightin Phils fan that purchases a ticket on Wednesday, February 13 will be automatically entered to “Win FirstEnergy Stadium for a Day”. All those who purchase tickets from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday are eligible for the contest. Fightin Phils fans can increase their chances to win the ballpark for an evening with each ticket they purchase.

As part of the prize package, the grand prize winner will receive the keys to the ballpark for three hours, where they will have unbridled access to the clubhouse, playing field, and much more. The winner and 50 guests will be treated to all-you-can-eat buffet and open bar at the Reading Eagle Character Pool Party. They will also have the option to utilize the video board, public address announcer, and mascots when they play baseball, kickball, or softball on the field.

 

Playing on the field is a given, but I’d sex it up a little bit: FIFA tournament on the scoreboard, massages (the good kind…) in the clubhouse, Old School-style athletics challenge and other assorted games of skill, pattern-cutting contests on the outfield grass, and a paintball tournament ala the 1998 Phillies during a rain delay at Pro Player Stadium

Anyway, buy tickets here. And if you win, remember who told you about it…

Video: Making The Jersey

Kyle Scott - December 10, 2012

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We spent quite a bit of time and endless interweb space covering the Reading Fightins’ surprising brand redesign, so why stop now? Here’s a well-produced video from Brandiose, the company put in charge of turning the R-Phils into the Fightins, which shows the making of Reading’s new Baseballtown jerseys. Nothing earth-shattering, but interesting for you uni geeks, like our fashion editor Dan Fuller.

Hop it for the video.

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The Reading Fightin Phils Re-Branding is a Beautiful Mess

Dan Fuller - November 20, 2012

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To be clear, when George W. Bush talked about how "terrorists hate our freedom," he was talking about apple pie, Coca-Cola, and Minor League Baseball. He was talking about giving a cartoon ostrich a bad attitude and making it a team's logo. He was talking about using an "F" with fists as an alternate logo. He was talking about a tough-looking hotdog as another alternate logo. And he was talking about the concept of having two completely unrelated alternate logos.

Terrorists would hate the new Reading Fightin Phils uniforms, and that's why they're awfully amazing (and amazingly awful).

 

What's Amazing

The standard "Home" uniform and everything about Bunbino (including his name and bad attitude), and the anthropomorphized "F" who looks like he's had a few too many and he's ready to mess your world up are great. The feathering of the letters and logos to keep the ostrich theme going is a nice touch. The whole thing, even the components I don't like, is "fun." Sure, it has the slight odor of "branding exercise," but I think families (read: kids) will love this stuff until they need to replace some of it in a few years when the gimmick wears off. Yes, I realize "gimmick" is probably the most dismissive term I could use, but Minor League Baseball's marketing currency is gimmicks.

Home_1

The other "Fightins" uniform:

Fightin_alt_2

What's Awful

The fact that nothing is integrated between the two "Fightins" designs and the two "Baseballtown" designs doesn't help things. Essentially, the away uniforms are just a hodgepodge of branding, as if Brandiose, the marketing firm paid to realize this re-design was given a "things unique to the Reading Phillies" bulleted list, and simply wrote "OK" next to each item. The away uniforms saying "Baseballtown" instead of "Reading," because it apparently "resonates" (more on this later) with fans in other cities when Reading is the visiting team, is ridiculous (in a bad way). The "our color scheme is every color" color scheme is the worst kind of compromise. Why isn't the "Fightins" solid blue jersey navy instead of "Iris Blue?" Implying there's anything "classic" about either of the "Baseballtown" jerseys is painful; they're just a mess of kitchen sink uniform design, which, of course, might be not unreasonable for a minor league team.

Away_1

Black_alt_1

Ostrich

You. I don't like you.

The Ostrich. If there had been some historical moment where there was an ill-advised and poorly planned petting zoo at a pre-game event in Reading and something ostrich-related happened (mass bitings, the infield being torn apart in a turf war between two competing ostrich gangs, a first baseman getting kicked in the head, etc.), sure, play into that history once enough years have passed, and it's "funny" instead of "civic embarassment." Tying the semi-primary logo to the admittedly ridiculous (in a good way) crazy peanut vendor is a stretch. I actually liked the concept of the logo/mascot more before I read about its inspiration. I hate those damn birds. (I prefer my flightless birds cute and cuddly, thank you very much.)

[If the Reading Phillies ever institute an ostrich race as between-innings entertainment, consider me to be the first volunteer.]

 

What Straddles the Line?

The name. I need to be fair here; I was concerned that anything other than "Phillies" would be completely absurd and simply wrong. "Fightin Phils" is about as good as it could possible be… if it's considered necessary to make a change. I don't love that the official name is two abbreviations, and teams with long names, such as the Diamondbacks, have simply abbreviated the name on jerseys to address the obvious spacing concerns, but, oh well. Their press release establishes that the team will be known as "The Fightins," though the actual success of the name will be determined by whether fans take it up or just continue calling them the "Phillies." The fact that they claimed the re-branding would help the people who apparently think they're in Philadelphia when they pull up to a 9,000 seat stadium… in Reading… is disingenuous to the point of being insulting to anyone in earshot.

Much more, including general thoughts about their re-branding and a Press Release Takedown (PRT? Kyle, can you make this a recurring thing?) [editor's note: done], after the jump.

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The Reading Phillies Are Now The “Fightin Phils”

Kyle Scott - November 17, 2012

It's official– as suspected, the Reading Phillies changed their name today to the Fightin' Phils. Their primary logo? An ostrich… fighting, of course. They will have a number of jersey and hat combinations. The hats:

 
Uniforms and hat combinations, and alternate logos, are after the jump.

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The Reading Phillies Registered Three Domain Names Containing “Fightins” in August

Kyle Scott - November 6, 2012


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This picture I found on Google Images was just too perfect

Tip of the ol’ (1950s-style Phillies throwback) cap to Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net for this find.

Yesterday, I spoke with Reading Phillies GM Scott Hunsicker, who, on Sunday, announced that the team will unveil a new name, logo and uniforms on November 17. He was mum on the name, saying only that the rebranding effort will pay homage to Reading’s 46-year affiliation with the Phillies, the longest in baseball.

But perhaps waiting two weeks to make the announcement was a mistake.

Today, Creamer, on SportsLogos.net, discovered three domain names that were recently registered by the Reading Phillies: FightinsBaseball.com, ReadingFightins.com, ReadingFightinBaseball.com.

The Fightins.

I spot-checked the first two on who.is, a domain registration search tool. They were both blocked by a domain proxy (a third-party that hides ownership information of domain names). So, I emailed Creamer to see how he reached his conclusion. Here’s what he told me:

Looks like they may have updated two of their domain registrations to
make it private. Regardless, Google still has the old ownership records
cached and you can see it by performing the following search in Google: "reading phillies" site:whois.domaintools.com. This will give you a list of every domain that contains "Reading
Phillies" in its registration information.

A quick look through the
list and you'll see the "Fightins" domains are registered by the team.

Also, as of this email, the "ReadingFightinPhillies.com" domain is
still showing their ownership information: http://www.whois.com/whois/readingfightinphillies.com.

 

Creamer also sent along this handy screenshot to demonstrate:

Screen Shot 2012-11-06 at 11.48.10 AM

I reached out to Reading Phillies Director of Public Relations Eric Scarcella for comment. He offered the following response: The Reading Phillies refuse to comment on any speculation on what the franchise’s new name will be. We encourage fans in Baseballtown to come out on November 17th to find out the details on our new name, logo, and uniforms.

Now, it’s very cheap to register a domain name (like $10), and you’ll notice that these were created in August. Hunsicker told me that the team has been working on the rebranding effort for quite some time. So, it’s entirely possible they bought domain names for many team name candidates. 

Possible, but not likely.

Fightins would make sense. It pays homage to the Phillies (and their history), while distinguishing the team in Reading from the big club. I don’t hate the name, though I was expecting something a bit more modern. But I’ll withhold judgement until the official announcement.

Your thoughts?

Check out Creamer's post on SportsLogos.net.

The Reading Phillies Will No Longer Be The “Reading Phillies”, GM Scott Hunsicker Tells Us Why

Kyle Scott - November 5, 2012


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Photo courtesy of the team in Reading

Yesterday, Reading Phillies GM Scott Hunsicker, with the help of a comically large Acme-style crate, announced that, on November 17, the team will unveil the results of its rebranding efforts, which will yield a new name, logo, and uniforms. 

The immediate reaction was largely negative. It came on Twitter, in the comments of this Reading Eagle article, and in the existence of this “Reading Phillies: Do NOT Change Your Club Name” petition on Change.org.

Also, in Hunsicker’s personal email and voicemail.

I heard about the change last night and, like most of you, was confused, since sentiment toward the R-Phils is overwhelmingly positive… largely because of their stellar (and fun) marketing efforts. So, before spewing snarky venom through this here megaphone, I wanted to hear more from Hunsicker.  

I spoke with him this morning, and here’s everything you need (or, may want) to know about the name change and some highlights from our conversation.

 

After 46 years as the Reading Phillies, the longest affiliation with a Major League club in America, the R-Phils, as they began calling themselves in 2008, will change their name, logo and uniforms. Why? Hunsicker says it’s to differentiate the team from the Phillies. But – a very important but – they want to do so without distancing themselves from the big club in any way, shape or form, something Hunsicker admits would be a mistake. 

There are two general reasons for the change. The first one is kind of ridiculous. 

There is the nomenclature issue of the AA affiliate sharing the same name as its nearby parent. Hunsicker says people actually show up to R-Phils games expecting to see the Phillies. Really. Plus, some confusion is created on the radio, presumably on stations closer to Reading than Philadelphia, when scores are given for two different “Phillies” results.

The other reason for the change, the main (real) one, is to create an individual identity for the team. Hunsicker likes to use a box metaphor (and perhaps it’s not just a metaphor– the team will literally pull its new branding elements out of a crate on November 17) to describe it, thusly: Everything about being a fan, of any team, gets put into a box, and while he admits that up to 90% of the stuff in the R-Phils box is tied to the concept of the Phillies, there are some other items – like Baseballtown, America’s Classic Ballpark, and other uniquely Reading items – that separate the R-Phils from the big club. So, they want a new box.

The team is working with California-based Brandiose, a sports marketing firm, on the rebranding process, which represents a culmination of an ongoing internal dialogue the team has been having since as far back as 1992, when Hunsicker first joined the organization. The name and primary logo will change, as will the uniforms. [Hunsicker says the soon-to-be-renamed R-Phils will have the most uniform and cap combinations of any minor league team.]

The mascots, including the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, will remain.

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The organization went halfway in distinguishing itself from the big club in 2008, when they began using the “R-Phils” moniker as a secondary name. But R-Phils is a long way from a brand new (or, new brand) name and logo, and Hunsicker wants to be clear that the move is a way to differentiate, not distance, the Reading Phillies from the Phillies. 

“It has nothing to do with walking away from the Phillies. Quite frankly, people that have called me stupid about the name change would be right if we were just abandoning all that the Phillies represent to us.” 

“But for those people concerned that we’re turing our back on the Phillies or anything like that, nothing can be further from the truth.”

 

It’s an obvious point, but one that Hunsicker reitereated. He assured me that the rebranding will make it clear that the Reading _____ are closely tied to the Phillies.

Still, people are mad.

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Friday Morning Roundup, and Darin Ruf Breaks Ryan Howard’s Home Run Record in the Minors

Ryan Gillon - August 31, 2012

(Courtesy: Reading Eagle)

And he did it with a monster August.

Coming into the month, Reading Phillies slugger Darin Ruf had 18 homers spanning April to July.

Last night, he hit his 20th home run in the month of August alone, which was what he needed to surpass Ryan Howard's record in a Reading uniform. With 38 homers in total, Ruf is Reading's new home run king.

Even before he broke the record, he caught the eye of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:

“Ruf’s had a big year,” said Manuel, who has always had a thing for hitters. “He’s had an extraordinary year. Ruf is something that pops out at you. He’s trying to hit his way to the big leagues. That’s the way it used to be. You had to do something to get to the big leagues. Evidentally, Ruf is an old throwback.”

“I want to see him whether it’s at the end of the year or spring training. I’m looking forward to seeing him. I saw him on TV and it looked like he’s got a good swing. He’s strong.

 

He may just get a chance to get to the big leagues in September with this news from yesterday.

 

Ruf has already been named the MVP of the Eastern League and their rookie of the year. As Corey Seidman of CSN Philly mentions, it's worth noting that Ruf is also fighting for the Triple Crown with 38 homers, 102 RBI, and .321 batting average. The Reading Phillies have four games left in the regular season.

 

A Thursday recap and a Friday preview:

Jeffrey Lurie said that Andy Reid's job is on the line this year. I think he's full of shit. 

Jimmy Rollins was benched yesterday for not hustling. No one anywhere blinked.

The NHL dickishly released their National TV schedule for the… upcoming… season.

The Eagles will cut 22 players from their roster by 9:00 pm tonight.

My Temple Owls will play Kyle's Villanova Wildcats in the Mayor's Cup tonight at Lincoln Financial Field tonight. Spoiler Alert: Temple wins.

Drinker's West is having an NHL '12 tournament on Tuesday, September 11th at 8:00 pm. And to answer some questions, you do have to be 21 and you're playing solo.

Happy Friday, folks! More to come.