Reading calls itself Baseballtown. With a stadium that was completed in 1951, and one that’s had some renovations over the years, the Reading Fightin Phils have a unique and interesting stadium.
FirstEnergy Stadium is different than when I last visited in, I believe, 2009. They’ve done many upgrades, to make the field a bit more fan friendly, yet have kept the quirky aspects of the park in place.
When you come into the park, you have an area where the food items are and it gives you the feel of a courtyard. It’s definitely busy there, so you might need to push your way around if you want to get somewhere. The concourse is under the main grandstand, so you are behind the action. There’s also not a full walk-around concourse, but that’s normal for older stadiums.
You can go out into parts of the outfield, though, to watch the game from different vantage points. Overall, sightlines were OK and it is a tad picturesque of a place to watch a game. Seats are a tad old-school, but it kind of goes with the stadium. They aren’t bad, but I also will say we didn’t sit in ours for awful long.
Concession wise, there is the regular fare from ballparks. Being it was a dollar-dog day, I chose that as my choice for the night. It looked like they had a lot of the regular choices, which is good. I didn’t get too deep into the area with everything going on as it was crowded and after a long weekend of baseball and other items, I just wanted to watch a game.
The field is nice and it has some cool areas. Like many parks today, there were spots people could rent out etc., for large groups.
The on-field things were fine and didn’t detract from the game too much, which was good.
The team store is not huge, but it is very well stocked with different items. Because of that, it’s not easy to get around, but if you want something – odds are they likely have it. That’s always a bonus, of course, as it makes no sense not to stock up, especially with the rebranding the team did a year or two ago.
This was the 50th anniversary of the team being associated with the Phillies, so it was nice to get there during this season. The action on the field was solid, and it’s an easy place to watch a game. The atmosphere is pretty good as people seem to enjoy watching baseball.
I will note this, though – it seems like some of the people (the fans) weren’t the friendliest in the world. I’m not saying this is all of them, and I’m not even saying the people we encountered were regulars. But it was … odd.
Let me give an example.
The tickets I purchased were underneath the overhang, as there had originally been a threat of rain. We got to our seats and made sure we had the right spot. No sooner than we sat down, the lady (an older lady) made sure she told us “If they aren’t your seats, you’ll have to move.”
I’ve never had that happen to me before, especially by somebody not working for the team. I will say as we came up the stands, one of the people there had their feet up on our seats, and a jacket over top the back. So I guess we were infringing on their “territory.” Still, it was a little off-setting.
We decided, instead, to stand for the game at the top of the bleachers where there’s a place to lean etc. Two more people were encountered – and they were the same. I asked one person if people could stand here and he looked at me like I was green and had three heads.
As I walked the concourse a little later, three – yes three – people bumped into me as they weren’t watching where they were going. I tried to avoid the collisions but they weren’t paying attention. None of them said excuse me (despite them being at fault and watching their phones and not where they were going), rather gave me a dirty look.
Honestly, these aren’t things I want to share because it’s hopefully not the norm. But this was part of my experience and, honestly, it took away from my experience.
I didn’t really interact with many people who work for the team or stadium, but it seemed like there were a lot of people around.
Home of the Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies)
Visited on: June 12, 2016
Opponent: Altoona Curve (Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates)
Ratings (out of 10)
- Stadium: 7.5/10
- Concessions: 7/10
- Parking: 8/10
- Ambiance: 7.5/10
- Friendliness: 6.5/10
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