Decades have passed, but Susanna Trait will never forget the moment she fell in love with Baseballtown.
She was only in fourth grade, but as an experienced softball player, Trey had no problem catching a foul ball that floated her way.
These exciting seconds – and all the priceless memories they have shared with friends and family since then – have shaped Treith’s life as a lifelong Baseball fan.
“Bat crack, nothing like that,” Treight said.
Susanna wasn’t the only Treit to excitedly watch Fightin Phils open the 2022 season.
Her son, 8 years old, Kern, came with a baseball glove, a few friends with whom he could enjoy the day, and an overwhelming desire to eat ice cream from the Fightin Phils collectible helmet.
“Our house has a stack of 85 (helmets),” Kern said.
The trip from Montgomery County is a little longer than from Birdsbury, where Trate grew up, but that didn’t stop her from joining the sea of hundreds of white-and-red Fightin Phils that filled FirstEnergy Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Treith was not the only participant with impressive foul fishing skills. Even before the game, Kim Connell managed to grab a baseball that flew into the parking lot.
“She caught it,” said Jack Connell, Kim’s husband. “It flew right over my head.”
Canelli said they recently moved to Wernersville but have been looking forward to the opening of the season since last year they fell in love with Baseball Reading.
Jack Connell even plans to visit his daughter from the Philadelphia area for a couple of games this season.
At the stadium, the unmistakable aroma of fresh burgers and french fries poured along with the melodies of the Uptown Band, which took center stage and reminded everyone to celebrate the good moments (let’s), during an energetic cover of Kool & the Gang “Celebration”.
They bowed their heads, tapped their feet, and several brave dancers swayed to the beat as dozens of families flocked around the stage to eat, drink, tune in, and follow lyrical advice to “know the good times tonight”.
Contributed to this good time KC Dianna, who works at the adult booth, sponsored by Redner’s Markets, part-time. She recommended pink lemonade.
“Both of my kids play baseball, so they’re thrilled,” Diana said. “Just great to come back in person, without masks.”
At the opening of the season this year, the stadium returned to normal for the first time since 2019.
Last season the stadium was opened with restrictions due to COVID-19, and some games were canceled. The 2020 season has been completely canceled.
According to Gail Bengler, returning to the chairs this year is nothing more than wonderful.
“It’s just nice to sit in the weather and not watch TV at home,” the 62-year-old Bengler said. “I also like the Uptown Band.”
Bengler said he has been drinking beer and eating sandwiches at the stadium for more than a decade.
Jordan Chapel has a tradition of coming to watch games since he first started walking in 1984 with his father and grandfather.
These days his love for Baseballtown prompted him to sponsor stadium activities through his Berks Commercial Roofing business in Lisport.
“I’m just happy to spend time here with my family and reminisce,” Chapel said. “I’m not necessarily a sports enthusiast, but I’m a fan of that experience.”
Chapelle retained this family tradition on Friday. He and his wife Jennifer took with them children Kaiden, 10, Cameron, 7, Kelsey, 5, and Quinn, 3.
When asked if he was excited about the game, Cameron said a resounding “yes” and turned around several times to make sure he understood the point.
Fightin Phils will start the season with a series of three games against the Somerset Patriots.
Activities at FirstEnergy Stadium will continue until Sunday, with a Saturday game with fireworks and Sunday activities including a base for all fans and a guest performance by renowned baseball collector Zach Hample.