Category Archives: Kram’s Korner – From the Club Level

PPL Center: Arena Review, Eagles Concert–and a Tom Petty Preview

“How ‘ya doin’?”

Well I’m doing just fine.  And, I’m really liking the new downtown arena in Allentown.  We had a great time at the Eagles concert Friday night, and we were back on Saturday afternoon to get a look around without the crowds.

My first impression of the PPL Center is that it’s really “finished.”  Except, it’s not.  There’s still work to be done in advance of the first hockey game (a preseason tilt October 1) and Phantoms opening night Friday, October 17, 2014.  But by “finished” I mean to say that the place is really gorgeous.  In many an arena, exposed cinder blocks and rough-hewn concrete adorn the walls and floors respectively.  Then, look up and it’s all exposed HVAC and girders.  Not so in Allentown.  The floors are neatly polished in the main concourse, and carpeted in the luxury areas.  The walls are nicely painted and even wainscoting-adorn in some places.  The pipes and wires are neatly tucked into the ceiling and painted black.  It’s just, really, nice.

The traffic was minimal, and the parking no problem–at least for me.  I was a bit early, though.  I did hear of difficulty at the intersection of Linden and 7th Street.  The Parking Authority is aware of it, though, and will be addressing it through several methods.  In the meantime, avoid that intersection if you can.

Even without the restaurants (Chickie’s, Horton’s, Crust) in the arena, there are still many concession choices within.  I’ll detail them as we get going with the hockey season.  They aren’t cheap, though.

I’ll try to get my photos uploaded soon, but for now…

Here are some other random observations, good and bad:

  • Floor Chairs are Small:   I’m not a big dude, but the nicely cushioned chairs on the arena floor for concerts are really tiny.  And, close together.  In fact, they seem to snap or slide together tongue-in-groove style.  Perhaps this is standard for concerts these days, but I wasn’t planning on sitting that close to the big guy next to me.
  • Need More Urinals:   It was the longest line for a men’s room I’d ever seen.  I spent the entire 20-minute intermission plus the first two songs of the second set standing in line.  My advice: take out some of the commodes and install more urinals.
  • It Does Get Crowded:   It was the first opening, and a big one to boot (10,000 is max; only 8,500 for hockey) and of course no one knew where to go.  So, the concourses were absolutely jammed.  That’ll calm down, I imagine, as folks learn where they want to be.  They’ll get things running quicker at the concessions as well.  Think about opening day at the IronPigs:  After all these years, folks still pack the concourses on opening day for ballpark food and sightseeing.  That’ll calm down.
  • The Center Scoreboard Fully Retracts:   It’s a nice touch.  That hockey-style center board (x4) fully retracts into the ceiling.  Another nice clean look, fully preserving the site lines.
  • Luxury Boxes Rock:   The luxury boxes on levels “3” and “4” offer superb site lines and many comforts.  If you ever get invited to one, jump at it.  The views were really good, if you ask me.
  • And, More:   There are “ice-level” luxury boxes under the stands on the suite side.  They have all the amenities, huge flat-screens, and access to the seats in the club sections.  A really cool idea.
  • Not Done Yet:  Another amazing luxury touch is the “Loge” boxes at the top of the club sections.  Think of them as mini-suites with big leather chairs and marble-like counters.  Another place to visit if you can swing the invite.
  • Finally:  An ice-level party suite sponsored by BSI allows groups to greet the players as they make their way to the ice.  Suite visitors here can then sit glass-side for the game.
  • Cool Areas For the Common Man (and Woman):   The “Miller Lite Loft” above the “closed” (non-stage) end of the arena is a nice place to visit.  Nice high-up end view of the ice, and a bar up there to boot.
  • Micro-Brews Up Top:  I don’t know what it’s called, but there’s a place above the gourmet hamburger stand which has a micro-brew bar and some tables to hang out above the main concourse.  It’s a neat area to get out of the crowd and relax.  It’s mostly a concourse view, though, not so much for the game.
  • I’ll Be At The Bar:   There’s a rectangular bar area right near my hockey seats.  I swear I didn’t know it would be there.  Well, you’ll know where to find me before the games…near section 107.
  • Get Me A Beer:  There are many, many beer choices.  I’ll detail them later, but you’ll find something you like.  There are a ton at Coca Cola Park, too, with some notables missing.  Here, nothing’s missing:  Miller Lite, Yuengling, Coors Light, Micros, Shock Top.  Drafts.  Big giant cans.  All kinds of cool choices.  Not cheap though:  Miller Lite draft cost me $8.  25-oz Bud Light can cost me $9.  Wine and mixed drinks are of course available in the club, but there was a small bar set up on the concourse near section 104 as well.
  • Make Your Calls Before You Go:   The cell signal inside is very, very weak.  There’s talk of boosting it.

Tips if you’re going to the Tom Petty Concert Tonight:

Parking:

Map Courtesy Allentown Parking Authority

Map Courtesy Allentown Parking Authority

Remember the directionality of the streets, and make a plan.  Check AllentownEventParking.com and click on the available lots and decks to check parking availability.  Follow the color-coded signs downtown.

What NOT to do:

  • Be Late.  A little extra time is helpful.
  • Drive Around.  I say find a spot and park.  Walk or hitch a ride with LANTA shuttles.
  • Take Seventh Street.  Or, Linden.  Seventh and Linden was the bottle neck, if you can avoid it, do.
  • Park AT the Arena.  There’s a parking garage “in” the arena.  It’s small, though, and mostly reserved spots for VIPs, Suite holders, and the like.  It will be filled.  Don’t even try to park there.

So enjoy the show.  Word from the tour is that it is excellent.  They’re known to mix it up a bit, but here’s a recent set list:

Steve Winwood:

  1. (Buddy Miles cover)
  2. (Traffic song)
  3. (Traffic song)
  4. (Traffic song)
  5. (Blind Faith song)
  6. (Traffic song)
  7. Encore:
  8. (Blind Faith song) (with Tom Petty)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers:

  1. (The Byrds cover)
  2. (Tom Petty song)
  3. (Tom Petty song)
  4. (Blind Faith cover) (with Steve Winwood)
  5. (Tom Petty song)
  6. (Tom Petty song)
  7. Encore:
  8. (Tom Petty song)

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SteelHawks Season Ticket News: @PPLcenter @SteehawksPIFL

News went out late yesterday to Season Ticket Holders, regarding the SteelHawks move into the gorgeous new PPL Center Arena in Allentown.  The email included ticket plan pricing and a seating chart:
steelhawks seating prices

Pretty cool!  Let me point out a couple things:

  1. Math.  Based on a six-game home schedule, the ticket prices start at $8/game.  The next level is $13 for end zones, $18 for sidelines, $27.50 for rows 2-6(?), and $37.50 for front row.  The most expensive ticket is cheaper than most hockey tickets!  It’s only six games!
  2. New is good.  The nicer seats and the video boards alone are worth a price increase, and it looks like most levels are the same–or similar.  I also look forward to the nicer and better (and, yes, probably more expensive) concession choices.
  3. Bad news.  Of course, the parking.  It should be easier than hockey or concerts, but still… and, it will cost money compared with the free parking (actually, it wasn’t free–the SteelHawks just paid for it for us) at Stabler.  Expect $6 or so.
  4. More bad news:  No Tailgating.  I’ve got some ideas about this, but it’s already been announced that there’s a “no tailgating” policy at the arena.
  5. No Upper Level:  It appears that the upper level will be closed.  I’ll check on this, though, as I really wouldn’t mind sitting up there.  Perhaps GA can–we’ll see.
  6. My advice:  Get Season Tickets!  Here’s why:
    1. You’ll save on fees.  I promise you the single ticket fees alone for that arena will drive your ticket prices up to the point where you probably could purchase another game or three.
    2. You’ll sit where you want.  Lock in your seat–the arena is a little bigger and now the view of the video board comes into play.  Choose your seat now.
    3. The more games you go to, the more you’ll learn the tricks of the parking.  And, by the time the arena football season starts in March, all the bugs will have been worked out downtown.
    4. There are restaurants and such downtown–stuff to do before and after a game.
    5. Arena football is a blast!  I didn’t believe it at first, but I really do like it.  The pace of the game and the high scoring are intense features.  And, not nearly as many timeouts and dead time compared with NFL or NCAA football.  You’ll love it!

Right now, season ticket plans are available to current season ticket holders, however, they’ll soon be available to the public.  Call 610-282-3100.

More news as it becomes available.

 

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Steel Hawks

Allentown Eagles Concert FAQ–Everything You Need To Know About the Concert Tonight: Parking, Food, Times, Photography, Phones

I’m headed to the Eagles concert to open the new PPL Center in downtown Allentown tonight.  Here are the answers to the questions you might have, if you’re headed there too:

  1. Will Parking Be A Problem?    It’s hard to say, but the Allentown Parking Authority seems to be working overtime to make sure things go smoothly.  Follow them on Twitter @AtownParking .  They’ve been very responsive to my questions and concerns.
  2. Where Should I Park?  Do You Have Any Advice?     Yes.  Go to AllentownEventParking.com to see the different parking options.  Click on the decks and lots to check availablility.  This is in real time, we’re told, so having this site saved on your smart phone may be the best strategy to find parking easily and quickly once you get down there.  Have your passenger do it!  If you do not have a smart phone, perhaps check it on your computer just before you leave.
  3. What About Wheelchair-accessible Parking?    I don’t know for sure, but everything we’ve been told suggests that each lot/deck will have the appropriate spaces available.  There should be plenty of attendants on hand to assist you.  Shuttles with lifts should be available, too, although they may need to request a special one.  Speak with the attendant as soon as you arrive at your parking destination to make the arrangements.  As we become more familiar with the facilities downtown, we’ll be able to recommend which lots/decks are preferable, and how to quickly get to the arena.  Perhaps they’ll make arrangements for drop-offs and the like, too, at some point.
  4. Do You Have Any Other Advice?    Yes.  Go early.  Leave some extra time.  And try to avoid driving through the zone if you can.  In other words, drive outside the zone to get to the parking facility you desire–going directly through the arena zone will add to the traffic difficulties and only serve to aggravate you.
  5. How Do You Pay For Parking?  How Much Will It Cost?  Can I Pre-Pay?     I believe parking will be $10 for all Authority decks and lots.  You can pay by cash or credit on arrival.  Through the PPLCenter.com site, you can pre-purchase parking, but only for the Linden St deck.
  6. Where Are YOU Going to Park?    I’m not telling.  Seriously, if we all try to park in the same spot, we’ll all be in trouble.  I say follow the color-coded signs, and park at the first available spot you can find.  Walk or use the shuttle.  Try to keep from driving around–as much as you can.
  7. I Could Go Early and Eat There, Then, Right?    Well, not so fast.  Most of the downtown restaurants have been booked up for several weeks, so unless you already have a reservation, I’d plan on eating ahead.  You might be able to slip in someplace, or if you venture slightly further from the arena.  The Arena has three restaurants inside:  Chickie and Pete’s (Sports Bar featuring french fries coated in Old Bay), Crust (Coal-fired pizza), and Tim Horton’s (Canadian Coffee Shop).  I’m not positive that they’ll be open or full-service in time for tonight’s concert, or if they’ll be other concessions available or accessible.  And, if they are, they could be mobbed.  My best advice is to grab a bite ahead of time this time.
  8. What Time Does the Concert Start?    Start time is listed as 8:00PM.  Artists are funny, sometimes, so we’ll see.  However, previous stops on this tour have started at or near on-time, the best I can tell.  It’s a long show, and these guys are old.  I don’t see them delaying too much.
  9. What Time Do The Doors Open?     6:30PM
  10. I’m not sure where I’m sitting.  Do you know what kind of seats are there?     The arena, club section, and suite seats are very nice.  I’m not sure about the floor seats.  If this cam is still working, check to see if you can see them!  I sure hope they’re not metal folding chairs…
  11. My Ticket Says No Photography, But I’ll Be Able To Use My Cell, Right?    Maybe not.  Word from the tour is that all electronics will be banned, including cell phones and texting.  I’m not sure how they’ll enforce it–I’m pretty sure you won’t have to turn it in at the door like at a golf tournament.  However, don’t count on taking photos or being on your phone during the concert.  Don’t even try to bring a camera.
  12. Is There An Opening Act?     I don’t think so.  Not music anyway.  Sometimes a comedian comes out for a few minutes.  But, it’s a long concert.
  13. What Songs Do You Think They’ll Play?     Well, you never know with artists, but here’s what they played the other night in Newark:
    1. Saturday Night
    2. Train Leaves Here This Morning
    1. Peaceful Easy Feeling
    2. Witchy Woman
    3. Doolin-Dalton
    4. Tequila Sunrise
    5. Doolin’-Dalton/Desperado (Reprise)
    6. Already Gone
    7. The Best of My Love
    8. Lyin’ Eyes
    9. One of These Nights
    10. Take It to the Limit
    11. Set 2 (intermission)
    12. Wasted Time (Reprise) 
    1. Pretty Maids All in a Row
    2. I Can’t Tell You Why
    3. New Kid in Town
    4. Love Will Keep Us Alive
    5. Heartache Tonight
    6. Those Shoes
    7. In the City
    1. Life’s Been Good
    1. The Long Run
    2. Funk #49
    1. Life in the Fast Lane
    2. Encore:
    3. Hotel California
    4. Encore 2:
    5. Take It Easy
    6. Rocky Mountain Way
    1. Desperado

     

  14. That’s A Ton of Songs, and Your Numbering is Messed Up.  How Long is the Show?:     About 3 hours with the intermission(s).  Numbering botched by WordPress.
  15. So If They Start On Time, We’ll All Be Leaving at 11PM.  How’s That Gonna Go?  Do You Think It’ll Be Safe?     If you’ve chosen your parking wisely, you should be able to get out with the rest of the folks in your lot/deck.  If you must drive across the zone, you’ll be in trouble waiting for all the lights and pedestrians.  Street lights have been optimized (they tell me) to allow for mass egress from the event.  I’m sure security will be on high alert and out in force.
  16. How Can You Be So Sure About Security and Parking?    Look, Allentown and the powers-that-be have a lot riding on this.  A debacle of any kind will make a lot of folks look bad.  My only question now is if they’ll be able to maintain the security and the parking going forward.  I envision no problems tonight.  But then, I could be wrong.  We’ll see.  Allentown Police will be supplemented with a private security firm and full HD camera coverage in most areas of the arena zone.  As I had suggested way back when:  They are “over-doing” it on parking and safety.  Parking and safety are still the number one concern of would-be event goers.  They’re gonna do their best, I tell you.  I hope it works.
  17. Are There Any Tickets Left?     I believe there may be some $179.50 seats left–but not many if at all.  I don’t know how the scalping scene will be, but I’d be careful.  My own tickets don’t look terribly fancy–hopefully no one gets burned buying fakes.  Buyer beware is all I’m saying.

Friday Lunch Update:  I have two more notes for you.  First, Chickie and Pete’s will not be open for another week or so–so not for Cher (if she’s OK) or Tom Petty either, early next week.  Second, No Tailgating.  I kinda figured, but it was official this earlier this morning.

See you at the concert,

@Kram209

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Allentown Arena Parking: Where to Park When Visiting the PPL Center

Map Courtesy Allentown Parking Authority

Map Courtesy Allentown Parking Authority

Updated: 9/6/2014

We’ll get our first taste of traffic and parking hassle this Friday, as the Eagles open the brand new PPL Center in Allentown.  As with the first IronPigs game, expect some growing pains as things get smoothed out and bugs in the system get resolved.

I’ll be reporting back with my findings, of course, but let me share what I know so far about arena parking in Allentown:

  1. There’s no best way.    With multiple parking decks, lots, and the like, there’s going to be no ‘best’ way to go to events downtown.  If everyone tries to arrive on the same road, we’ll all be stuck.  That said, we’ll start to learn for ourselves the best way to arrive and depart from our homes and offices–and how to save on the fees.
  2. There are enough spaces.    Multiple studies have suggested that there will be more than enough parking spaces for the number of cars arriving for arena events.  The key will be getting the cars to the open spaces–and it feels like the Parking Authority is already aware of that.  We’ll see how they do with it.  The Parking Authority does seem to be on top of this, if not a little ‘last minute.’
  3. It will be safe.    I think.  Police patrols on foot and on bikes will be present.  Shuttles and trolleys will be available to help squire folks to and from the different decks and lots.  Video monitoring will be in place all over.  And, there’s safety in numbers:  with so many folks arriving and leaving at the same general time, I anticipate a safety factor there, as well.
  4. It won’t be cheap.      It feels a little like the City of Allentown is going to be in the business of parking:  They’ll likely collect lots of parking fees with all of the events to be held at the arena.  I hope they put it to good use.  But remember, it’s not the Phantoms or the Arena in charge of parking, it’s the City of Allentown.
  5. Driving around looking could be a problem.    The Parking Authority may have an app, and this map may be interactive, to try to help folks find the parking quickly, and not end up driving around the blocks close to the PPL Center Arena searching. That “searching” traffic will be a problem and will also be a hazard to those walking to the arena from their cars–not to mention inhibit shuttle speeds.  My advice for those coming from out of town:  Use the maps to find where you expect to park, then walk or shuttle to the arena.  Do not GPS to the arena and THEN look for parking:  That’s likely to be more frustrating as traffic right near the arena itself will be the worst.  Also, I wouldn’t be surprised, given the above, if they start blocking off some of those blocks for pedestrians and shuttles.  Add in the one-way streets and the pedestrians and, as I said, you’ll likely be frustrated.  Follow the signs and park–then figure out a way to get to the arena (walk, shuttle, etc.)
  6. Oh yeah, the streets.    I always forget that some of the streets are one-way.  As I look at the map at the top of this page, and make a plan for where I’ll arrive and park, I end up with a useless plan because the street limitations.  The map at www.allentowneventparking.com does show the street directions.  Google maps does, as well.  
  7. Technology will help.    Electronic fee collection, apps, real time space availability, and the like–will all help ease the confusion and the hassle of parking downtown.  The map at allentowneventparking.com (above) IS interactive.  Hover over the lot, and it should let you know how many spots are available there.  I’m not sure how accurate it will be:  If I see a schmuck with an abacus as I enter the garage, I’ll be less confident.  ;-)
  8. What will it cost?   At Authority parking facilities, parking for concerts will be $10.  For other events, parking will be $6, unless otherwise specified.  But, the price of parking is subject to change without notice.
  9. (Updated 9/8/2014)  Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs:    Alternate title:  “What’s with all the colors?”   As you approach the arena zone in downtown, you’ll begin to see color-coated signs to guide you toward parking.  If you are familiar with the map colors above, or if you have the interactive map loaded on your smart phone, it should help you locate parking quickly.  The colors correspond to parking options within each quadrant of the zone.  Again, my advice as we set out on this downtown adventure is:  “Find parking and just park.”  Don’t drive around looking for a better spot.  That’s what’s going to sink this.  We’ll get to “advanced strategies” later, as we all become more familiar with the goings on downtown.
  10. Pay on the way in:  You’ll be asked for event parking fee on the way into the lot or deck you choose.  There will be attendants on hand to assist you with finding a spot within that area.  This should help with egress.  It’s unclear to me at this time what happens with parking pass holders, folks still in downtown from the day, and what time the “event fee” kicks in.  Normally, Allentown parking is “free after 5″ but that won’t apply on event/hockey nights.
  11. There are designated areas within each authorized parking area for accessibility.  Let the attendant know as you pay, and there should be other attendants to assist.  I’m not sure if the accessible parking spots will be listed on the interactive map, but they should be.  I know those spots go FAST at Coca Cola Park.  Shuttles will be available to help get you to the arena.  For those that don’t need it, my advice is:  Park in a regular spot and walk.  Make sure those spots, and the shuttle seats are available to assist those who require it.  The exercise is good.
  12. How to Pay:    Most street meters take coins or credit cards.  Garages will accept cash or credit cards.  “Park By Phone” is currently in Beta–at some point you MAY be able to pay for parking by using your smart phone.
  13. You Can Pre-Pay for Parking:    Minutes ago, I received an email with a link to pre-purchase parking at the “Linden Street” garage.  Go HERE.  Now, I’m not sure that garage is the most convenient for the direction I’m coming.  Plus, egress after the show may be difficult for me, so I’m not sure I’m going to pre-purchase.  It’s a good idea for some, though!

 

I’ll try to post some parking strategies in this space as I gain experience downtown.  Stay tuned.

@Kram209

 

 

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

2014 IronPigs Season Postmortem, Vol. 1: “A Season of Change”

smells

As I start to reflect on the 2014 IronPigs season, the theme that comes to mind is “change.”  It all started in February with the organization’s “Smell the Change” campaign.  As we know now, it was all about some new uniform designs.  We kinda knew it was coming, going back to November of 2013 when some of the old, traditional on-field merchandise started getting deep discounts at the Majestic Clubhouse Store.  New Era Hats don’t expire.  The only reason to discount that on-field stuff is because new designs were going to be coming out.  Little did we know how far they would go.

In addition to the new Saturday cap, new away cap and new Sunday cap, we also got a new Friday uniform set (pants too!), and a complete new Saturday set with a bacon theme.  The team did a great job with the design choices, and it was indeed time to freshen up the on-field appearance a bit.  I wasn’t high on the bacon stuff–too goofy.  Boy, was I wrong!  I’m sure the team is still filling orders and counting money, as that bacon design is now available in multiple formats:  several New Era fitted designs, and multiple fashion designs.  I even relented and bought the powder blue version.  We’ll see if further change is to come.  It seems like the team could mix and match sets a little better if they could figure out something to do with those black pants.  Plus, the black pants look silly with red shoes, and are generally disliked by the players and coaches–we have asked them.

But the change that occurred this season wasn’t limited to off-the-field:  The extreme number of transactions that impacted this team ultimately resulted in a sub-par showing on the field.  This could be felt quite obviously at home, where the IronPigs reached only a 31-41 record, among the worst in AAA.  In fact, the road record was among the best in AAA for much of the season.

For the 2014 season, the IronPigs were subject to 166 roster transactions!  That’s more than one transaction per game, home and away!  In 2013, the ‘Pigs had a then-high 128 transactions.  Players often would arrive and leave from the team while at home, given the proximity to Reading and Philadelphia.  Injuries and the need for support in Philly are always going to result in change on the AAA roster.  However, this year’s rate was unprecedented, and with much of it happening at home, it’s no surprise that the product on the field was often searching for an identity.  It doesn’t mean the players couldn’t play or that the coaches couldn’t coach–just that they were often trying to find their way with the lineup and defense constantly changing.  On the road, they were able to settle into a routine a little more, and the record shows it.

I never felt that the team gave up, or stopped playing hard.  Certainly part of the turnover had to do with an MLB team looking for answers.  That created opportunity for players to get to the big leagues, and I’m certain all of them played with that goal in mind.  Here’s hoping that next year, some youth and perhaps some veteran leaders, can settle in and create a more stable core.  A left-handed power bat might be nice, too.

While I’m at it, a look back at previous themes:

2008:  The inaugural season:  everything was shiny and new, and the organization was still feeling it’s way along.  A horrific start on the field and some roster turnover overshadowed a rather competitive team at times.  Meanwhile, Philadelphia was on their way to the World Series, and many couldn’t worry about AAA records.

2009:  Losing vol. 2, but the team did have a winning record at home!  Three players changed dugouts that summer as the Indians’ affiliate Columbus was in town during the first Cliff Lee trade.

2010:  The team that quit.  July and August were horrible as the team didn’t seem to be playing hard or correctly.  The manager expressed open disdain for his roster.  It wasn’t pretty.

2011:  The golden era begins:  winning under Hall of Fame manager Ryne Sandberg also resulted in a team who played hard and did the little things.  For the first time, a winning record in 1-run games!  And, an occasional pitching change in the middle of an inning.  To think!  And the first (and to date, only) playoff appearance by the “lovable losers.”

2012:  The bonus year.  No one thought we’d have Mr. Sandberg for a second year.  Ultimately, we didn’t have the players down the stretch to make the playoff run, but it was again a fun team to watch.

2013:  The start of the Brundage era continued with a team in first-place for a good portion of the early season.  However, a struggling team in Philly and a then-high number of transactions led to a team that again faltered down the stretch.  Starting pitching was inconsistent as well.

Stay tuned for vol. 2:  Kram’s Memories of the 2014 Season.

@Kram209

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Phantoms Roster News: Flyers Announce Rookie Camp Details

phantoms

The Philadelphia Flyers, the parent club for our Lehigh Valley Phantoms, has announced a rookie camp for their potential players.  Many of these players will find themselves as Phantoms, sooner or later.  The camp begins on September 12–the same day as the Eagles concert at the PPL Center–and extends through the 16th.  The camp will be held at the Flyers Skate Zone at the Virtua Center in Voorhees, NJ.  The camp will conclude on September 16, with a Rookie Game between the Flyers Rookies and their counterparts from the Washington Capitals.  The practices, as well as the game, are open to the public.  The times for the practice sessions were not listed, but the game will be at 3PM on the 16th. The regular Flyers training camp will open at some point following the rookie camp.

Of the 27 players invited to the rookie camp, 10 spent at least part of last season with the Phantoms in Glens Falls last season.  Those players are:

Forwards:  Brandon Alderson, Nick Cousins, Kevin Goumas, Derek Mathers, and Petr Straka

Defensemen: Mark Alt, Steven Delisle, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Maxim Lamarche

Other players who have been invited, and who have been pegged as possible Phantoms, are:

Forwards: Scott Laughton and Taylor Leier

Defenseman: Jesper Pettersson

Goaltender: Anthony Stolarz

Players such as recent first-round picks (and defensemen) Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim will most likely return to their Junior Hockey clubs following the camp.

For more information about the rookie camp, rookie game, and visiting Voorhees:

voorhees skate zone

 

 

 

To purchase tickets for Phantoms preseason games at the PPL Center October 1 and October 4, please call 610-347-8499, or visit pplcenter.com.

To purchase or inquire about Phantoms season ticket packages, call 610-224-4625.

The entire Flyers Rookie Camp roster can be found here.

See you at the arena,

@Kram209 (section 106)

 

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

A Few Words About Maikel Franco

Franco with an RBI, from the final home stand.  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Franco with an RBI, from the final home stand. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

Word leaked out, as the ‘Pigs close out the 2014 season in Moosic, that Maikel Franco will indeed get the call to the Phillies after the game today.  In fact, rumor has it, he’ll start tomorrow for the Phillies in Atlanta.  It’s been debated for weeks, and I’m happy it’s finally official.

I’ve been a strong supporter of the call:  I think it will get the young man some experience that he can use to challenge for a spot in Spring Training.  It’s not that I think he’s been ready during the season–too much inconsistency and some flaws in his game.  However, the naysayers think I’m wrong.  Let me address the concerns:

  1. He won’t get any playing time.   I don’t care.  He won’t get any in Allentown, either (the season’s over).  He won’t get any at home sitting on his couch.  Winter ball (It’s been reported that he’ll play, although not where) doesn’t start for a while.  He just played an entire season of AAA baseball.  Why not let him get some exposure to the Phillies big team, and let the coaches there see him now that he has a season of AAA under his belt. They haven’t seen him since March in Clearwater.
  2. He’ll develop bad habits.   How can he develop bad habits if he’s not getting regular playing time?  The first two concerns cancel each other out.  It’s September.  The Phillies are out of it.  It should be a nice relaxed atmosphere for him to learn what he needs to do to take the next step.
  3. It will ruin him.  Just like they did to Dom Brown.   Nope.  First, Maikel is a different guy.  I know neither of them well–I’m just saying that the personalities and psyches might be different.  Secondly, Dom was called, demoted, called again, and sat the bench for a team challenging for the pennant.  This is a different team.  With a different manager and a different outlook on the future.  Plus, this is happening AFTER the season.  The routine of AAA is over.  Whatever development and experience Maikel was to receive at AAA has been completed–at least for this year.  It’s not interrupting his season or taking away experience he could receive by playing every day, because that is over.

It’s a bonus and it’s a reward.  I think everyone knows that Maikel is not the savior of the Phillies.  It just makes sense.

Part of making room for the call-ups is making room on the 40-man.  To that end, the Phillies yesterday traded with the Blue Jays:  John Mayberry Jr for an A-AA 3B.  This concludes JMJ’s time in the Phillies organization.  I think he’s spent time with the IronPigs over more different seasons than any other player.  And, as I said yesterday at the RailRiders game:  I’ve seen enough.  I mean no disparagement, but I’ve seen what he can do at AAA and in the Majors, and I’ve had it.  Time for a fresh start elsewhere, Junior.  It’s been real.  It’s been nice.  It hasn’t been real nice.

And as I finished typing, the season has officially ended.  Tyler Henson strikes out with men on first and third and two outs, and the IronPigs lose to the RailRiders 4-1.  They lost the continuation of yesterday’s game in a 2-1 walk-off, as well.  They’ll finish in last place.

More to come on the 2014 IronPigs as we empty out the “drafts” file:

  1. Scranton is a Trip:  A look back at our time in Moosic in 2013-2014.
  2. 2014 IronPigs Postmortem vol. 1:  “A Season of Change”
  3. 2014 IronPigs Postmortem vol. 2:  “Memories of a Season Gone By, Quickly”
  4. 2014 IronPigs Postmortem vol. 3:  “The Season in Pictures”
  5. 2014 IronPIgs Postmortem vol. 4:  “A Look Ahead:  Players and Rosters for 2015″

See you at the arena, I guess,

@Kram209

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