It’s my 12th IronPigs opening day–missed 2008 and not counting anything that happened the last two seasons–and I’m really excited. Let me answer some questions and give you some pro-tips on how to have the best time tonight:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What time do the gates open tonight? 5:30PM for all gates. 7:05 first pitch is planned, be in your seat early for introductions and so on.
Is there a giveaway tonight? Yes, there’s a magnet schedule. I find them very handy.
Who’s on the team? This question might be more complicated than it seems. See ‘story lines’ below. But I’ll be tracking it early on to help keep you up to speed. Check my roster post, with player capsules (and eventually, photos) and the outlook, HERE.
What’s new in 2022? I don’t think the ‘Pigs have even told us everything yet. There’s new concessions (HERE) and a new entrance is in the process of being built, in center field. I’m predicting a Chickie’s and Pete’s stand, but I’m not sure that’s true–at least right now.
How will they do? Good question. It’s a veteran-laden teams and sometimes these don’t come together so hot (see also: 2008 IronPigs, 2010 IronPigs) but other times they’re just better at baseball than some younger teams (see also: SWB Yankees: every season). I think we’ll hit OK. I’m concerned about the pitching, and what the Phillies might do to us.
What about COVID and masking and vaccines? No masks if you’ve had the vaccines. No one is going to check. Honor system. Be safe and wash your hands.
What are the story lines heading into the season? First, roster fluctuation. Big league camp doesn’t even break until tomorrow and they don’t need an MLB roster until Friday. The big team has injuries. Expect flurries of players coming and going and not knowing who’s really on the roster and who might be suffering from the dreaded “shin contusion.” Second, veterans. As noted above, this roster is chocked full of players with years of experience–either at the upper levels of the minors or the majors, or both. How will they gel? Third, manager with his first assignment above single-A ball. Can he handle both the demands of the Phillies and the demands of his veteran clubhouse? How will that translate to the field?
What should we expect in April? Crazy roster churning. Rain. Cold. Maybe some wins?
Wait, are we still ‘cash-less’? Yup. (HERE’S WHY) The work-around is to use your cash to purchase a gift card, then use that.
Do’s and Don’ts for Opening Night at the IronPigs:
DO: Eat before you come to the game tonight. Nobody has had ballpark food in months. All the concession workers are new. (OK, many) The lines will be long so buy your concessions later in the home stand.
DO: Say hello to people you know. Some of these people you won’t see again until the weather breaks, around Memorial Day. I tease, but at Reading I’ll be at the opener Friday night, but then probably not again until June, due to the overlap.
DON’T: Waste your entire game in concession lines. See above. Add in the rain coming in for the late innings. Enjoy the baseball while it’s being played!
DON’T: Take it out on the concession staff. Look, there’s going to be glitches tonight. Nobody slinging burgers or beers is in a position to fix the myriad problems that present in an operation of this size on the first night. No need to get too worked up about anything. Save that for later in the summer. Be happy baseball is back.
DO: Enjoy the pageantry of opening night. It’s even better when the season opener is at home. Introduce all the players. Put out the bunting. Maybe even do some bunting if it will move the runners. Anyway, soak it all in, it only happens once per season.
DO: Say hello to Ferrous. The pandemic and the rules that came with it have been hard on the big fella.
DON’T: Do any dances that could in any way be construed as a “rain dance” As of this writing, the rains should hold off until at least 9PM. But who knows?
DO: Dress warmly. My rule is to always add an extra layer more than you think you’ll need. Or, bring the next jacket up and have an extra sweatshirt and blanket in the car. However cold you think it is will be one or two notches worse when you’re sitting outside on a plastic stadium seat. Plus, wind.
DON’T: Forget the rain gear Yeah even if it’s just to get to the car after the sixth inning.
DO: Bring your credit card See above. Yeah we’re still cashless. Yeah, even the parking. In fact, to save time I believe you can pre-purchase your parking in certain circumstances. Not a bad idea.
DON’T: Forget some small bills Of course, you can tip on the screen as you pay with your card. But, tips can also be done in cash. I like to have some small bills with me to tip my beer man and the concession workers.
As always, I’ll….
See you at the park,