(Reading, PA) - The Reading Fightin Phils, proud double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies are proud to announce the 2018 Baseballtown Gridiron Classic. America's Classic Ballpark will turn into a FOOTBALL MECCA in September and October of 2018. The historic ballpark previously hosted high school football games from September, 1951 through October, 1982. Hosting as many as nine high school and college football games at a minor league baseball stadium appears to be unprecedented. Other baseball stadiums have hosted football games before, but it doesn't appear that any have ever hosted nearly this many football games! But in typical Fightin Phils style - you go big, or you go home!
A formal announcement of the Baseballtown Gridiron Classic has been made by Fightin Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker and Fightin Phils Executive Director of Operations Matt Hoffmaster on 830 AM WEEU during the morning show with WEEU Sports Director Paul Roberts and WEEU Play-by-Play Announcer Bob McCool. They along with Wilson Head Coach Doug Dahms, Wilson Athletic Director Drew Kaufman, Governor Mifflin Head Coach Mick Vecchio, Berks Catholic Head Coach Rick Keeley, Berks Catholic Assistant Coach Ray Serafin, Twin Valley Athletic Director John Guiseppe, Alvernia University Head Coach Ralph Clark, Alvernia University Associate Athletic Director Jon King and BCIAA Executive Director Kerry Ciatto will be on 830 AM WEEU from 6:00-7:00 on Thursday, November 30th with Roberts to discuss the impact of this prestigious event.
"The history of this ballpark is unique, and palpable", said Fightins General Manager Scott Hunsicker. "Baseball has been played here since 1951. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Reading Fightin Phils enjoy the longest running affiliation in all of baseball, since 1967. More than thirty Baseball Hall of Famers have played here in this stadium. Baseball is certainly paramount to our Feel the History Celebration. But there is additional history here. Taylor Swift performed the National Anthem here as a nine year-old, before going on to stardom. Bands like Chicago and the Beach Boys performed here many years ago. Max Patkin, the Clown Prince of Baseball, performed here more times than at any other stadium. In addition to that, tremendous football has been played here in this stadium. When we set out to plan our Feel the History Celebration, football had to be a part of that plan. We are very excited to bring eight or nine football games to FirstEnergy Stadium, America's Classic Ballpark. Football fans from throughout the region will be able to "Feel the History", as they again gather here for the Baseballtown Gridiron Classic in 2018!"
The Baseballtown Gridiron Classic will welcome at least eight football games to America's Classic Ballpark in the fall of 2018. Saturday, October 6 is an open date to allow a ninth game to be played with an interested school. The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Muhlenberg Muhls at Exeter Eagles - 7PM
Friday, September 21, 2018
Governor Mifflin Mustangs at Reading Red Knights - 7PM
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Conrad Weiser Scouts at Twin Valley Raiders - 7PM
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Hamburg Hawks at Berks Catholic Saints - 7PM
Friday, September 28, 2018
Reading Red Knights at Daniel Boone Blazers - 7PM
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Wilkes University at Alvernia University - TBD
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Twin Valley Raiders at Muhlenberg Muhls - 7PM
Friday, October 5, 2018
Hempfield Black Knights at Wilson Bulldogs - 7PM
Saturday, October 6, 2018
OPEN AND AVAILABLE
Wilson Head Coach Doug Dahms and Governor Mifflin Head Coach Mick Vecchio both played at FirstEnergy Stadium for Muhlenberg High School when football was being played regularly. Vecchio graduated from Muhlenberg High School in 1968 while Dahms graduated in 1971.
"Playing at a venue that is home to a professional baseball team with a huge scoreboard and the ability to see instant replays will give the players a feeling of what it is like to play in a big-time ballpark", said Wilson Head Coach Doug Dahms. "It will be an exciting change of pace for them."
The football presentation will be top of the line. The field itself will be ALL GRASS, as brand new turf will be laid immediately following the Fightins 2018 season. In the past, America's Classic Ballpark football games had been played with the dirt infield still in place. But that will not be the case for the 2018 Baseballtown Gridiron Classic. To provide the best possible experience to the teams on the field, the Fightins felt it necessary to provide a 100% grass playing field - the same way Yankee Stadium provides that for the annual Pinstripe Bowl. As such, the football field will be all grass - the dirt parts of the infield will all be replaced with the same high quality sod that the Fightins play on!
The football field will run along the Fightins First Base Fouline. The end zones will be adjacent to the Penn State Health St. Joseph Network '67 Club Picnic Area on the third base side of the stadium, and to the Reading Health System Character Pool Party on the right field side of the stadium. Fans of the teams will be able to enjoy an all-you-can eat buffet in those picnic areas, in close proximity to the football field. Both of those picnic areas are available to groups of 20 or more. The tickets for the picnic areas include a 2-1/2 hour all-you-can-eat buffet. Kids 4 and under are free, and do not require a ticket. Organizations such as alumni associations, or education foundations, that purchase these limited picnic area tickets, could choose to list a higher resale price on the ticket, to serve as a fundraiser for your organization.
Reserved Seating will be available for all games in the Fightins First Base Grandstand. Reserved seating is limited, and will be $10 per ticket. Reserved seats will allow fans to know exactly where they will be seated regardless of their arrival time! General Admission seating will be available for all games in the Fightins Main Grandstand. General Admission Tickets will be $6 per ticket. Children 4 & under are free.
A unique part of the Baseballtown Gridiron Classic will be the game presentation. First, the Fightins gigantic FirstEnergy Vison videoboard will change the way fans enjoy a high school or division 3 college football game. Starting line-ups, replays, close-ups of the teams, and more will all be displayed on a $1 million dollar gigantic HD television screen! In addition, the Fightins will be working with every participating school to involve as many additional elements as possible to celebrate with that school. In addition to the football teams - high school marching bands, cheerleaders, concert choirs, jazz bands, orchestras, alumni bands, teachers, alumni associations, hall of fame inductions, other sports teams worthy of special recognition, and more will all be cultivated to celebrate that high school at their special game. Further, middle school football teams, marching bands, cheerleaders, concert choirs, jazz bands, concert bands, orchestras, teachers, not to mention elementary school concert choirs, bands, orchestras, teachers, etc. will all be invited to participate and celebrate the entire school district. Local youth football players, cheerleaders, and more will all be invited to be a part of the festivities, and make for the most memorable experience that the school, school district, and town could possibly ever have. The goal of the Fightins is to have every game represent the full community, and celebrate as many elements from that community as possible. The games will feature pre-game performances, post-game concerts, and more! The opportunities are limitless! Those interested in having their organization as a part of the celebration should contact Stephen Thomas from the Fightins staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In regard to tickets, current Fightin Phils Season Ticket holders, mini-plan holders and group leaders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for all of the Baseballtown Gridiron Classic games. Those fans should contact Mike Becker from the Fightins staff now at email@example.com. Group tickets are available in the picnic areas, reserved seats, and general admission areas. Group leaders interested in tickets should contact Jon Nally from the Fightins staff now at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, a Baseballtown Gridiron Classic Season Ticket is available. A Baseballtown Gridiron Classic Season Ticket will allow the ticket holder to have the same tremendous reserved seat for all nine football games! That season ticket can be used by an individual football fan to immerse themselves in a lot of football, or by companies looking to reward valuable clients and employees. Fans interested in a Baseballtown Gridiron Classic Season Ticket should contact Mike Becker from the Fightins staff now at email@example.com or by calling 610-370-BALL ext. 217. Individual Tickets for the Baseballtown Gridiron Classic will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 16, 2018. For more information, visit fightins.com/football.
The Fightin Phils are proud to have 830 AM WEEU as a presenting sponsor. Companies interested in corporate sponsorship of the Baseballtown Gridiron Classic, either in its entirety, or for a specific game, should contact the Fightins Front Office now by calling 610-370-BALL. The Baseballtown Gridiron Classic will provide outstanding sponsorship opportunities for interested businesses.
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2018 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.