We’re almost there, folks! It’s been quite a long, dark offseason, but we are once more preparing ourselves for the return of Phillies Baseball to our eyeballs and earholes. You can let Franzke & LA croon at you through the radio with your windows rolled down enjoying the warm summer air. Alternatively, you can nestle yourself into that part of the couch you like so much (you know, that one) and watch the action play out on TV, as John Kruk begins his inaugural season with the broadcasting team (while also suffering through Ben Davis’ commentary).
Or, you can just head on down to Citizens Bank Park to enjoy some live baseball. Get up close and personal with this exciting young team with several thousand of your closest friends. Chances are, there will be some sort of theme night or special giveaway happening when you do. Here’s a primer of what you can expect from the team this year.
They definitely seem to have expanded their efforts with regard to theme nights. For example, I noticed that last year, Stitch n’ Pitch, and Jewish Heritage Night took place on the same day as the Phillies’ inaugural Pride Night, which on its face is just poor planning. Thankfully though, most of the special event games this year have their own day, including all of the heritage/identity nights.
Education / Family Nights
There are lots of kid-friendly nights scheduled, like Scouts Nights, Summer Camp Day or the Class of 2017 Celebration. Be a Phanatic About Reading Night returns with the latest installment of the Phanatic’s children’s book series. I’m a grown ass man and I kinda want one.
College Night is also a thing, which offers colleges from around the region a chance to get dual-branded Phillies/University shirts. So if you happen to attend or have attended one of the select local Universities, now’s your chance to get in on that sweet, sweet cross-branding opportunity.
The Phillies will be hosting a Weather Education Day vs the Mariners, presumably because Seattle knows a thing or two about rain. It’s a total missed opportunity not to have the Angels, but more importantly Mike Trout, in the park for such an occasion. Sadly, they won’t be visiting Philadelphia at all this year, so no Millville Appreciation Night this year either.
- Science Festival: April 9 vs. the Nationals
- College Night / Red Goes Greek: April 10 vs. the Mets
- Scouts Night(s): April 11 & 12 vs. the Mets
- Phanatic About Reading: May 6 vs. the Nationals
- Class of 2017 Celebration: May 9 vs. the Mariners
- Weather Education Day: May 10 vs. the Mariners
- Summer Camp Day: July 31 vs. the Braves
Show your loved one that you appreciate who they are to you, or what they do in their day to day life that warrants acknowledgement. I’m talking Veterans, I’m talking First Responders. You know, stuff that goes above and beyond simply managing to pull yourself out of bed day in and day out with little to no screaming or crying.
Anyway, come on down to grab Phillies branded Scrubs for the Nurse in your life, or a USB Flash Drive for that Teacher that molded you into the person you are today (for better or worse). Oddly enough, there isn’t anything listed for Mothers/Fathers Appreciation Nights yet, but I have no doubt that they’re coming.
- Nurses & Teacher Appreciation Night: May 5 vs. the Nationals
- First Responders Night: May 27 vs. the Reds
- Salute to Veterans: July 4 (natch) vs. the Pirates
- Grandparents Day: September 17 vs. the Athletics (who some of them may remember rooting for!)
Heritage & Identity Celebrations
If you’re looking to celebrate your identity at the ballpark, the Phillies cover a good many bases! It’s hard to find past records, but I’d wager that they’ve never acknowledged as many heritages or identities as they do this year. You’ve got cultural nights celebrating African Americans, Latinxs, Asian & Pacific Islanders, Germans, the Irish, Italians, Greeks and Jews.
Additionally, the Phillies are hosting another Pride Night for their LGBTQ fans, an Autism Awareness Night that will benefit the organization Autism Speaks, and a Fellowship Night meant to celebrate folks of all faiths. It is notable that there doesn’t appear to be a day set aside to celebrate women generally.
- Autism Awareness Night: April 22 vs. the Marlins
- Asian Pacific Celebration: April 25 vs. the Marlins
- African American Heritage Night: June 2 vs. the Giants
- Irish Heritage Celebration: June 15 vs. the Red Sox (appropriate)
- Greek Heritage Celebration: June 20 vs. the Cardinals
- Italian Heritage Celebration: July 28 vs. the Braves
- Pride Night: August 22 vs. the Marlins
- Goya Latino Family Celebration: August 25 vs. the Cubs
- Fellowship Night: August 28 vs. the Braves
- Jewish Heritage Celebration: September 14 vs. the Marlins
- Oktoberfest: September 27 vs. the Nationals
Hobbies & Entertainment
Nerds have also taken over a number of games with events like the third annual Star Wars Night, a night celebrating Star Trek: The Next Generation’s 30th Anniversary and for the first time ever, a Game of Thrones Night. Fans of Charlie Brown and The Beatles will also have an opportunity to swipe themed giveaways of those things too.
No word yet on what the giveaways will be for Star Wars or Game of Thrones, but Trekkies can hook themselves up with a sweet Phillies branded Captain Picard bobblehead.
Enthusiasts of knitting, crocheting, embroidering, cross-stitching and/or needlepointing are encouraged to turn up to this year’s Stitch ‘n Pitch to practice their craft in the stands. The giveaway for this evening is an already knit hat, which I think is a missed opportunity. The theme suggests that they should just be a ball of yarn, so they can knit their own hats.
Also, so far there are two postgame concerts scheduled: one hosted by the folk rock group The Avett Brothers, and another by Hunter Hayes, who I’ve definitely heard of before writing this article.
- Swimmers Night: April 21 vs. the Braves
- Cornhole Classic: May 6 vs. the Nationals
- Youth Baseball Celebration: May 22 vs. the Rockies
- Youth Softball Celebration & Avett Brothers Postgame Concert: June 3 vs. the Giants
- Runners Day: June 4 vs. the Nationals
- Star Wars Night: June 21 vs. the Cardinals
- Game of Thrones Night: July 3 vs. House Greyjoy
- You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown 50th Anniversary Night: July 5 vs. the Pirates
- Yoga Day: July 8 vs. the Padres
- Christmas in July: July 25 vs. the Astros
- Hunter Hayes Postgame Concert: July 29 vs. the Braves
- Stitch ‘n Pitch: August 23 vs. the Marlins
- Phillies Phitness Night: August 29 vs. the Braves
- The Beatles Night: September 25 vs. the Nationals
- Star Trek: The Next Generation 30th Anniversary Night: September 26 vs. the Nationals
- The 1983 Phillies will be celebrated on Retro Night, which will be on July 7th (aka the greatest date in the Gregorian Calendar). Celebrate the 1983 National League Champions by showing up to the park in the most garish 80’s clothes you can find. The Phillies and the Padres will be wearing uniforms from the ‘83 season, PhanaVision will have hilariously photoshopped player photos and there will be an abundance of music from the era.
- Several Thursdays have been set aside for #TBT Emoji T-Shirt Games, and Several Fridays have been had #PhilliesSocial events attached to them. Because that’s what kids these days are into, right? Emojis and Hashtags.
- Peanut Reduced Suites are being offered on select nights for those with severe peanut allergies. As someone without a severe peanut allergy but who HAS slipped in embarrassing fashion on discarded peanut shells more than once, I approve.
- There are STILL some nights that I didn’t even get to, if you could believe it. You can find the full list on the Phillies’ site here. Note that they’ve been continually adding information to this list (including twice in the time I’ve been writing this article), so be sure to check back for further updates.