Do you feel that chill in the air? It really could only mean one thing: it’s time for the Phillies annual Winter Tour! That’s right, if you’re tired of always having to trek into Philadelphia to see your beloved Phillies, then now is your chance to sit back and let them come to you.
The Winter Tour is a great chance to get some free autographs as well as to interact with your favorite players and give them a piece of your mind. I had the good fortune of riding on a Winter Tour bus with the Phillies caravan once when I was about 12. I recall Harry Kalas, Mickey Morandini and a few others playing poker at the back of the bus on top of a cooler of beer. Later in the trip, Bill Giles walked into a McDonald’s and walked out with 60 cheeseburgers for everyone on the bus. Good times were had by all.
The dates of selected stops on the Winter Tour are below. The players in attendance will be announced in early January and they vary from event to event.
- Thursday, January 18 – From 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., players will serve as guest bartenders at McFadden’s at the Ballpark, prior to attending the 7:00 p.m. Flyers game vs. the NY Islanders at the Wachovia Center.
- Saturday, January 20 – Autographs at the Freehold Raceway Mall (3710 Route 9, Freehold, NJ 07728), from noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Saturday, January 20 – Autographs at the King of Prussia Mall (160 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406), from noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Monday, January 22 – Philadelphia Sportswriters Banquet, Crowne Plaza Hotel (Route 70, Cherry Hill, NJ). Among the numerous sports celebrities at the head table will be Ryan Howard, Chris Coste and Charlie Manuel. Tickets are available by calling 609-702-7473.
- Tuesday, January 23 – Players will take part in “Phillies Night at the 76ers,” 7:00 p.m., at the Wachovia Center (76ers vs. New Orleans/Oklahoma City). Tickets can be ordered at www.sixers.com.
- Thursday, January 25 – Reading King of Baseballtown Banquet & Fundraiser, Sheraton Reading Hotel (1741 Papermill Road, Reading, PA 19610), 5:30 p.m. Tickets ($55.00) are available at www.readingphillies.com, by phone at 610-375-8469 or at the FirstEnergy Stadium box office. Proceeds benefit Reading Phillies Baseballtown Charities.
- Saturday, January 27 – Autographs at the Lehigh Valley Mall (Route 22 and Route 145 (MacArthur Road) in Whitehall, PA 18052) from noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Saturday, January 27 – Autographs at Park City Center (142 Park City Center, Lancaster, PA 17601) from noon – 1:30 p.m.