January 16, 2018
By: Steve Degler

While yet another winter storm pounds away at the Lehigh Valley, many fans this week will be thinking about the start of the baseball season. It won't be long before fastballs replace snowballs. Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in about a month.

With thoughts of spring and warmer weather ahead, baseball fans have two opportunities to get ready for the season this Thursday, January 18. The IronPigs will host their annual Phillies Winter Banquet at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem and the Reading Hot Stovers will hold their 57th annual banquet at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Reading.

The Phillies Winter Banquet, presented by Service Electric, Air Products and Coca-Cola, is the big annual event for IronPigs charities. Phillies fans will hear from new manager Gabe Kapler along with outfielder Nick Williams and pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. The new manager of the IronPigs, Gary Jones, will also be on hand.

Tickets, which include dinner and a drink ticket, are $80 per person, $150 per couple or $725 for a table of ten. To order tickets, click here: or call the IronPigs at (610) 841-1213. You can also stop by Coca-Cola Park during regular business hours to get tickets. Doors open at 6 PM and the banquet begins at 6:30 PM.

The Reading Hot Stovers award athletic and academic scholarships to baseball and softball players in Berks County. I have the privilege of emceeing the event again this year. The annual banquet is the primary fundraiser for the Hot Stovers. 

The speakers this year are Ricky Bottalico, Bucky Dent and Bobby Valentine. A former All-Star, Bottalico is well known for his work on the Phillies pre-game and post-game shows on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Dent was the 1978 World Series MVP for the Yankees and is most well known for his homer against the Red Sox that year in a one-game playoff for the division title. Valentine played and managed in the big leagues and also managed in Japan for seven seasons.

Tickets to the Hot Stovers banquet are $60 per person. Cocktail hour, where the three speakers are available for autographs and photos, begins at 5:30. Dinner is at 6:45. You can purchase tickets by calling (610) 777-8049.

Get yourself ready for the baseball season by going to one of these fantastic events on Thursday.