WYOMISSING, Pa. - It had the sights, the sounds and even the taste of a ballpark, but it's not time for baseball yet for the Reading Fightin Phils.
The team presented its annual winter banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wyomissing on Wednesday night, and rolling into town with the Phillies caravan was the team's new manager, Gabe Kapler.
The anticipation for spring training is quickly starting to build.
"It got very real, very fast," Kapler told 69 Sports. I'll share a little bit of vulnerability with you. I started to get a little butterflies. It made me realize how close we are to getting down to spring training. It made me feel like a million bucks."
Kapler was joined by Mark Leiter Jr., Jerad Eickhoff, and Rhys Hoskins in the caravan. Hoskins was electric his promotion from Reading, belting 18 home runs in just 50 games with the Phillies and capturing the national spotlight.
"Finally, I was kind of able to feel the magnitude of what had happened to start the career, and it was fun," Hoskins said. "The game is supposed to be fun."
Hoskins' late-season home run binge was no surprise to Reading fans, and for the former Fightin Phil, Wednesday night was a bit of a homecoming.
"Baseballtown, I think, will always hold a little special place in my heart," Hoskins said. "I mean, it really is a baseball place."
As always, the Fightins crowned their new king of Baseballtown -- Eric Valent -- and at least for one night, it was baseball season for the Fightin Phils.