READING, Pa. - Fallout from the Reading Phillies name change has reached a new level.
A long-time employee, who's upset about the team's decision, has threatened to call it quits.
You could call him the R-Phil's biggest fan. After 35 seasons, Dave Bauman, who is better known as "Frenchy," has never missed a game. Now, the long-time public address announcer is talking about turning off his microphone and leaving the team.
"I don't blame him. I feel he's hurt inside. He feels that you're downing Reading by taking the name away," said Mae Ramsey, who has been a loyal R-Phils fan for 40 years.
After 46 years, the team announced it will change its name as part of a re-branding process.
Frenchy is not happy about it and voiced his frustrations in the Facebook group, "Save the Reading Phillies," which had nearly 2,700 members as of Thursday afternoon.
He said in part, "If the announcement on the 17th is anything close to what I fear it could be I am DONE, through, over, finished, completed."
"By whatever decision-making he's arrived at that, that's certainly his right to do that, but I still need someone to introduce the team on April 12," said Scott Hunsicker, the R-Phils general manager.
The R-Phils have not wasted any time. They will hold tryouts for the public address announcer's job on November 17, the same day the team will announce its new name.
"I don't see the need to change the name. It's synonymous with Reading," said Lynn Veach, who is one of many who expressed outrage over the name change.
One of the rumored possibilities is the Reading Fightins. Three different domain names with a version of "Fightins" were purchased by the team in August.
"We purchased a lot of domain names before that, and we purchased domain names after that," said Hunsicker.
The team remained tight-lipped Thursday and would neither confirm nor deny "Fightins" is the new name.
As some questioned whether a possible retirement is a publicity stunt by Frenchy, fans still supported the long-time announcer.
"I think he has a vested interest. If he doesn't want to be a part of a name change why should he?" said Veach.
The decision to change the name of the team is definitely moving forward, but whether Frenchy returns to the mic remains to be seen.
Allentown, PA 18102
- New Jersey NJ TRANSIT/Facebook