Part of the draw of minor league baseball is their sometimes off-beat and strange giveaways or theme nights. Even still, the AA Reading Phillies have outdone themselves with their planned August 3rd giveaway for the first 2,500 fans in attendance, the Ryan Howard Garden Gnome.
“He’s there to protect your garden,” affirms Kevin Sklenarik, the team’s director of operations. Fans are sure to “enjoy them and display them in their gardens.”
Featuring Howard in pinstripes with a pointy Reading Phils hat and a waist-length gray beard and holding a bat, the garden gnome is a bit creepy. Then again, all garden gnomes are a little freaky — fortunately there’s a group dedicated to helping free the gnomes from their garden prisons (www.freethegnomes.com).
Because Howard played for the Reading team in the minors, the team didn’t need his permission, which also explains why the gnome looks NOTHING like him, and is more akin to a (semi-racist) lawn jockey than the chubby visage of the slugger.