The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

ryan howard garden gnome e1280882356224 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

Look at it, it’s awesome. I’d be silly not to drive to Reading to get one of these.

That’s what I thought when co-worker Chris Johnson sent me the link in March. The Reading Phillies were having Ryan Howard Garden Gnome Night, and we had to go and get one. I’m in. We bought the tickets, and the plans were made.

Things don’t always go as planned.

Click MORE to see how it went.

Reading is about 65 miles away from our studios in Philly. We figured if we left immediately after I got off the air, we’d be there in plenty of time. They were giving away 2500 gnomes, which seemed like more than enough. We hit the road around 3:3opm.

The journey began with 4 tickets, a GPS, and two guys pretty psyched to get a Ryan Howard collectible. We planned on trading one to Meech over at The Fightins for one of his swell t-shirts and some props on their website, and giving one to Lee Russakoff, who ditched us to talk to Buzz Bissinger.

We pulled up around 5pm to the first sign of trouble. We saw this:

the line outside e1280883246801 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

A line, a big line. A line that wrapped halfway across the stadium. Clearly, we weren’t the only people who wanted the gnome.

An even worse sign as seemingly every available parking space in Reading was taken. Still, amidst the bad signs, we had a good attitude. We were going to get gnomes. A good attitude, unlike this lady.

the line e1280882374542 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

I don’t know her name, so we’ll call her Debbie Downer. She told us there was “no way” we were getting a gnome. That there were “far more than 2500 people” already inside and in line. I told Chris that there was no way she knows what 2500 people look like. “She’s from Reading, when has she ever seen 2,500 people?”

We heard rumors that people began lining up around noon to be sure they’d get a Ryan Howard gnome.

I told Chris that the only sign I would accept as bad would be the line moving too quickly. If the line began to move quickly, it meant they were out of gnomes.

Well, what I hadn’t counted on was another bad sign. A bad sign that looked like this:

outside with gnomes e1280882340825 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

There are two important things to notice about this picture; first, these guys are walking AWAY from the stadium. The other important thing, they’ve got multiple gnomes. These guys had bought multiple tickets, just to stockpile garden gnomes.

Nerves became panic, as I saw this:

outside with gnomes 2 e1280883731149 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

THAT LADY MUST HAVE THREE RYAN HOWARD GARDEN GNOMES! This isn’t good, this isn’t good at all. I turn around and see this:

outside with gnomes 3 e1280883925140 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

Some old guy standing up against the stadium wall with TWO Ryan Howard Garden Gnomes. Just flaunting them. He didn’t care if I got one or not, he had TWO.

Then it happened, my worst fear. The line started moving quickly. “We’re not getting gnomes are we?’ I asked Chris. He didn’t answer. Debbie Downer did though, “I told you we weren’t getting them.”

We walked into the stadium as they ripped our tickets. No gnomes to be found. I just kept repeating to Chris, “we came all the way to Reading, and we’re not getting gnomes. I can’t believe we’re not getting them.”

Once we got inside the stadium, it seemed like everyone got them but us. Hell, this fat guy got a gnome.

inside with gnome e1280882251221 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

And it wasn’t just that fat guy, everywhere we looked, white boxes full of collectible garden gnomes, modeled after our All-Star first baseman. This lady with terrible hair, she got a gnome.

inside with gnome 3 e1280882035599 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

Then it started getting insulting, this guy was obviously smugly holding his gnome for us to admire.

inside with gnome 8 e1280882151512 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

As he boldly showed off his white box, I got a text from my girlfriend. “My brother just saw a Ryan Howard Garden Gnome on Ebay for $250.” WHAT? Clearly those people walking from the stadium just came to get the gnomes to sell them. We wanted to keep them. Hell, we were going to give one to Lee, and he bailed on us. Ebay?!

It got worse inside. Little girls who didn’t even care about Ryan Howard got gnomes.

inside with gnome 6 e1280882092142 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

I asked Chris, “what the hell is going on here?!” He had no gnomes, and no answers. All he has is a stupid Jayson Werth shirt.

johnson no gnome e1280882270950 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

How could this happen? We bought our tickets in March! We were in the front row!

great seats e1280881991791 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

We were so close to the action that we were eye to eye with the guy running around in a costume that made it look like he was riding an ostrich as he threw hot dogs to the crowd.

ostrich hot dog guy e1280882324232 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

We got up to get something to eat, and then the final insult. An old lady who was so sure that she was getting a Ryan Howard Garden Gnome that she brought a bag for it. Her very own garden gnome purse. Look closely, you’ll see the white box inside of her gaudy bag.

inside with gnome 10 e1280882191647 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

It was over. We didn’t get one. We waited almost 6 months, spent $50 on tickets, and drove 65 miles each way to watch the Reading Phillies play the Trenton Thunder and not get Ryan Howard Garden Gnomes. While selfish profit-mongers sell theirs on Ebay, we go home empty handed. Empty handed, just like this disappointed fan. Gnomeless.

no gnome guy e1280882288712 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

Sometimes you get the garden gnome, and sometimes the garden gnome gets you.

Well, not totally empty handed. We still had our tickets, and we still had our GPS.

ticket and gps e1280882390333 The Reading Phillies Game And The Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

We talked about the trip on our podcast. Listen HERE.


One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    Let’s see… Reading stole your gnome and you went home empty handed, except for your tickets and GPS… Philadelphia steals our tax dollars to feed the cesspool of the states… I’d say you won in the long run

    1. Spike says:

      I’ve been to plenty of places north and west of this great city, including Reading, you steal plenty of our tax dollars for your places as well.

  2. littleredpotato says:

    I’m going to the Phils’ game on the 10th, which just happens to be “Stitch and Pitch” night. If you bought tickets through the sales office for this, you got a coupon for a special Phanatic bobblehead who’s knitting a scarf. Pretty cool…I just hope it’s one ticket per bobblehead, or I’m going to be really, really upset.

    1. Spike says:

      A Phanatic bobblehead IS pretty sweet.

      Nothing will replace the gnome in my heart though.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. GnomeInHand says:


    These people were either holding gnomes for other people, or simply walking the family’s stash to the car. They had security all over that would not let people jump in line, and constantly reminded us with rules that if you leave the stadium, you cannot re-enter until all gnomes were gone. I had four tix, but since my sister and her husband bailed, I ended up wasting two, and no, I could not get gnomes with their tix.

    I was waiting in line at 2:45. Your shift ends at what, 3? That’s why you have no gnome.

    1. Spike says:

      Well that part of the gnome mystery is solved.

      I was less accusing anyone of wrong-doing, and more driven nuts by being surrounded by them, when I couldn’t get one of my own.

      Standing in line 5 hours before the game to get it seems crazy to me. They should have had 5,000 gnomes!

      Congrats on your gnomes though.

  4. Lou says:

    Wah Wah Wah. I’m a grown man who didn’t get a friggin Ryan Howard Garden Gnome!!!

    1. Spike says:


      You too?!?! And you’re even crying about it!


      Thanks for reading.

  5. Bob says:

    Great story.

    The douchers with multiple Gnomes absolutely deserve to get punched in the nose and have their boxes revoked.

    1. Spike says:

      I don’t normally support violence, but when there’s no other option, what can you do, you know?

      Thanks Bob!

  6. danielle says:

    thank you for writing this… makes me feel a whole lot better. literally. i got my tickets in march, as well, and well as my friends’ tickets. THEN i got the stomach flu tuesday morning and couldn’t make it to the game..i had a 3 hour drive to reading and would have probably died if i attempted to make the journey. i thought my friends could get me mine, but apparently they weren’t giving people with extra tickets, extra garden gnomes. BUT these people in your pics have more than one:( ! i find it inky. but whatever. im pissed and i’ll be pissed for a while. but you guys let me know that i’m not alone. thanks guys!

    1. Spike says:

      You’re not alone! We’ve been excited for 6 months, and for nothing.

      We got 3 innings of baseball in, and an order of fries each. So don’t feel bad, unless you got there 2 or 3 hours early, you weren’t getting a gnome.


  7. Billijohn says:

    Hysterical!!! Well done spike!

    1. Spike says:

      Thanks brother!

Comments are closed.

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