Thursday, July 5, 2007

Day 11: Frontier Field

All photos of Frontier Field available on Flickr.

What a better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than watching baseball! We both had a surprisingly solid night's sleep in the Focus. I was fully expecting to have cramps, tons of body parts asleep, and a stiff neck when I awoke, but I was refreshed and ready to start the day. We both cleaned up a bit and hit the road, only about a 45 minute drive into Rochester. We drove around for awhile looking for a place that was actually open on the 4th and spent a couple hours there watching the Cubs game on WGN and Hot Dog Eating Contest highlights. We then got our first hotel of the trip at a Wellesley Inn just outside of town - $90 with a $30/night coupon! Pretty sweet.

Then it was off to the park. Erik had called the Red Wings office several times throughout the day inquiring as to whether the weather would hold up and we would actually play ball. "100% chance of playing," replied the man each time. We had our doubts, as it had been drizzling all day, but rest assured, immediately after we concluded fundraising (we raked in $50), there were breaks in the clouds and it ended up being a comfortable evening.

The park was pretty decent. There has been baseball in Rochester since 1884, and Rochester typically gets voted "#1 Minor League Sports town in America," as they also have minor league lacrosse, football, basketball, and hockey franchises there - thus, we knew we were in for a treat. There is a long and rich history of Red Wings baseball as well; it was the Orioles affiliate for many years, and big names such as Stan Musial, Cal Ripken, and Frank Robinson have played there. About five years ago, it switched to the Twins AAA affiliate, and Joe Mauer and reigning MVP Justin Morneau have played there. The park itself is about 10 years old and seats around 12000. It has a very awesome variety of local/regional beer, and a decent array of food. We were perhaps the highest up I have ever sat at a minor league game, but seats were still awesome, with a great view of the Eastman-Kodak building in the background.

The Red Wings ended up pulling it out, 4-3. Shortstop Tommy Watkins had a whale of a day with two hits and an awesome play in the field, and Terrence McDonald had the game-winning two-run hit. The pitcher for the Wings ended up getting knocked out early with injury, but his replacement was lights-out, striking out 8 in 4 1/3. After the game was of course the Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza. As Erik always says, "What a better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than by blowing up a small piece of it." It seemed shady at first, as it was set up on the outfield grass, being pulled by an old man in Radio Flyer wagons, but it ended up being a decent show. After watching more fireworks from the parking lot, we headed back to the hotel and had a pint at the nearby TGI-Friday's. Tomorrow, it's off to Canadia and Niagara Falls. Hopefully Erik and I can harass a few mounties.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 5
views from park - 5 (Eastman Kodak building has been blocked in front by something ugly)
view to field - 8
surrounding area - 4 (immediate area vacant; downtown about a mile away)
food variety - 6 (they did have "Eat for the Cycle" stand)
nachos - 7 (not surprisingly, served with chili; suburb of Rochester is Chili)
beer - 9 (excellent variety)
vendor price - 7
ticket price - 6 (very good, but pricy for minors)
atmosphere - 7 (would be higher if weather was nicer...good turnout for fireworks though)
walk to park - 3
parking price/proximity - 4 (very close, but all minor league parking should be free)
concourses - 8 (one of the better minor league concourses)
team shop - 8

best food - prime rib sandwich
most unique stadium feature - #1 Minor League City in America
best jumbotron feature - Red Wings logo with American flag behind it
best between-inning feature - Spikes enters the park on flatbed

field dimensions - 335/402/322
starters - Landon Jacobson (OTT) v. Rickey Barrett (ROC)
opponent - Ottawa Lynx
time of game - 2:18
attendance - 5965
score - 4-3 W
Brewers score that day - 5-3 L

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