Sunday, April 28, 2013

Frontier Field, Rochester NY

Basic Information
Team: Rochester Red Wings (International League)
Game: Red Wings vs Pawtucket Red Sox-4/20/13
Team Website: www.redwingsbaseball.com
Ticket Information: (585) 423-9464
Tourism Information: (800) 677-7282 or www.visitrochester.com
Online Broadcasts: WHTK-AM 1280AM www.whtk.com
Local Newspaper: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle www.democratandchronicle.com

Team History: One of the longest lived franchises in all of American sports, the current International League franchise known as the Rochester Red Wings has been playing in the Flower City since 1885. The team was known as the Rochester Broncos until 1928, when they became affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, and changed their name to the Red Wings. They would win the IL title their first year affiliated with the Cards.

In 1956, after over three decades, the Cardinals ceased to operate the team, and the Red Wings were in danger of leaving town. Enter local businessman Morrie Silver. Silver engineered what is now known as the "72 Day Miracle", where he sold stock in a corporation which would take over the operation of the team and stadium. The team continued to be affilated with the Cardinals for another four years, when the team became affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles, who stayed in town for 41 years until 2003, when the Red Wings hooked up with the Minnesota Twins.

The Red Wings are only the second "community-owned" professional sports team in the US, along with the Green Bay Packers.

Affiliation: The Red Wings are the AAA affilate of the Minnesota Twins.

Seating Capacity: Frontier Field has a seating capacity of 10,840. With stading room, the stadium can hold over thirteen thousand.

How About That Name (And Some History): After playing for 47 years at their old Silver Stadium home, the Red Wings moved into their new home on July 11, 1996. The new stadium, built for 36 million dollars, is located just on the fringes of downtown Rochester, not far from the picturesque High Falls district. The stadium, which has also hosted professional soccer and lacrosse, is named for Frontier, a local telephone company which purchased the naming rights for the stadium in 1996 for 20 years.

Other Tenants: The Red Wings are currently the only tenant at Frontier Field.

Getting There: From the NY Thruway, exit at I-390 north towards Rochester. Follow for approximately 15 miles to I-490 east. Take I-490 east to Broad St/Stadiums (exit 12).  After exiting the expressway, you will come to a traffic signal; continue straight on to Allen Street. You will come to a traffic signal; keep left and continue across Broad Street past the Fire Station (follow the Frontier Field signs). As you approach, Frontier Field will be on your right. Parking is available in the D Lot, located on your left.
 
On The Town: Known as the "Flower City", Rochester is the largest city in central New York. With a population of over 210,000, Rochester is the third largest city in the state, trailing Buffalo and New York City. Rochester is located in central New York on the shores of Lake Ontario, approximately 70 miles east of Buffalo, and 200 miles west of Albany. It is serviced by the New York Thruway (I-90), which runs 15 miles south of Rochester.
The area was originally the home of the Seneca indian tribe, who lived in the area until ceding the area to the United States in the Treaty of Big Tree in 1797. The tribe was aligned with the British during the American Revolution, and after the treaty, the British allowed them to move into Ontario on a land grant on the Grand River.
 
In November 1803, a group led by Col. Nathaniel Rochester purchased a hundred acre plot along the Genessee River, and by 1817, the three surveyed the land and laid out streets and tracts, and along with other settlers nearby, formed the settlement of Rochesterville. Less than a decade later, the Erie Canal came through town, making Rochesterville a vital port on the major transportation line between New York City and the east and Buffalo on the west.
 
In the late eighteenth century, innovators like George Eastman, who formed Eastman Kodak, and German immigrants John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, founded the optical company which bears their names, moved to Rochester and made the town a booming industrial center.
 
Notable Rochester natives include noted golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Susan B. Anthony, who led the woman's suffrage movement in the early 20th century, Lou Gramm, lead singer of seventies rock legends Foreigner, actor John Lithgow, and US Women's National Soccer Team star Abby Wambach.
 
Nearby Airport: Greater Rochester International Airport is approximately seven miles southwest of Frontier Field.

What To Do Before The Game: This trip didn't afford us much time for sightseeing, so I would recommend checking with the convention and visitors bureau for ideas.

Where To Eat Before The Game: There really isn't much in the immediate area of the stadium in terms of dining, so I would recommend checking with your lodging choice for dining choices.
Where To Stay: On this trip, I stayed in Buffalo, but there are many hotel choices in the immediate area, both in downtown and in the suburbs.
 
Ticket Prices: Red Wings tickets are priced as follows: $11.00 (premium), $9.50 (upper box), $7.00 (reserved). There is a one dollar surcharge for tickets purchased at the box office on the day of the game.

Parking:
There is a large lot just across the street from the ballpark which costs $6.00 per car.
 
The Good Seats: Frontier Field is designed in the traditional "wishbone" style which starts two thirds of the way down the left field line and ends approximately the same place down the right field line. The stadium has approximately 25 rows from top to bottom, and all give a good view from all angles.
Getting In: The main entrance is located behind home plate on the Allen St. side of the park. The main entrance also is where the box office is located. There is a seperate entrance on the left field side near the intersection of Allen and Plymouth.
 
Stadium Food: One of the places where Frontier Field really shines is in it's concession list. According to the team's game day program, the park has no less than 13 concession points featuring everything from typical ballpark favorites to pizza and italian specialties and barbecue.
 
Sadly, most of these stands were closed to the inclement weather (it was 39 degrees and lightly snowing at first pitch).
 
However, Linda and I found a real winner on the left field side at the Red Osier roast beef stand. A well known local brand, Red Osier beef is sliced thicker than your normal roast beef sandwich you might find at Arby's, and is served hot and basted in a delicious au jus. It is served either on a fresh kaiser or kummelweck bun. For $6.50, it was a definite winner on a frigid afternoon.
 
I also sampled the Zweigel's "Red Hot", a local brand of hot dog. Sadly, this didn't really (to use a pun) "cut the mustard". It was over cooked (nearly incinerated), and was sitting in the steam box for a while, which didn't do much at all for the taste of presentation.
Here is a selection of the Frontier Field concession prices:
 
Hot Dog: $3.25 Hamburger: $4.25 Nachos: $4.00 Draft Beer: $6.00 Large Soda: $4.25 French Fries: $3.75 Pizza Slice: $3.50
Soft Drinks: Coke products are poured at Frontier Field.
 
ATM: There are several Summit Federal Credit Union ATM's at Frontier Field. Two are on the first base side, and one is on the thrid base side.
 
Souvenirs: There is a nice sized souvenir store located in the main concourse just off the main entrance on the third base side. The store (which was nicely heated) had a good sized line of merchandise with a friendly and outgoing staff.
 
Restrooms: Mens' and Womens' rooms are located on both sides of the main concourse. All of the mens' facilities were of an appropriate size and were clean and in good working order.
 
Mascots: Two large friendly birds named Spikes and Mittsy.
 
Dance Team: None
 
Program: The Red Wings "yearbook" is a bargain at just a dollar. The large format magazine has plenty of information on the team and ballpark, and contains a handout with the team stats and game information.
 
Scoreboard/Stadium Voice: Frontier Field has three scoreboards. The first is a large HD video screen located in left center. It gets a good amount of use without being "over done". On the left field fence there is also a small scoreboard which has the basic linescore and other game information. In right center, the ballpark has a black and white matrix board with in depth statistical information.
 
The ballpark has a solid PA system, announcer, and plays a good variety of music. Frontier Field also has a live organist which plays during the game.
 
Stadium Staff: There wasn't a lot of them, and the ones I encountered ranged from sweet and friendly to extremely disinterested. I can put some of that due to the lousy weather.
 
Atmosphere: Due to the weather, I don't think there were more than 300 people in the stands.
 
Naturally, there wasn't going to be a lot of "energy" in the park. However, in previous trips on nights with significantly better weather, the park would be packed with good, smart baseball fans.
 
Ballpark Features: The park features statues of Morrie Silver, the man who "saved" baseball in Rochester, and Joe Altobelli, a long-time Red Wings player, manager, and broadcaster.
 
Overall Rating: Frontier Field is a top flight facility which deserves a visit from any ballpark fan.