Frontier Field – Rochester Red Wings
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The Results of the 72 Day Miracle
Rochester, New York has an extremely rich baseball history. Baseball in Rochester can be traced back to the mid-1800s. The current baseball team, the Rochester Red Wings, can trace their roots back to 1899, but in the late fifties, it almost all came crashing down. From 1929 through 1957, the Red Wings were owned and operated by their parent club, the St. Louis Cardinals. However, in 1957 the Cardinals let their intentions be known that they no longer wished to operate the farm team and were going to move the affiliation elsewhere. Enter Morrie Silver and his Miracle. In 72 days, Morrie Silver led a community stock drive that would purchase the team and the stadium from the Cardinals and keep the team in Rochester. This would be known in Rochester as the 72 Day Miracle. Silver would go on to be the team president for over twenty years, and his daughter Naomi Silver remains the current president of the team. The current ownership structure of the Red Wings remains similar as when the team was purchased, with around 215 shareholders, each controlling an equity of between 0.1% to 5%.
The Red Wings are currently the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins and have been since 2003. Home for the Red Wings is Frontier Field. Located on a street that now bears the Morrie Silver name, Frontier Field is just outside of downtown Rochester and provides a great home for Triple-A baseball in a quintessential American minor league city. The naming rights for the stadium, which was built for the 1996 season, are held by Frontier Communications and the stadium is owned by Monroe County, New York. A trip to see the Red Wings at Frontier Field will no doubt be an enjoyable one, but curiously, the support from the fan base is not quite at miracle status.
Food & Beverage 5
It is difficult to argue that there is a better culinary experience in sport than the one you will find at Frontier Field. The food selection has been carefully planned out and the Red Wings make every effort for fans to be able to find what they want. Each concession is different and original and there is absolutely something for everyone.
You can tell that the Red Wings have put a great deal of thought into concessions right away as the Allergen Free stand is right by the main entrance and caters to a group of fans that is more often than not forgotten about. Red Osier offers roast beef sandwich options, a staple of Western New York. Big Red BBQ offers pulled chicken and pork. Altobelli’s Deli offers a variety of deli sandwiches and wraps. You can find fried calamari, ravioli, French chicken sandwiches and Chicken Parm at McGinny’s Sports Pub. Home Plate offers two different types of hot dogs ($3.75) with both the red and white hots, while Sup Dog offers a variety of gourmet hot dogs. Batter Up has chicken fingers, fries and flowering onions. Mama Mittsy’s offers pizza ($4.25) and calzones. Black Angus offers burgers and a variety of cheesesteaks. Ice cream options can be found at Ice Cream Plus and Say Cheese has a variety of mac and cheese options. You would have to be a season ticket holder to fully go through the menus at Frontier Field!
Soft drink options throughout the stadium are Coca-Cola products ($4/$4.50/$5). Bottled water and other non-alcoholic choices can be found throughout the ballpark. On a cool night, or a fancy coffee night, the Starbucks stand may be the place to hit. Frontier Field also offers a huge selection of craft beer, many of which are local. Labatt Blue and Blue Light can be found at most concession stands ($5/$6.50). The Rohrbach stand offers a great variety of the local brewery’s wares including an IPA, Blueberry Ale, Scotch Ale and Highland Lager. Genesee can also be found at many concession stands. Small Town Brewery offers hard root beer and cream soda also. The 10th Inning Bar offers a huge selection of beer and is located in the concourse along the left field line.
Frontier Field offers a fantastic atmosphere at which to watch minor league baseball. The exterior of Frontier Field is nothing awe-inspiring, however it is also by no means an eye sore. Generally small in stature with green iron and red brick, it matches together decently. When entering the main gate off of Morrie Silver Way, fans will notice the bronze statue of Morrie Silver as well as a few original seats from old Silver Stadium.
Inside, fans are immediately greeted by a giant horse sculpture made entirely out of old baseball gloves. To the left is the Red Wings team store with a giant Red Wing statue out front. Along the concourses are banners honouring Red Wing greats including Morrie Silver, Joe Altobelli, Luke Easter, Stan Musial, Cal Ripken Jr., Earl Weaver, Johnny Oates, Bobby Grich, Mike Mussina, Billy Southworth, Russ Derby and Justin Morneau. Also of note in the concourse is the Red Wings Hall of Fame, which is pretty big in its membership.
Once inside the seating bowl fans are welcomed with a pretty simple layout. The stadium features a single seating level with luxury boxes and the pressbox above the seating. There are a few alternate seating areas including the left field berm area and right field berm area. There is also an open picnic area which may be of interest.
On the left-center field wall the Red Wings feature the retired numbers of Joe Altobelli, Luke Easter and Morrie Silver. Silver’s retired 8,222 represents the original number of stockholders from the 72 Day Miracle. Joe Altobelli also has a bronze statue in the left field concourse. The outfield wall between center and right honors the Governors’ Cup Championship teams of 1939, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990 and 1997. Frontier Field also has two video boards and provides a ton of information for fans. One of the unique features of Frontier Field is the view of the iconic Kodak Tower, a Rochester landmark.
The game production is about what you would expect for a Triple-A game with a few nods to the classic ballpark experience. There are the regular promotions that you would expect at a Triple-A ballgame. The Rochester mascots Spikes and Mittsy have a presence throughout the ballpark. One of the best parts of the experience is the old-school organ music that dominates the downtime at the game.
Frontier Field is located in a decent area of the city. Although there is not a ton in the immediate neighborhood, Frontier Field is very close to downtown and some interesting options. Frontier Field is located in the Brown Square neighborhood of Rochester. If you are looking for food or drink options in the immediate area you won’t find too much. However, you are not terribly far from Nick Tahou Hots, the Pizza Stop, and the legendary Dinosaur BBQ. If you are in the car already, then maybe a stop at the Genesee Brew House would be the way to go.
There are also a couple of other options for entertainment. Also in the Brown Square neighborhood is Rhinos Stadium, home of the Rochester Rhinos soccer team. Other sporting options can be found at Blue Cross Arena, home of the AHL’s Rochester Americans and NLL’s Rochester Knighthawks. Outdoor lacrosse is also played at Wegman’s Sports Complex, home of the Rochester Rattlers of the MLL. Another must see in Rochester is the Strong Museum of Play which houses the National Toy Hall of Fame and an old school video arcade. Hours of fun for sure.
A couple of nearby hotels you might want to stay at would include the Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown and the Radisson Rochester Riverside.
For such a great stadium and experience, the Rochester Red Wing fans are a bit of a disappointment. In the 2014 through 2016 seasons the Red Wings have hovered around the 6,300 fans per game mark. This leaves a pretty good chunk of the stadium empty on many occasions and does not stack up favorably with the rest of the International League. The 2014 and 2015 seasons saw the Red Wings rank 10th out of 14 teams and the 2016 season saw a bit of a bump to 9th. There is a ton of room for improvement here.
The fans that are in attendance tend to be pretty laid back and relaxed. If the Red Wings give them something to cheer about, then they will cheer, otherwise they are just out to relax and enjoy. Red Wing fans are not the type of fans that will put a team on its back and inspire them to a better performance.
Frontier Field is located in Brown Square in Rochester, at the junction of the Inner Loop highway and I-490. Getting to the ballpark is pretty easy.
If you are interested in public transit to the ballpark, the Rochester-Genesee Transit Authority has buses that travel on Broad, Main, Plymouth and State Streets. Check out the RTS website for maps, schedules and fares.
There is plenty of parking available for Red Wing games in the lots of the Kodak Tower. Parking goes for only a few dollars and the local police do a great job of making it easy to get in and out of the parking lots.
The main ticketing gates are behind homeplate, in the main square by Morrie Silver Way. At times lineups can be a bit of an issue for the late purchasing crowd, so being prepared is always a good idea. Another gate for entry is near the old fire station at Morrie Silver Way and Plymouth Ave, in left field.
Getting around the stadium is no problem at all. There is a spacious inner concourse, where all of the concessions can be found and an outer concourse to travel by as well. There are also plenty of washroom facilities.
Return on Investment 5
There is great value in a Rochester Red Wings game. Tickets for the Red Wings range from $9 to $13 with a bit of a discount for those that purchase ahead of time. Combine the great ticket prices with fantastic concessions at pretty good prices and great parking for a low price and you have a formula for a great evening or afternoon of entertainment with not too much money leaving your pocket.
An extra mark for Morrie Silver and his role bringing the Red Wings to community ownership with the 72 Day Miracle.
An extra mark for the long history of Triple A baseball in Rochester.
An extra mark for the iconic Kodak Tower and a great view from your seat.
The 72 Day Miracle saved the Red Wings in Rochester and the opening of Frontier Field cemented their place in the International League. A trip to see the Red Wings is a great way to spend a summer evening or afternoon. It is a shame that this stadium and team does not draw the crowds it deserves. Only time will tell if a better team on the field can bring the Red Wings attendance in line with the experience.
Rochester Plaza Hotel
70 State St
Rochester, NY 14614
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