Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blue Rocks

From "The Star-Spangled Banner" to the closing fireworks, great entertainment was as close as our own back door. Minor League Baseball at the Wilmington Blue Rocks, offers an inexpensive ($7.00 tickets for senior box seats) small-town, fun night. It is a totally informal, family-friendly and safe environment to enjoy a summer evening. The fans arrive early and fill the stadium by the middle of the first inning. 

The Blue Rocks date back to 1940, and used to be affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies, but in 1993, after a lull in the preceding decades, they opened in the new Frawley Stadium and are now a farm team for the Kansas City Royals.


It is only the second time we have attended a game with friends and we had to wonder why we don't do this more often. We didn't have to drive crowded traffic into South Philly, noted for recent flash mobs, or pay outrageous ticket prices, parking and food prices. As much as I support the Phillies in theory, I find Minor League Baseball more to my taste. The fans are laid back, relaxed, friendly and not aggressive toward other fans at least in Wilmington, DE. Activities are designed to encourage kids and families to attend.


Aside from the game itself, the silly activities involving fans filled the downtime and kept us laughing.Community involvement is very upfront and promoted. One concession stand benefited and was staffed by band members from a local high school. Before and during the game, community groups performed, and were recognized on the large scoreboards. The local church groups and local business groups were named on the loud speakers. 

Birthday people were named and one guy even proposed to his girlfriend while the whole stadium watched on the scoreboard camera. A local car club drove through to show off their corvettes. A car dealer drove a car around the field with the sun roof open so fans could toss balls to try to land one inside the car and win the car. They had to purchase the soft balls in advance and put their names on them for the contest. Don't know if there was a winner. Cute idea though. 

This team probably used more balls and gave away more balls per fan than I've ever seen. The players were very available for pictures and autographs. Minor League Baseball isn't all about the players, the fans are pulled into the event and they have discovered that keeping fans happy is how to have a following and support.

They had several mascots and various giveaway activities like tossing rolled t-shirts into the stands. Nothing they did was elaborate or expensive but it was fun to watch and see what they would present next.


The game was exciting even though the Blue Rocks let the visitors win by two hits. One more inning and we would have won. It was kept interesting by questionable calls at second base, double plays and an argument by the coach and the umpire which got the coach thrown out of the game. It may be Minor League, but they take the game seriously even though the fans didn't, because they were too busy trying to get their "wave" coordinated and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in tune. The best was at the end with a two run homerun out of the stadium for the hometown team. Too bad it didn't go into overtime because the crowd was just getting cooled down at 9:15 from a warm evening and everyone was really getting loose and having a good time. 

Even leaving the stadium after the really good fireworks, the traffic on the exit was effortless and well-coordinated. I have to become a baseball fan again.


  1. This really does sound like fun, and the fireworks as you headed home were a very nice touch. And I do have to say it was a really great writeup! Thanks for taking me out to the old ball game.

  2. Great photos - everyone looks as though they had a great time.