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Partying like it's 1997. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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captainsblog
Partying like it's 1997.
After getting to Rochester late yesterday (and seeing Emily for all of about two minutes), I caught up on a little work in the office here and then met friends at Frontier Field- home, since 1997, of the city's AAA baseball team.  Not many towns would get a line forming, over an hour before first pitch, to be sure of getting a bobblehead of the stadium organist, but there we were:



And here he is, fresh outta the box:



Good thing I queued for it, too- my friends, who got there a little later and came through the main gate, got literally the last one they had.  Scott had his wife, sister, parents and one of his kids with him, along with some ex-pat friends and their kids now living in Colorado, and we enjoyed the company, the food and a Wings win.

The stadium experience was virtually unchanged since the last time I was there for a baseball game- which, honestly, I can't even remember how long ago it was. The stadium is celebrating its "20th season," and that's fitting, since except for a few amenities it is exactly the way it was that year.

I'd run my phone down during the day, so my first thought was to find a charging station somewhere on the concourse.  When I asked at the guest services stand, not only did they tell me there weren't any, she seemed almost shocked that I had asked.  It's hilarious, because Rochester's always had a high-tech reputation, between Xerox and Bausch & Lomb and a home-grown phone company that now has its name on the ballpark.   They have added wi-fi to the stands- courtesy of Frontier, of course- but what's the use if your device is dead?  Around the corner from guest services was an AT&T table- sponsors of the night's giveaway. I thought they might have thought of this simple amenity. Erm, nope- but they'd mention it to their boss.  (I conserved and made it all through the game even with the photography you see here.)

Ah, that reminds me of another fairly famous Rochester company. They used to sell a lot of film to put into a lot of cameras.  Their world HQ (such as remains of it) is adjacent to the left field line of the ballpark.  Yet even their acumen didn't make it down the foul line to home plate.  Before the game, they honored Fred Costello and his family with an onfield ceremony, gave him a glass-encased jersey, and let him say some kind words to the 7,000-plus assembled:



Fred's the guy you can't see in the green shirt- and you can't see him because nobody thought to set up the mike stand out of shadow.  The pitching mound was perfectly lit, but nobody's there.

In hindsight, the city is lucky to have this place at all; it took a massive amount of effort to get team officials to agree to leave their ancient substandard home on the city's outskirts in the mid-90s, and then there was an even bigger fight to get an agreeable site and needed funding for the new place. What they got is much improved over what they had, but it still suffered in comparison to even the corresponding (and slightly older) ballpark in downtown Buffalo. Only two small outfield seating sections are covered from the elements; the video boards are embarrassingly primitive for a town priding itself on its history of leadership in photography and optics; and there are no ribbon boards for out-of-town score updates. Plenty of room and time for sponsor billboards and promotions, though- including the obligatory middle-inning meat race sponsored by Schmeigles Schmot Dogs:



In hindsight, this may all come off as get-off-my-infield-lawn complaining. Don't get me wrong; I'd kill to have crappy old Shea Stadium back, minus chargers and wi-fi and private clubs, if it could get 55,000 crazed fans in the moment the way the Mets' new place has only begun to hint at duplicating.  And I'll leave you with this establishing shot- of the field with  video boards either side of center, homaging its 1927-era predecessor. With grass that's natural, and a skyline that's memorable and meaningful, and the company of thousands of friends of all generations, of whom I knew only four or five by name:



And the Wings took the field to their traditional march referencing "Silver's pride and joy," a reference to the name of the old and gone park; they tried phasing it out to a funkier bass-heavy number when they moved here, but it didn't work.  Just as they could never update "Meet the Mets," not for lack of trying.

There may not be crying in baseball, but there is always remembering- and the memories and the music are big parts of that.  Thanks, Fred:)
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