Akron RubberDucks vs. Erie SeaWolves (Eastern League)
Canal Park-Akron, OH: After spending the morning in Erie, we had a pretty easy drive over to Akron. Akron is a nice town, but not much parking in the downtown area. They have the university, hospital, and ballpark all close together. We were in town pretty early, and some lots won’t let you park there until after 5:00, so we settled for a parking garage, and took a little nap. We had a three hour drive back to Michigan after the game, so a little rest couldn’t hurt. After our rest, we got a little hungry and went hunting for food. Canal Park has a resteraunt attached to it called The Game Bar and Grill, so we decided on that. Not only was the food very good, but you can see inside the park (after the gates officially open, you can access it from inside the ballpark), and we could watch the Erie SeaWolves warm up and take some batting practice.
After our meal, it was time to head inside the park and get ready for the game. Canal Park is just a beautiful ballpark, and we would plenty of time to explore it. We decided to get our shopping over with, and I picked up a nice t-shirt for Trevor with his name and number customized on the back. Due to the new name and logo, however, they were sold out of many items, such as pennants. We found our seats, and they were awesome right behind the SeaWolves dugout. The dugouts are pretty open, also, so you can pretty much see everything that’s going on. We also got a visit from Akrons mascot, Webster the duck, who looks pretty Disney like.
I then went out to the right field area, where the ballpark entrance to The Game is located. There is lots of room out that way, and not only holds the kids play area, but they had a live concert also, with Wild Ave belting out some classic ’80’s rock tunes.
Back in our seats, I was ready to enjoy some great Double-A baseball, as the clock was turn to 7:05 pm. And then the rain came. And it didn’t stop. Not for two hours. The grounds crew was able to get the tarp on the infield pretty quickly, and the outfield looked like it was draining pretty well. I really give the RubberDucks credit, that they don’t jump the gun and cancel games too early, and they do their best to keep the fans entertained during the rain delay. Both mascots were available for pictures with the fans (the old Akron Aeros mascot Orbit joined Webster), the had games for the kids, and used the video board for entertainment. My favorite is the ‘Baseball Bugs’ cartoon, where Bugs Bunny plays every position. Classic… We are also able to watch some of the College World Series live. And did you notice all of the rubber ducks on the tarp? Awesome!
After a mere 2 1/2 hour delay, we finally had baseball! The teams still went through their pre-game routine which took some time, but eventually the RubberDucks took the field, and the SeaWolves went to bat. The home team finally did some ass-kicking, but unfortunately, we were kind of rooting for Erie in this game. Third baseman Corey Jones lead the way offensively for Erie, going 2-3 with his teams only RBI. Outfielder Jason Krizan went 2-4, also. On the hill, Tommy Collier took the loss for the SeaWolves. For the hometown Akron squad, DH Bryan LaHair had three RBI’s off of his only hit, which was a double. First baseman Jake Lowery went 3-4 in the game, also. The winning pitcher was Joseph Colon for the ‘Ducks. Due to the weather delay and our long drive ahead, we only stayed for about five innings before hitting the road. I’d love to make another trip back to Canal Park. It’s a wonderful place to watch a game, and they treat the fans well. Final: RubberDucks 7, SeaWolves 1.
All photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Aeros to RubberDucks
League: Eastern League (Double-A)
Affiliate: Cleveland Indians
Home Field: Canal Park
Early this week, another bomb shell was dropped on Minor League Baseball, as the Akron Aeros officially changed their name to the RubberDucks. The name was changed to honor the birth of the rubber industry in Akron, mainly the tire and rubber companies like Goodyear, Firestone, Goodrich, and General Tire that originated there. It is a neat, original logo, and I do like the fact that it relates to the history of the town. The team was named the Akron Aeros from 1997-2013. The franchise originated in Lynn, Massachusetts before moving to Burlington, Vermont. The team finally ended up in Canton, OH, as the Canton-Akron Indians in 1989, an affiliate of Cleveland. The team moved up to Akron in 1997, and was re-named the Aeros after astronaut Judith Resnick, a native of the city who died in the Space Shutter Challenger tragedy. The team has won the Eastern League championship seven time in its history, dating from the beginning of the franchise (1984, ’85, ’86, 2003, ’05, ’09, ’12). The Aeros’ mascot is named Orbit, and he stated he’ll be sticking around, but I assume they’ll have another duck themed mascot with the new moniker. As of now, Akron is the last game we’re scheduled to see on next years baseball trip. They seem to have many interesting concession items (like the Nice2Meat you, a hamburger/hot-dog combo) that I’m sure we’ll enjoy. With all of the history in Akron and Canton, it should make for an enjoyable trip.
Notable Alumni: Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Sean Casey, Charles Nagy, C.C. Sabathia, Jim Thome, Grady Sizemore
Logos courtesy of the Akron Aeros/RubberDucks
I’m always happy to recieve my ‘Minor Trips’ Newsletter, and the January 2011 version does not disappoint. What is ‘Minor Trips’ you ask? Well, it’s a two part publication put together by baseball fans who share my passion for Minor League Baseball. The first part, the newsletter, is packed full of baseball stories, letter from fans, and ballpark reviews, book reviews, contests, and more. The second part is a guide to all of the Minor League and Independant Pro teams in the country. It lists every team by state, along with their home schedule and directions. Really, it’s like my Bible. It’s an easy way to help me plan my baseball trips. The creators are very commited to this printed publication, despite the fact that we live in the computer age where info is only a key stroke away (without the internet, how could I reach out to the 2-3 people who actually read my blogs?). Since the editors actually ENCOURAGE readers to reproduce their work with no rights reserseved, I will be sharing an article from the current newsletter that I really enjoyed.
Reflections Of A Minor League Rookie Fan by Bob Kuntz
I’m heading back to my hometown of Akron, where I havn’t lived for forty years. My destination is the minor league ballpark that no one even imagined when I was growing up. The park was built years ago, but this is my first visit. On a sweltering Sunday afternoon in June, my dad and I are going to our first game.
Downtown, we turn down a street filled with childhood memories. To my left if the big department store where I bought my Cub Scout uniform, rode the clacking wooden escalators, and admired the animated Christmas decorations. We park on the street, right next to the stadium, for free.
We walk down the street. More childhood memories flash through my mind. The ballpark sits where Scott’s 5 & 10 used to be. I remember exploring the store as a child, buying gum and toy soldiers. Now it’s gone. In it’s place, a modern brick stadium rises modestly above the street, surrounded by landscaped corners and strips of shady trees and brightly colored flowers.
We pass through the turnstile. Our first order of business, in this heat, is buying frozen lemonades. Our seats are in the sun, three rows behind the dugout, right at the edge of the field.
I have never sat this close to the field in my life. There’s a great view of the city skyline, tall buildings on the edge of downtown. The advertising signs on the home run fence highlight local businesses and spark memories of a distant Akron when Goodyear and Firestone were city giants. A slight breeze cools us for a moment.
The park is smaller than major league stadiums. But not the diamond. It’s a magic green oasis with baselines and home plate.
On this day of tripical heat and humidity, the stands are more empty than not (attendance is 2,810). But those who are here are fans. They root, cheer, and clap.
I don’t know the players, but I wonder about their stories.
I love sitting this close to the field. The first baseman snags a grounder a few steps behind the bag and I see the subtle wag of his hand as he waves off the pitcher and covers the base. I hear the sharp crack of a grounder smacked toward third. The fielder gloves the ball and throws. For a moment, the ball seems suspended in mid-air on it’s way to first base.
My dad tells me about the old League Stadium where, as kids, he and my Uncle Bill watched the Akron Yankees play. He doesn’t remember why the two of them were let in without paying, only that they were. The family who lived beside the ballpark put lawn chairs on the garage roof to watch the game.
Families are sitting all around us-grandparents, kids, teens and moms and dads, slurping their giant drinks and munching on nachos. The whole place is more relaxed than major league parks. It’s not an impersonal big city, but a friendly small town.
The runs, the Aero’s offense shines, catching a runner off the bag for a put out and slamming the door shut on a steal of second. But, alas, the final score: 8-5 Mets.
During the game, kids too young for T-Ball gather in front of us, right next to the dugout. When the first baseman snags in a foul ball, they wave their hands and shouth, “Here! Throw it here!” He rolls the ball across the dugout roof, one of them grabs it and races to his parents waving the ball in the air.
A batter sends a foul ball soaring out of the stadium. A little boy watches it on it’s high slow journey until it crests the brick work. He shouts to his parents, “That ball went over the house!”
Hearing him, I realize I’m in the place where parents explain the infield fly rule, where dreams of turning double plays and hitting grand slams are born. This is the place where kids fall in love with baseball, and, after the game, get to run the bases. And a big kid like me…I’ll be back.
I hope that piece was as enjoyable for everyone who reads it as it was for me. The newsletters are filled with great stuff like that. To subscribe, just send $15 to the following adress:
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