We interrupt Jonathan Mayo’s sweep through the Carolinas to bring you Kevin Czerwinski’s update from Delaware:
As I am driving around Wilmington, I can’t help but think of an episode of the television show Taxi, during which Alex and Jim get all worked up about the Delaware State Senate arguing about whether or not residents should be called Delawarians. I’m showing my age and my somewhat slavish devotion to pop culture as I write this but I do have a point. I liked Taxi, who couldn’t like Christopher Lloyd’s character, and I like Delaware.
The folksy feel around Frawley Stadium and the care the staff at the park put into making it a special place is obvious from the minute you walk in. Everyone is friendly and attentive and there seems to be a great deal of pride in how Blue Rocks baseball is presented. And that’s only natural since Wilmington has been a dominant force in the Carolina League for the better part of a decade. The Blue Rocks led the Carolina League in attendance for the seventh consecutive season last year, drawing 320,788 fans. They’re closing in on 100,000 fans already and being affiliated with the Boston Red Sox for the first time is only aiding the cause.
The park itself is nestled between I-95 and the waterfront, an area, like the ever-popular "downtown", seems to be popping up in almost every small city. Like many other cities, the riverfront here is undergoing a revitalization project with restaurants, an outlet mall and a convention center joining Frawley Stadium as the local attractions.
The seats are close to the field, giving an intimate feel. And the local knowledge of baseball is obvious as well. Robin Roberts’ #36 hangs immortalized in right center field while former Blue Rock Mike Sweeney has his #33 jersey hanging in center. The press box also sports pictures of former Wilmington stars, Carlos Beltran, Jon Lieber, Glendon Rusch, Michael Tucker and Johnny Damon.
And, if you feel like driving, there’s a huge mall not too far from the park and a harness track with slots, if you’re so inclined.