Minor League tour: Part IV

Jonathan and Izzy Salant filed this report from their fourth stop ontheir nine-day tour of upstate New York Minor League ballparks, Frontier Field in Rochester.

We’re beginning to think that we’re to the Syracuse Chiefs what that
black cat was to Leo Durocher’s Cubs at Shea Stadium in September 1969.
I was at the Mets-Cubs game that night, when a black cat appeared at
the stadium and crossed in front of the Cubs’ dugout. The Mets won that
game and moved into first place later that week.

We saw the Chiefs again Thursday, and once again they lost. That’s a
doubleheader on Monday against the  Buffalo Bisons and an afternoon
game Thursday against the Rochester Red Wings. And we’ll see the Chiefs
again Monday in Syracuse. I feel  badly, since I spent 10 years working
for the Syracuse Newspapers.

The way our schedule is going, all three International League games
we see will feature Syracuse. Meanwhile, we’re seeing six different
teams in our first three NY-Penn League games.

FrontierfieldNow for the game at hand. If it isn’t already, Rochester’s Frontier
Field should be for the minor leagues what Baltimore’s Camden Yards is
to the majors: The prototype for stadium construction. It’s one of the
best ballparks I’ve ever been in, right in downtown, with freight
trains rolling past the right field fence, great seats, terrific
signage, wonderful food and a super atmosphere. It’s the only stadium
I’ve ever visited where you can get barbecue at one stand and crepes at

We arrived at the ballpark about 15 minutes before game time and
bought first-row seats just two sections down from the Chiefs’ dugout.
We later watched the final inning from behind the Red Wings’ dugout.
Both locations offered terrific views of the field.

The game itself was over in less than 2 1/2 hours. I’d like to say it
was well-played but it was not; the outfielders on both teams misjudged
several balls and only a very generous official scorer kept the error
total to one. The Red Wings scored two runs in the first inning, and
there the score stayed until Russ Adams tied the game in the top of the
ninth with a one-out, two-run home run. In the last of the ninth, Tommy
Watkins hustled an outfield single into a double, and then Glenn
Williams singled him home. Final score, Rochester 3, Syracuse 2.

Both Rochester mascots, Spikes and Mittsy, come in stuffed versions,
so Izzy added two new mascots to his collection. Too bad neither
Jamestown nor Batavia had stuffed mascots for sale.

We’re in Cooperstown the next two days, with side visits to Oneonta
Friday night and Binghamton Saturday night. On Sunday, we’re in Troy
and the Tri-City Valley Cats. Kids can have a catch on the field before
the game and run the bases afterwards, so we’ll get there early and
leave late.

Izzy’s report: The game was surprising. Rochester was winning, 2-0,
but in the ninth inning, Syracuse hit the tying home run. Then when
Rochester was up, first the guy got a double and a single and they won.
I was surprised that there were so many fans, and a lot of other minor
league games we went to on this trip barely had anyone in the stands. I
got another foul ball because we moved over to the Rochester side. I
can’t wait until the next game.

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