Under the Shade of the Kodak Building: Frontier Field Ballpark Review

Last week, I went to visit my girlfriend Mallory from college who lives in New York about 30 minutes away from Rochester. She took me to a Red Wings game (willingly, mind you) and we were able to take in “superhero” day. So, lets get down to it shall we?

Game Recap: Rochester Red Wings 8, Syracuse Chiefs 2

This game was all Red Wings right from the beginning. The Red wings scored in 5 of the 8 innings that they hit in, including 4 runs in the 2nd. The game belonged to Red Wings Catcher Mitch Garver, who went 3-5 with 3 home runs and 4 RBIs while calling a great game on the defensive side of the ball. Byung Ho Park contributed an RBI double to the cause and Bennie Gonzalez had a 3 hit game as all. Both the Red Wings and Chiefs had a bullpen day with no starter making it past the 4th inning. We did see a minor league rehab apprearance by Craig Breslow (former Indian) along with a few minor league relievers, but regardless it was still a well paced game.

Frontier Field

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Frontier Field opened its gates on July 11, 1996 at the cost of $35.3 million and shared the park with the Rochester Rhinos soccer team until 2005. At that point, the Red Wings made updates to the park for strictly baseball use. After those adjustments were made, the capacity of the park was listed as 13,500.

The park has that classic old stadium feel to it. The large overhang covers folks in the grandstands down the right field line from the sun and fits in well with the surrounding skyline. The Kodak building looms large in left field and while we sat for the game, at least three trains rolled by over the bridge beyond the right field fence. It had an old time look with the metal work and the design, and it just felt like classic baseball.

Seating

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I let Mallory select the seats for the game and she delivered. She put us behind home plate in the front row. Cost: $13 a seat. The ticket prices are very affordable and range from seating around the infield, to grass that you can bring a blanket and lay on, to luxury suites, to a bar up behind first base where you can watch from bar stools on the drink rail. When we walked the park, there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house.

Food and Beer

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There is a large variety of food options at Frontier Field. Each food location has a custom sign, many of which are neon. I really liked that and it added a personal touch to it. Each food option and stand was labeled so you know if it was a local option or a chain. They had standard food options, but also several food trucks, which allows for smaller food vendors to have the option to be a part of the action. In terms of beer, they had a similar set-up with local options being labeled and were located in a specific section of the park. I sampled two beers from the Rohrbach Brewing Co. from Rochester. They have one beer specifically for the Red Wings (Red Wing Red Ale) and I also sampled the Railroad Street IPA. If you are a craft beer lover or love local food, Frontier Field is the place for you.

Drawbacks

While it is a beautiful park, there are a few things that I didn’t personally like about it. First, I did not like the fact that the overhang did not extend around the entire park. On a hot day, it would have been nice to have more seating options that had shade besides the right field line. Secondly, I was not a fan of having two video boards on either side of the batter’s eye and the batter’s eye have a neon sign light up in between innings. For me, it was a little much and kind of distracting. If I was distracted, imagine how the players feel. And finally, I was not a fan of the layout of the park. Everything was great until you get to the left and right field lines. You cannot walk around the entire park in a continuous loop. I like to wonder and see the entire park, and having a continuous loop saves time and lets you see the entire field.

Ratings:

I would rate this park as a 3.75 out of 5. I loved the look of the park and all of the food and drink options, but I felt that at times they were trying a bit too much in trying to impress and the result is a sort of an artificial feel. It is, however, still a great park to see a game. If you like local food and beer, this is the park for you!

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