Review by Gary
Frawley Stadium is home to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the High-A East affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Built in 1993 on the shores of the Christina River, just south of downtown Wilmington, the Blue Rocks offer a very welcoming place to watch a ball game. Greeting fans as they enter the main entrance to the park is a bronze statue of Hall of Famer Judy Johnson, a Wilmington native who played in the Negro Leagues for 15 years. The actual baseball field is named after Johnson, which I thought nicer than naming it after a corporation. The ballpark does a good job of recognizing former ballplayers who have made it to the big leagues both in and out of the stadium.
Frawley stadium holds 6,532 fans with all the seating along the first and third base lines. I initially parked beyond the right field wall, but when I saw an ancient-looking wooden wall that was the actual home run fence, I decided to park another 100 feet from this ominous blue wall, just in case. All fans entering the park have to climb about a flight and a half of stairs to get to the concourse as the playing field is actually at ground level and not dug into the earth like many stadiums.
General Admission is a tall steel bleacher separate from the rest of the seating area and well off the field behind 3rd base, at same height as the suites, press box and in the shadow of I-95. In the minors, most GA sections are located right next to the more expensive seats, but Frawley’s cheap seats are markedly apart, yet still situated well enough to see the action. With picnic pavilions bookending the seated sections and box seats on the press level, fans can choose from a variety of great viewing angles of the field and downtown Wilmington in the distance.
There was abundant non-game entertainment such as Corn Chucking and the Bash the Bug promotion wherein one child with a foam bat wallops another child in a bug costume until the crowd declares the latter to be “dead”, a blood-thirsty promotion reminiscent of ancient Rome. Rocky Bluewinkle, the moose-ish mascot named for the cartoon hero of the 1960s and, like the team, for the blue granite native to the area, was outdone by his friend and colleague, Mr. Celery. The story goes that a celery costume was found in a team warehouse, leftover from a former food sponsor. Someone had an idea and now, for reasons lost to history, the Dancing Celery emerges when the Blue Rocks score and generally jumps around like a lunatic, pumping its celery arms in jubilation. It’s awesome.
A few other nice touches at Frawley include no blaring walk-up music for the batters, the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame next to the park with free admission, and the Sweeney Dog, named for Blue Rocks and Royals alumni Mike Sweeney, which is a hot dog on a glazed donut bun with peanut, butter, jelly and crumbled bacon. Yes… yes, I did. I highly recommend catching a Blue Rock game at Frawley Stadium. I just hope that the Rocks score some runs so you get to see Mr. Celery. He may even throw some stalks of the crunchy veggie at you!