Summer of Baseball: Frawley Stadium has a friendly feel

Sep 23

A trip to Frawley Stadium in Wilmington is one I had been planning on making for a couple of years, though it just never worked out. The goal had always been to see it on a weekend the Phillies were home.

On this cooler weekend in June, it was time to actually check the stadium out. It also worked out well as it became a four-game weekend with Camden (Riversharks), the Phillies, Wilmington and the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs on the way home.

A great place to watch a game.

A great place to watch a game.


Frawley Stadium isn’t too hard to find, which was nice. There was a lot of parking and we headed to the back of the lot to get a place we thought would be away from everybody. Alas, with things going on in nearby businesses (there was a prom or something, which brought many kids all dressed up to a nearby spot), so I wondered what it would be like to get out of the place after the game. It was a little tough to get out, but there’s some spots to walk around. Add to that a few geocaches within walking distance and soon enough we were able to get out without issue.


The outside of the stadium is nice enough and it was easy to grab my tickets. Up the stairs we went and we were soon inside the stadium. Immediately to our left was the team store and in I went to get my passport stamp. I chatted with a few of the workers, who were outgoing, friendly and knowledgeable.

The concourse does not wrap fully around the stadium, but there is plenty in the part where you could walk. There’s a lot of food options, but it was quite crowded. In some spots it was hard to squeeze past others. Still, there was ample space to kind of spread out when you needed it.

The seating wasn’t bad, but outside of the lower “box” seats, there was a lot of metal bench (with a back) seating. Despite having seats in the box area, we sat in the bleachers because there were people in our seats and it seemed a bunch of kids (maybe a group?) so instead of creating a scene only to be annoyed (people were standing in the area, kids running around etc.), we opted to sit in an “open” area.

Allow me the one thing that seemed to be a bit out of hand here — the ushers. And by out of hand, I mean not really doing the job. Maybe it was only in my area, so I can’t say this is everybody there. But the usher in our area was pretty clueless. He stood in the concourse between the box seats and the bleacher section, but didn’t worry about where. So he’d be in front of people (he was tall) and he’d talk to people and block the action. The worse part is he was clueless to this. Kids would go running all around and he’d do nothing. But the one inning when a kid was standing in the front row (when I say a kid — I mean like 5-6 years old), he went down to make sure to tell the tot he needed to be in his seat.

Say what?

But that was the only downer of the stadium. Everything else was pretty solid to me. The sight lines were good. You felt close to the game. The stadium is a pretty solid atmosphere. And they are creative, too.

On this day, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was signing, so I decided to wait in line and have him sign my passport. That was pretty cool. And what I really liked was while I was in line (it took a little longer than I would have liked), I didn’t miss a moment of the action as the area was an open concourse.

Sweenie Dog.

Sweenie Dog.

The food choices were pretty solid here, too. One thing that I decided to try was their new … invention — the Sweenie Dog. And what is that, you may ask?

Take a hot dog, put it on a Krispy Kreme donut “bun,” throw some rasberry jam and some bacon on it and you have the Sweenie Dog. I first saw this on social media earlier in the year, so I took the chance — yes, even despite being diabetic (I checked my numbers before heading in and they were fine … and I really didn’t do much more the rest of the game, save a regular dog late). Allow me to say this — it was interesting. I didn’t finish all of the donut, but it was interesting. Sweet, savory … an interesting mix is the only way I can describe it. I’m glad I tried it … but not sure I would do it again!

Overall, this was a fun experience. It’s a good location for a game. Wilmington has one of the better logos I’ve seen and the baby blue is always a great color. I walked away with a hat as it was a perfect addition to the rotation. I’d highly encourage catching a game here if the chance arises.

Park Notes:  

Frawley Stadium
Wilmington, Delaware
Home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals)
Visited on: June 5, 2015
Opponent: Frederick Keys (A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles)

Ratings (out of 10)

  • Stadium: 8/10
  • Concessions: 7.5/10
  • Parking: 8/10
  • Ambiance: 7.5/10
  • Friendliness: 9/10

I am continuing the Summer of Baseball from 2014 and hope to blog about each new stadium I visit in 2015. Ones visited in the past can be viewed linked up in the 2014 version.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Seeking lineup boards at baseball stadiums

Sep 21

Why no lineup boards?

This might be a growing trend, but it’s not one I think is good.

This summer, I visited four MLB stadiums – Philadelphia, New York (Mets), Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. I also visited many minor league parks.

But, let’s focus on the MLB ones.

The Phillies still have a lineup board to those who utilize them.

The Phillies still have a lineup board to those who utilize them.

Three of the four stadiums didn’t have a lineup board. For those who aren’t baseball fans or keep your own book at games, a lineup board is where they home team puts the lineup somewhere for people to copy down. Simple enough, yeah?

Through the years, I’ve seen them in many forms. I saw them in a bunch of different ways this summer.

But three of the four MLB stadiums didn’t have them. Not only that many people asked at those stadiums had no idea what I was talking about.

I know scorekeeping is a lost art, but come on.

The Phillies were the only team of the four to have one – and it was in the team store at the main door. I’m fine with that. At least I could find it.

Most minor league teams have one (not all) and it’s usually hanging up somewhere so you can copy it down. Some teams (Lehigh Valley Ironpigs for one) actually have a scorecard sheet with the starting lineups printed out and give it to fans at their customer service area.

My normal routine when I go into a park is as follows:

  • Head in
  • Get program
  • Go to team store, look around and usually get a pin
  • Go find the lineup board and take a photo of it.
  • Go somewhere to write down my lineup in my Eephus League Halfliner
  • Walk around the park
  • Settle in and watch the game

I usually disappear during the third or fourth inning to get something to eat. But there’s one step there that can gum up the whole works – the lineup board.

How else do I get my lineup? Off the jumbo screen? That’s apparently where they figured you would get it, if you were somebody who kept book.

Not all of the minor league teams had it and some that did made it hard to take a photo (digital boards are hard to take a photo of), but at least they had it.

I still keep score each game (with my Eephus League Halfliner), so it's nice to see a lineup board.

I still keep score each game (with my Eephus League Halfliner), so it’s nice to see a lineup board.

This isn’t an expensive cost if done right. For MLB teams, get a scorecard on a dry-erase board and have an intern or somebody write it each game and put it somewhere people can find it. For minor league teams – just get a dry-erase board and put it somewhere.

For those of us who do keep a book at every game we attend, it’s a nice touch and makes us know you give a damn about the small details. And make sure, if you have one, people who might be asked about where something like this is would have a clue. As an example, when I asked one person at the Baltimore Orioles game, they didn’t seem to understand. And they made sure their tone was that of showing they didn’t understand, didn’t care, and didn’t think it was important.

The rest of my experience in Baltimore was awesome, but this person – who was at the fan help center – was by far no help.

I’m going to continue to keep a book (for those who do this and who want a great book — I highly recommend the Eephus League Halfliner — it’s amazing) and I hope MLB teams (and MiLB teams) realize there are still some of us who love the old ambiance of the game. Copying off a lineup board is part of the experience and is something I hope teams will consider making sure they have.

I can’t speak for other MLB stadiums. For all I know, there are plenty of them that have these. But I can’t say. I just know I only hit. 250 this year.

Can anybody else chime in on other MLB stadiums or your local MiLB team?

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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7th Inning Stretch: The top baseball movies and books

Sep 17

How did I miss this blog linkup? On baseball? Sheesh!

Better late than never!

Vintage baseball memories

So I’m throwing my cap on the field and getting into the 7th Inning Stretch, which this month discusses favorite baseball movies and books.

An easy one!

Well, somewhat.

OK, who am I kidding … how do I narrow this down? Let’s take it from the top.


Back when I worked in newspapers and covered pro baseball (maybe the six best professional years of my life), I did a column about baseball movies. My top pick then – and now – is identical.

Bull Durham

This is the perfect baseball movie. Great lines. An awesome cast. And an incredible story. I can watch this multiple times in a year and it never gets old. Ever.

The lines. Oh the lines. A few years ago, I was playing in a national softball tournament. I met up with an old college buddy and after the day’s games, we stood beyond the outfield fence of one of the fields. Several of us were having a couple of cold ones and the lines started. I think it’s possible we pretty much recited the whole movie between us.

Major League

This is amazingly awesome. Like Bull Durham, a movie (well all three of them, actually) have great lines that are said throughout time. The original is still my favorite, but I don’t hate the other two.

For Love of the Game

Another Costner one and a movie I think is underrated. I really like the story. I like how they did the movie with current time and then flashing back to the present. Yes, there’s some “chick flick” aspects of the movie, too, but it’s all good in the end as it keeps the baseball theme quite well. It’s a hard movie not to like, especially if you love baseball.

Field of Dreams

This was on this list no matter what. Great movie. It’s a classic for baseball. People still flock the farm in Iowa.

I’m hoping next summer I get to find out if it’s heaven.

There’s a tentative plan being worked on that would allow me to hit six new MLB parks next summer. Part of that trip would be going to Field of Dreams. I will have a catch there. Swing a bat if I can. And walk around. Yeah, I think it will be pretty awesome.


My taste in baseball books is quite eclectic. I’m a bit of a baseball history nut (which is probably good that I live close to Cooperstown), but I really love stories about the minor leagues (again, I covered it, so I like seeing the stories).

Some of the “big” books on the game didn’t do much for me. I liked the movie – but I’ve never been able to make it through Moneyball.

The thing about books is people have many different tastes, so it’s hard to pin things down. So I’ll give a few here as ones I’ve enjoyed.

Fifty-nine in ’84 is one I really enjoyed (I also reviewed it; click here if you’d like to see it!) and talks about the season Old Hoss Radbourn(e) had in 1884, winning 59 games and leading Providence to the promise land.

There are a lot of books I know I have to read – Ball Four comes to mind. There are a few books by Roger Angell that look good. Joe Torre’s biography is supposed to be a great read. I know there are a ton of books I need to dive into whether about the minors or history or the Phillies etc. I need to start making more time to read some of these books.

Baseball really is the greatest game in the world – at least in my eyes. And I look forward to seeing what others have to say about books and movies to see if there are ones I need to read/watch.

If you want to see what some others think about the best movies and books for baseball, go check out the linkup at Kasey at the Bat!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Summer of Baseball: Camden has the feel and the view

Sep 09

Camden has one of the coolest views.

Camden has one of the coolest views.

There are stadium views — and then there are really cool stadium views.

Camden is the latter.

Campbell’s Field (yes, the soup) has the feel of other Atlantic League stadiums. It’s a nice place to watch a game and you are close to the action. The seats are nice (and decently wide) and there doesn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house.

Outside the park.

Outside the park.

But it’s when you are sitting on the first-base line when you really notice something awesome — the Ben Franklin Bridge to take you into Philadelphia. It’s a unique setting, that’s for sure. And it made me happy we got the seats we did (front row, to the left of the visitor’s dugout).

This view is one of those things that separate stadiums from one another. And it’s something I’ve noticed at each Atlantic League stadium I’ve been to — each has the same sort of feel as the others, but at the same time there are unique features or offering that split them apart.

But, this is about Camden.

The game we chose was an 11 a.m. game on a Friday. This was one of those education days, so the stadium was filled with school kids. That made it an interesting dynamic as they sang along to modern music and seemed to have a lot of fun.

Play ball!

Play ball!

For me, I enjoyed the experience. The stadium is welcoming. The staff I dealt with were friendly and helpful. Nobody really got in our way and such while we were there. It was initially a dreary day, but it turned out to be pretty nice by the end of the game.

The food offerings were decent. Chickie and Pete’s fries are always a welcomed sight. I definitely indulged there. By the end of the game, I was digging into some Italian ice. And, as always, I had to test the hot dogs and I enjoyed them. Not bad in regard to food.

The team store was decent (prices were OK) and had enough offerings to keep fans happy.

I’d love to come back to see another game or two here, especially maybe catching a game with a sunset or something beyond the bridge. I am sure that would turn that view into something truly amazing — and it’s pretty cool already.

Park Notes:  

Campbell‘s Field
Camden, NJ
Home of the Camden Riversharks (Independent – Atlantic League)
Visited on: June 5, 2015
Opponent: Long Island Ducks

Ratings (out of 10)

  • Stadium: 8/10
  • Concessions: 7.5/10
  • Parking: 8/10
  • Ambiance: 8/10
  • Friendliness: 9/10

I am continuing the Summer of Baseball from 2014 and hope to blog about each new stadium I visit in 2015. Ones visited in the past can be viewed linked up in the 2014 version.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Thanks, Chase

Aug 24

Chase Utley throwing a runner out. I took this photo in 2010.

This one hurts.

Many of you know how much of a baseball fanatic I am. Closer friends know my love of the Philadelphia Phillies.

As things have gone for the worse the past few years, I always knew players could be traded, though I thought one or two were basically untouchable. They’d been here for their careers … they won’t be leaving, right?

Baseball is a business, though. And it’s times like this when I question many things about the game.

For you Yankee fans, imagine a non-playoff year a couple of years ago … and imagine them trading Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. How would you have felt?

It’s how I feel with Chase Utley.

Utley was traded to the Dodgers last Wednesday night in a move that feels like somebody kicked me in the gut.

Utley personified Philadelphia. He was a blue-collar player, hard-nosed and played the game the right way. He wasn’t afraid to do what he had to do to win. Needless to say, he was by far one of the most popular players in Philly.

He was definitely my favorite player. Still is. Even if he’s been cast off by an inept general manager who shouldn’t be making any moves at this point. This team doesn’t get better until he’s gone. This is a GM who took over for a Hall of Fame front office person and destroyed it.

And now, this is what happens. In the span of eight months, two franchise players (Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley) have been cast off. By franchise players I mean two who looked to play their careers with the team. Cole Hamels – another franchise face signed for a few more years – was traded in July.

Yet, Ruben Amaro is still making moves. Makes me shake my head.

But this isn’t about a GM who has destroyed something that took a while to build, this is about a 36-year-old second baseman who wanted to remain in Philly and is now being sent to the west coast. Yes, he had to approve the trade. But as I’ve noted to others – when your name comes up in the talks all the time, eventually you are going to look at the writing on the wall and agree to go somewhere, as long as it’s a spot where you would like to be. It’s not like he forced his hand to be traded here, by all accounts anyway.

Chase Utley gave Phillies fans a lot of memories. It’s going to be disgusting seeing him wear blue and white. I’ve seen him once since the trade — his final at-bat in his first game with the Dodgers, when they were no-hit by the Astros.

The game is a business and this proves it. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure.

Thanks for the memories, Chase.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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