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  • Richard Smith

Daniel S. Frawley Stadium – Wilmington Blue Rocks


Photos by Richard Smith and Geoff Crawley, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

Daniel S. Frawley Stadium 801 Shipyard Dr Wilmington, DE 19801

Wilmington Blue Rocks website Daniel S. Frawley Stadium website

Year Opened: 1993 Capacity: 6,532

 

Blue Rocks Baseball

Wilmington is the largest city in the small state of Delaware. With a population of over 70,000, the city is often considered part of the much larger Philadelphia Metropolitan area. The area also borders the northeastern section of Maryland.

The Wilmington Blue Rocks play in the advanced Single-A Carolina League. The team name was chosen because of the blue granite found along the Brandywine River in Wilmington.

Frawley Stadium was originally known as Legends Stadium when it was first built in 1993. Later it was renamed for Wilmington mayor Daniel S. Frawley, a major force behind the city getting the team.

The actual playing surface at the stadium is named Judy Johnson Field. after the Negro League third baseman. Johnson played for the Hilldale Club, Homestead Grays, and Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1921 to 1936 and was considered one of the greatest third basemen of his time. He was a resident of the Wilmington area.

Frawley Stadium is part of the general Riverfront area south of downtown Wilmington. For years the area struggled with businesses and the public. In recent years the whole area has become a must-see destination for the northern Delaware area.

The Blue Rocks have been affiliated with the Kansas City Royals for most of their existence except for a two-season period attached to the Boston Red Sox (2005-2006).

Food & Beverage 4

Frawley Stadium does not have numerous food stands but the ones they do offer a great variety of interesting food at great quality.

Chicken tenders with nachos and sodas are a pretty good value. The normal concession stands have recently added options from the local Greene Turtle food chain. That expands the already decent options. A good example is the very good Chix n’ Ranch combo.

Grotto Pizza is considered an institution around Delaware and Frawley Stadium has an outpost of that chain. You can get a slice or a whole individual-sized pizza.

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks are available at the snack stand on the concourse.

A Chickie and Pete’s stand is located at the far right field part of the concourse. The Crab Fries here are famous in the region and are another great buy.

Beer is available throughout the stadium although there is a great craft beer stand offering some good local options.

Atmosphere 4

The most striking aspect of Frawley Stadium is the I-95 view past the left-center outfield fences. A good view of downtown Wilmington is found past the right-field fences.

There are two entrances into the park, on the left and right of the ticket booth. You will walk up long handicapped-friendly ramps. An elevator is another option.

The main grandstands are broken up into two main sections separated by a very large walkway area. A general admission raised seating section is on the left-field side of the stadium.

The Blue Rocks have multiple mascots. One is Rocky Bluewinkle, a blue moose. Another is Mr. Celery, a stalk of celery that comes out when Wilmington scores a run. I have never seen it but there is also Rubble, a giant blue rock. Mr. Celery may be one of the most unique and fascinating mascots around.

The Quarry team store is located on the concourse. Make sure to stop in and buy a Mr. Celery t-shirt.

Neighborhood 5

Located at the now thriving Wilmington Riverfront, there are many things to do in the area.

The failed outlet mall right near the stadium has now been changed to a mixed-use facility. Check out Timothy’s Riverfront Grill and Molly’s Ice Cream on the river side of that complex.

Iron Hill Brewery and Constitution Yards Beer Garden are both in walking distance and offer some decent options. A Westin Hotel is almost in spitting distance from Frawley Stadium.

If heading south stop in at the college town of Newark. There are numerous food options on East Main Street that will fill you up before or after a game.

Fans 4

The fans that sit right behind the plate are knowledgeable. Once you get out to the fringe parts of the park you may see the more casual fan. The Blue Rocks draw well, although the stadium is not 100% filled to capacity on most nights. It still has a consistent fan base in attendance. Early in the season, when the weather is cold, is the only time that the numbers get low.

Access 4

I-95 is right by the stadium, although you will have to navigate a few turns and one-way roads to get there. It still offers pretty quick access to and from the stadium. Expect it to be very busy at rush hour so plan accordingly.

There is plenty of free parking available, although if the Chase Event Center, located nearby, is having an event expect a bit more traffic.

Ultimately the stadium is less than a mile from downtown and offers good access in general. It will get crowded after a game because of the small roads and one-way streets near the ballpark.

Return on Investment 4

The prices are quite reasonable for the region and level of baseball. You can get cheap general admission tickets as well as slightly more pricey reserved seats. Some good package deals and special events nights are also offered.

Extras 4

There is a separate admission for the co-located Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame. It is a member of the International Sports Heritage Association and offers some great stats you may not have known about the “First State” and its sports.

Also, be sure to check out the Delaware Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame wall on the concourse.

Another great stop is the Rocks in the Show wall and banners showing Blue Rocks players who went onto the major leagues.

A statue of native son Judy Johnson stands outside Frawley Stadium. Johnson’s nearby boyhood home is the William Julius “Judy” Johnson House which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Final Thoughts

Frawley Stadium, and the Wilmington Blue Rocks, provide a good level of baseball at a good price while offering a fun family entertainment option for the city.

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