Wilmington Blue Rocks’ Games Mark a Family Tradition for Many

The Wilmington Blue Rocks mascot Rocky Bluewinkle. Rocky was apart of the opening weekend festivities. Saturday, April 9, 2022. - Staff Photographer / Tyrese Williams

The Wilmington Blue Rocks have officially concluded their opening weekend and with it, the family tradition of attending games at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium has just begun. 

What was meant to be opening day for the Blue Rocks on Friday, April 8, turned into a game cancelation 30 minutes after the first pitch was set to occur. So instead of opening day, Blue Rocks fans received an opening doubleheader on Saturday, April 9. To some baseball fans, this meant that spring was delayed by one more day. 

“It [baseball] just means the beginning of spring,” Elizabeth Simmons, a 30-year fan of the Blue Rocks, said. “Some people will say it’s, you know, robins singing or whatever, but no. It’s baseball.”

Despite the change in schedule, fans present at the original opening night on Friday were still treated to a performance from renowned chainsaw, bowling ball, and baseball bat juggler, Mad Chad Taylor. The performance included the opportunity for audience participation, in which children were invited to throw baseball bats at Taylor and hoped he juggled them.

“Because,” Taylor writes in his online biography. “If you really want people to put two hands together, you gotta be willing to risk one of your own!”

After Taylor’s performance, fans were invited to stay for Friday-night fireworks and encouraged to use their tickets for the canceled game at any other game during the regular season. 

Baseball officially began the next night when the Blue Rocks began their doubleheader against the Cyclones, ending the night 1-1. Liz and Katie, two sisters who have been attending the Blue Rocks’ games since they were 7-years old, made a point to attend both Friday’s opening night and Saturday’s doubleheader together with Liz’s 9-year-old daughter Isabelle.

“We’ve actually been coming since she [Isabelle] was 9-months-old,” Liz said. “She absolutely loves it…Our grandfather used to bring us here when we were seven, so 30 years ago. It’s a family tradition.” 

Sunday, April 10, saw the last day and final victory of opening weekend, with the Blue Rocks winning 4-1 over the Cyclones to win the series. Overall, the Blue Rocks’ opening weekend was marked by the return of family traditions and the teams’ success.

“They’re trying to share [their love of baseball] with their children in hopes that they become fans in the next 20 or 30 years,” Kevin Linton, public address announcer of the Blue Rocks, said. “The generation cycle continues.” 

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