It’s the heart of the baseball season, and after hovering around the .500 mark for much of the beginning of the season, our Rochester Red Wings have played good baseball and put themselves firmly in the hunt for a playoff position. They currently are ten games over that .500 percentage in the win column going into the All-Star break! Uncommonly known however, is that the Rochester Red Wings have a Hollywood connection.
Being the storytellers that we are at Steven James, we were thrilled to accept an invitation from the Rochester Red Wings to attend an event that celebrates a connection between the Red Wings and one of Hollywood’s great storytellers. Director Ron Shelton came to town for a couple of days last week. Shelton is a stellar Hollywood director most noted for writing and helming the sports blockbusters Tin Cup, White Men Can’t Jump, and what comes up on many lists as the greatest sports movie ever, 1988’s Bull Durham. Shelton came to the Eastman House and Dryden Theater for a reception last Thursday and then introduced the classic baseball movie. The connection with Rochester is that Shelton was a minor league ball player on perhaps the greatest Red Wing team in its celebrated history, the 1971 team that won the Governor’s Cup and the Junior World Series.
In his introduction to the film, Shelton told the packed house that the nucleus of Bull Durham came from a story that his manager, Rochester’s beloved Joe Altobelli, told him. Near the end of his playing career, Altobelli was assigned to room with a young fire-baller with major control problems, Steve Dalkowski. Altobelli was a mature, veteran catcher and management thought he could help guide the young pitcher with the unbelievable fastball. Almost twenty years after Altobelli shared this story with Shelton, the ball player-turned-director brought it to fictionalized life in Bull Durham through the unforgettable characters of Crash Davis, the veteran catcher played by Kevin Costner in a role that helped launch him to super-stardom, and Tim Robbins as the hilarious pitcher ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh.
The night following the movie at the Dryden, we were at Frontier Field to watch Ron Shelton’s induction in to the Red Wings Hall of Fame. The Red Wings’ management, led by incomparable GM Dan Mason and staff (including Kevin Lute who always takes care of us at Steven James!) did a great job, as they always do, in honoring members of the Red Wings family. They had a Ron Shelton bobble-head made up – in both player uniform and director garb! Ron was gracious in his pre-game induction ceremony remarks, citing the honor as being as important and meaningful to him as any of the recognition he’s received during his illustrious film making career, and he also was great in the Q and A in a post-game on-field interview before a fantastic fireworks show that played against the soundtrack to Bull Durham. And the Red Wings didn’t disappoint on field either, with a resounding 9 – 3 victory over our I-90 rivals, the Syracuse Chiefs.
Catch the Wings for a long home-stand starting Monday July 17th through Sunday July 23rd. Promos this week include a Fan Four-Pack special (four tickets, four hot dogs, four drinks, and a yearbook for $36 in advance or $40 day of game) on Tuesday the 18th – an 11:00 a.m. day game.
Every Wednesday is $1 Wednesday with hots, chips, cracker jacks, and peanuts for a buck. Wednesday the 19th also includes samples from Texas de Brazil Restaurant and will feature an autograph-signing session with former big league relief pitcher Mike Timlin, a four-time World Series champion – two with the Blue Jays and two with the Red Sox.
Thursday, July 20th, is College Night where a college I.D. will score a student a reserved ticket for $10 PLUS five dollars worth of Diamond Dollars that can be used for food or merchandise. Thursday is also Christmas In July where a new, unwrapped gift will earn a dollar off ticket price and then be donated to Hillside Family of Agencies Special Santa Program. As a bonus, Santa and his reindeer will make an appearance at Frontier Field that night, and the first thousand fans in will receive a Red Wings ornament for their tree!
Friday the 21st is another night packed with fun. Thurman Thomas of Buffalo Bills fame will be on hand for autographs, and the Wings will wear special football jerseys that will later be auctioned off to support the National Parkinson Foundation of Greater Rochester. Post-game, there will be a concert featuring the RPO and fireworks!
Saturday, July 22nd, is Military Appreciation Night. The Wings will sport specialty jerseys that will later be auctioned off to support the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. After the game there will be a Ball-Launch for prizes promotion, a Rodney Atkins concert, and more fireworks!
The home-stand wraps Sunday, July 23rd. This 1:30 p.m. game is a Knot Hole Gang Kids Club Day. For $20, the young ones will receive three more tickets to any Red Wings games this season in addition to a host of other membership benefits. Also, after each Sunday game, kids will get a chance to run the bases with mascots Spike and Mittsy! Every Sunday game also holds a shoe donation drive sponsored by Youth For Christ and Re-Run Shoes. People are asked to consider donating a gently-used pair of shoes, sneakers, or cleats.
Additionally, Genesee Motor Homes purchased thousands of tickets for the Sunday home-stand finale to mark First Responder’s Appreciation Day. Local police, firefighters, and EMT units will enjoy the game for free thanks to this generous gesture by GMH.
That’s a packed week of baseball and promotions! Get out and support the Red Wings as they write the tale of the 2017 season! And if you need a story told for your company, agency, or program, be sure to call Steven James and see what we can do for you!