PRESS RELEASE – Frawley Stadium has received a facelift. In the most expansive renovation project the ballpark has undergone in well over a decade, the long-time home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks had all of its seats replaced this offseason. Construction began just after Thanksgiving and wrapped up in early March.
The most obvious difference for fans is the removal of all aluminum benches that used to habitat the reserved sections down the respective left and right field lines. Now every patron who enters the 24-year-old ballpark will get their own individual seat.
Aesthetically, the seats look different as well, shifting from royal blue to a darker navy blue.
“We feel this project has not only given Frawley Stadium a more modern look, but has also enhanced the comfort of our fans as they watch Blue Rocks baseball,” said the team’s general manager Chris Kemple. “This was a significant upgrade and the type of thing that will maintain the Blue Rocks’ standing as one of the premiere destinations for family fun in the state of Delaware.”
The last time Frawley Stadium underwent such significant alterations was 2001 when the general admission section was moved from the first-base side to the third-base side and picnic areas were added in both left and right field.
For fans who grew attached to their old seats there was still a way to maintain that connection. The Rocks and the Delaware Stadium Corporation offered fans the opportunity to purchase those seats. The stadium chairs were mounted onto floor brackets so they can be enjoyed from the comfort of home, an option many patrons took advantage of.
Any seats not purchased by fans did not go to the dumpster. Instead, the Blue Rocks and Delaware Stadium Corporation partnered with Archer Seating to repurpose all of the old Frawley Stadium seats. Since 1995, Archer Seating has been a valuable resource for all stadiums, schools, retail business, auction barns, churches, movie productions, and individuals seeking quality stadium seats at a reasonable price.
“Knowing our fan base we figured many would want to keep their seats as a memento from the many memories they enjoyed watching the Blue Rocks,” Kemple said. “This seemed to be the best way to offer the opportunity to even sit in those seats again. Plus, repurposing the seats instead of simply throwing them away is far better for the environment.”
Fans have had plenty of opportunity to create memories since Frawley Stadium opened its doors in April, 1993. Matt Minker‘s construction company, Minker Construction, built the ballpark during the winter leading up to that season. Minker’s son Clark is now a co-owner of the Blue Rocks, along with Dave Heller. The younger Minker knows his Dad, who owned the Rocks for more than a decade before he passed away in 2007, would be enthusiastic about this project.
“My dad built the ballpark during a long, cold winter in 1993. At the time, we hoped the stadium would serve as a gathering place for families for years to come, all the while serving as the anchor for the then-planned Riverfront development.
“More than two decades later, I am certain my late father would be overwhelmed with joy to see the growth that has taken place as it has exceeded our wildest dreams. If Dad were here today, he would tell me it was time to be making the improvements necessary to maintaining that anchor for another generation of Blue Rocks baseball families.”
And Minker says he hopes this project was just the beginning.
“New seats are the first step in a multi-part plan to upgrade the stadium and give our fans the best minor league baseball experience possible. There’s a lot of excitement building between this and our partnership with the world champion Kansas City Royals. My dad would have loved the fact that his beloved Royals won the World Series last year. In memory of Dad, I asked the Royals to inscribe my ring with my dad’s name so that I can give it to my mother.”