During the 2022 season, I’ll have occasional reports on games I’ve attended of the Rochester Red Wings, the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
The last few years have, frankly, stunk for Minor League Baseball. MLB was able to succeed in a plan (which some fear is not yet over) to decrease the minors, eliminate teams and entire leagues, forcibly shift surviving teams from long-held positions in the hierarchy, and impose certain scheduling restrictions that are a mixed bag for players, front offices, and fans. Add in COVID, which eliminated the 2020 season in its entirety and caused the 2021 season to have a hodgepodge of various restrictions and generally depressed attendance, and it has been a total bummer.
Which is part of the reason why last night in Rochester was so special. It still wasn’t as big of a crowd as it could have been (it was, after all, a school night), but the crowd of 8,170 was still larger than any crowd from 2021. And it was loud, into the game, and ready to cheer.
And the thing is, as an advertisement for Minor League Baseball, last night’s game was better than most. A back and forth game took place. The Bisons would pull ahead, the Red Wings would pull back even, and then it’d happen again. The promotions, as always, were on point, most notably an appearance by very good boy Milo the Bat Dog. He is, after all, a very good boy. I’m still waiting for an MLB team to have a bat dog. It needs to happen eventually, right? The dog would instantly go viral, would put butts in stands, and no doubt there’d be some great moments pre-game when players give the dog much-deserved head-pats. Make it happen, Major League Baseball.
Alas, the only thing that went wrong was the end of the game, as Buffalo took a 6-4 lead that the Red Wings couldn’t make up in the bottom of the 9th.
Other than that, though, it was perhaps the best night at the ballpark in Rochester since 2019.
Clippard not long for AAA
One highlight last night was the performance of Tyler Clippard. As I mentioned back in my one-line-look, the reason why the two-time All-Star with 803 MLB game appearances under his belt is in Rochester to begin with is largely because he signed late. He’s just in AAA for now to build up his arm.
If his performance last night was anything to go on, it won’t be too long. In the top of the 8th, Clippard sent down the Bisons with ease in order, including no-doubt strikeouts of Joshua Fuentes and Cullen Large.
So if you live in Rochester and want to see Tyler Clippard, make sure to head to Frontier Field soon, since he won’t be there long.
The Red Wings continue their long series against the Bisons through Sunday.