Great Sunday Afternoon In Rochester (08/15/18)

(Dave McClaine)

I had the opportunity to go to Rochester on Sunday (August 12th), to watch former Clarion Bobcat baseball star, Clarion Little Leaguer, former Bobcat Football standout and current Red Wings outfielder Jon Kemmer play at Frontier Field, downtown. It was beautiful weather, sunny and just a few clouds, in one of the most beautiful cities on the East Coast. I lived in the Rochester area from 1989-92 and the area has a special place in my heart.

Jon hitting the game winning single to right

The day was made much, much more special, by Jon’s play in the Wings  3-2 win over the Charlotte Knights. Jon was 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in the winning run, in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the score tied at two, two outs and runners at the corners, Jon had a solid line drive single to right to bring home Nick Gordon from third.

Jon had this to say about the hit, “It was kind of a relief. I’ve been kind of battling the last couple of days, trying to find some holes. I had a nice hard line drive to end the game yesterday. Today, I had a couple hard hits, played some good defense and luckily found a hole (on the hit)”.

Jon with a great try on a homer down the right field line

Jon did have a very solid day in the field. He had a good effort going up the fence, on a try on a home run ball in the top of the sixth, that was out of reach. And in the top of the seventh, the Knights went down on successive fly outs, one to each of the outfielders. Jon snagged out number two.

On his effort at the fence, Jon said, “I had a pretty good read on that one. (He’s) been a heck of a hitter this whole series, so I was playing a little bit deeper, so I had a little bit of a shot at it. But he got a good bit of it and I just couldn’t grab it unfortunately.”

Jon catching a fly in right. Each outfielder caught a fly in the inning

I asked Jon how he liked the city of Rochester? He said, “I love it. It’s nice being on the East Coast; nice seeing green grass and trees and stuff. I haven’t gotten to see the city a ton yet, but I’ve been to Lake Ontario and down to the (Genesee) River; kind of finding a little small stuff around here and what not.” He also mentioned that he liked the weather there, much more than in Fresno.

If you haven’t been up to see Jon in Rochester yet, it’s only about a 31/2 hour drive,or so, from Clarion. He’d love to see you. Jon said this about the folks back home, “It’s always good to have the support of the family back home, family and friends. You guys help me through each and every day and I sure appreciate all the support.”

I also asked Jon about if he was getting the Rochester area lingo down, which is a bit different than Clarion: “Have you learned to say yous instead of yinz?” Jon’s reply, “Oh, absolutely. I’m getting the hang of that real quick.” And about ordering hots, instead of hotdogs? “Yea, Yea, You’ve got it.”

Jon as he was heading to the dugout prior to game with Charlotte Knights

This was the second time, I’ve gotten to see Jon play as a professional. The first time was in 2013, Jon’s rookie year, when he visited the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Niles, a suburb of Youngstown, as a member of the Tri-City Valley Cats. And this was the first time I have seen the Red Wings play since the 1990’s when they played at beautiful old Silver Stadium. Kind of sad it is gone, but the 13,500 seat Frontier Field is a real gem.

Another neat thing: On Sunday, the Red Wings welcomed their 10,000,000th fan at Frontier Field. The Wings first game at the park was on April 11th, 1997. The lady, who was number 10,000,000, received tons of prizes and as part of the festivities, it was announced that all tickets for Sunday’s game would be accepted for any other home game the rest of the season.
What are the odds of being in my first Red Wings game in over 25 years and being in the stands for number 10,000.000? And how great is it seeing a hometown boy have such a fine game?

Yours truly with Jon after the game. In case you have trouble guessing who is who: I’m the short old guy on the right.

(Great to see you Jon and a great treat watching your fine play!!!!)