Since their inception in 1980, the franchise now known as the Akron RubberDucks have gone through no less than 6 name and location changes: Lynn (Massachusetts) Sailors, Vermont Reds, Vermont Mariners, Canton-Akron Indians, Akron Aeros, and currently the Akron RubberDucks. They have changed stadiums and affiliations numerous times, most recently moving from Thurmon Munson Memorial Stadium to their current location in Akron and playing in Canal Park, each time coming up smelling like roses. They have played in numerous Eastern League championships, and in their first three seasons at Canal Park, they led all AA teams in attendance, becoming the the first team at that level to draw a half million fans in a regular season. To coin a phrase, they have really put the RubberDucks to the road in putting out a quality product!
I paid the RubberDucks a visit on April 16, 2016, not knowing what to expect. This was my first road trip of the season (excluding 3 spring training games in March), and I was a little rusty in my pre-game research. I admit, the only thing I researched ahead of time was some of the food options, and the directions to the stadium. So the stadium and the game were a pleasant surprise after a 6 hour drive! The Canal Park stadium presented itself with a HUGE wide open concourse with plenty of yummy food options and great views and the fans were great. While I basked in the sun (note to self: even in April, pack extra sunscreen!), and gorged myself on a 3 Dog Night (more about that later), the fans around me were awesome.
While the stadium itself is now 20 years old, they did a great job of creating nice wide concourses throughout the whole structure, with unobstructed views of the action while you are in line for your next beer. With the change to the RubberDucks, they have some great references to waterfowl, including the Fowl Lines, and in the 9th inning, with the team down and looking to rally, the more than abundant video scoreboard:
Before that moment in the 9th inning, there was lots of baseball and lots of food!
Three Dog Night
I did scope out some of the food selections prior to the game. These included Eddies cheesesteak sandwiches, the TerriyAKRON (half a pineapple hollowed out to create a bowl, with stir fry chicken, white rice and diced pineapple with teriyaki sauce), and the Ugly Duckling (three scoops of ice cream and topped with chocolate syrup, chocolate sprinkles, and topped with 16 ounces of an Irish full bodied stout beer poured over the top). A third choice was the Nice 2 Meat u burger, a 1.75 pound burger stuffed with a hot dog, bacon, cheese, and onions. My drive home precluded me from trying the Ugly Duckling, so I settled on the 3 Dog Night. This is not your father’s 3 Dog Night! It’s a kielbasa stuffed with a brat, stuffed with a hot dog. It’s really enough for 2, or a small refuge family! Needless to say I didn’t have to get my standard peanuts later in the game!
They did have some healthier options but that’s for the stronger of heart than yours truly!
Forgetting that the home team went down in defeat 14-5, and the game got out of hand early for the quacker faithful, the game was a lot of fun. The crowd of just over 4,000 was energetic and fun, and the on field games were fun. They included blind cow tipping and tire racing (appropriate for the Rubber Capital of the World).
And the winner of the Lion King tribute:
The action on the field was pretty good too!
We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose’s glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present. Okay, well, uh… candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she’s registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let’s get two! Go get ’em.
In the end, the RubberDucks fell to the BaySox 14-5. Even playing in the shadow of St. Bernard’s couldn’t help the mighty RubberDucks. But it was a blessed Saturday afternoon for the church of baseball!