Andy Pettitte Contributes to Baseball Month in Rochester
(Photo courtesy of Bare Antolos)
New York Yankee left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte took the mound for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in front 13,584 fans at Frontier Field in Rochester, NY. It took much cooperation between four different organizations, but Red Wings general manager Dan Mason felt it was a great success, as well as a great day for the people of Rochester.
“I think all parties involved realized it could be great for baseball and great for the city of Rochester and thankfully it all worked out for the best,” Mason said. “It’s a day a lot of people in these parts will remember for a long, long time.”
The reason it took so much cooperation from four different organizations is, the Red Wings were scheduled to host the Buffalo Bisons for a series finale on the same Sunday afternoon as Pettitte was scheduled to make his next minor league appearance on his road back to the show. In order for Pettitte to pitch in Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre moved its game with the Pawtucket Red Sox from Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, NY to Frontier Field.
With the help of the Yankees, Red Sox, Bisons, and the Red Wings, Pettitte made his start in front of the second largest crowd in Frontier Field history. The left-hander went five innings and suffered the loss. However, Mason was most impressed with Pettitte off the field. The day before his start Pettitte told Mason he wanted to sign autographs for 15 minutes after the press conference was over. He ended up signing for 45 minutes in the Frontier Field concourse.
“About 10 minutes into his autograph session, we announced to the crowd that he only had about five more minutes and he had to get going. He turned to me and said, ‘you know what Ill just keep going for a little while and Ill let you know when you need to make the announcement for 10 more minutes, but you don’t have to worry about making any announcements any time soon.”
Mason feels Pettitte is one of those guys who just “get it.”
“What really impressed me is every signature that he did he would look at the person and shake their hand and say hey have a great day, thanks for coming,” Mason said. “You talk about a guy who gets it and is just a great representative for baseball, you cant get much better than what he did here yesterday (May 6, 2012).”
May happens to be the month Frontier Field will host the most games during the 2012 season. Between the Yankees and Red Wings there will be 26 games and, because of this Rochester has coined the month of May as “Baseball Month in Rochester.”
“May seemed to be the month with the most games and we are in the midst of a 22 game home stand between May 1st and May 22nd,” Mason said. “So, we are doing something unique, we are encouraging fans if they come out to one game a week in the month of May, they got a chance to win a one year lease on a Toyota Camry. “
Mason is using the month of May as a way to ensure fans come back in the middle of the summer.
“We are trying to get people excited about baseball early in the season, so we see them a lot more in June, July, and August,” Mason said. “Typically, like most other teams, that’s when we really start drawing; when the weather gets nicer and the kids get out of school.”
The Rochester organization is using the month of May as an opportunity to give back by raising money for numerous charities every day.
“We’ve got a raffle going every night of some great autographed memorabilia. We have contacted some of our friends in Major League Baseball and they have sent us some unbelievable items, as well as some items from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and the Red Wings that we are doing every night,” Mason said. “We are raising a lot of money for charity; hopefully over $10,000 and we are off to a great start. Some lucky fan is going to be driving away here on June 2nd with a one-year lease on a brand new Toyota Camry.”
Overall, Mason felt he had to do something special during such a unique season.
“When we found out we were going to be hosting 26 games in 31 days, we felt the need to do something special about that,” Mason said. “It’s the one-month this year when we are hosting more games than any other month and obviously we have 110 games now in 152 days.