Rochester Red Wings host media day before Tuesday's season opener
First-year manager Matt LeCroy is looking to develop the Red Wings prospects into stars (Photo Courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. --- It has been 610 days since the Rochester Red Wings played in a game, which was an 8-4 loss to the Syracuse Mets on Sept 2nd, 2019. But, the new triple-a affiliate of the Washington Nationals hosted media day on Monday afternoon before their season opener on Tuesday.
2021 is a new era of Red Wings baseball as the Minnesota Twins did not renew their affiliation with the team after 17 seasons. However, the Wings have found a new parent club in the Washington Nationals, and new manager Matt LeCroy is excited to be in Rochester.
"Rochester is a great place for us to be. I know [Dan Mason] and the guys here do a bang-up job with everything, and this is a good place for us to be and continue our development with these young kids," LeCroy said.
For some Wings fans, the name LeCroy should sound familiar. The 45-year-old played for Rochester in 2007, recording 48 hits and 25 RBIs in 80 games. With his players itching to know about the Flour City, LeCroy told reporters the feeling of community is second to none.
"The atmosphere that Dan creates here, and along with community and how they get involved, to me, that is what excites me the most. And I know the players, that's all they can ask for," he said.
Diving into the Opening Day roster, the Red Wings have some youth, as 2B/SS Luiz Garcia (20 years old) will become the first player born in the 2000s to wear a Rochester uniform. But the names do not stop there, as Tres Barrera, Ben Braymer, and Steven Fuentes all headline the Nationals Top 30 list.
The Wings also made 3B/SS Carter Kieboom available on Monday. The former Nationals minor league player of the year appeared in 33 games for Washington in 2020 with 20 hits and 9 RBIs.
But playing for the third minor league team of his career, he says he is looking forward to representing the Red Wings.
"It's going to be fun. Anytime I get to come to a new area and meet new people, it's always enjoyable to get to play in front of new faces. I have heard nothing but awesome things about the fans," Kieboom said.
While things may look different for the Wings as a team this season, the fan atmosphere is also different. Once the Red Wings come home on May 18th for their home opener, the stadium will be at only 33% capacity per NYS guidelines due to COVID-19.
However, Long Island-born Sean Nolin says it will be great to see any capacity of fans in the stands.
"I'm definitely excited for it. I don't know if I'm going to be able to see friends and family if they were coming out to the game, but it will be exciting for sure," Nolin said.
While the Red Wings open their season on Tuesday, Wings fans will have to wait to see their hometown team in the seats in Frontier Field. Rochester is on the road for the first two weeks of the season before returning for their first home opener in 768 days on May 18th against Scranton/Wilkes Barre.