OF THE PIONEERS
Note: This item appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette Opinion Page on
July 18, 1999
a lasting memory of Dunn Field that goes back to my childhood. As
a youngster I got to watch Popeye get married at home plate. Popeye,
of course, is the nickname that Don Zimmer has acquired over the years
since he played for the Pioneers. Don went on to stardom, of sorts,
as a shortstop and head coach in the major leagues. And the Pioneers
continued with some good years and some mediocre ones, always a fond
memory for me.
On a recent visit to Elmira, my wife and I attended a double header
at Dunn Field. The Elmira Pioneers weren't at the top of their game.
It was against Albany and Albany won both games.
But it was fun and it was a real minor
league baseball game with all the trimmings. Stitches, the Pioneer
mascot was circulating among the crowd. The Blues Brothers entertained
between innings and the beer and hotdog vendors were everywhere.
The Pioneers management deserves a lot of credit for
the great job they have done making Dunn Field a great place to play
and watch minor league baseball. The baselines and pitcher's mound
cut wonderfully sharp and distinct patterns in the beautiful green
carpet of grass that hasn't a blemish in it. The seats are somewhat
rigid, but comfortable. At least, we made it to the 7th inning stretch
without any difficulty and our bones have a couch-potato history.
Dunn Field is a showpiece. But something was missing. The stadium
was only half-full of fans. And there was plenty more room for parking
outside in the lot. True, the Pioneers haven't had a grandiose season
this year. I guess you could compare them to the Chicago Cubs in that
regard. But is minor league baseball just about winning? Some would
say so. Many baseball fans watching the highlights of the game on
TV probably look at it that way.
But our evening at Dunn Field was more than that. It was a chance
to see future great stars of the major leagues. It was full of surprises
with the entertainment, the spirit of the crowd and the great stadium
concessions. And when we return to Dunn Field the next time, that's
what we'll be remembering in our anticipation of a great evening of
minor league baseball.
Elmirans, you are a lucky bunch to have the Pioneers and Dunn Field.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
More photos taken at Dunn Field on
July 7, 1999
Dunn Field Entrance
First Base Appeal
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