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Sports

Canal Park creates fond memories

7/24/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

By Kiley Blachaniec

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The most memorable baseball experience I have had so far in my life happened back in 2005, when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at Akron Children’s Hospital. It just so happened the Akron Aeros had played that night and from the intensive care unit, I watched the fireworks display after the game.

Now, almost a decade later, I was able to be a part of another memorable experience in Canal Park. A few changes have been made in between encounters, the most striking being the name of the team. As of the 2014 season, the team is now called the Akron RubberDucks and also upgraded their program and stadium to make a more family-friendly environment. Since these changes, the Akron RubberDucks attendance has increased 30 percent from last year.

My favorite part of the new layout in the stadium is Fowl Territory, where picnic tables replaced stadium seats along the third base line. At Fowl Territory, families can enjoy ballpark food while enjoying the game and catching a foul ball.

Since I was there July 20, I was able to experience a Family Fun Day and this particular Sunday was Mascot Day. The mascots included the Viking from Cleveland State University, Moon Dog and Sir C.C. from the Cleveland Cavaliers and many more who joined the RubberDucks’ own Webster, Orbit and Homer.

The RubberDucks put in a great deal of work to make every baseball outing at Canal Park a blast. There are so many behind the scenes people. One man who does so much for the organization is Manager David Wallace. I talked with Wallace, who’s been proud of the team this year.

“Every one of these guys in the clubhouse has the talent to play in the big leagues, but it’s just the mental aspect that is the separator,” he said.

Although the RubberDucks fell to the Erie SeaWolves 5-2, Wallace told me it isn’t all about winning but most importantly, “It’s about the players, getting them ready to contribute for Cleveland.”

Overall, I had a fantastic experience and I was able to enjoy the game at Canal Park and see all of the new improvements that has helped the team place all of their ducks in a row.

Editor’s note: The West Side Leader and the Akron RubberDucks are presenting an opportunity for young, aspiring journalists in fourth through 11th grades to see what it’s like to cover a professional baseball team for a day through Aug. 31. To apply for the West Side Leader Journalism Days, candidates need to submit why they should be considered in 50 words or less to reporter@akronrubberducks.com. Winners will be notified three to seven days before the game date.

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