Normally, Batavia’s Dwyer Stadium lacks professional baseball this early in the season. That all changes in mid-June when the New York-Penn League schedule gets underway and the Batavia Muckdogs take the field.
While the Muckdogs are perennially among the poorest-attended clubs in the league, their management organization, the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, gave them a nice little pre-season boost in business here in 2012.
Seven Empire State Yankees Triple-A games were to be moved to Batavia this April, May and June, along with 37 more in Rochester. It is a part of a one-year nomadic existence for a club that is usually called the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The home park of the temporarily re-branded team, PNC Field in Moosic, PA, is closed for renovation. That put the International League Yankees on the road for the entire 2012 season, even when they are “home” club.
As bad luck would have it, the first-ever Triple-A games to be held in Batavia have not gone off without a hitch. The initial game of the group was rained out, but that doesn’t compare to what happened with the contest originally scheduled for Sunday, May 6.
The game was Pettitted-out.
No, it has nothing to do with misdeeds, trials and Roger Clemens.
The parent New York Yankees apparently did not want their star left-hander Andy Pettitte – working his way back into shape after a year absence – to make his scheduled Sunday start in Batavia.
Being comfortable in his own skin and all, apparently Pettitte was in concurrence with a requested change in venue.
The Yankees asked that the Sunday game be moved to Frontier Field in Rochester, though the Saturday night contest in Batavia remained as scheduled. Along with the additional travel, another logistical problem existed in that the Red Wings already had a home game of their own scheduled on Sunday.
Being good sports, the Red Wings accommodated the Yankees. The way Rochester did it was to essentially move up its Sunday game by 24 hours. That created a double-header of two seven-inning contests on Saturday. This did not occur after the fact, as these shortened twin-bills are usually added after a rainout needs to be made up, but in this case, it was scheduled ahead of time.
The gyrations left the Red Wings’ stadium open on Sunday for Pettitte and his temporary Empire State teammates, but in Batavia, an empty ballpark sits, wondering what might have been.
One final Empire State Yankees game remains to be played in Batavia, a mid-week morning contest. On Tuesday, June 12th at 11:05 a.m., the Yankees are to face Louisville, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate, at Dwyer Stadium.
Update: Pettitte pitched five innings on Sunday. According to an eyewitness, Batavia announcer Matthew Coller, many balls were hit hard against him. Pettitte allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits and two walks. He fanned five. Attendance was estimated at 13,000, reports Sloane Martin, or about 13 Muckdogs home games-worth.