Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wolfson's Main Draw: Affordability

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wolfson's Main Draw: Affordability

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

It was still 20 minutes before the first pitch. Brad Reckamp was attired in a well-worn Suns shirt and sipping a $5 draft beer from a 32-ounce cup that appeared as tall as Randy Johnson.

Looking up toward the steel beams underneath the Wolfson Park roof, the Atlantic Beach lifeguard allowed sentiment to creep in.

"What I'll miss is the character of this stadium, the way foul balls ricochet off the rafters," said Reckamp. "I have my silly little memories of this place."

So probably do many of the 7,105 fans who showed up on a lazy Labor Day afternoon yesterday to catch the last regular-season game at Wolfson Park. It didn't seem to matter that the Jacksonville Suns lost 6-3 to the Orlando Rays. Or that Suns starting pitcher Joel Hanrahan surrendered a home run, double, triple and double to four consecutive hitters.

Going to Wolfson Park on this day was as much about civic duty and embracing history as it was baseball entertainment. Many spectators bought tickets before they knew the Suns would clinch the second-half Eastern Division title, assuring at least one more home date Friday night for the Southern League playoffs.

The holiday was a convenient time to say goodbye to a 47-year-old ballpark before it meets the wrecking ball. Before the city of Jacksonville summons a pinch-hitter, a $34 million replacement just two blocks away.

And before prices for tickets and food concessions take their customary hike, which usually comes with the amenities of a new facility.

Wolfson Park may be an antique that has seen better days, but part of its charm goes beyond minor-league baseball in a relaxed setting. The price is right, too.

Terry Farris, stationed in the Navy, got bleacher seats yesterday for his wife, Susan, and two sons for $3. …

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