Bottle rockets, roman candles and other pyrotechnics go hand-in-hand with baseball, and this is never more apparent than on Independence Day.
In fact, many of us will find ourselves attending a baseball game where the key attraction is the explosive illumination of a post game fireworks show.
Since fireworks are so intrinsically linked to both our National Pastime as well as a key component of a great Fourth of July Celebration, here’s a look back at a few celebrations that have withstood the test of time.
A Record Night
On July 4, 1982, over 65,000 fans were in attendance at Denver’s (now defunct) Mile High Stadium for an American Association game.
This is the largest crowd in the history of the minor leagues, and most stayed for the postgame fireworks show.
By comparison, this attendance swells well past the capacity of all 30 current major league stadiums.
A mutually beneficial show
Tops on everyone’s list for entertainment during the summer—and especially on Independence Day—is a nice fireworks show.
Bottom on everyone’s list is getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and gnats. In 1959, the Chicago White Sox killed two birds with one stone by attaching smoke bombs to their proximate pyrotechnics to simultaneously rid the field of gnats while delighting the crowd with a visual splendor. Talk about a win-win!
The earliest (or latest) fireworks show of all-time?
A post game pyrotechnics production was definitely in the mix for a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves on July 4, 1985.
What wasn’t planned, was that the game would take over six hours (and 19 innings) for completion. After the Mets finally outlasted the Braves, 16-13, the scant few remaining were treated to a fireworks extravaganza that started at almost 4:00 AM.
Fireworks have become so entrenched in baseball that it’s easy to take for granted the man who brought fireworks onto the scene in major league baseball.
That would be Bill Veeck, the innovative owner of the Chicago White Sox who always believed that baseball should be entertaining, regardless of the talent on the field. Veeck took a carnival approach to game theatrics, as he once allowed Eddie Gaedel, who stood 3′ 7″ tall, bat during the second game of a double header in 1951.
But Veeck is best known for his endlessly exciting invention, which he dubbed the “Exploding Scoreboard.” The scoreboard made its debut during the 1960 season.
A Close Call
Fireworks provide a ton of fun for all spectators, and for many of us it is a special spectacle that we remember for years to come. However, never lose track of the fact that fireworks, like all explosives, must be handled by professionals and care must be taken at all times.
In the summer of 2010, the Hudson Valley Renegades put on a postgame fireworks show that won’t soon be forgotten. Even though all necessary safety measures were executed, a stray comet or flying spinner decided to rogue. Thankfully no one was hurt, but this does serve as a fiery reminder of just how dangerous a seemingly safe show can be.
Upcoming RoughRiders Games
It’s not too late to purchase your tickets for tonight’s Frisco RoughRiders game as they play host to the NW Arkansas Travelers. And of course, in true Fourth of July fashion, the ‘Riders will put on an epic display during their postgame fireworks show at our very own Dr. Pepper Ballpark.