|Chronological Tour: Stop 52|
Home plate entrance to PNC Field, Apr-2013.
The renovation makes it look like a new park ... indeed, like too many new parks.
Beyond the outfield is a mountain; in the outfield is grass that replaced artificial turf in 2007.
The original team’s name was an amalgam of the old Wilkes-Barre Barons and Scranton Red Sox, active teams in the 1940s. In 1997, the club logo was modified to emphasize the aviation aspect of the nickname “Red Barons”. The team cap, with an interlocking “SWB”, became a classic.
The park was built, in part, to mimic Veterans Stadium, the home of the Red Barons’ parent Philadelphia Phillies from 1971 to 2003. The biggest problem with a park that otherwise worked well was the artificial turf – a function of the Vet having had it as well as the county’s overuse of the field.
In 2007, as part of a series of affiliation changes occasioned by the 2008 transfer of the Ottawa Lynx franchise to Allentown, Pa., Scranton became a New York Yankees farm club. The Yankees promptly substituted their name for “Red Barons”, and they also renovated the field, installing new grass for their Bronx-bound players. But with ticket sales not as robust as expected during the first five years of the Yankees’ affiliation, the team rebranded itself once again and returns to the park as the RailRiders for 2013.
The park closed for major renovations during the 2012 season. The club operated out of Frontier Field in Rochester, playing some home games there and utilizing other nearby opponents’ fields for “home” games, often playing an extended set as the home team for some games and as the visiting team for others. The steep-pitched upper deck was completely removed and replaced, and new skyboxes were installed above the existing lower bowl. The park also saw the addition of a wrap-around concourse along the base of the mountain. Since the lower section of the stadium was preserved, I classify this as a renovation rather than an entirely new park.
This is very much a drive-to park. I have never seen a bus on Montage Mountain Road, but there is a railroad track nearby. On ten weekend dates in 2013, excursion cars are being run from the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton to the ballpark, but I know of no other mass transit options.
The stadium authority originally charged for parking at the ballpark. The fee was removed several years ago, but apparently reinstated by the club for 2015 (and it varies depending on the game). County police officers patrol the entrances as well as regulating the traffic signals near the freeway interchange at the end of busy games, helping facilitate access and egress.
For the 2013 season, the RailRiders also reduced ticket prices. When the club was named the Yankees, they raised prices to an unusually high level even for Triple-A, hoping to cash in on the cachet of the parent club. Attendance plummeted as a result, and so even with the stadium renovation drawing fans by itself, tickets are now in a more reasonable range, from $12 for infield box seats to $7 for general admission.
The suite level is entirely new with the renovation, above the concourse. In addition, the concession stands are now in an open concourse rather than being behind the old suites and out of view of the field.
The large video board in left field is capable of displaying a photo of the player at bat or the new pitcher, along with his stats. It does not show a running batting order. The main scoreboard is a dedicated Daktronics line score. The score and count are also displayed on side ribbon boards, although those curiously did not indicate the inning at the game I attended in 2013. This had been remedied by 2015.
During day games, a fair number of lower bowl seats are in the shade, although the number decreases as the sun gets higher in the sky at midsummer. The suite level shades quite a bit of the bowl.
With the renovation, the park now features a concourse that wraps around the outfield. There are grass areas to sit in, along with a perch that overlooks the bullpens, a kids’ play area near center field, and two specialty seating areas for picnics and so forth.
One nice feature left unchanged is that there is no cross aisle in the middle of the lower bowl. This minimizes the distraction of people walking by during play.
|105||Sat 4-Sep-1993||International||AAA||Richmond 3, SCRANTON 0|
|144||Fri 12-Aug-1994||International||AAA||Rochester 8, SCRANTON 4|
|162||Sun 30-Apr-1995||International||AAA||Toledo 15, SCRANTON 2|
|221||Sat 24-Aug-1996||International||AAA||Norfolk 4, SCRANTON 3|
|223||Sun 25-Aug-1996||International||AAA||SCRANTON 9, Norfolk 4|
|256||Sun 20-Jul-1997||International||AAA||SCRANTON 6, Richmond 3|
|325||Fri 14-Aug-1998||International||AAA||Toledo 4, SCRANTON 1|
|413||Sun 23-Jul-2000||International||AAA||Ottawa 7, SCRANTON 4|
|621||Fri 15-Aug-2003||International||AAA||SCRANTON 9, Rochester 1|
|817||Tue 4-Jul-2006||International||AAA||SCRANTON 4, Buffalo 1|
|893||Tue 28-Aug-2007||International||AAA||SCRANTON 5, Ottawa 4|
|969||Sun 7-Sep-2008||International||AAA||SCRANTON 2, Pawtucket 0, 10 inn|
|1037||Sat 12-Sep-2009||International||AAA||SCRANTON 12, Gwinnett 3|
|1041||Thu 17-Sep-2009||International||AAA||Durham 3, SCRANTON 2, 12 inn|
|1113||Sat 23-Apr-2011||International||AAA||SCRANTON 4, Syracuse 2, 1st|
|1114||Sat 23-Apr-2011||International||AAA||Syracuse 2, SCRANTON 0, 2d|
|1250||Wed 24-Apr-2013||International||AAA||Columbus 5, SCRANTON 4|
|1356||Mon 1-Sep-2014||International||AAA||SCRANTON 4, Lehigh Valley 1|
|1384||Sun 5-Jul-2015||International||AAA||SCRANTON 4, Buffalo 0, day|
|1473||Fri 5-Aug-2016||International||AAA||SCRANTON 5, Syracuse 1|
|1521||Wed 14-Sep-2016||International||AAA||SCRANTON 2, Gwinnett 1|