There’s something to be said about renovations instead of demolishing and rebuilding a stadium. If done right, it can be a wonderful thing.
Take, for example, PNC Field. Formerly known as Lackawanna County Stadium, the park underwent a major renovation – with a price tag of more than $43 million – in 2012, which forced the AAA Yankees affiliate to play all their games on the road.
But when they returned for the start of the 2013 season – what a change the stadium had.
I had been to this stadium back when it was home to the Red Barons, the AAA affiliate of the Phillies. And I came last year to see the new work. I’ve been twice this year and this stadium truly impresses me in its looks, sight lines and amenities.
If it wasn’t for the stadium that houses the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, this one would top my list for minor league parks.
The neat part of the park is you can still feel some of the old stadium still here, despite it having an incredibly shiny new look.
Overall, this is one excellent ballpark. The parking is easy, the entering of the stadium is simple (and they allow you to leave/re-enter if you need to go to your car – which came in handy on a giveaway night) and it’s simple to get to off of I-81. For the game we came to in 2013, the leaving was really crazy and tough, but it seems like they’ve learned and made it better as both times I’ve visited this year, we’ve left quickly.
Back to the stadium.
This is a great spot for baseball. The seats are roomy and there’s plenty of room. There are standing spots all around the stadium with a small “table” that runs around the stadium. The outfield standing section is especially nice with a wonderful view of the stadium. One other nice tidbit to note — it’s another stadium that has gone to the free program setup. It’s nice to see that being done more and more.
There are some excellent places around the park, too, including a seating section in right field that is set up near a bar area. The only downfall there – and for the bleachers in the right-field foul ball area – is the sun will beat down on you. The same can be said for the outfield lawn seats, which seem to be more and more the normal at minor league parks and it a really smart idea. The stadium has a full walk-around concourse, which is always nice to see at parks. It gives people a chance to stretch their legs and take a stroll around the park without missing a pitch.
The food choices here are pretty standard and the prices aren’t too bad. Each time I’ve been here, however, ice cream has been off the list because I can’t see waiting in massive lines when I am there for a baseball game. The beer selection, too, is pretty solid.
The Rail Riders have their fair share of in-between-innings games, which is fine. They aren’t too crazy and they don’t disrupt the game. The mascots are seen and are friendly and engaging.
Finally, the team store is really nice and has a lot of items available for purchase. The prices aren’t too bad, basically what you’d expect at most parks.
In the end, this is a great stadium to watch a game at. It’s comfortable, affordable (tickets are around $10 each) and it makes for a fun evening at the park.
Home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders (AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees)
Visited on: Saturday, June 21 and Friday, August 8.
Opponent: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) and Columbus Clippers (AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians)
Ratings (out of 10)
- Stadium: 9/10
- Concessions: 9.5/10
- Parking: 9/10
- Ambiance: 9.5/10
- Friendliness: 10/10
I am embarking on a summer of baseball with the plan to hit a minimum of 10 stadiums this summer. Hopefully, there will be more than that. I will report on each park that I hit on the blog.
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