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  • Gregory Koch

PNC Field – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

PNC Field 235 Montage Mountain Rd Moosic, PA 18507

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders website

PNC Field website


Year Opened: 1989

Capacity: 10,000

 

PNC Field, Home of the Railriders

Minor League Baseball has been played in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania metropolitan area since 1989, when a team then known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons arrived from Maine, playing in the International League. The team plays its home games at PNC Field in Moosic, rather than in Scranton or Wilkes-Barre.

Originally a Phillies affiliate, the team became a Yankees affiliate in 2007 and renamed themselves after the parent club. In 2012, PNC Field was almost completely rebuilt, with only the seating bowl and ticket office remaining in place. For that season, the Yankees were forced to play all their “home” games in other stadiums across New York state. For the 2013 season, the team unveiled a new identity, the RailRiders, to go along with their “new” stadium.

Food & Beverage 5

PNC Field offers a wide range of concession items, with the traditional options including burgers, pizza, hot dogs, and more. Local Chickie’s & Pete’s also sells their signature crab fries, which are fries covered in crab seasoning and served with a white cheese sauce, but no actual crab. Fans will certainly not go hungry here, but the RailRiders seem to be taking a page from their parent club as prices are pretty high.

Please keep in mind the entire stadium is cashless, so bring a credit or debit card.

Atmosphere 4

PNC Field has a 360-degree concourse, with all areas offering a view of the field except for when it passes behind the press box and batter’s eye at diametrically opposite areas of the field. The seating bowl is mostly chairbacks but offers several seating areas in the outfield which are different, some bleachers and some group seating areas. All seats offer a good view of the field, although some seats in the outfield may not be able to see the videoboard in left-centerfield.

The RailRiders have a mascot named Champ, who is a blue creature of some sort. Additionally, in the middle of the fifth inning, costumed versions of Yankees legends Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Joe DiMaggio will race along the warning track, getting into the usual antics you will see in any mascot race. The team has other between-innings contests to involve the fans as well, but not to the point where it detracts from the actual game.

As with the parent club in the Bronx, the RailRiders play “New York, New York” following every home game.

Neighborhood 2

The decision to build PNC Field in Moosic rather than the much larger cities of Scranton or Wilkes-Barre is unfortunate, as there is not really much in town. If you go around the stadium and drive up a steep hill beyond the outfield fence, you will find a small shopping center and a couple hotels. There are a few more options across I-81 but Scranton is only a ten minute drive away and Wilkes-Barre 20 minutes, and those provide much better options.

Fans 3

PNC Field has historically ranked towards the bottom half of their league in attendance, first the International League and now its successor the Triple-A East League. However, despite being relatively few in number, those fans in attendance are passionate about the RailRiders, and in many cases the New York Yankees as well. You can expect to see many fans wearing the gear of both clubs here, despite the team not being in what you would think of as Yankees territory.

The fans may be towards the bottom of Triple-A by the numbers, but in terms of the energy and passion each of them brings, they rank up towards the top. Although the crowds are smaller than most places, you wouldn’t know it based on how it can sound here.

Access 3

How easy you will find getting to PNC Field depends on where you are coming from. Fans who live in Scranton or Wilkes-Barre will be disappointed the stadium is not in town, but as it is located between the two, it is relatively convenient for both. Everyone else can access the stadium via Interstate 81. Take the exit for Montage Mountain Road and arrive at the stadium shortly thereafter.

Parking is available in a large gravel lot for $5, although season ticket holders and other VIPs can park in a closer lot. Staff do a good job at directing fans to parking. As with the concession stands, parking is credit/debit card only. No cash is accepted.

Once in the stadium, the concourses can get a bit crowded at times but you should still be able to move around freely. Restrooms are of a sufficient size for the crowd.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets start at $10 for lawn seating in the outfield ($2 on Tuesdays) and the most expensive non-club seats are only $14. However, if buying online, you will need to buy through Ticketmaster and pay according fees, which takes the price up significantly. Parking is about average at $5, and concessions are a bit high but not too outrageous.

A RailRiders game can still be a good value, but this score would be a lot higher if they would ditch Ticketmaster so fans aren’t paying 50% more for tickets because of the outrageous fees.

Extras 2

The Legends Race is worthy of a star here for being a unique spin on the mascot race.

A second and final star for the 360-degree concourse offering many unique vantage points to watch the action.

Final Thoughts

The renovation PNC Field underwent in 2012 has really done it a lot of good. Architecturally, the stadium has seen massive improvements. That being said, the RailRiders seem to be leaning heavily on their affiliation with the Yankees rather than trying to attract fans by creating their own identity. Many promotions honor former Yankees greats who have no relation to the RailRiders whatsoever, and this may turn off fans who cheer for the local Phillies or other teams. As the Yankees own 50% of the club, this is likely intentional, and whether that has a positive or negative impact on the atmosphere will depend on whether or not you are a Yankees fan.

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