Thursday, May 12, 2016

Scranton What?

Last Sunday after work,my good friend and often travel companion Doug Hopkins made the three hour trek up I-81 to Scranton PA for my first trip to the home of the Railriders,the AAA Affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Scranton is a ballpark that was completely renovated and reopened in 2013 and unless you know that,you would assume that it was a new stadium.
PNC Field was a stadium with wide concourses and lots of room in an open area when you enter the stadium.

I didn't eat at the stadium because we were planning to eat afterward,but I walked around and there were plenty of places with food concessions.
The seats were pretty decent as far as size goes for width and plenty of leg room as well.
With my aching knees often times,my knees will tighten up in the better seating area,but it didn't happen once at PNC Field.

PNC Field also is built into a mountain with lots of exposed rock clearly visible around the bowl of the outfield.
It has some neat features as high above the outfield,you can see some restaurants and shopping from the stand along with a grassy area to sit in the outfield area,which is becoming more of a standard feature in newer minor league parks.
Visually,it's not outstanding,but it's solid and I'd rank it as above average..

If you are a Yankee hater,this may not be the place for you,because the Railriders have completely bought into the Yankee mystique-almost to the lack of real attachment to the teams own name and image.
There are far more attention paid to the Yankees affiliation than the name Railriders and I don't really have an issue with that.
I bet that they get their fair share of traveling fans from New York (about two hours away) that buy into the Yankee marketing and I heard more New York accents than I've heard in years.
The team brings in older Yankee legends on certain days each month and the team store has more Yankee items than for the hometown branding.
My favorite part of the day was the "Racing Yankees".
Different teams have various gimmicks,but this added a baseball flair to it as Billy Martin,Mickey Mantle,Joe DiMaggio and Thurman Munson raced around the field.
I thought that was pretty cool.

The game moves along there and doesn't have the ear-splitting noise and time wasters that some parks have (Hagerstown).
It isn't as much that they don't have them (they do),it's just that the noise level is so much lower,so you can ignore if you wish.

This game had former Yankee (among others) Nick Swisher attempting a comeback,so after the game,most of the graphers were on the Yankee side attempting to add Swisher along with powerhitting prospect Aaron Judge,who smashed a long homer in this game.
Scranton's clubhouses are on opposite sides of the field,so you cannot do post game for both teams.
I needed top 100's for both team,but needed more for the visiting Lehigh Valley Ironpigs,so did them.
The graphers didn't really say much to Doug and I,except for one guy who was pretty helpful.
I did reasonably well for AAA, as I was able to get the first two top 100's for the 2016 set in Lehigh Valley's Nick Williams and Jake Thompson along with some more players from the new Reading top prospect set.
I needed three top 100's for Mark Appel,the former top overall pick in the draft,who the Phillies traded for over the off-season.
Appel was very nice,but a one per,so Doug helped me out,so I was able to get the 2014 and 15 finished,but still need the new card finished.

Doug and I usually try to find interesting places on trips to eat and this was no exception as I did homework on tripadvisor and came up with Cosmo's-a cheesesteak and fries joint that learned from the famous Philly steak places in Gino's and Pats.
My volcano chicken cheesesteak (this sub was unavailable in beef for some reason) and volcano fries were very good,
It's a few miles from the ballpark (Cosmo's is in Scranton,with the stadium in suburban Moosic),but worth going out of the way for.

I'd consider myself pleasantly surprised by Scranton and I can't really think of anything negative to say about the trip.
I'd certainly return!

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