PLAINS TWP. – Less than six weeks before baseball players with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders take their first at-bats, hundreds of fans lined up Saturday for a crack at working for the Moosic-based, minor league franchise.
The RailRiders accepted applications for concessions vendors, ushers, grounds crew workers and other part-time, seasonal positions at a job fair at the Mohegan Sun Casino. Three applicants will even get the chance to dance on the grass at the newly renovated PNC Field as one of three team mascots.
Between the team and its concessions vendor, Legends, nearly 400 positions were offered Saturday, said Rob Crain, RailRiders president and general manager.
“We wanted to make sure we’ve got the best of the best folks working for us this year,” said Crain, “and we wanted to have as many people as possible come out and talk to us.”
Many people attending Saturday’s job fair said they weren’t there seeking a job to pay the bills, but rather for the chance to get an insider’s glimpse at their favorite sport.
Zachary McKitch, 17, of Dupont, applied for a parking attendant job. He’s been attending games at the stadium “ever since I was a little kid, when they were the Red Barons,” he said.
“It’s less about trying to find a job and the money,” said McKitch, who dreams of working as a sportscaster for ESPN. “I just want to be around it.”
Raymond Mandaro, of Canadensis, Pike County, donned a Yankees sweatshirt and jacket as he waited to apply to work as an usher for the Yankees’ farm team. “I grew up being a big Yankee fan,” said Mandaro, a retired United Parcel Service worker from New York. “When this came up, I said this is perfect for me … Baseball is my first love.”
Richard Conaboy, 20, of Scranton, said he worked for four years as a ball boy for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, and came to the job fair in hopes of moving up to bat boy. “It’s fun,” he said. “You get to meet all the players. You can say you met them if they make it to the big leagues.”
Christian Roberts, 13, of Dallas, also was looking for a job as a bat boy. He wants to study sports medicine in college and believes the job could give him an inside look at a professional sports operation, he said.
“I want to see how they run things in the stadium,” said Roberts. “I was looking to be involved with sports for a long time. I’m happy they’re having this and that I learned about it, because it’s a great opportunity.”
So what does it take to work for Northeastern Pennsylvania’s newest sports franchise?
Crain said he’s seeking workers with, more than anything, energetic personalities.
“When someone sees that lost look on (a fan’s) face in a new ballpark, are they going to go up to them and (ask), ‘How can I help you? What can I do for you,’ ” Crain said. “We’re looking for that person that’s going to engage our guests, because we really consider them guests more than fans.”