It’s been a little more than two years since Rob Crain was appointed President and General Manager of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
When he first took over the post in July of 2012, one of the things he constantly stated was that he wanted the team more involved in the community and that he wanted PNC Field to be a back porch for Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.
Sure there have been tons of game day promotions and giveaways at PNC Field that keep fans entering the stadium’s gates, but the team, and players, have been extremely active during times when there haven’t been any games.
The first season of the renovated ballpark consisted of plenty of activities during non-game times, but 2014 has seen the front office take things to a whole new level, perhaps levels never seen by the organization in the 25-year existence.
“It’s always important for us to get out there even on non-game days preaching the gospel of the RailRiders if you will,” Crain said.
Earlier this month, PNC Field hosted Yoga on the Field on a Saturday morning. This coming Saturday, there will be a ballpark carnival at the stadium from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. prior to that evening’s game against Pawtucket. The carnival has a unique twist as tickets can be purchased to experience things such as taking batting practice, getting an autograph, getting a tour of PNC Field, and much more.
There have also been other events held in the last year that have brought out many fans. In December, there was a breakfast with Santa, and in March the stadium hosted a family fun day with special guest Curious George for children to meet. Looking for something other than kids’ events? Well, the RailRiders hosted a beer festival as well.
Those daylong events were all in the offseason. During the last four months, there have been numerous other festivities happening like four District 2 baseball championships all held on Memorial Day or the Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional that lasted for five days during the busiest time of the year for the organization.
“We’ve had so many things on, and they’re all growing,” Crain said. “From breakfast with Santa, a carnival, yoga, beer fest and they’re all important things for us to get out there and show what we’re all about. …Tournaments that we hold in-season and are very important to us as well.”
The venue was once home for the semi-pro Scranton Eagles team, but that was nearly 20 years ago. Recently, there have been rumors floating around that PNC Field was going to host football game at some point once again.
“I would love to host a football game,” Crain said. “I’m not sure about a whole season, but like how the Yankees have the Pinstripe Bowl. If I can make the numbers work I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
Off the field, the RailRiders have been very instrumental in a number of programs whether it’s during a game or just getting some recognition in the community with many Part with the RailRiders events being held, including one last week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs during the establishment’s Party on the Patio event.
Player appearances are always popping up as well whether it’s during a camp or event at PNC Field, reading to children at a local learning establishment or making a hospital visit.
It’s clear that the RailRiders organization has evolved in numerous ways during the Crain administration and could get even stronger in the many months.