MOOSIC ‚?? Fans can expect more than a new stadium when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees return to PNC Field in 2013 ‚?? more as in more fun.
Rob Crain, the 30-year-old president/CEO of the Triple A franchise, said larger, more comfortable seats, play areas for kids and a concourse that circles the park are just a few of the features of the renovated ballpark that will house a team with a new nickname.
‚??We have 72 home games,‚?Ě Crain said Wednesday. ‚??But we prefer to say we have 72 events for 2013.‚?Ě
The $43 million construction project is on schedule and on budget, Crain said, and season ticket sales are brisk.
‚??We‚??ve already sold out one section,‚?Ě he said.
Crain said the team‚??s nickname will be announced ‚??in the coming months‚?Ě once ‚??some logistical stuff‚?Ě is worked out. He said the name will be one of the six finalists announced earlier this year: Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Fireflies, Porcupines, Rail Riders or Trolley Frogs.
‚??It‚??s important that the team has its own identity,‚?Ě Crain said. ‚??We want to make the nickname as fan friendly as possible.‚?Ě
Without giving away the favorite, Crain said the nickname must be ‚??extendable,‚?Ě something that would provide a fun mascot and be marketable for concession stand items.
‚??Plus the name has to have local flavor and tie-in and be fun,‚?Ě Crain said.
Crain said the new-look stadium will be much more fan-friendly. He said there will be 3,800 square feet of play area for kids, a 360-degree walk-around-the-park concourse and large lounge seating areas in right and left fields. Crain said the seats behind home plate will be 22 inches wide, while all others will be 19 to 22 inches wide.
‚??We call them the La-Z-Boys of stadium seating,‚?Ě he said.
Once the nickname is decided, Crain said the right field area will adopt a related theme; Crain called it an adult playground.
‚??It will be a great gathering place,‚?Ě he said. ‚??And there will be a picnic area in left field.‚?Ě
After several seasons of disappointing turnout, the price has been lowered on some 3,000 season tickets and multiple game season ticket packages start as low as $35.
And there will be promotions every day at the 7,500-seat stadium.
‚??Our focus will be on promotions,‚?Ě Crain said. ‚??The new stadium is a big deal for us and the community and we can‚??t wait to share it with the community.‚?Ě
Before assuming the helm of the Triple A Yankees, Crain was assistant general manager for Omaha, the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
‚??I‚??m as hands-on as you get,‚?Ě he said. ‚??I‚??ll be in the park every game shaking hands with everyone that walks in.‚?Ě
Crain said the playing surface is in great shape ‚?? no more drainage problems that caused schedule disruptions in 2011.
‚??All the old problems have gone away,‚?Ě he said.
To emphasize the organization‚??s focus on community involvement, fans are invited to stop at the stadium from 3 p.m. to dusk on Tuesday and sign the final steel beam before it is erected.
‚??This event gives our fans a unique way to forever put their mark, literally, on the crown jewel of NEPA,‚?Ě Crain said.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees management is promising 72 ‚??events‚?Ě during its home games in 2013.
‚?Ę On ‚??$1 Hotdog Mondays,‚?Ě patrons will be able to buy a ballpark hotdog for $1.
‚?Ę ‚??2 For Tuesdays‚?Ě will allow fans to buy one lawn ticket and get another free.
‚?Ę ‚??Kids Eat Free!‚?Ě on Wednesdays. Children 12 and younger will be given a coupon at the gate for a free kids‚?? meal.
‚?Ę ‚??Thirsty Thursday‚?Ě with $1 beer specials and $1 Pepsi products. A live band will perform pre-game. July 4 will be excluded.
‚?Ę On Fridays fans can join in pre-game block party festivities and live pre-game music. Following the game, professional fireworks displays will be featured.
‚?Ę Each Saturday home game, the SWB franchise will have a special giveaway and also feature a live band before the game.
‚?Ę Sundays will be known as ‚??Family FUNday,‚?Ě where players will sign autographs, clowns will entertain and kids will have the opportunity to run the bases post-game.
‚?Ę A more detailed promotion and giveaway schedule will be released at a later date.
‚?Ę From 3 p.m. until dusk on Tuesday, Oct. 9, fans will be able to sign their names to the last steel beam that will soon be erected at the reconstructed PNC Field. Participants should report to the Trolley Barn Entrance (media entrance) and not the main entrance, as the construction area is closed to the general public.