|PNC Field, originally a huge hulking structure that opened as Lackawanna County Stadium, was almost completely rebuilt for the 2013 season. Besides the field and lower bowl, very little remains from the old park. And that's certainly a good thing. While the old park was state of the art when it opened in 1989, nobody could have foreseen the building boom that went on in the minor leagues during the 1990's which would make the place obsolete by the 2000's. Along with the new park came a new nickname for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre franchise - a name the team contest resulted in the RailRiders being picked, but because the Porcupines names finished second it is featured prominently in the team's logo. Apparently they didn't think the RailRiders name was kid friendly enough, so it's odd that they decided to go with that name in the first place. Attendance had been dwindling at the old park, so rebuilding should have given the team a nice boost. While attendance is up about 1000 per game, they are still in the bottom half of attendance among teams in the International League.
- The wraparound concourse is a must have now at minor league parks, so it is nice to see that it was included with the new park. I especially like the area of the outfield concourse in right field that features some trees - it gives you the feeling of walking through a park. In 2017, the team moved the kid's play area from centerfield to left field and replaced it with a bar area.
- The atmosphere continues to be pretty laid back at the new park. While the team does employ a "Pinstripe Patrol", they are only seen a few times between innings and don't ruin the overall atmosphere. During the action, there is very little in the way of sound effects, so it feels pretty pure. A unique between innings event is the Legends Race, which features four famous Yankees racing - Joe Dimaggio, Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin.
- One aspect that I always loves at the old park and which was kept intact at the new park is the steepness of the lower seating bowl. It allows for unobstructed views and seats which are closer to the action. Why more parks aren't built with a steeper seating bowl makes no sense to me. Unfortunately, some of the views were ruined in 2017 as netting was extended over the dugouts.
- The RailHouse seating in the right field corner features bar-style seating with counters. This is a cool feature that is popping up at more and more ballparks.
- There are plenty of counters along the concourse which allow fans to stand and watch the game at. In 2017, these counters were upgraded to marble, making for a very classy look.
- The bullpens are located behind the left field wall. This is a great place for them as it allows the fans to peer in them from above as they stand on the outfield concourse. Love when ballparks do this!
- The bucolic setting makes for a relaxing time at the ballpark. The backdrop is a lush green mountainside and very little external noise can be heard. While I enjoy downtown ballparks as well, the isolated feel of PNC Field is kinda neat.
- The exterior, which is almost entirely metal and glass (sort of like Nationals Park, gives the place a rather sterile feel before you even enter the park. The entrance plaza is very large, however, so there is plenty of room for fans to spread out while waiting for the gates to open.
- For some reason (perhaps so the club level could be bigger), the press box is located along the main level. This creates a dark space along the concourse where fans are not able to see the field from. I've seen this "feature" in other parks and am not a fan.
- Does a team really need 3 mascots ? More mascots does not mean more fans. Though on many nights, it seems that only one or two mascots is on hand.
- Parking is $4. When the rebuilt park opened, parking was free. But in 2016 they started charging $2, and then in 2017 they doubled the charge. Sorry, but this just comes off looking greedy by the team.
Overall, the new PNC Field is an improvement over the previous incarnation, but it certainly did not blow me away. Compared to other newer AAA ballparks, like those in Columbus and Allentown, it simply does not stack up. Still, because of the relaxed atmosphere, nice setting, and good array of concessions, PNC Field is a fun place to take in a game. It is nice to see the team constantly trying to make improvements to the ballpark to make the experience a better one.
- The most prevalent item at the ballpark seems to be the chicken tenders as they have five different flavors of them, all of which come in both individual and bucket sizes. This is definitely unique as I don’t recall seeing anything similar at another ballpark
- The main concession stand on the first base side sells specialty burgers and specialty potato dishes like pierogies and topped fries.
- There are numerous concession carts along the concourse offering up Mexican options (walking tacos, nachos supreme), paninis, cheese steaks, Italian sausages, and roasted nuts.
- A BBQ stand, located in the right field corner, has both pork and beef sandwiches as well as perogies. I sampled the Perogie Pork sandwich ($7.50), which was quite tasty.
- Once again, Revello's is serving up pizza at two different stands. It is Sicilian style pizza and runs $4.75 for two "cuts" (slices).
- Prices on concessions have continued to increase on a yearly basis. Ballpark staples like hot dogs are $3.50 and nachos are $5.75.
- The variety of food options has increased since 2013, however there are some nights when all the food carts are not open. This does not give a good impression as the team is basically admitting that they aren’t expecting a big crowd..