No cash, no autographs and plenty of social distancing.
Fans coming out to PNC Field for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders games this season should be prepared for some COVID-19-related changes.
On Tuesday, the team announced a slew of protocols and policies for gamedays, set with guidance from Major League Baseball, the Centers for Disease Control and the state of Pennsylvania. The RailRiders’ home opener is May 11 against Lehigh Valley, a week after the season opens on the road in Syracuse.
Changes will be evident as soon as fans pull into the parking lot. PNC Field will be cashless this season, and that includes paying for parking. Concession stands, bars, merchandise and ticketing also will require credit or debit cards in an effort to cut down on hand-to-hand contact between fans and staff.
Tickets will have to be purchased online and will be sold in pods. PNC Field has a capacity of 10,000 and current state regulations allow outdoor venues to reach
50 percent of their capacity. The state also requires social distancing, however, and when that’s factored in, the RailRiders expect to reach just 30 percent of their capacity. Seats that are not up for sale will be zip-tied.
Masks are required for those age 2 and older, and must be worn at all times unless “actively eating or drinking” while at your seat. Those who cannot wear masks for medical reasons must provide “written medical verification,” and they will be given a wristband at the gate.
Other notable changes: only medical or diaper bags or small wristlets will be allowed; restrooms will be cleaned every 30 minutes; re-entry to the stadium is not allowed unless there is a rain delay; and players will not be allowed to sign autographs. There will be a 12-foot “buffer zone” between the teams’ dugouts and the fans in the seats.
Joe Vasile will join the RailRiders’ radio broadcasts this season, taking over the No. 2 spot after Adam Giardino left the position. Vasile, a native of Paramus, New Jersey, called some innings for the RailRiders in 2018 and 2019. This will be his seventh season in minor league baseball.
The games again will air on Bold Gold Media Group’s 1400 AM, 1440 AM, 93.5 FM, 106.7 FM and 107.9 FM.
Conor Foley goes beyond the box score with in-depth coverage of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. He has worked at The Times-Tribune since graduating from University of Scranton in 2011, and he has covered the RailRiders since 2017. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9125; or @railridersTT