RailRiders Follow Through on Decades-Old Promise

Brick by Brick, SWB Honors Its Past

Dignitaries from the RailRiders, Northeast Baseball, Inc. and the Commissioners' Offices were on hand for the bricks' formal unveiling. (John Sadak)

By John Sadak / Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders | March 28, 2013 9:00 AM ET

MOOSIC, Pa. - It will be one of the first sights seen as guests enter PNC Field each night. The bricks are back.

A little more than one score ago, baseball experienced a rebirth in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Our nation's pastime was coming back into a home that mirrored the big league facility of the local squad's parent club. But before there was a Lackawanna County Stadium, much less a team, money was needed. The people of NEPA stepped up to the challenge. They purchased not only season tickets to a team that did not yet exist, but also ceremonial bricks that would display their names and symbolically demonstrate their contributions to building the stadium itself.

However, for one reason or another, the bricks did not survive. When PNC Field opens anew following a $43 million reconstruction and as the home of the recently rebranded Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees), the bricks will be back and better than ever. In concert with the folks that spearheaded the creation of these mini-monuments, Northeast Baseball, Inc., the RailRiders have proudly made good by researching the archives and recreating the original vision. Now, when fans walk across the threshold of PNC Field's main plaza, they will be witness to influential history.

"I have long said that we as the RailRiders need to focus on the present and look forward to the future," said team president/GM Rob Crain. "But this is case where the past needed to be appreciated. The money that paid for these bricks paid for this ballpark. Without that first step years ago, we would not be here today. I'm glad we're able to recognize those folks and we welcome them back as part of the RailRiders family."

Dr. Andrew J. Voinski, chairman of the Northeast Baseball board, and Howard J. Grossman, vice president of the board, combined with the rest of their Northeast Baseball compatriots to restore minor league baseball to the region with the bricks project years ago. Today, they give their own nod of approval.

"It is wonderful that the RailRiders have decided to place the bricks at PNC Field, recognizing the tremendous support that was given in the 1980s when so many regional citizens made a commitment to buy season tickets without a franchise or stadium at the time," said Grossman. "We salute Rob Crain and his team of specialists for the fine work that brought a new field and stadium to literally have a new start to professional baseball for the 2013 season and many years into the future."

The RailRiders' 2013 season gets underway with the grand opening of a reconstructed PNC Field on April 4 when the defending IL champion Pawtucket Red Sox come to town for a rematch of their 2012 playoff clash with SWB. It will mark the first "Thirsty Thursday" promotion of the year with $1 beer specials and $1 Pepsi products along with a pre-game live band performance and post-game fireworks. Single-game tickets are on sale now.

- SWB RailRiders - All Aboard! -

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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