Results tagged ‘ Harrisburg Senators ’

On the Road: Capitol Improvements in Harrisburg

The sixth and final stop on my most recent road trip was Harrisburg’s Metro Bank Park, a facility that has been almost entirely remodeled over the past two seasons. The $45 million dollar renovation transformed the ballpark from this:


 To this:


On Saturday I was there as a mascot, an experience that will be detailed in a post and article later this week. The following afternoon, I had the chance to check things out sans body pod and vision-impairing fake head. Needless to say, it was an entirely different (and far more comfortable) perspective.

I arrived early and met gm Randy Whitaker for a pre-game tour of the facility. One of the first things we checked out were the suites that ring the top edge of the grandstand seating area.

The view from the front:

The view from behind amply showcases the Susquehanna River and Harrisburg skyline:


And the view inside:


In order to provide the best possible view from the suites, the outdoor press box was nudged to the right (“TV and radio are great, but they don’t pay the bills,” said Whitaker):


And then there’s the Press Box Club. A $30 ticket includes a padded seat behind home plate and all-you-can-eat food in the bar and restaurant located directly behind the seating area.




While $30 tickets are pricey by Minor League standards, the food is excellent. Sunday’s offerings included an omelet station, but I opted for breaded pork chops, string beans, and grits (!!!). It was some of the best food I’ve ever had in a Minor League ballpark (albeit not as memorable as a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich) My photos of the food offerings at the Press Box Club were substandard, however, and deleted by third-party Ben’s Biz Blog quality control arbiters.

And speaking of “sub”standard, the ground-level concourse area is ringed with submarine-style sliding doors designed to protect the stadium from flooding (Metro Bank Park is located on City Island, surrounded on all sides by the Susquehanna, and flooding is a legitimate concern):


That is one well-protected Women’s Restroom!

But it’s one thing to mention that the ballpark is located on an island, it’s another thing to show it. With an hour to go before game time, I went outside to explore the area outside of the stadium.

The Walnut St. Bridge is located directly outside of the ballpark, commemorated with this relentlessly self-deprecating historical plaque:


Okay, we get it: it’s old, closed to automobiles, heavily damaged, and known by a derogatory nickname. It’s also a scenic way to get to and from the ballpark:


And while cars have been banned, horses are still welcome:

Upon arriving on the “mainland”, one can see the ballpark from a different perspective:


I soon stumbled upon this statue, which houses a time capsule buried in conjunction with Harrisburg’s 1960 centennial celebration:


Forgive this indulgence, but I was immensely charmed by the (poorly-maintained) plaque on the statue’s base. It read:

Greetings to Future Harrisburgers!

In a shaft, directly beneath this monument in a metal cylinder is contained a documented history of Harrisburg from its early beginnings along with evidence of the way of life of our time.

It is our fervent hope that you will bring them to light during 2060 prior to your bicentennial celebrations, sort them out and again inter some of them along with your own for evaluation of future generations.

May God Guide Your Endeavors!

If anyone would like to accompany me to Harrisburg’s bicentennial celebrations (I’ll be 81 and hopefully still kicking) then please send an email. I’m serious — it never hurts to plan ahead!

But anyway…I walked back to the ballpark across a far less pedestrian-friendly adjacent bridge, taking in the sight of yet more bridges:


Back on the island, overlooking the (limited) parking area:


Approaching the stadium, the atmosphere resembles an old-fashioned amusement park. There are train crossings, carriage rides, batting cages, and an arcade:



I know what you’re all asking: Did the arcade have pinball?

Yes! Yes it did:


The main entrance is situated down the left field line, providing almost immediate access to the brand-new boardwalk area. It is presided over by an inflatable local entrepreneur, and includes concessions, a team store, picnic areas, rail seating, the Bullseye Bar, and more:




The team store register area recycles old ballpark bleachers:


The Bullseye Bar (so named because if a batter hits the bar, everyone gets free beer) is located directly beneath the massive scoreboard (one of the biggest in the Minors):


That picture was taken in the fifth inning, just after a power outage reset the scoreboard. It also caused some momentary deflation in the Kid’s Zone:


Keep Your Friends Close:


But your enemies closer:


The Spot, a Harrisburg fast food institution, has a stand in the area underneath the third base bleachers:



Views, views, and more views:




The bleachers down the third base line were spared in the renovations, and therefore serve as a reverberating metal link to the past:


Dugout Suites, Dugout Dancing:



C Battery wins a controversial recycling-themed mascot race:


But there was nothing controversial about the Sens’ decisive 13-4 victory:


All that was left for me to do was watch the kids run the bases in the enervating heat:


And then, finally, I was able to return to New York City’s comforting embrace.

The Pennsylvania Road Trip is done, but there is more to come: Look for a Mascot Camp, Pt. II article and blog on Friday. Until then, I’ll be trying to resurrect what little (if anything) remains of my social life.

On the Road: Character Development in Central PA

Like Brooks and Dunn, Abbot and Costello, or Jacoby and Meyers, mascots and Minor League Baseball have become inextricably intertwined with one another.

So much so that this very blog has become a defacto storehouse of mascot antics, bloopers, naming contests, weddings, and political campaigns. Since I write about mascots so much, I decided I needed to understand them better — by becoming one.


The above picture was taken during my first day at Keystone Mascot Camp, which I attended in scenic Annville, PA from July 15-17. An article about that day can be found HERE, and there will be a “part 2” later in the week (including a report from tonight’s Harrisburg Senators game, to be attended by all the campers in costume).

My character is Giorgio, who was later renamed “Bloggerman” by the camp staff. Here he is, in action, amongst several of his peers (that’s the Harrisburg Senators’ “Grrrounder” in the middle there).

And, yes, he’s not wearing any pants (that situation has since been rectified).


In the afternoon of the first day, the campers (10 in total) filled out a personality profile for their mascot. Here’s the scoop on my new alter-ego:

Thumbnail image for Mascot_skitwork2.JPGGiorgio (aka Bloggerman)

Species: Human
Gender: Male
Age: 47
Residence: New York City
Physical Attributes: A Healthy Paunch; Compulsion to Strut
Special Skills: Ability to Telepathically High Five
Family Members: Four Brothers, Eight Uncles (parents died in jetskiing accident)
Friends: His Uncles and Brothers
Giorgio_Dance.JPGRivals: His Uncles and Brothers
General Attitude Toward Life: Do You
Goal In Life: To Never Stop Strutting
Favorite Food: Raw Oysters
Favorite Music: Frank Sinatra, Aerosmith, Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, Wagner
Hobbies: Walking Bridges in NYC at Night, High-Fiving Everyone Who Walks Past
Pants: Who Needs ‘Em?

Giorgio the Bloggerman was just one of many characters in attendance at this session of mascot camp. Here’s the full roster:


In a matter of hours, this motley crew will be doing a dance routine at Harrisburg’s Metro Bank Ballpark. To THIS SONG. Also, there are rumors that we may be incorporated into a skit featuring special ballpark guest Sgt. Slaughter.

Bloggerman cannot be defeated by the cobra clutch!


A Blog Post Before the Roof Caves In

carsnow.jpgHello from wintry New York City!

I was going to do a post called “Snow-cial Media”, that compiled all of the weather-related Twitter and Facebook postings I have seen throughout the day. But then I thought to myself that that was a stupid idea, and decided to write about something even more stupid instead: mascot videos.

So here goes nothin’…

In Beloit, the Snappers are once again hot on the trail of their elusive turtle mascot. It’s an enjoyable video to watch, even if I can’t quite fathom a mascot-team relationship in which the former is always on the run from the latter:

Meanwhile, out in Visalia, Tipper is spending some time out on the golf course. This is just a little “slice”-of-life video, giving you a glimpse of how mascots behave when they are away from the bright lights of the ballpark.

In closing, let me once again ask the following favor: make me a new blog head shot! Thank you.

One Intern Deserves Another

senators.gifThe Harrisburg Senators seem poised for a breakout season.

Metro Bank Park has been extensively re-modeled over the past two years, and the club will have a chance to showcase it during the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game. The team is stepping it up on the promotional front as well, announcing just yesterday that a flat-screen TV will be given away during every inning of every Friday home game.

And then there’s “The Intern World”, the first episode of which was released yesterday. I’ll let director of game entertainment Aaron Margolis explain things from here:

This season, our eight interns are in a pretty unique
situation. In addition to interning in the crazy world of minor league
baseball, they are sharing a penthouse apartment that overlooks the city. 
The similarity to a certain long-running cable reality series did not escape us
and we knew that we needed to capitalize. The result is this “reality show”
that we will be continuing into the season.

Finally, I would like to once again remind my readership that I regularly write content for Check out this piece on Oneonta’s move to Norwich, and this one on the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

That’ll do it for me and the month of January.


Talkin' Bout The Weather Report…

Wind.jpgOne of my favorite recurring promotions around the Minor Leagues is the Lancaster JetHawks‘ “Tumbleweed Tuesday”, in which the ticket price for each Tuesday home game is determined by the previous day’s wind speed.

This promo came about because the JetHawks play in California’s Antelope Valley, which is known as being a particularly gusty region of the United States — a fact which, as we shall soon see, is sometimes dramatically illustrated at Lancaster’s Clear Channel Stadium.

On Monday, in preparation for the season’s first “Tumbleweed Tuesday”, Lancaster Assistant GM Derek Sharp measured the wind speed according to his own unique set of calculations, and found that it was blowing at 15 MPH. This meant that tickets for Tuesday’s game would be a mere $1.50.

But, as is so often the case, the cruel hand of fate soon intervened. For there was no game played at Tuesday at all, due to…wait for it…high winds. (Cue Nelson’s “Ha-Ha” laugh here).
With gusts of over 50 MPH expected, conditions were deemed unsafe for baseball. Conditions were great for tumbleweeds, however. These drifting, transitory shrubs had a veritable field day, and were able to scatter their seed all over the Antelope Valley. Bad day for baseball, but a great day for the propagation of the species!

From the Barometer to the Thermometer — In much happier weather-related news, thecrk.gif Cedar Rapids Kernels are staging a “Get Back to the 70s” promotion tonight. This promo has nothing to do with tired cultural references to a bygone era, and everything to do with the fact that Spring is finally here. In celebration of the fact that today’s high temperature will be over 70 degrees (for the first time since October, 2007), the Kernels will throw out 70 first pitches prior to the evening’s contest against the Great Lakes Loons. Fans who wish to participate should arrive at the stadium at 5:30 and keep an eye out for Mr. Shucks, the club’s anthropomorphic corn mascot. Or better yet, keep an “ear” out. Get it?

Finally…Don’t forget that tomorrow in Harrisburg is “Guaranteed Rainout Night”. If the hometown Senators do, in fact, play their regularly scheduled game against New Hampshire, then all fans will receive a FREE ticket to Monday’s contest against Erie.


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