Railriders make final preparations to welcome fans back

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MOOSIC, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As more people get vaccinated and restrictions continue to ease, many fans of America’s national pastime are getting more opportunities to enjoy the game in-person.

“We’ve had season tickets since the first day of the stadium which was 1989 when the Red Barons played Norfolk,” said Jerry Valonis, a Railriders season ticket holder.

Valonis loves coming to the ballpark and catching minor league baseball with the family.

“I’m here with my wife and my special needs son, and he’s a big Yankee fan. So, when we didn’t have the season last year, it really hurt.”

So, coming back to catch the minor league action is exciting. But it comes with a grain of salt as a global pandemic has forced the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders to restrict access in the name of safety.

“When you come here, it’s like a family affair. So, you get to see people that we haven’t seen in like two years, be a part of this and come here and talk to them. It makes it very enjoyable,’ Valonis said.

For Valonis and so many other Railriders fans who have been waiting more than 600 days to get back into the stadium — they’re eager to do it but things are going to look just a little bit different.

“But we are very much looking forward to that first Railriders game and a long time in this ballpark,” said Adam Marco, communications director and broadcaster for the Railriders.

Part of getting people back in requires following guidelines and recommendations. The concessions will be contactless payments and the team store will be limited to a handful of customers at a time.

Social distancing, mask mandates will be enforced. And maybe the biggest kick — limited capacity, even for the outdoor venue.

“We asked for patients. We asked for understanding that we’re doing the best we can to get the most number of people in, while still following the guidelines laid out for ourselves, it’s a work in progress this whole year will be, but I think everything is right now,” Marco said.

But there will be baseball and all the thrills that come with attending. Even if it’s not quite what it was.

“If it only lasts for this year. I think everybody could put up with it or they should put up with it, because baseball’s back and instead of watching on tv to watch it in person will be very good,” said Valonis.

The Railriders will return to Moosic on May 11 for their home opener. Right now, they’re only selling single game tickets in seating pods through the month of May.

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