A RailRiders makeover

June 27th, 2015 1:21 am

First Posted: 6/4/2013

Social media can have its perks.

And for the Avoca/Dupont Little League, Facebook was just the beginning of the blessing the organization got from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Front office personnel, along with the grounds crew at PNC Field, worked all day Monday on the Adopt-a-Field program to renovate the Stanley M. Swanek Memorial Field. The day culminated with a game following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“It’s really nice for the RailRiders to put an interest in helping the community,” said Avoca/Dupont Little League president Joe Fritz. “At one time, you can sort of say they didn’t do this. Now they’re showing that they’re willing to give back to the community.”

The ADLL entered a contest sponsored by the RailRiders on Facebook a few months back. The rules were simple. Submit a photo of your field and the top four photos with the most “Likes” would get a visit from the RailRiders to turn a field around.

It just so happens that the ADLL got 849 votes or “Likes” and was treated to an all-day field makeover, thanks to the RailRiders.

Lori Bogetti, who is in charge of the field maintenance at the Little League field, was overwhelmed with the amount of support her photo got on Facebook. She said people from all over the world were liking the photo.

“We got 849 ‘Likes’ all together,” she said Monday while watching the grounds crew work on the field. “For me, this is just such a great thing for our family and the organization. It’s fantastic that these people take time out of their day to do this.”

Bogetti and Fritz spend much of their time working on the field. However, the means to properly fix the field were never available until the RailRiders intervened.

“It’s really nice that they put their time in and work on a field,” Fritz said. “We can work on it but they have the machinery and the tools to get it done much quicker.”

Led by PNC Field head groundskeeper Steve Horne, a host of front office employees for the RailRiders traded in their suits and ties for shovels and work gloves. Curt Camoni, the VP of baseball operations was there. So was the Executive VP of Business Operations, along with ticket sales coordinators and other executives.

“It gets my front office people out and experience something they don’t normally do,” Horne said. “Giving back to the community is really important to us.”

This is just one of four fields the RailrRders will renovate throughout the area. Last year, Horne and his crew took on two fields.

“We really had a positive response last year,” he said.

With the Avoca/Dupont field, Horne’s crew faced challenges he sees at almost every Little League field he works on. The crew spent the majority of the morning shaping the infield and altering the lip of the infield. Workers also cut out the mound and reshaped it.

With several loads of dirt, Horne’s crew also leveled out the infield.

“We’re just trying to bring a little PNC Field to this field,” Horne said. “To be able to encourage kids to come out and do something that our group was a part of - that’s all of our goals.”

“I’m very impressed,” Bogetti said. “They are heart and soul. They picked up garbage and are really taking time to do this for the community. Their stadium is just so incredible now and for them to give back to the community is just unbelievable.”

The RailRiders were on the road Monday. However, Horne and his staff needed to get back to work with a game on Tuesday. Horne admitted there is always something to do at PNC Field. But this was a little more important to him.

“We’re trying to give them something to take pride in,” he said. “It’s a big chance. It’s a lifetime memory.”