Play Ball: Baseball is back on City Island

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Harrisburg’s boys of summer are back!

With a new crop of young players, returning vets, and experienced management, the Harrisburg Senators are set for another exciting season of baseball on City Island starting Thursday, April 4.

Baseball in Harrisburg means a lot to me and my family. Not only did I see probably close to 15-20 games a season with my dad and cousin as a kid, but I have had multiple family members play baseball on City Island.

My grandfather, Dan Werner, played on one of the first integrated baseball teams with the Harrisburg Giants and my uncle, Mike York, pitched for the Senators for a few years before hitting the MLB.

Summer nights on City Island hold a special place for me, and for the city of Harrisburg as well.

Senators games are a tradition for a lot Harrisburg residents.

Seriously, there aren’t many better things than a sunny day, a hot dog, and a cold beer while watching a ball game. Maybe some popcorn, too. Oh, and a funnel cake.

Opening day

Opening day for any sport is all about hope and anticipation.

“You know for these guys, it’s been building since a few days after last season ended,” said Manager Matt Lecroy. “They took a few days off, but then they were right back at it.”

While officially spring training start a little over a month ago, for the guys in the minors, the grind never stops.

One of the new guys to the club, Tres Barrera, smiled the whole time as he talked about opening day.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Barrera. “I’m really excited to play with this group of guys on this team and to start the year off strong.”

For many players, it’s the start or continuation of their journey to get to their ultimate goal of playing in the majors, or the “the show.”

That’s one aspect of the Senators and all minor league squads that is so exciting and appealing.

Senators fans have seen players like Bryce Harper, Steven Strasburg, and Vlad Guerrero, just to name a few, get their start in a Sens uniform.

“Having players on the team that span from young guys just starting out to players who have made it to “the show” is great,” said starting pitcher, Will Crowe.

Experience and talent

This year’s version of the Senators has it all.

Players like 18-year-old Luis Garcia who are just getting their start to vets like Aaron Barrett who is in his

The roster is also peppered with returning players like Erick Fedde, Luis Sardinas, and Spencer Keiboom.

“You’re going to see a lot of talent on the field,” said hitting coach, Brian Rupp. “I know you usually don’t hear the hitting coach saying this too often, but we have a some guys who can really throw hard and the bullpen is solid.”

Fans can also expect to see a team that has already seemed to gel with one another in the clubhouse.

Crowe said it didn’t take long for the guys in the clubhouse to start having fun with each other and coming together as a team.

“As a manager, when you have a good clubhouse, it takes a lot off of your plate,” said Lecroy. “You don’t have to worry about other problems popping up and you can just coach.”

Fun at the ballpark

Minor league baseball teams are known for their wild and crazy promotions.

Whether it’s a Star Wars Night or Monkey Cowboy Rodeos, the teams are all about bringing more fun to the ball park.

This year, at FNB Field is no different.

Promotional highlights

  • April 20: Candy Drop – A first for the Senators. They will have a helicopter drop hundreds of pounds of candy on the field for kids to pick up .
  • June 5: 1K Beer Run – Participants run three laps around the warning track and drink a beer after every lap to complete the 1K race.
  • July 18: Human Cannonball – Post-game The Human Cannonball will launch himself towards home plate.

Full promotional schedule➡️

Since baseball is better with beer, fans can also enjoy a variety of local craft beer selections including ZerØday Brewing Co., Tröegs Independent Brewing, and Appalachian Brewing Co., among others.

Also, the Senators are unveiling maybe the best in-game promotion ever. The Anti-Freeze.

The Freeze, original to the Atlanta Braves, was an in-game promotion that had a speedy guy in a blue costume race a fan through the outfield.

Now, The Anti-Freeze is the opposite. He’s a little bit of a heftier guy who will race a fan from along the warning track in the outfield.

This will be a main event for all 70 Senators home games.

The Harrisburg Senators open up their 2019 campaign with a seven game homestand against the Bowie Baysox and Hartford Yard Goats.

Now let’s play ball!

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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