So what do you like about the 2018 IronPigs?
The winning is nice. We should continue to see decent starting pitchers every night for the foreseeable future, so it will be a matter of timely hitting and the performance of the lineup which will make the difference between a .500 club and a team that could challenge for the IL North crown. So far, so good, with the ‘Pigs in first place at the time of this report.
But as we all know–for better or worse–IronPigs Baseball is about so much more than the game on the field. And, as per usual around here there are some changes for 2018. Now that we’ve been through a couple home stands, let’s take a look and see how the “new stuff” is doing:
TICKETING I don’t know if you noticed, but TicketReturn is no longer the ticketing service used by the IronPigs. Just like when they changed the point-of-sale system a couple years ago, this kind of under-the-radar change can impact your experience more than you might think. There have been some growing pains, as expected, but it seems like things are slowly getting cleaned up. One of the ongoing problems is redeeming ticket credit for season ticket holders–particularly those who use the ticket cards. Thus far I can tell you that making sure you have your card scanned at the entrance helps–although it’s not perfect. Also, printing the tickets from the web portal also makes them much more easily scan-able. One of the advantages of the new system is the mobile-ticketing option. They haven’t really promoted that yet, probably to make sure they have all the kinks worked out. But, it does work–at least for an alternative workaround to get my ticket credits!
PUBLIC ADDRESS You’ve probably noticed, but for the second time in team history, they have a new PA announcer. Professional voice actor and narrator Chris Roman has taken over the duties at the big mic at Coca Cola Park. I admit I’m still getting used to him, and as he’s a professional, I’m sure he’ll do fine. The one thing I’ve been thinking, though, is that while he does have such a smooth baritone, it’s not quite as easy to understand him as the sound bounces around and is selectively absorbed in a full stadium. Once he becomes more comfortable, he’ll be able to raise the excitement level a little bit, too. I think the sound folks at the stadium could perhaps add a little treble to make his words pop a little better.
RADIO PLAY-BY-PLAY Fear not, “Voice of the IronPigs” Matt Provence is still with us. But while staff turns over every year, there are a few stalwarts, and we lost one late last season in Jon Shaeffer. Here to replace him and assist Matt on the radio call is Pat McCarthy. Pat was the partner of our old friend Mike Ventola in Reading last season. Oh, and he’s also the son of Phillies radio voice Tom McCarthy.
FOOD Of course, much ado is made each year about the new food offerings at Coca Cola Park. Somewhat surprisingly, menu items are rarely dropped, meaning the number and variety of food choices continues to grow. Perhaps it’s the largest in the minor leagues! Of the new items, I’ve tried a few:
- The fried cheesecake was really good. I didn’t get any dipping sauce, but it was fine on its own.
- The fried cookie dough was a little too sweet, and could it be? Too much chocolate?
- The club bar salads have been very good. And, big! Get it with the fries or without. One recommendation would be for different/better dressing choices.
- I haven’t had the pork cutlet at the bar yet–maybe tonight–but I’ve heard the breading is a bit much.
- The chimichuri pork was very tasty. Perhaps a little dry–could use extra sauce for dipping.
- The pork roll egg breakfast sandwich was outstanding. I feared the kaiser would be too big/stale/bready but it was really really good. Pairs perfectly with a Bloody Mary at the club level bar if you’re willing to venture downstairs on an education day to get the sandwich.
BEER More research is needed. Clearly. But late last season Yuengling and Light Lager began to appear at the park. This season Miller Lite has appeared at the Club Bar. Shangy’s has taken over the Biergarten, they tell me. I’ll report more later, but for the most part folks are happy with their choices. The current confluence of Miller, Bud and Coors light beers in the club should be rectified, though.
PNC CLUB LEVEL Coordinated Health is out. PNC is in. The level got a facelift as well. New bar treatments. Raising the lighting around the bar. New stone work near the doors and around the base of the polls. The floor just got re-done the other day. It looks really nice. I’m happy they took care of my summer home like they did.
Let me know what you’re liking and what you’re not for this season.
See you at the park,