FNB Field – Harrisburg Senators
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
FNB Field 245 Champion Way Harrisburg, PA 17101
Year Opened: 1987
Located on City Island in the middle of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, FNB Field is home to the Harrisburg Senators, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The stadium opened in 1987 and was extensively renovated in a two-phase project following the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Between the two projects, the ballpark was almost completely rebuilt.
Food & Beverage 4
FNB Field has an extensive selection of concessions, ranging from traditional items like hot dogs, pizza, and ice cream (made by Hershey’s which is headquartered nearby) to items from local vendors such as Arooga’s Wing Shack. Concession stands are scattered throughout the stadium, with some in left field right by the entrance, some on the home plate concourse, and some on the lower level down the first base line. You may have to walk around a bit to find the food you want, but you’ll certainly find it here.
FNB Field has a unique and somewhat confusing layout. To enter the stadium, fans walk up a flight of steps or a ramp to the left field gate. Although most minor league stadiums have the gate close to home plate, this setup was necessitated by the geography of City Island. Fans sitting in the cheap seats in left field can walk right down to their seats, but others will have to walk through the various areas of the stadium.
There is a boardwalk-like area in left field when you first get into the stadium which contains various banners, stands, and promotional items, and some seating areas are located below here. A more traditional stadium concourse is behind home plate, with seating areas above and below. Finally, even more, seats are located down a flight of steps along the first baseline. There are two scoreboards, a small one in left centerfield and a larger one in right centerfield which also has a video board.
There are many promotions during a Senators game, ranging from your usual on-the-field contests to giveaways to lucky fans if certain events happen in the game. If a Senator hits a home run into the cheap seats in left field, one lucky fan wins a giveaway from Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, which sponsors the seating area. Most amusingly, if the visiting team’s number two hitter strikes out at any point during the game, one lucky fan wins a prize pack courtesy of Poop Genie, a local pet waste disposal company.
The team has two mascots, Rascal, who is officially a river bandit but more closely resembles a jester or clown, and his friend Grrrounder the Dog. (That is not a typo, presumably, he is saying “Grrr.”) They can be seen on the field and in the stands throughout the game, getting up to various antics like high-fiving kids and dumping popcorn on fans of the opposing team.
FNB Field is located on City Island, which is an attraction in its own right. In addition to the stadium, fans can find a mini-golf course, carriage rides, a riverboat, and a narrow gauge railroad as well as several places to eat. Downtown Harrisburg is just across the bridge and easily accessible on foot or by car and has many more options that should satisfy any visitor. You can find just about anything here, ranging from pizza to burgers to many bars.
The Harrisburg Senators draw reasonably well for a minor league team. A typical Saturday night game will draw over 4,000 fans to a stadium that seats roughly 6,000. The crowd on a weeknight will be less but that’s true just about everywhere you go. The fans who do show up are passionate about their Senators and it can get fairly loud here at times. Fans are involved in the game as well as in other activities such as interacting with the mascots and cheering on contestants in the between-inning contests. Although the Senators rarely sell out, the stadium will seldom be too empty either.
Although FNB Field is on an island, it is easily accessible from Downtown Harrisburg. Fans can either drive across the Market Street Bridge and park in the lot on the island for $5, or they can park on the streets downtown and walk across the pedestrian bridge. The lot on the island is not right next to the stadium, but it is about a two to three-minute walk away. However, getting around the stadium once you’re inside can be challenging.
There are several seating areas connected haphazardly and fans often have to walk up and down multiple flights of steps to get where they’re going. There are restrooms on the main concourse behind home plate as well as the far side of the lower area down the right field line by the picnic pavilion. They are of ample size for the crowds but you may have to walk around a bit for one, especially if you are sitting on the field level.
Return on Investment 3
The ticket prices and value at FNB Field will vary widely depending on where you’re sitting. The Ollie’s Discount seats in left field are $13 and there are other $13 seats in undesirable areas of the stadium as well. However, box seats above the concourse between the bases cost just $2 more. Field box seats down the right field line on the lower level cost $17, while seats below the concourse and between the bases range from $19 to a whopping $38 although the latter comes with access to the stadium club. These ticket prices do not make sense, with some seats being a much better value than others. The $5 for parking is annoying but not outrageous, and concessions are decently priced as well.
There are programs for sale by the entrance for just $2 and come with a lucky raffle number for a chance to win various prizes throughout the game. There is also a team store in the left field by the entrance which sells Senators merchandise. Finally, be sure to check out the Life-Sized Bobblehead Hall of Fame down the first baseline on the upper concourse. Inductees include former Senators and Major League greats such as Vladimir Guerrero (the former Expo, not the current Blue Jay), Cliff Floyd, and Bryce Harper.
Life Size Bobbleheads, Photo by Gregory Koch
Although an island in the middle of a river may not seem like the best place to build a baseball stadium, FNB Field manages to make things work. Although the layout is a bit quirky and perhaps annoying, once you manage to find your way into the stadium and to your seat the experience is top-notch. Throw in unique extras like life-sized bobbleheads and unusual promotions and a Senators game is well worth a trip for anyone in Central Pennsylvania.