We visit Metro Bank Park, the newly renovated home of the Harrisburg Senators. Page 2: Rolling on the River.
ROLLING ON THE RIVER
There’s a long history of baseball in Pennsylvania’s capitol, going way back to the days of the original Interstate Association/Eastern League in 1883 and a Harrisburg entry in that circuit, playing as the Harrisburg Olympics in 1884. Over the years various Harrisburg teams played in the original NY-Penn League (now the Eastern League), but a flood in 1936 wiped out Island Field — a precursor of things to come — and when pro baseball came back to Harrisburg, it did so in the form of Class B Interstate League action until 1952.
The Eastern League returned in 1987 in the form of the Harrisburg Senators, playing at a new Riverside Stadium on City Island Park. Sitting on the Susquehanna River, the park is a popular place for Harrisburg residents to gather. But the ballpark is nothing special, and the city ends up buying the team in 1995.
Fast forward to 2007 when the city decides to get out of the baseball business. The Sens are up for bids; Michael Reinsdorf, Cal Ripken and Ivy Walls Management are the finalists to land the team. Reinsdorf offers the most money for the franchise, but at the same time he negotiates city money for a makeover of the ballpark.