MOOSIC -- Despite the wet weather, it turned out to be a perfect night for some baseball!
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders are in the middle fo a winning streak, and on Friday they faced off against their arch rivals -- the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Friday's game was more than a showdown on the field, however -- it also featured some extra incentive to head out to the ball game.
What makes a Railriders versus Iron Pigs game unique is the proximity -- due to the close distance between the two teams, many rival fans will make the trek up and down the Turnpike for the games.
Tonight, however, was special for fans -- they got a treat of meeting two popular and legendary athletes who were there throughout the event.
The crowd went wild as the name Larry Holmes was announced, ushering in the former heavyweight boxing champ -- who famously beat Muhammad Ali -- onto PNC Field.
The legendary athlete from Easton -- lovingly known as "The Easton Assassin" -- threw out the first pitch at Friday's Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders game.
"I told my wife, every time I come up here, it gives me good feelings, just to come up the hill, around the mountain, stuff like that," said Holmes. "This is just like Easton, really!"
Holmes had to share the spotlight with another famed athlete on his visit to the park -- Andy Ashby was also on hand for his namesake bobble-head night.
The former All-Star pitcher player with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in the 1990's prior to moving up to play for several major league teams beginning with the Philadelphia Phillies. Ashby got to dust off his pitching arm at the old stomping grounds.
"To see the people come out tonight on my bobble head night, to be a part of it, it means a lot to me," Ashby beamed. "It's really, really special...I'm like a kid in a candy store right now but it's really, really cool, great crowd."
It was hard to tell who was more excited -- the fans, or the men meeting them.
"For two guys like this to come out and sign autographs is wonderful," said Mike Grebeck of Laflin.
"I think it's really nice that they do this and he was former Red Baron, so a lot of people remember him," added Barbara Fetterman of Avoca.
And with the added boost of a road rivalry with the Iron Pigs, attendance was extremely high -- all coupled with the chance to meet two famous faces in person.
"This is like a one in the time chance and it's awesome that they came here, such a local place and it's just amazing to see such a legend," added Grebeck.
Ashby now resides in the area with his family, and last fall the Railriders organization announced that he was one of the three men to join this organization's ownership group.