The International League announced its schedule for 2014 last week and the RailRiders’ first seven games of the next campaign will be played on the road, beginning Thursday, April 3 at Syracuse.
The team’s 2013 slate started at reconstructed PNC Field, where the first seven were also scheduled. In 2014, the first home game will be on Thursday, April 10, also against I.L. North Division opponent Syracuse.
The RailRiders also announced start times for the 2014 schedule. In April and May, Monday through Thursday night games will begin at 6:35. Friday and Saturday nights will start at 7:05, and that will be the normal start times for every evening contest beginning in June. Every Sunday home game will be at 1:05 p.m., except for Sunday, July 6, when there is a special start time of 6:05 p.m.
There will also be two school-day specials with start times at 10:35 a.m. on April 23 and May 7 — both Wednesdays — and 12:05 p.m. start times on Monday, May 12, Wednesday, July 9, Wednesday, July 30, and the regular-season finale on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1. Of the 72 home games on the schedule, 48 will be in the warmer months of June, July and August.
The only promotion announced by the team so far is that the Friday fireworks will be back once again with 12 Friday night dates. The remainder of the team’s promotional slate will be announced at a later date.
The International League procedure is that the RailRiders play each team in their division 16 times (eight at home and eight away). They will also play teams in the South and West Division eight times (four home, four away).
The team’s North Division opponents are the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia), Buffalo Bisons (Toronto), Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston), Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota) and the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington). Teams in the South Division are the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox), Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay), Norfolk Tides (Baltimore) and Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta). The West Division consists of the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland), Louisville Bats (Cincinnati), Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh) and Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit).
Lehigh Valley, the RailRiders’ biggest and closest rival, will travel up the Pennsylvania Turnpike three times next season, with the first being April 18 to start a four-game series. The team’s other big rival, Pawtucket, doesn’t come to Moosic until June 20 to start the first of two four-game series at PNC Field between the clubs.