MOOSIC — When Curt Camoni rolled out of bed Tuesday morning, he was excited to come to PNC Field. Just like every other day for the last 14 years.
Camoni joined the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre front office in Feb. 2005 as the director of stadium operations before being promoted to vice president of stadium operations in Dec. 2008. Now the VP of baseball operations, Tuesday was Camoni’s last day with the RailRiders.
And it wasn’t that he was eager to leave the franchise he’s been a part for the last decade-and-a-half. Camoni just loves his job, one he’s going to miss when he takes over as the new executive director of the Lackawanna County Convention & Visitors Bureau on Wednesday.
“I was excited to get here. I wanted to get here early, get my stuff done so I can kind of enjoy the day and my co-workers and the team,” Camoni said. “The front office staff is awesome. They all wore cage jackets in my honor. The ladies are all wearing camouflage. It’s just been a really cool day.”
Camoni’s 14-year career has been full of memories — both good and bad.
There were his elevator rides up to the third floor of the old stadium during rain storms, when he’d have water flowing through the roof of the elevator and he’d question whether or not he’d make it out alive.
Different high school and youth league games have been highlights. Events like Little League Challenger have “always had a special place in my heart.”
Then there was the opportunities to work with Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter and numerous different rehab assignments over the years.
“My favorite thing from my entire job, from start to finish, is getting to work with quality guys, really good human beings, on their way up and then getting to watch them succeed at the big-league level,” Camoni said. “When you’re talking about guys like Tyler Austin, Aaron Judge, those are two guys that in particular that I had here for a while, I got along really well with — we were friendly — and they’re such good people.”
He was able to go out on a high note Monday night when the RailRiders secured their third straight International League North Division title.
“That stuff never gets old,” Camoni said of Monday’s celebration. “For the most part when I’m in there, even during a celebration, I’m working. I’m taking tops off of bottles so they’re easier pop for guys. It’s all about them, and really everything I do on that side of my job is all about so they don’t have to worry about anything but winning.
“It’s awesome that they make me a part of the celebration and the team would treat me as part of one of them.”
The decision to leave the RailRiders wasn’t an easy one.
This was a placed Camoni always thought he’d retire. But it got to the point where the Jessup native accomplished everything with the franchise that he ever wanted. He helped design PNC Field, has been a part of a national championship team and numerous Governors’ Cup championships, helped bring the 2017 Triple-A National Championship Game to Moosic and much more.
It also helps that Camoni won’t have to put in 15-hour days, seven days a week like he did with the RailRiders and will have an opportunity to spend more time with his family.
“I like challenges and taking on new stuff, and … this opportunity that I saw was an opportunity to challenge myself to grow and also to be able to have more of a private life,” Camoni said. “I’m looking forward to bringing that same level of passion and work ethic to my new position, but also being able to see my family more.”
With such a big part of the RailRiders front office leaving, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre president and COO Josh Olerud said it will be tough to replace what Camoni brought to the organization. But he’s eager to see if the University of Scranton grad’s exit will “inspire” the people who were underneath him to grow with the franchise.
“The great thing about having Curt here was that he wasn’t just baseball operations. He was a little bit of everything — face in the community, a local guy,” Olerud said. “Loves baseball, but throughout the years he was a big part of the relationship building that we’ve had with the Yankees, and I think that’s what he loved to do, but I think, obviously, we’re going to miss him in a lot of different ways.”
Camoni has big things planned when he takes over in the Lackawanna County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
While Camoni understands “we’re never going to host the Summer Olympics in Scranton,” he’s looking forward to having opportunities to think outside of the box when it comes to bringing different events to the area.
Re-branding the area digitally with the county’s website and social media presence is another goal Camoni has.
“To be able to combine the two things — what I’m good at, what I’ve been doing the last 14 years, what I studied for all those years in school — and to be able to take what I’ve learned and what I’ve been doing and the experience I have and now apply it to where I can generally make a difference in the community and try to help out, that’s just a perfect marriage there,” Camoni said. “I see a lot of opportunities for this area to be able attract people and show off our amenities in creative ways to do it.”