(Third) Rate the IL Hotel: The Finale!



It’s time once again for the game which always has perfect water pressure……


(Third) Rate the IL Hotel!!!


And now your host who never disturbs…..Jason Benetti!


Well hello everyone and welcome once again to (Third) Rate the IL Hotel.  If you’re thinking, “I thought (Third) Rate the IL Hotel was last season,” you’re right.  Our new season will debut in about two weeks.  But, because the Chiefs didn’t travel to Scranton last season, we bring you our cliffhanger finale right now.


In case you just joined us, here are the rules to (Third) Rate the IL Hotel.  We give you three positives and three negatives of the most recent hotel the Syracuse Chiefs have stayed in.  Then, we assign a score between 1 and 100.  That score can be redeemed for a travel-size deodorant at the front desk.


So, without further ado, we unveil the final edition of (Third) Rate the IL Hotel.  Today’s hotel:  The Radisson Lackawanna Station in Scranton, PA!




1) Chug-a-chug-a.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team in the International League has been called three nicknames in eight years.  Much to the delight of former P.A. announcer John Davies, they were the Red Barons in 2006.  With new ownership in 2007, they became the Yankees.  Now, residing in a new ballpark at the same site, the Scranton nine is called the RailRiders.  This name harkens back to a rich history of early transportation and coal mining in the area.  Though the new mascot doesn’t exactly shriek New Haven Railroad–it’s a purple porcupine–the team hotel does the trick.  The Chiefs stay at the Radisson Lackawanna Station which is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a former train station.  It stopped being one in 1970 and has since become a hotel.  This is fitting, what with the RailRiders and Chiefs both sporting loco-motifs.  Each team has used the slogan “All Aboard” in the last three years.  Maybe the Radisson has taken it too far….



2) Be married.

As I waited for the shuttle to the ballpark on Saturday, I chatted with Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Brett Henry.  As we talked, two separate people asked Brett to move aside so they could squeeze by with a stack of chairs.  The chairs were on their way to the central lobby within the station where, I imagine, people used to wait for the 6:15 to Elmira.  I like a place that’s a wedding hot spot.  The people that stay in the hotel for a wedding generally fall into three categories:

A) Nervous and neurotic

B) Happy-go-lucky

C) Overemotional and ready to burst

Two of those three sets of people are great fun to deal with as a stranger.  And, it’s easy to tell who falls into the first category.  The nervous and neurotic folks generally have as good of a poker face as Dr. Orin Scrivelo.


3) Eat & drink.

The restaurant in the hotel lobby has tremendous food.  Reasonably-priced breakfast–$7 for a sizable portion of french toast with a hint of orange in the batter–and a wide-ranging lunch buffet are great perks.  In addition, there’s a water jug near the main desk filled with icy, fruit-flavored water.  Always a welcome addition.




1) Lake Eerie.  An old train station, you say?  Sounds like it could be haunted, Jason.  You’re right, dear reader.  The Radisson seems to have strange things happen inside of it.  Here are a few examples:


“The player told us that one night around midnight three of his teammates were walking down the hallway on the 6th floor and encountered a ghost who last leaning over a railing.  The railing overlooked the dinning room that was located six floors below.  The three players stopped dead in their tracks and claim the ghost told them he was killed in a car accident.  As he was talking to them, his head spun around 360 degrees. ”

–Scott McCauley, former Indianapolis announcer.

“Recently, Lehigh Valley slugger Terry Tiffee felt the wrath of the haunted hotel.  Tiffee was staying in room 420 and heard a knock at the door.  Reportedly, he answered the door and an African American gentleman in a tuxedo, claiming to be a bellman asked if everything was OK.  Tiffee thought it was a strange visit, so he called the front desk to ask about his visitor.  The girl at the desk told Tiffee that the hotel employed no such person.  Tiffee was sufficiently spooked to pack his bags and move across the street to the Hilton, paying the $200 per night tab himself.”

–Steve Hyder, former Pawtucket and Syracuse announcer

Pretty soon, half of the team is joining in on stories about how a CF from another team (don’t know the name of course) swore he saw a ghost in his room or how a coach woke up in the middle of the night to his TV being turned off and pushed back into it’s standup dresser. For every guy on the team, there were 2-3 stories to be told per person and although the details seemed to be a little vague and no one knew names it was enough to get the blood going, and we still had 3 more nights in the hotel. For three straight days people came to the field, some a little more sleep-deprived than others, asking if anything happened to a teammate that night and anxious to hear another story.

–Ryan Tatusko, current Chiefs pitcher

This season, Chiefs manager Tony Beasley told me he went to sleep with the TV on and woke up with it off.  He didn’t activate a sleep timer.

I’ve never experienced the paranormal myself.  Then again, it’s tough to feel anything when you go to sleep blasting Metallica in your headphones while curled in a ball in the bathtub.

2) Losing in the Sky.


Nah.  Close, though.

3 Sized up.

I’d like to see the blueprints for the Radisson Lackawanna Station.  It’s got to look like Q*Bert’s tower.


Some of the rooms could house a rugby tournament.  Others couldn’t fit more than three people at a time.  Crapshoot.


Score: 62


Had I been abducted by ghosts over the past few years, that score would have skyrocketed.

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