Lackawanna County is still negotiating the sale of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) -- but could the team be on the move?
That things are taking so long is a little surprising. First, we already know what the sales price will be: $14.6 million, per an earlier agreement. We know the team will be playing on the road this summer, an arrangement coming from the Yankees and Mandalay. We know the team is willing to commit to a 30-year lease, with options for extensions. We already know that the purchase will come through SWB Yankees LLC, owned by the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball. And we know the deal must close fairly soon: renovation of PNC Field is slated to begin with ballpark demolition in March, and the proceeds of the team sale will be funding said demolition. No sale and lease, no demolition.
So what's holding up the sale? No one is saying publicly, but there's an ominous tone coming from the Lackawanna County Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority negotiators:
"We are in negotiations and trying to get the best deal for the residents of Lackawanna County. That is our main objective here," Commissioner Jim Wansacz told the Citizens Voice. "If we can't get a deal that is good for Lackawanna County, there will be no baseball in Lackawanna County. That's an option."
That certainly would be an interesting twist. Quite honestly, International League teams aren't available for move very often. If the Yankees and Mandalay manage to buy the team and not have a lease for Moosic, there would be the equivalent of a feeding frenzy of cities up and down the East Coast looking to upgrade their baseball fortunes. Indeed, we're guessing there would be several communities in the United States or even Canada wiling to shell out some big bucks to land the top farm team of the New York Yankees.
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