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Decision on SWB Yanks fate delayed

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre YankeesThe International League Board of Directors met without reaching a final decision on the fate of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees for the 2012 season, as negotiations are still ongoing between team management and potential hosts.

The SWB Yankees are in need of a new home for the 2012 season when PNC Field undergoes an extreme renovation that calls for the removal of the second deck, massive changes in the seating bowl and the installation of a new suite level. The International League Board of Directors, in Albuquerque for the Triple-A Championship Game — congrats to winner Columbus Clippers, by the way — was expected to approve a plan presented by the SWB Yankees management.

But the board was not presented with a proposal — they were merely updated as to potential arrangements, we’re told by several GMs. The issue is both simple and complicated: money. It’s simple in that the SWB Yankees management would like to see more of it, and complicated because potential hosts don’t see the team generating a lot of it — they’re not willing to put up as much money as the SWB Yankees were expecting or would like. No one is going to make a killing hosting SWB Yankees games in 2012 (it’s not as though local sponsors will pay a premium, and there’s the serious chance any tickets sold to a SWB Yankees game would come from the regular sales of the locals), and the proposals on the table reflect that. The SWB Yankees are already going to take a bath on the 2012 season, and any small measure of financial relief is not being provided by potential host teams, which include the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the Rochester Red Wings. Adding to the complication: who covers losses during the season.

Too bad the most logical solutions, like having the SWB Yanks playing full-time in Staten Island or even Yankee Stadium, as some have suggested, aren’t feasible because of the territorial agreement the Yankees have with the New York Mets. (We’re guessing the New York Yankees would make a killing hosting the team in The Bronx; price every ticket at $10, open concession stands only in the main concourse, and bring in a whole new audience to the ballpark who normally couldn’t afford a night at an MLB game. More than one MiLB owner has suggested to us this would be the ideal solution.)

So we’ll wait to hear what is finally proposed to the International League in coming weeks. We hear there might be a surprise player from outside the ranks of the IL in a position to impact a decision as well.

RELATED STORIES: Ottawa out of running for SWB Yankees — but in line for affiliated ball; NY Yankees making moves with minor-league teams; Fat Cats owners may seek affiliated team for Ottawa; Valcke: Baseball can work in Ottawa; Ottawa: Ballpark should be converted to concert venue; Affiliated ball may be returning to Ottawa


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