It’s not an ideal situation, but the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) could play at PNC Field in 2012, either with renovations pushed off to 2013 or having fans maneuver through a construction zone nightly.
Neither option is particularly attractive, but time is a-wastin’ for the team to find a home for the 2012 season. Progress on the PNC Field renovation moves forward: Last night the Lackawanna County Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority met to approve borrowing for the $40-million renovation of PNC Field, and with a state grant secured and the sale of the team in the works, money for the project is close to being in place.
So that leaves the issue of where the team plays next season. A number of potential homes, such as Newark’s Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, the 2011 home of the Newark Bears (independent; Can-Am League), have already been eliminated, and most recently a plan has been circulating that would have the SWB Yankees splitting time between Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester. (Yeah, we see the irony at the New York Mets killing the Newark plan and then having the Yankees potentially playing part of the season at the team’s Triple-A affiliate.)
A few other options apparently are on the table, according to league GMs. One would have the team playing in PNC Field for 2012 and pushing construction off to 2013, giving the SWB management firm, SWB Yankees LLC (owned by the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball), more time to come up with a game plan for a temporary home. This isn’t ideal, as the SWB Yankees would be preparing late for next season and be in somewhat of a lame-duck situation.
The other option is to revert back to the original plan of renovating the ballpark in a two-year period and playing through the construction. This would add $1.4 million to the renovation’s bottom line, as well as severely impact fans for two seasons as opposed to one. Attendance and sponsorship would surely suffer, but this plan is doable.
None of the options on the table are particularly attractive, and all of this is still talk. The team will be taking a hit no matter what, and the goal is to minimize that hit. And with the International League schedule already released, the league and the team already are working in confining circumstances.
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