Triple-A SWB Yankees sale finally final

Yankees can't hit good pitching, win game started by Justin Verlander anyway
Thinking about Bobby Abreu
(Photo via The Scranton Times-Tribune)

The sale of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees franchise is finally complete, reports David Singleton of The Scranton Times-Tribune. Lackawanna County approved the sale on Thursday following more than two years of political wrangling. The team was sold for $14.6M to SWB Yankees LLC, a joint venture between the Yankees and Mandalay Bay. They had passed on an option to buy to the team for $13M in 2007, when the Yankees moved their Triple-A operations out of Columbus and into Northeast Pennsylvania.

Extensive renovations at PNC Field can finally begin now that the sale is complete, with major demolition starting yesterday. The $43.3M project is forcing the team to play all of its home games on the road this season. Last month we heard that construction had to begin no later than April 1st to ensure the facility is ready for the start of next season, but the park is expected to be ready in time following the sale approval. The Times-Tribune has some new renderings like the one you see above.

The sale locks SWB Yankees LLC into a 30-year stadium lease that could run as long as 50 years, so don’t expect the team’s Triple-A affiliate to move anytime soon. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is about as close to the Bronx as the Yankees could get their top minor league club, a two-hour drive if you run into some traffic. The season-long road trip is terrible for the players and prospects currently in Triple-A, but hopefully the sale and new facility sets things up well for the organization moving forward.

Yankees can't hit good pitching, win game started by Justin Verlander anyway
Thinking about Bobby Abreu
  • Bartolo’s Colon

    I now live in NYC, but used to live in northeast PA for much of my life. The stadium is sort of cool, just old and not kept up all that great. I went to a few games there last year and the place was always dead. I did go there for the game that arod played in, the place was packed that night. I hope that the new stadium will provide a boost in attendance.

  • Plank

    Ugh, I’ve been following this. If I were a taxpayer there I would be pissed. As a human, I am pissed. They are selling the team plus paying $40 million (20 from the state) for a new stadium.

    At some point, I would have thought the benefits of swindling government bodies to get free stuff would have diminishing returns in terms of bad publicity and lower attendance. That hasn’t happened anywhere yet though. I don’t get it.

    • RetroRob

      I’m not going to blame any business for getting the best deal it can, if indeed that’s what the Yankees did here. I question removing flexibility by locking a minor league affiliate into a specific location for a generation or more, but I’m sure the Yankees and Mandalay Bay have a better grip on this than I do. In fact, I’m sure of it.

      In every negotiation there are two sides, and each side has the responsibility to represent its organization to get the best deal possible. If the local government negotiated a bad deal for its community and its citizens, then that is on the local government and its up to the citizens to take action.

      • Plank

        I think everybody also has an obligation to do the right thing even if it isn’t codified in the law. I guess we just disagree on that.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    This year long road trip for the AAA affiliate is just awful and I’m sure the players absolutely hate it.

    I still can’t believe how petty the Mets were for not allowing the Yankees to use Newark as a home stadium for a year. I really hope the Yankees repay the favor to the Mets with interest.

  • Freddy

    I have no use for SWB Yankees or Mandalay. They can blame low attendance on the weather and the economy. all they want- look at the palace in Allentown.

    Here’s part of the reason why they don’t draw; I was at a game in April 2011; there weren’t 500 people there despite the fudged attendance records. It had rained all day. I was sitting under and over hang to stay dry. Would you believe an usher asked to see my ticket? All I wanted to do was stay dry- no one was anywhere near me!

    Lehigh Valley sells out nearly every night- I think I know why. $7 to $10 to get in, great give aways, superior facility. FYI never had issue with the employees.

    To anyone who loves baseball: I would not recommend attending a game @ PNC Field. Go to Allentown. Much better value for your dollar, BETTER food, and overall just a great time.

    And one final thing to the moron who HAD to see my ticket- hope for your sake SWB Yankees draw in 2013- you couldn’t work in Burger King with your customer service skills!

    • Pat D

      I might get to Coca Cola Park this year. I mean, I work within walking distance of it (though that’s only for another 8 weeks) and the Yankees should have some of their “home” games there this year. It’s just something about patronizing the Phillies that bothers me, I guess.

      What’s with that artist’s rendering in the article, though? Is that supposed to be night on the far right or very ominous storm clouds coming in over the horizon?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      You’re comparing Lehigh Valley to an experience that no longer exists. Perhaps try the new SWB experience before deciding another place is better? The stadium’s not even built yet, for crying out loud.

    • RetroRob

      So it sounds to me like you might have a use for the Yankees and Mandalay Bay taking over control of the operations. It appears the previous owner did a poor job, and you should be looking forward to the new park and the new owners.

      Or am I missing something here?

  • Duh Innings

    Why didn’t the Yanks just move into Newark Bears park anyway? What was MLB gonna do, not let the Yankees or AAA Yankees play this year?

    Couldn’t the Yanks have legally challenged MLB and the Mets over their forbiddance to allow the AAA Yankees to make Newark their temporary home?

    What a travesty that the AAA Yankees are the ONLY team in minor league baseball without one set home ballpark.

    • Plank

      The Rays and A’s and pretty almost every team in a smaller market would love it if the Yankees got the territorial rights rules overturned.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Does anyone know what the dimensions of the field will be? You can’t tell in the rendering but it looks like it might say “408” in center field. Are they going to make it mirror YS3? (I hope not… I’d prefer that the prospects develop without tailoring their game for a particular, and quite unique, field.)

  • Alkaline

    They need to do a few things here to get people back to the game.

    1: Make sure ticket prices are affordable. Economically, the area isn’t doing too hot. There’s not necessarily many high paying jobs. Families can’t afford 100+ bucks a game numerous times throughout the season.

    2: Better marketing: The area is filled with multiple restaurants, shops, the movie theater, etc. Get deals going with them! There’s hardly enough. Bring back the reading program for students that gives tickets for books read, etc.

    2b: Get rid of the Yankees name. The business practices of the Yankees go against what many people like. They’ve alienated the Mets and Phils fans that fill the area. Go see the Ironpigs at SWB, you would swear the Red Barons are still the home team, which is ridiculous.

    3: Connect with the area better. This sorts of sums up the others. The Red Barons, even in name, played to the areas history. A name I really enjoy that could do this is the SWB Black Diamonds.

    I just feel overall they somehow have to get in touch with the NEPA area like the Red Barons did.