Despite the controversy about changing the name of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees to the “Empire State Yankees” for the 2012 season, Lackawanna County leaders are moving forward on plans to renovate PNC field so it is ready for the following Triple-A baseball season.
The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees will still be “our” Yankees this season while their traveling around New York State according to county officials.
Since Lackawanna County is still the only owner of the team, and the team uniforms will still have the “SWB” name.
The Yankees organization announced this week that while their away, the team nickname on its merchandise will change. It will read “Empire State Yankees”.
The future of the Yankees in Lackawanna County is still in limbo, as County commissioners are working to negotiate the sale of the franchise to the Yankees organization. But, Commissioner Patrick O’Malley says the name change does not mean the team is moving out.
“Our plan is to have the Yankees here for the next 30 to 50 years,” O’Malley said.
A lawyer for the County Stadium Authority says the Yankees did not violate their existing contract by temporarily changing the team name. And, that the Yankees have agreed to play in Scranton until at least 2014 whether the sale goes through or not.
But, the renovations to PNC Field, which need to be done in a year’s time haven’t started yet. And, they won’t until a deal is reached between the County and the Yankees.
“The construction will hopefully begin at the end of this month or next month,” O’Malley added.
If Lackawanna County sells the franchise to the Yankees, the Yankees will sign a thirty year lease to play at PNC Field.