Fans packed Coca-Cola Park in Allentown Thursday night for the baseball season opener, with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, branded this season as the Empire State Yankees, playing the Lehigh valley Iron Pigs, the Triple A Philadelphia Phillies franchise.
Newswatch 16 met some Yankees fans at the game, but no one from Northeastern or Central Pennsylvania.
The question is, with the Baby Bombers on the road all season, will fans from the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre area travel to see them?
Some at the game in Allentown said yes.
“They draw all over the place, with the major league level. I’m sure with a lot of the prospects the Yankees have, that it’s a big drawing card,” said Jake Frantz of Allentown.
“I think if they are Yankees fans, they will. Maybe it’s the weather. It might have something to do with weather keeping people away today because it`s a little chilly out, but you know I think because the Yankees will be playing more home games here, hopefully when it warms up here, more of your fans will be coming down from with Wilkes-Barre Scranton area,” said Joe Casciano of Allentown.
Renovations have yet to begin at PNC Field in Lackawanna County and the future of baseball there is uncertain.
There is no deal yet to sell the local Yanks to the parent organization, Mandalay Baseball.
Maryann Slutter of Nazareth said she has been to the stadium in Lackawanna County and liked it. She hopes to one day return to watch a game.
“I liked it, I liked the mountains behind it, the scenery and I just liked it, I liked the stadium up there,” said Slutter.
The Yankees fans at Coca-Cola Park said they hope things get straightened out at the stadium and for the team in Lackawanna County.
For now, they said they will happily cheer on the Yanks when they play in Allentown.
“We would, definitely I think so, if you’re a true baseball fan? Yes, definitely,” said Sylvia Collins of Allentown.
“This year, they’ll be playing a lot of their away games here, which would be their home games, and I am looking forward to that,” said Frantz.
While there is no deal yet to sell the the Baby Bombers to Mandalay, Lackawanna County Commissioners said they still plan to have renovations done at PNC field by this time next year.