The demolition and renovation at PNC Field has officially begun.
Monday Lackawanna County leaders gathered with the new owners of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to break ground on all the changes.
Mandalay Baseball and the big Yankees promise expanded give-a-ways, new promotions, more reasons to go to games and they said one way of drawing in fans could be getting rid of the Yankees name.
Demolition has now begun, ripping apart the current PNC Field, making way for the new stadium that will stand here next year. The $43 million renovation is underway.
To mark that start, the head of Mandalay Baseball and the chief operating officer of the New York Yankees came to town.
Those two organizations bought the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees for $14. 6 million last week.
“I want you to know that from this point forward, our focus has completely shifted,” said Mandalay Baseball President Art Matin.
He added a lot more than just the stadium is changing.
Mandalay managed the local Yankees for the past four years and saw rapidly declining attendance, many fans criticized a lack of giveaways and promotions.
In the new stadium, Mandalay promises much more.
“We’ve done some of that, but we haven’t done it on a broad scale. We’re going to do it on a broad scale because that’s what the fans have been telling us they’ve been looking for,” Matin added.
The name PNC Field will stay with the stadium, but the new owners of the team said the Yankees name may not. They are considering a change.
“We have heard from residents and fan base that maybe that’s the way to go,” said New York Yankees C.O.O. Lonn Trost.
The new owners announced they will seek public input on changing the name, a possible way of drawing those that don’t like the big Yankees to games here.
“If a fan that’s out here that wants the name to be X as opposed to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees than maybe that’s what we should do. Not only for the brand but that’s what the fans want,” Trost added.
Demolition and construction are expected to be done by opening day next year.
One question from many fans is will a new stadium mean higher prices then?
“It doesn’t take much to go down the road and see what Allentown’s prices are or Reading’s prices are. We’re going to use all that information to come up with something that is in that neighborhood,” Matin said.
Tickets in Allentown range from $7 to $10.