Commissioners: Yankee Deal at “Breaking Point”, Renovations on Hold

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This was to be the month that contractors were to begin renovations to PNC Field in Moosic in anticipation that the baby Yankees would be playing here in 2013, but so far, nothing has been done. The clock is ticking and still there is no deal to sell the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien said negotiations to sell the team to the Yankees organization are at a breaking point. He added there should be a deal this week or there may be no deal at all.

This season, the Yankees are playing all their games on the road to allow for planned renovations at the stadium, but the more than $30 million project is on hold while the county negotiates the sale of the team.

"Right now we're at a breaking point. We'll either get a deal done or we won't so we need to make sure we're protecting our taxpayers and baseball and its future in Lackawanna County," O'Brien said.

Lackawanna County majority commissioners O'Brien and Jim Wansacz said there are still three major sticking points in negotiations but would not elaborate on what they are.

"I think I expected negotiations to be done much sooner, quite frankly. I expected them to be done in 2011. The fact that it's taken this long is a little frustrating," O'Brien added.

The back-and-forth between the Yankees and the commissioners has pushed the PNC Field project back more than a month and work is supposed to be done by opening day of next year.

The plan is to demolish the top of the stadium, but keep the field the same. Lackawanna County commissioners said they are confident a year is enough time to get the project done. Even if it's not, there are alternatives to make sure there is baseball at PNC Field in 2013.

"A lot of things can be done in a year, once there's a contract in place, if there's a contract in place, we're pretty confident that we can get a stadium done on time," said Commissioner Jim Wansacz.

Newswatch 16 contacted the contractor for the PNC Field renovations to see if they thought the stadium could be done in time. They did not return our calls for comment.