Imagine today, the New York Yankees being told they are going to play an entire season at rival Fenway Park, nearby Citizens Bank Park, and one-borough-away Citi Field (they did play at Shea during ’74-’75 Yankee Stadium renovation). It was cause quite the uproar and confusion. The Yankees “younger brother” team, Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees will hold the new name of the “Empire State Yankees” for the duration of the 2012 season. The reason for the name change comes directly from the temporary relocation of the team.
PNC Field in Scranton, PA, the home venue of the pinstripers, is undergoing a $40 million renovation project. Therefore, the team will play their home games at six fellow northern International League parks at: Rochester, Batavia, Syracuse, and Buffalo, NY, along with Lehigh Valley, PA, and Pawtucket, RI. The “subway series” neighboring New York Mets exercised their territorial rights and prohibited the Triple-A Yanks to move temporarily to Newark, NJ for the season.
The bulk of the regular season home games (37) will be played at Rochester (the third base dugout will be the Yanks’) and 10 at Syracuse. The remaining games are divided up mostly to other parks in the Empire State, hence the new team name, with a few in nearby states of PA & RI. They will play 84 of 144 total games and 60 of 72 home games in upstate of the Empire State. The front office operations will remain in Moosic, PA. The Yankees’ new home is expected to be essentially a brand new stadium, everything being rebuilt except for the playing surface which was newly installed in 2010. The upgrades will include: a 360 degree open concourse, lawn seating, state-of-the-art score and video boards, and more. The stadium, tucked away amongst the towering trees of Moosic, PA is sure to be a fresh gem among minor league parks.
It will be interesting to see how the “homeless” Yankees’ season will pan out. They don’t have the luxury of the home field advantage this year, as they have in the past, which helped them capture division titles (2006-2010). Let’s hope the fact that they do not have the security and familiarity of playing at home will not affect their record in a negative way. However, it’s not as if there won’t be any Yankees’ fans to cheer them on. Yankees fans are heavily sprinkled throughout upstate New York, which could mean more fans making it out to the ballparks that are more accessible from their hometowns.
Rochester is home to many Yankee die-hards and the city is in a buzz over hosting the up-and-comers. Bomber fans and collectors alike are surely excited to get their hands on “Empire State Yankees” rare logoed (pictured above) apparel. The limited edition gear is available at the Red Wings team store and website: redwingsbaseball.com. Fans should contact directly the host teams’ ticket offices for game tickets or of course may purchase at the window. The Baby Bombers will stay in hotels all season long, as they jump from park to park the song “On the Road Again” will certainly be set on replay in their heads. The nomadic life is nothing new to the players. At this level, they have become accustomed to moving up and down the rigs of the minor league ladder and some even hopping up to the Bigs when needed.
The Pennsylvania-based team is in a “New York State of Mind” and fully embracing their new home venues, name, logo, and local fan base. The Empire State Yankees’ full schedule can be found at: http://www.milb.com/schedule/index.jsp?sid=t531&m=08&y=2012