Lenny Spinelli of Plains Township gets his order in for season tickets at Lackawanna County Stadium from Dave Walsh.Times Leader Staff Photo/ Aimee dilger
SCRANTON – Jeff Bennett was enjoying his boneless chicken wings at the Stadium Club restaurant at Lackawanna County Stadium on Thursday.
He was alone at the bar, watching sports on his lunch break. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons aren’t in season anymore, but that doesn’t affect where he eats.
Thursday’s big news won’t affect how often he goes to the stadium either. Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro announced on Thursday that it is now the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate who will call Northeastern PA home months after the Phillies said they were bolting for Allentown in 2008.
“My son likes both teams,” sad Bennett, a Hanover Township resident. So he and his 7-year-old will be at the stadium as much next year as they were last year.
Lisa Moher of Clarks Summitt, however, will be making more trips.
“I’m buying season tickets,” she said. Moher is originally from Syracuse, N.Y., so the Yankees are a draw for her. They’re also apparently a draw for the scores of area baseball fans who flooded the stadium box office with requests for more than 5,000 season tickets on Thursday.
The day before the announcement, the Yankees clinched the AL East. Although the team lost to Toronto on Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox lost to Minnesota, putting the Yankees ahead in the loss column.
The Yankees beat the crosstown New York Mets for the right to set up shop in Lackawanna County Stadium.
“The past couple of days, it’s been the Mets and the Yankees,” said Rich Kloss who works for Concessions Plus, the food service provider at Lackawanna County Stadium. “It’s nice to know it’s one of those two.”
Mandalay Entertainment will take over and manage the franchise, but Kloss isn’t worried about his job.
He heard of Mandalay’s proposal on the news Wednesday night, but when asked if there are any concerns, his coworker Matt Flannigan replied with a simple, “No.”
Although the Yankees are an out-of-state team, the sentiment on the mountain was that the team won’t attract too many out-of-towners because there are a lot of Yankee fans in NEPA.
But the added tourism can help.
“Especially with the new shops,” said Kelly Keen, who was dining at the Stadium Club with her husband Bob. They’re both Pittsburgh Pirates fans, so the news didn’t entice them.
It did for others though.
“It’s huge for the area,” Kloss said. “As far as ticket sales, the phone’s ringing off the hook.”