With the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees days away from the start of spending the entire 2012 season on the road, the team‚??s status for the 2013 season and beyond is unsettled.
The Lackawanna County commissioners and the Lackawanna County Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority are running out of time to complete the sale of the franchise to a joint venture between Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC and Yankee Global Enterprises LLC in order to help fund a planned reconstruction of PNC Field in Moosic.
Negotiations continue on an almost daily basis.
‚??If we can come to an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, we can start construction,‚?Ě Lackawanna County commissioner Jim Wansacz said Wednesday. ‚??If we cannot come to an agreement that‚??s acceptable to both parties, there probably will not be baseball.
‚??That‚??s cold hard facts.‚?Ě
Stadium reconstruction, originally estimated to start March 20, needs to begin soon for it to be completed in time for the 2013 season.
International League president Randy Mobley said Wednesday that the Yankees will not be able to conduct a second season like the 2012 season in which they will rotate to a variety of temporary home sites.
‚??We have communicated that from the very onset of the discussion on this scenario,‚?Ě Mobley said. ‚??This is not something that the league will be interested in repeating a second time.‚?Ě
Mobley was recently quoted by Baseball America that construction had to be started by April 1 for the Yankees to return to Moosic for the 2013 season. He clarified in a phone interview with The Times Leader that April 1 is a target date that the parties involved need to come close to meeting.
‚??April 1 is not an absolute deadline,‚?Ě he said. ‚??I guess it‚??s more of a gauge date that we can‚??t go much past that.
‚??That‚??s what I‚??m being told. That‚??s not a date that I established or the league established.‚?Ě
According to Mobley, the date comes from the Yankees and from estimates provided by EwingCole, which has been hired to complete the renovations.
‚??Work needs to be underway very, very soon after April 1 for the facility to be ready to go for Opening Day 2013,‚?Ě Mobley said. ‚??The conversations I‚??ve had in recent days are still optimistic that they will be able to begin some work soon after April 1.‚?Ě
There are, however, matters that still need to be finalized to complete the $14.6 million sale of the franchise.
Wansacz declined to discuss those issues.
‚??I‚??m not going to negotiate a $40 million deal in the newspapers,‚?Ě he said.
The agreement tentatively would include a 30-year lease for the Yankees to use the rebuilt stadium.
The sale of the team has to come first because that money is being used to pay for part of the project. The project was estimated to cost $28.7 million when the plans were approved.
‚??Nothing is going to start until we have the negotiations complete,‚?Ě Wansacz said. ‚??We are in negotiations every single day.‚?Ě
Wansacz said the parties discussed the situation twice Tuesday and that county lawyers were in touch with the Yankees and Mandalay on Wednesday.
‚??Things seem to get done close to a deadline,‚?Ě Mobley said.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre season, which includes home games at six different sites, is scheduled to begin with an April 5 game at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.