Twenty-five years ago, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons stepped on the field for the first time. In honor of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise’s 25th year anniversary, The Times Leader is counting down the Top 25 memorable moments in its history every week until the end of the season. All three teams — Red Barons, Yankees and RailRiders — are represented on the list as put together by the staff of The Times Leader. There’s sure to be some debate here as well, which makes it that much more fun.
It was just three years after the SWB Yankees won the first Governors’ Cup championship in franchise history. But attendance was at an all-time low in the 2011 season.
Something had to be done to rejuvenate the baseball fans in the area again.
So when management received the go-ahead to renovate PNC Field, that meant the entire 2012 season would have to be played at venues outside of NEPA.
That did not have a major impact on the Yankees though. They still went out and did what they had to do day-in and day-out.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre didn’t miss a beat piling up an 84-60 record and winning the International League North Division for the fifth time in six seasons. The Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs that year to eventual league champion Pawtucket, but still accomplished the inevitable.
In addition to that, skipper Dave Miley was lauded as the league’s Manager of the Year for the second time as manager of the SWB team, while also grabbing the Minor League Baseball Manager of the Year award by Baseball America.
The Yankees accomplished this feat by playing home games at six different venues, with 37 home games being held at Rochester. However, some of the team’s schedule was more favorable than some normal home schedules. In early May of that year, the Yankees played 12 out of 14 games in Rochester, and from July 31-Aug. 9, SWB played 10 straight at Rochester. While that may have been a positive during those periods, the Yankees were all over the place the rest of the season making the task even tougher, but they made the best of it.
“It was difficult in the beginning,” 2012 SWB catcher Francisco Cervelli said back then about the road show. “Everybody was making a lot of complaints. You realize nothing’s going to change and nobody’s going to change it.”