www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

SWB will be gone in 2012, but were unforgettable in ’11

They will be back next season, of course, but their 2011 season has come to an end. Unfortunately for us, they will be going to Lehigh Valley for at least the 2012 season.

The Yankees and Lackawanna County have decided to do some much-needed renovations on PNC field. This is going to be a refreshing change to the sorry looking stadium and a great idea on their part.

With the Yankees temporarily away, a burning question should come to mind to you. Have you missed out?

This past season the SWB Yankees have definitely underachieved. They missed the playoffs this season for the first time under the Yankees name and they did it with, what I think, is the best team they’ve put together since they’ve come to the Scranton area.

They came into the season with a ton of promise. An all-prospect starting rotation, their top hitting prospect in Jesus Montero starting at catcher, and some veteran players to help along the way. How could they not finish on top again?

It seemed to me, even though the team was so good, they just never gelled together. They never had that chemistry it takes to win. Even after the games in the clubhouse, whether they won or lost, it was for the most part quiet. I definitely think that was a huge reason why they didn’t live up to the potential that was there.

I don’t put the entire blame on them for the lack of chemistry on the team, though. The New York Yankees had so many injuries to fill that the SWB roster was almost changing daily. It’s hard to establish chemistry when there’s a new guy sitting next you every other day.

Just because the team didn’t win as much as it could have doesn’t mean it still wasn’t worth going out for the games. The team had its share of highlights this season.

Jorge Vazquez set a new SWB franchise record for homeruns in the regular season with 32.

Jesus Montero was the starting catcher all season up until September 1st. He is expected to be a Major League superstar. He’s now getting a lot of playing time at the MLB level and he is doing very well.

SWB has also seen a handful of Major League players rehabbing from injuries including Phil Coke, Magglio Ordonez, Delmon Young, Freddy Garcia, Raphael Soriano, and of course Alex Rodriguez.

There were plenty of reasons to come out and watch the SWB Yankees and there will be in the future too.

They should have most of their pitching prospects returning next season. Brandon Laird will be back refining his game, but he could be called up sometime next year. The most interesting part of next year, though, will be top pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances in their first full Triple-A season.

Hopefully you haven’t missed out on this season but even if you have, the SWB Yankees will be back in a year or two and, with a new stadium and great prospects, they’ll be better than ever.

Tommy Romanelli is a Wyoming Area grad and a sophomore at LCCC. He writes for pinstripesplus.com. His thoughts on the SWB Yankees appeared in The Dispatch through the 2011 season.

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map