Team bats 1,000 for its efforts
In its 128 years, the International League had never seen anything like this year's Scranton-Wilkes/Barre Yankees.
Forced to play every one of its 144 games on the road due to the ongoing reconstruction of PNC Field, the Yankees faced a unique season. They responded by winning the IL Northern Division championship. Unfortunately, they will continue to be homeless for the playoffs, playing their "home" dates at Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings of the IL.
Travel in the minor leagues can be an ordeal under the best of circumstances - night-long bus trips and so on. Playing every game on the road provides no respite.
"It was never, 'we're going to be home for 12 days,' or 'we're going to be on the road for 12 days,'" said infielder Kevin Russo. "It was just 'We're going to be on the road.'"
That meant living in motels and out of equipment bags and suitcases.
"This has to be as special as it comes, for what those guys out there endured," Manager Dave Miley said of his team as the players celebrated their division championship in the visitor's locker room at Coca-Cola Field, Allentown.
Mr. Miley, of course, deserves a great deal of credit and justly deserves his honor of being named International League manager of the year.
Since 2007, when the Yankees arrived in Lackawanna County, they have won the division championship in five of six seasons, but this is the most extraordinary of the lot.
Here's hoping their extraordinary prowess on the road continues through the playoff. Regardless, what the Yankees already have achieved while carrying the name "Scranton-Wilkes/Barre" on their year-long journey across the IL, should contribute to an especially warm welcome when they return next April to a new stadium.