With their $50 million stadium under construction, roughly 2,000 season tickets already sold and various merchandise being bought in bundles at the souvenir shop, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs took another step yesterday in adding to the hoopla surrounding the 2008 debut of the Phillies’ new Triple-A affiliate.
The IronPigs unveiled their uniforms, and as I wrote on Monday, the organization headed by Chuck Dominio disciple Kurt Landes doesn’t seem to do anything on a small scale. The “Uniform Unveiling and Style Show” held at the State Theater in nearby Easton was “a cross between America’s Next Top Model and American Idol” and drew roughly 400 to 500 people, Landes said. Local radio personalities modeled the uniforms before a panel of judges that included Phillies legend Greg Luzinski, with the winner’s selected charity reaping the proceeds from an auction that followed the event (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving received $2,000 from the auction).
Landes said uniforms went on sale immediately after the event and, as has been the case all summer, sales have been steady. Landes credits the buzz that has surrounded the team to a baseball-hungry community that endured several failed projects to bring a team to the area.
“At the very beginning we had so many false starts, burned so many times trying to get a new ballpark,” Landes said. “The (Lehigh) Valley (area) has embraced the mindset that this is going to happen. I think the past failures and false starts have been a good thing, because if they hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have gotten a Triple-A team, or the Phillies, or the ownership group of Joe Finley and Craig Stein . . . It’s a combination of all those things. I don’t think we do anything average. Instead of having a press conference hanging jerseys on hangers, we open it up to the public, have a fashion show and make it a lot of fun for our fans.”