The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees may be without a home this season, but they do have a new name: The Empire State Yankees.
The Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate will play its home schedule on the road in 2012 while its ballpark undergoes a $40-million facelift and the team felt a new name would enhance the extended road trip. The Yankees will call six different ballparks home, with fellow International League franchise Rochester serving as its base. The team will play 37 of their 72 home dates at Rochester’s Frontier Field with another seven at neighboring short-season Batavia.
The Yankees play the rest of their home dates at other IL affiliates, including Empire State destinations Buffalo and Syracuse. In all, the Yankees will play 60 of their 72 home games—and 84 of their 144-game schedule—in New York, the team announced. The only non-New York hosts are Pawtucket (R.I.) and Lehigh Valley (Pa.).
Empire State hats can be purchased at the Rochester Red Wings team store at Frontier Field and their online store.
"With so many games to be played in upstate New York this season we wanted to make the club feel even more at home this year,” Rochester general manager Dan Mason said in a release. “We approached the New York Yankees with a few suggestions and they actually came up with the Empire State Yankees moniker.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise and the other IL clubs that will be hosting them this year and we wanted to make this as much fun for our fans and the players as possible. The Empire State Yankees merchandise and logos will only be available this season so they are sure to be collectors' items.”
The new nickname makes sense in many ways—it certainly sounds better than the Rochester/Batavia/Buffalo/Lehigh Valley/Pawtucket/Syracuse Yankees. But it likely also gives the Yankees a chance to make up for some lost revenue, as the host teams will cover the expense and take any profit from hosting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s home dates.
While the name has collector-item appeal, the logo itself lacks creativity. It’s appears to be the same logo the team has used in previous years—the Uncle Sam stars-and-stripes top hat resting on a baseball bat behind Yankees written in cursive. The only difference is “Empire State” replaces “Scranton/Wilkes-Barre” on a banner running across the bottom.