The LuLac Edition #2043, May 2nd, 2010
WRITE ON WEDNESDAY
Hey, Lackawanna: What’s the deal?
I was around when the powers that be were making a deal for the Triple A baseball team in the 1980s. Then County Commissioner Frank Trinisewski was a political power back then and a shrewed businessman. But he was also a rapid baseball fan. Trini would take excursions down to the Vet on the bus, sometimes by himself, that was the extent of his love of the game. And when the Triple A team came to Moosic, he wanted Luzerne County to be a big part of it. So when the Times Leader offered up an editorial on it today calling out the Lackawanna County Commissioners, I thought it would make a great “Write On Wednesday”.
DEAR LACKAWANNA COUNTY,
Congratulations on selling the region’s minor league baseball franchise last week and simultaneously securing a decades-long commitment for a continued presence here from the New York Yankees – one of the world’s premiere sports teams. A tip of the cap to you. Now that the ink has dried on the contract, however, please at your earliest convenience send us our share of the money. That’s half, remember? By our tally, you owe us about $7.3 million. Make the check payable to “Luzerne County.” As partners in the venture that brought Triple-A baseball to Northeastern Pennsylvania about a quarter-century ago, we had a deal. According to that 1986 agreement, both counties ponied up $1 million and, in the event of the franchise’s sale, were to “share equally in the distribution of any such proceeds …” Plenty has transpired since then, not the least of which is Luzerne County’s detachment from the operation and virtual exclusion from the negotiating table. Like a ticket-less fan trying to spy the on-field action, we have been able to only sneak peeks through the fence. At least one crooked Lackawanna County commissioner supposedly hobnobbed with a representative of the Yankees a few years ago when a sale was being explored, receiving swell gifts but almost bungling everything for local baseball buffs. (Presumably, Luzerne County’s crooks were preoccupied then with schemes having nothing to do with Yankee pinstripes.) Certain people, most of whom probably live north of Avoca, will argue that Luzerne County is owed nothing from the latest transaction because of the millions that Lackawanna County paid through the years to maintain the then-multipurpose stadium. Not to split hairs, a la the late businessman George Steinbrenner, but it’s been our understanding that Luzerne County went halfsies on a franchise, not a ballpark. Upon receipt of your check, we intend to quickly put the $7.3 million to good use by retiring some debt.