Baseball Stops Box Office Beating: IronPigs Stomp Phantoms On Sunday

10,100 fans plus 360 dogs packed Coca Cola Park yesterday.  Photo: Dan

10,100 fans plus 360 dogs packed Coca Cola Park yesterday. Photo: Dan

Beobachter des Profisports



Yet another action-packed weekend of exciting professional competition here in America’s Mecca Of Minor League Sports culminated on Sunday with a record-setting performance as as baseball’s AAA IronPigs finally took full advantage of a large athletic facility and hammered hockey’s AHL Phantoms in the Lehigh Valley’s fourth-ever Battle Of The Box Offfice.

Waking up on Sunday morning, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs were confronted with the very real prospect of falling to 0-4 all-time against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in terms of official paid attendance on days when both Philadelphia farm clubs each have home games here in the City of Allentown. Perhaps more than a little embarrassed by the heretofore failure to outdraw a hopeless hockey team which has now missed the annual Calder Cup playoffs for the seventh year in a row, the East Side’s master marketeers of all things bacon responded by stuffing Coca-Cola Park to maximum capacity (that would be 10,100 spectators for the benefit of those not already aware of such) thanks, at least in part, to yet another Dog Day promotion. And so, even before the first puck could be dropped downtown, it was already decided that the Hamilton Street Heroes would have no chance on this particular day.
Meanwhile, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who had been beating their chest for a while about an active run of sellouts despite the fact that the season has been effectively over for quite some time now, saw their 13-game streak come to an abrupt halt after attracting less than eight thousand spectators (7,933 to be precise) for the final American Hockey League game of this 2015/16 campaign at the magnificent PPL Center. For the historical record, the official capacity for ice hockey at the still relatively new rink in Allentown is listed at 8,420 (which represents the number of fixed seats) but with “standing room only” tickets sold the downtown arena can officially welcome a crowd of 9,046 puck watchers. The Phantoms, of course, will claim a “sellout” anytime more than 8,420 tickets have been purchased by the general public.
The IronPigs ended up attracting 2,167 more people to Coca-Cola Park than the Phantoms were able to draw to the PPL Center on Sundayand this decisive margin of victory sets a new all-time record in the economic clash for the almighty entertainment dollar that now exists between baseball and ice hockey here in America’s Mecca of Minor League Sports. The previous record margin between the two Allentown teams had been established during the very first Battle of the Box Office back on April 10th, 2015, when the Phantoms had bested the IronPigs by 1,118 paid customers. Inclement weather was involved on that occasion of IronPigs vs Phantoms, it shall also be noted for the historical record.
[Editor’s Note:  The newest kid on the block, Steel FC, also drew 2417 yesterday, bringing the total tickets sales in the “Mecca of Minor League Sports” to 20,450.  While the good weather was an advantage, there were certainly plenty of other folks who took advantage by going to youth sports games or getting the yard cleaned up.  Pretty impressive, though, 20k tickets sold on a random April Sunday.]

Categories: Uncategorized

10 replies

  1. Bethlehem Steel FC came through with a badly needed win yesterday — of all three teams here in America’s Mecca Of Minor League Sports, BSFC will be the ones to whom winning should be most important … (because they don’t have a fancy new stadium or cuddly mascot to sell, of course).

    It’s long past time for the actual competition part of sports to reclaim its rightful place at the center of the stage.

  2. Not sure the Phantoms will continue to lose future BOTBO competitions to the Ironpigs, with all the youngsters Hexy is bringing into the Flyers system. Next season will see Sanheim and Konecky as Phantoms.
    Of course Klentak, not to be out-doned, will probably counter with Alfaro, Cozens, Hoskins, et al. .

    • I think Konecny either makes the Flyers, or goes back to Juniors next season. My bet is on Flyers.

      But, the thing that will propel the Phantoms is if they’re in a playoff race–or are playing Calder Tournament games versus the ‘Pigs. Without the gorgeous weather, I think the Phantoms will take those every time.

      I have tickets to both, of course, and I’ll be at hockey if there’s playoffs–there are 71 other baseball games to go to, but a limited amount of playoff hockey, right?

      • Ah yes, next year’s prospects … Same thing we were told last spring, too … And yet we finished second from bottom in our division once again this season – go figure!

        Seven straight years without playoffs for Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate now.

        • Thanks for that insight which I forgot about with Konecky. He will not be a Phantom in 2017.
          And yes next season needs to be a renaissance of sorts for them and they need to find a way to garner a playoff spot. I think Stolly will be backing up Mason in Philly, so they may need to find another ‘go-to’ goalie.
          But the Pigs have the pitching staff this year to excite the followers and possibly it will be the same next season…though Eflin, Thompson and Appel will be making their strongest push for the majors.

          • Dang I keep butchering Konecny’s surname!

          • I think Neuvirth is still under contract with the Flyers for next season. It’s likely to be Stolie and top-college signing Alex Lyon out of Yale with the Phantoms. They’ll have young talent, they’re gonna need quality veteran depth at both Reading and Allentown. There have been a lot of great guys on these teams the past couple years, but we need guys who can play, score goals, and win. There will be a post coming…

  3. Travis Konecny will still only be 19 next season (2016/17) and, thus, will still be ineligible to participate in the American Hockey League – as will be highly touted Russian defenseman Ivan Provorov

    Konecny did not have a great World Junior Championships tournament for Canada this winter and that is something that is always significant in relation to ‘NHL-readiness’

  4. Note to Kram :

    Still chuckling over the fact that the Phantoms never bothered to announce their attendance figure for the final home game at the PPL Center … made losing that dollar somehow seem worth it. 🙂

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