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The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are a minor league baseball team, serving as the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. The team plays its home games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The park, which opened for the start of the team's first season in 2008, seats 8,100, with a capacity of 10,000, and cost $50.25 million to complete.[1]

Previously, the team operated as the Ottawa Lynx (2007), in Ottawa, Ontario before moving to Allentown. Preceding the Lynx, the Philadelphia Phillies' Triple-A team was known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, which existed from 1987–2006, and played their home games at PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania. Unhappy with the local management that owned the franchise, the Phillies decided to move the team to a brand new stadium in Allentown and temporarily entered a one-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Ottawa franchise while Coca-Cola Park was being constructed. The Ottawa franchise was then moved to the Lehigh Valley in 2008.

The name is a reference to pig iron, used in the manufacturing of steel, for which the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is world-renowned.

HistoryEdit

File:Cokepark allentown.jpg

Prior to the arrival of the IronPigs, the Lehigh Valley did not have a Major League-affiliated baseball team since 1960, when the Allentown Red Sox left for Johnstown, Pennsylvania.[2] The Allentown Red Sox played at Breadon Field (later called Max Hess Stadium) from 1958–1960, at the site where the Lehigh Valley Mall stands today.[3]

The region was previously home to two independent baseball teams: the Allentown Ambassadors of the Northeast League and the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Ambassadors played at Bicentennial Park in Allentown until the team was disbanded in 2004. The Black Diamonds moved from Newburgh, New York in 1999 and were expected to move into a new ballpark near Easton called the Lehigh Valley Multi-Purpose Sport Complex, but the project never came to completion and ultimately was terminated. While the Black Diamonds waited for their new stadium, they played as a traveling team.

In 2003, Joseph Finley and Craig Stein began actively pursuing their interest in bringing affiliated baseball to Allentown. Initially, the duo pursued a Single-A franchise when the Ottawa Lynx, the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, were rumored to be moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. When the city of Harrisburg did not upgrade Metro Bank Park to AAA standards, the Baltimore Orioles shifted their interest to Allentown because of its proximity to the Mid-Atlantic. The Phillies also looked into moving their AAA operations to Allentown from the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre region. For the 2007 season, the Phillies shifted their AAA affiliate to Ottawa, leaving Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre after 18 seasons, while the Orioles affiliated with the Norfolk Tides.

The move of the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate to Allentown has been extremely well-received, since the Phillies have a large fan base in the Allentown area, and because the move to Allentown will permit Phillies' players to rehab in Allentown without significant transportation time as compared to Ottawa or Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Allentown is 60 miles north of Philadelphia).

Since being in the Lehigh Valley have never had a record above .500 since their inception in 2008.[4]

Television and radio coverageEdit

File:Iron Pigs radio booth.jpg

The IronPigs franchise broadcasts all 72 of its home games on television, a rarity for a minor league team. Local cable outlet Service Electric TV2 carries IronPigs games; the station reaches nearly one million subscribers, predominantly in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. In addition, TV2 will feed its telecasts to Blue Ridge Cable TV-13. Selected Saturday night home games are telecasted over the air on WFMZ-TV 69, which also carries into the Philadelphia area as well as western New Jersey. All 144 IronPigs games are also broadcast on WEEX, an Easton, Pennsylvania-based ESPN Radio affiliate.

TelevisionEdit

RadioEdit

2008 seasonEdit

On Monday, April 14, 2008 the Lehigh Valley IronPigs broke an 11-game losing streak by defeating the Richmond Braves 3-1 at their new home stadium Coca-Cola Park. This win was both the first home win for the team and also their first win ever as the IronPigs. Early on in the season Shane Victorino made a rehab start of the IronPigs. In July 2008, Philadelphia Phillies starter Brett Myers pitched a few games for the IronPigs trying to work on his command at the insistence of the Phillies.

2009 seasonEdit

In 2009, former Phillies' pitchers Kyle Kendrick and J. C. Romero pitched for the team. Kendrick was assigned to the IronPigs after failing to make the Phillies starting roster for 2009. Romero pitched for the IronPigs in May 2009 following a 50-game suspension for failing Major League Baseball's substance abuse policy, after he tested positive for the use of androstenedione.

2010 seasonEdit

On July 14, Coca-Cola Park hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game, and the game was broadcast on the MLB Network.

On July 7, left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ started a rehab assignment with the IronPigs. On July 29, Happ was traded to the Houston Astros for left-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt. The team finished in fifth place in the International League North Division with a record of 58-86. [5].

The IronPigs finished the 2010 season ranked first among all affiliated Minor League Baseball teams in average attendance per home game.

Logos and uniformsEdit

MascotEdit

On December 1, 2007, the IronPigs selected "PorkChop" as the name of their mascot from 7,300 submitted names. On December 2, 2007, the name was changed to Ferrous, derived from the chemical name for iron, because of complaints from the local Puerto Rican population, who alleged that "Pork Chop" was a racist term, despite the name being submitted by a young girl who lived in the Lehigh Valley area.[6] The current mascots for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are Ferrous and FeFe. Ferrous wears the number 26, which is the atomic number for iron. FeFe is named after the abbreviation for iron, Fe. [7]

Fan clubEdit

The Ironpig's #1 Fan Club is called the Noise Nation. This group formed in 2008 to cheer on the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. The Noise Nation seeks to retain a family friendly environment while encouraging enthusiastic support of the Ironpigs. Noise Nation members can be found throughout Coca Cola Park at Ironpig home games and have a central location on the concourse area beyond the right-centerfield wall.

Noise Nation traditions include:

  • Waving the Ironpig rally flag and running the flag across the concourse when the Ironpigs score a run.
  • Recording every Ironpig pitcher's strikeouts on the K corner sign. (Formerly the OINK sign)
  • Interacting with opposing outfielders with a LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT cheer. For each step the fielder takes the Noise Nation reminds him of which foot he used.
  • Blowing horns (or vuvezelas) and ringing bells.
  • Starting chants and cheers to root on the Ironpigs!

For the 2011 season, the Noise Nation is working on a charity cookbook to support the National Brain Tumor Society. Members are also involved in other charity projects and have volunteered with the Lehigh Valley Miracle League.

Season-by-season recordsEdit

Season League Division Regular Season Postseason Awards
Finish W L Win% GB
Template:By IL North 6th 55 89 .382 33.0
Template:By IL North 3rd 71 73 .493 11.5
Template:By IL North XX 126 162 .438 XX

* - Current season.

These statistics reflect games played through the 2009 season.


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