Saturday, April 26, 2014



Tonight marks the 25th anniversary of the first game at Lackawanna County Stadium featuring the Red Barons vs. the Tidewater Tides. With baseball and now two stadiums being here this long, the temptation is to think that baseball was here forever. But it wasn’t. It took a lot of hard work to get this effort accomplished. Attorney John McGee founded Northeast baseball, then shepherded the effort to bring triple A baseball to Northeastern Pennsylvania. There was political opposition but with the cooperation of funding from both counties, the new Stadium became a reality. 
However as opening day approached, the powers that be knew they had to deliver seats in the stands. The Red Barons Management asked the local media to do them a favor. Lead every sportscast with what the Red Barons were doing that day or night if there wasn’t a huge national or international sports story. And for that first year the media acquiesced. 
WARM Radio was one of the leaders in being a big cheerleader for the new home team. Even though other radio outlets had the rights to the broadcast of the games, WARM Radio did a live broadcast for every home game for that first season. The Mighty 590 in 1989 had become a hybrid format with music in the morning and then sports in the afternoon and talk or Phillies baseball later on in the evening. WARM staffers Ron Allen, Kelly Reed and Joe Thomas before he went to WILK covered Red Barons games dissecting each move and inning. Kent Westling the first play by play man on Red Barons baseball did 20/20 on the Mighty 590 too adding an extra punch of local flavor. 

Ron Allen at the Opening Night at Lackawanna County Stadium. (Photo Andy Palumbo.) 

 Here's a photo of WARM's Joe Thomas, now of WILK interviewing the Red Baron's first manager John Dancy. (Photo: Joe Thomas Facebook page).

The first Barons play by play announcer, Kent Westling. (Photo: Scranton Times).

Kelly Reed and long time Red Baron favorite Floyd Rayford. (Photo: LuLac archives).   
Twenty five years later the success of baseball in Northeastern Pennsylvania seems like a no brainer today. But during that first year, WARM Radio and its dedicated, knowledgeable sports staff beat the drums for baseball in Northeastern Pennsylvania, aka WARMland. 

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