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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blue Jays aligning with Bisons?

They’re Leaving Las Vegas….

If the rumours are true, the Blue Jays’ triple A affiliation is about to go from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Ever since they were dumped by the folks in Rochester four years ago and failed to forge what would have been a natural alignment with Buffalo, the Jays have been shuttling players back and forth across the continent to Las Vegas, a totally awkward situation.

Now, after a summer of rumours that the Bisons were fed up with their relationship with the New York Mets, word out of Buffalo is that the triple A Bisons are dumping the Amazin’s and signing on as the Blue Jays’ top affiliate for at least the next two years.

The move is not expected to become official until Sept. 16 when the Minor League Baseball two-week window for announcing development contracts begins but on Sunday, Bisons manager Wally Bachman told reporter Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News that the writing is on the wall.

“It’s a shame for us, really,” Bachman said. “Buffalo is a great city but I don’t envision us coming back, from the things I’ve heard from the grapevine.”

That would leave Las Vegas as the only available triple A option for the Mets.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:16 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, buffalo, mets, minor leagues

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   1. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4214135)
The Jays were dumped by Syracuse, not Rochester. (And Wally "Bachman"? Come on.)

Anyway, people in both Syracuse (Nationals) and Rochester (Twins) have been wanting a more regional affiliate. I wonder if either team now regrets re-upping early with their current affiliates.
   2. JoeC Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4214177)
(And Wally "Bachman"? Come on.)


Well, he is known for going into Overdrive. Sometimes after a few too many beers.
   3. RJ in TO Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4214188)
I'm still annoyed about the Ricciardi years leading to Syracuse breaking up the 30+ year affiliation with Toronto.

Buffalo will be a huge improvement over the current situation. In addition to the ridiculous distance from Toronto, the crazy offensive nature of the Las Vegas environment almost certainly has screwed up, or at least made it much harder to evaluate, the progress of any Jays prospects playing there.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4214192)
The Nationals are going to have a tough time finding a more regional affiliate, though. The east coast is just filled with AA and single-A teams and not enough AAA ones.

Since 2002 when the Ottawa Lynx responded to uncertainty about the Expos by re-affiliating with the Orioles, this team has had AAA affiliates in Edmonton, New Orleans, Columbus and now Syracuse.

The three AAA teams in western NY state have a tough time finding affiliates because they are so far from all the AL East and NL East teams except for Toronto and New York. The various Rust Belt major-league teams are wedded to the AAA teams they had back when there were three AAA leagues. The Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees all have affiliates very close to the major-league team, and apparently the Mets keep alienating everyone.

Richmond used to have an AAA team. That seems like the obvious move for the Nats. The Norfolk Tides finally switched from the Mets to the Orioles a few years ago. Meanwhile Richmond ceased to exist and then joined the Eastern League.
   5. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4214197)
Buffalo will be a huge improvement over the current situation. In addition to the ridiculous distance from Toronto, the crazy offensive nature of the Las Vegas environment almost certainly has screwed up, or at least made it much harder to evaluate, the progress of any Jays prospects playing there.

I agree completely. Though I'm sure the team is well aware that they need to strongly adjust any numbers coming from a AAA call-up, it does complicate things a great deal. When they sent Lind and Snider down, I remember the club and tv commentators often repeating that the team was looking for good swings and contact in AAA, rather than good numbers.

The worst part might be that it gets very confusing to fans who don't know how to adjust for context. Adeiny Hechavarria is not, nor ever will be, a .300 hitter. Anthony Gose has also been completely overmatched in the big leagues, despite "excellent" numbers in AAA. I suppose the irrational expectations might boost interest in the team a bit. Definitely couldn't hurt.

What's Buffalo's stadium like? I've driven by it a bunch when I visit NY state but I don't know how it plays.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4214214)
That would leave Las Vegas as the only available triple A option for the Mets.


This would suck. The Mets have been in the International League forever.
   7. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: August 21, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4214245)
What's Buffalo's stadium like? I've driven by it a bunch when I visit NY state but I don't know how it plays.


The most recent park factors I've seen had it as a slight pitchers park for 2011 and basically even for the 3 year average. It was a slight hitters park in the 2010 averages. Meaning it's around neutral.

I went to a couple of games there in (I think) 1994. It's a really nice place to see a game, for a bigger minor league park.

EDIT: And yeah, it's so obvious that Buffalo should be the Jays' affiliate that it's stupid that it hadn't happened before this.
   8. Dan Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4214267)
This would suck. The Mets have been in the International League forever.


Weren't the Mets affiliated with the PCL New Orleans Zephyrs just a few years ago?
   9.     Hey Gurl Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4214270)
How does this even work? Does the roster just completely turn over, so fans of the \buffalo \bisons are cheering for a completely different team next year?
   10. Boileryard Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4214288)
How does this even work? Does the roster just completely turn over, so fans of the \buffalo \bisons are cheering for a completely different team next year?

Yes. All players/coaches/trainers are employed by the major league team.
   11. JE (Jason) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4214304)
Weren't the Mets affiliated with the PCL New Orleans Zephyrs just a few years ago?

The Mets' relationship with Norfolk/Tidewater went back to 1969, but ended after the 2006 season, thanks to years of Wilpon neglect. They partnered with New Orleans for the 2007-08 seasons.
   12. Gamingboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4214306)
It's believed that the Twins-Red Wings affiliation was only saved due to a post-All-Star surge and the fact that the Yankees are now going to be in SWB for all of eternity. The Twins, meanwhile, like the fact the Rochester and Minneapolis have similar climates.

In fact, most of the teams are now pseudo-permanently affiliated. The parent-owned teams, like the Gwinnett Brave (formerly Richmond), and now the Scranton Yankees, are going to obviously be connected with their parents forever. Pawtucket isn't owned by the Red Sox, but it might as well be, the two teams have been together for so long. Lehigh Valley, Toledo, and Columbus are basically geographically bound to their parents. Norfolk really could only be affiliated with Baltimore or Washington, but it probably is going to be with Baltimore for awhile, especially because there are business connections between Norfolk's front office and the Angelos family.

So, basically, the only teams in the IL that AREN'T basically locked down are the Thruway Cup teams, Charlotte, Durham and Indianapolis.

The problem, of course, is that there are more MLB teams in the IL's zone, but more teams in the PCL's zone. When you think about it, part of the problem is that many of the old IL cities are now MLB cities. Baltimore got a MLB team. Montreal got a MLB team. Toronto got a MLB team. Miami got a MLB team. Atlanta got a MLB team. Havana probably would have gotten a MLB team or would be endlessly campaigning for one in some alternate universe where Cuba remained capitalist. A similar thing happened in the PCL as expansion and movement happened, but changing demographics allowed them to replace them more easily.
   13. flournoy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4214307)
How does this even work? Does the roster just completely turn over, so fans of the \buffalo \bisons are cheering for a completely different team next year?


This actually happens all the time. I don't know the exact numbers, but it wouldn't surprise me if a dozen or so minor league affiliates shuffle around every year. Fans of minor league teams barely notice; minor league teams only ever keep their best players for a few months, and the turnover rate is so high under normal circumstances anyway that a change in affiliation doesn't move that needle much. If you go to a minor league game, there will be a couple of old salts who know who everyone is on the team, but 95% of the fans wouldn't have been able to name a single player on either team before entering the stadium.
   14. JE (Jason) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4214311)
From the Virginian Pilot, Sep. 22, 2006:
The Mets made their announcement during their game Thursday night in New York against the Florida Marlins. The announcement ended a relationship that stretched over five decades, beginning with the Tidewater Tides playing at Lawrence Stadium in Portsmouth in 1969. The Mets helped the Tides and the city of Norfolk build Met Park, which opened in 1970. Then, late in 1992, an investment group led by Young bought the team and in 1993 moved it to Harbor Park.

The Tides decided at the conclusion of this season to sever ties with the Mets and shop a limited open market, which happens every two years. It just had never happened with the Tides.

But 2006 was a season in which lines of communication were strained between the Tides and Mets. During the course of the Tides' 57-84 season, Mets general manager Omar Minaya and assistant general manager Tony Bernazard failed to make a single trip to Norfolk to check on the club's Triple-A team and its surroundings.

"They took us for granted," Rosenfield said.

The 24 hours leading up to the Mets' announcement proved eventful. Late Wednesday night, Mets management asked All-Star third baseman David Wright to call Young and lobby for the Tides to give the Mets another chance.

Young, who was out West conducting business unrelated to baseball, was shocked when his phone showed a 718 (New York) area code and a phone number he did not recognize. And he was amazed when it was Wright on the other end.

"I've got to hand it to the Mets, they're trying everything," Young said when relaying the story.

Wright's effort, however, was evidently too little and too late on the Mets' part.

Sigh.
   15. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4214313)
Lehigh Valley, Toledo, and Columbus are basically geographically bound to their parents.


I agree with everything else, but I'm not sure Columbus is bound to Cleveland. They have little history. Especially with the Indians being terrible, they'd probably bolt for the right deal.
   16. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4214314)
Late Wednesday night, Mets management asked All-Star third baseman David Wright to call Young and lobby for the Tides to give the Mets another chance.


Weird that they don't mention that Wright is a native who was a Mets fan because of the affiliation.
   17. Gamingboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4214317)

I agree with everything else, but I'm not sure Columbus is bound to Cleveland. They have little history. Especially with the Indians being terrible, they'd probably bolt for the right deal.


Yeah, that was the one I really wasn't sure about too, but I figured, what the heck.
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4214318)
JJ1986 beat me to it. Cleveland is not that much farther from Buffalo than it is from Columbus. Buffalo was affiliated with Cleveland from 1995 to 2008 as well as in earlier periods, and Columbus of course was with the Yankees for decades, and then the Nationals more recently.

The only reason the two seem to be bound is that the several other cities nearby are all part of "bound pairs" as well. (Louisville-Cincinnati, Toledo-Detroit). But you could just as easily have Cincinnati-Columbus and Cleveland-Buffalo and White Sox-Louisville. Or Pittsburgh-Columbus and Cincinnati-Indianapolis and St. Louis-Louisville. Or the Cubs do one of those Gwinnett scenarios with the roaring boomtown of Greater Aurora/Napierville, leaving Iowa in the lurch, and the Brewers adopt Iowa, etc. etc.
   19. Boileryard Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4214319)
So, basically, the only teams in the IL that AREN'T basically locked down are the Thruway Cup teams, Charlotte, Durham and Indianapolis.

The minor league system for the White Sox aligns quite well geographically with Charlotte, so that's another one that might not change in the near future. The Sox currently have two other* affiliates in North Carolina, one just across the border in Virginia, and one in Alabama. Their only affiliate not in the region is their Pioneer League club.

* Technically Charlotte's ballpark is in South Carolina.
   20. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4214342)
The minor league system for the White Sox aligns quite well geographically with Charlotte, so that's another one that might not change in the near future.


And Tampa Bay and Durham have a strong working relationship, which the Rays went out of their way to fix after the Delmon Young/BJ Upton/Elijah Dukes team almost cost them the affiliation. That's not changing any time soon either. Charlotte and Durham are both signed through 2014.

Rochester just re-upped with the Twins for two years, which leaves Buffalo as the only open spot in the IL. Everything that I have heard confirms the idea that the Blue Jays will be going there, which is going to push the Mets back into the PCL. There are several openings in the PCL but the vast majority of those are expected to re-up with their current affiliate; realistically the only spot that would be available to the Mets would be Vegas.

-- MWE
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4214344)
It's also going to be interesting to see how the Binghamton situation plays out for the Mets. There have been rumors that won't go away that the franchise will move to Ottawa and realign with the Blue Jays.

-- MWE
   22. Gamingboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:15 PM (#4214351)
A good point about the White Sox and their farm system. Hadn't thought about that.

Also, I think I heard somewhere that Charlotte is going to get a new stadium that's... actually in NC. This has nothing to do with the current discussion, but is sort of a comment about the comment that Boileryard made.
   23. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4214353)
Also, I think I heard somewhere that Charlotte is going to get a new stadium that's... actually in NC. This has nothing to do with the current discussion, but is sort of a comment about the comment that Boileryard made.


They've been trying to build a stadium downtown for about 15 years now. You'd think the failure of the Bobcats to draw would have squashed that.
   24. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4214363)
Utica is available!

I'm totally going to ape McCoy's shtick now that the trade deadline has passed.
   25. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:37 PM (#4214372)
It's also going to be interesting to see how the Binghamton situation plays out for the Mets. There have been rumors that won't go away that the franchise will move to Ottawa and realign with the Blue Jays.

I thought that was dead for at least a year or two after government money didn't come through for the needed repairs/upgrades in Ottawa?
   26. boteman Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4214376)
Aren't the minor league teams essentially dependent on the major league clubs for life support? It's like they're the ugly girl at the wedding hoping to catch the bouquet, yes? They really don't have much say-so as to which team they are affiliated with I assume. This whole thing makes my head hurt.
   27. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4214380)
How do the leagues (PCL for example) decide when teams get to be promoted or relegated? Does a team have to be sold and moved like Ottawa was or can they just apply for promotion if an MLB team backs them? Richmond would be a much nicer AAA location than Las Vegas.
   28. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4214418)
I don't think teams really get moved from AA to AAA, or single-A to AA or whatever. A franchise in the International League gets moved from City C to City D (Richmond to Gwinnett), then a franchise in the Eastern League gets moved from City B to City C (Norwich to Richmond), and then a franchise from the NY-Penn League gets moved from City A to City B (Oneonta to Norwich). The Carolina Mudcats moved to Pensacola, and then the Kinston Indians moved to where the Carolina Mudcats used to be and renamed themselves the "Carolina Mudcats".

I don't know if it's even possible for the owners of a minor-league team to try to get their franchise-assignment switched from a lower league to a higher league. You'd think the Dayton Dragons would have tried it after 800 straight sellouts. On the other hand, is there really a reason to want to go from owning a single-A team to owning a AA team? Most of the "fans" don't care who the players are. Does it matter that the Carolina Mudcats now have players who are a couple years away from the majors instead of players who may be in the majors in a couple months?
   29. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4214425)
I know Durham got promoted while being the same franchise, but that was during expansion.
   30. Gamingboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4214431)
Aren't the minor league teams essentially dependent on the major league clubs for life support? It's like they're the ugly girl at the wedding hoping to catch the bouquet, yes? They really don't have much say-so as to which team they are affiliated with I assume. This whole thing makes my head hurt.


It depends greatly on the team. I know that there are some AAA teams that are profitable or very close to it.
   31. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:25 AM (#4214491)
#29: I believe the Bulls Carolina League franchise was moved (to Myrtle Beach?) and a new AAA franchise came into existence with the same owners and name as the old franchise.
   32. KJOK Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:28 AM (#4214492)
I don't know if it's even possible for the owners of a minor-league team to try to get their franchise-assignment switched from a lower league to a higher league.


Round Rock moved from AA to AAA in 2005, but I can't remember any other recent ones.

   33. TerpNats Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4214521)
I have not heard any dissatisfaction from Syracuse about being affiliated with Washington. Given the Mets' financial volatility, they could well be the odd team out and forced to set up shop in Vegas.
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4214549)

Aren't the minor league teams essentially dependent on the major league clubs for life support? It's like they're the ugly girl at the wedding hoping to catch the bouquet, yes? They really don't have much say-so as to which team they are affiliated with I assume. This whole thing makes my head hurt.


Its musical chairs. The attractive minor league teams can pick and choose who they want to be affiliated with. Often times they'll want to align with a marquee franchise like the Yanks or Red Sox, or the team that is popular locally (Springfield with St. Louis for example). Some have just had longstanding affiliations forever (the Royals and Omaha have been affiliated since 1969). So once the good minor league teams have chosen their affiliations, the ones left over get stuck with who ever is left. Vegas has kinda been the unwanted orphan ever since the Dodgers went back to Albequerque. When Reno got a team, that really left too many western-based PCL teams in relation to western-based MLB teams, so someone from the east coast had to be stuck with a AAA affiliate three time zones away.

I remember in the last days of Canadian teams being part of the PCL, Edmonton and Calgary were treated the same way - no one wanted to be affiliated with them because they were so far away (among other reasons). There has been a major push in the last decade or so to keep AAA affiliates within a short flight of the MLB parent club because of so many roster moves made these days.
   35. Lance Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4214555)
 33. TerpNats Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4214521)
I have not heard any dissatisfaction from Syracuse about being affiliated with Washington. Given the Mets' financial volatility, they could well be the odd team out and forced to set up shop in Vegas


I was at a Chiefs game last weekend, and all 43 fans there seemed pleased with the Nationals affiliation. Seriously, the crowd was poor and there was still plenty of Blue Jays-themed gear to be seen, but the Nats would seem like a good parent club if you want to see half-decent players at the AAA level with some frequency. Then again, Mike MacDougal was on the team.
   36. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4214558)
The thing that strikes me is how all the Central-division teams have AAA teams that are fairly nearby.

While there's always one or two Eastern-division team that has an AAA team thousands of miles away. Right now it's just the Blue Jays and Las Vegas, with New Orleans being not THAT far away from Miami. Before that, Albuquerque was with the Marlins, New Orleans was with the Mets or the Nationals, CALGARY was with the Marlins before moving to Albuquerque, Edmonton was with the Expos.

Some other east coast team is going to get stuck with the short straw of Las Vegas now. Meanwhile the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, Royals, Tigers, Indians always have their team right nearby. The White Sox-Charlotte relationship is very enduring, as explained above. Oklahoma isn't that close to Houston, but the only closer one would be New Orleans. The Twins and Brewers bounced around in the 90s, but now the Twins like Rochester and the Brewers, well, Nashville isn't that close but it's better than Tucson (Brewers affiliate 1997), New Orleans (1993-96), Denver (1987-95), Vancouver (1979-1986), etc.

AG#1F sort of beat me to it.

When Reno got a team, that really left too many western-based PCL teams in relation to western-based MLB teams, so someone from the east coast had to be stuck with a AAA affiliate three time zones away.

Reno replaced Portland, didn't they? This misalignment has been going on for a while.

Let's see ... the two new teams added for expansion in 1998 were Memphis and Durham. That should have made the misalignment LESS bad.
   37. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4214571)
The only reason the two seem to be bound is that the several other cities nearby are all part of "bound pairs" as well. (Louisville-Cincinnati, Toledo-Detroit). But you could just as easily have Cincinnati-Columbus and Cleveland-Buffalo and White Sox-Louisville. Or Pittsburgh-Columbus and Cincinnati-Indianapolis and St. Louis-Louisville.
The general feeling in Columbus when the Indians affiliated with the Clippers is that it was something the Clips had been trying to do since the Yankee affiliation ended. The Clippers were affiliated with the Yankees for as long as they were because George Steinbrenner had close ties to Columbus - he went to grad school at Ohio State, met his wife in Columbus, coached high school basketball there.

It's entirely possible the Reds are more attractive than the Indians to the people running the Clippers, but the Indians are clearly in the top two. It seems just as clear that the Indians prefer Columbus to Buffalo, since they switched affiliations to Columbus from Buffalo.
   38. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4214576)
#29: I believe the Bulls Carolina League franchise was moved (to Myrtle Beach?) and a new AAA franchise came into existence with the same owners and name as the old franchise.

Yup. Durham (formerly the only team in the triangle) was long considered too good of a market for A-ball, but a dilapidated ballpark (see Bull Durham) held them back. New park + expansion = moving to AAA. Myrtle Beach has since shifted to a Rangers affiliation (with the Braves now in Lynchburg).

Las Vegas, incidentally, is considered one of the least desirable spots for a AAA affiliate. Certain cities act as revolving doors for the team that loses at musical chairs - High Desert in the California League being an example (seven affiliations in 22 seasons).
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4214586)

Las Vegas, incidentally, is considered one of the least desirable spots for a AAA affiliate. Certain cities act as revolving doors for the team that loses at musical chairs - High Desert in the California League being an example (seven affiliations in 22 seasons).


Not coincedentally, those are two of the most extreme park effects.



Reno replaced Portland, didn't they? This misalignment has been going on for a while.

Let's see ... the two new teams added for expansion in 1998 were Memphis and Durham. That should have made the misalignment LESS bad.


You're right. Kinda. Reno replaced Tucson. The current Tucson franchise replaced Portland. I guess the misalignment is just a continuation of the Calgary/Edmonton misalignment that caused them to be unwanted orphans for several years.
   40. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4214587)
Blue Jays aligning with Bisons?


Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!
   41. Gamingboy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4214628)
The Beavers left Portland because their stadium was being renovated into a soccer configuration for the MLS team and a plan for a baseball-specific stadium fell through, correct?
   42. Ravecc Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4214639)
Wow this relationship soured so fast, given Buffalo actually competed hard with Syracuse for the Mets affiliation when it was up. So, why are the Bisons displeased with the Mets? Sure, they’re losing, but they got Harvey and Wheeler and Familia, which means they get a lot of big honchos visit and a handful of games televised on SNY.

This would suck for Wheels and McHugh, but it could be good for Flores.
   43. Boileryard Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4214690)
Wow this relationship soured so fast, given Buffalo actually competed hard with Syracuse for the Mets affiliation when it was up.

There were rumblings early last season that Buffalo might link up with Toronto for 2013 (I couldn't find the articles, unfortunately), so the relationship the Mets seems to have gone bad almost immediately.
   44. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4214695)
The Beavers left Portland because their stadium was being renovated into a soccer configuration for the MLS team and a plan for a baseball-specific stadium fell through, correct?
Correct. Nowhere to play in Portland.

Eugene has a nice, shiny new baseball stadium, but UO might be hesitant to share it and MiLB might not be thrilled with Eugene, Oregon as a AAA market.
   45. Andy H. Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4214727)
Richmond would be a much nicer AAA location than Las Vegas.


I don't think Richmond will go back to AAA unless they build a new stadium, the lack of which is one reason the Braves left.
   46. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4214749)
I don't think Richmond will go back to AAA unless they build a new stadium, the lack of which is one reason the Braves left.


The current AA team says it won't stay unless they build a new stadium. (We'll see; ownership plunked a little coin into some very superficial touch-ups on The Diamond.) And, even if a new stadium is coming, it's really unclear where it'll be located or which localities will be financing it.

Absent the stadium issue, Richmond is undoubtedly a AAA market and the logical place for the Nats to go.

(As for moving back to AAA, Richmond's AA ownership also owns another club in the International League, IIRC. Is there any rule against the same ownership group owning two teams in the same minor league?)
   47. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4214832)
I never heard of a rule like that. However, Mandalay Sports Entertainment owns or manages 7 different teams in 7 different leagues, so maybe there is such a restriction.
   48. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4214852)
I'm not up on this stuff, but there were rumors that one or two Northwest League teams (short season A) may move to the Portland suburbs, should parks get built.
(Eugene already has an entrant in that league.)
   49. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4214926)
(As for moving back to AAA, Richmond's AA ownership also owns another club in the International League, IIRC. Is there any rule against the same ownership group owning two teams in the same minor league?)

Yes. It's not allowed, although there's occasionally some overlap. (I believe the Bretts owned two CAL teams for a year or two, but had to divest the first after buying the second.)
   50. TerpNats Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4214969)
Richmond can't become an IL market simply by moving Las Vegas, unless you want two odd-numbered AAA leagues (and this isn't 2013 MLB, folks). What IL franchise could be shifted there? (Oh, and if I owned the Nats, I would move to Richmond if, and only if, the team agreed to ditch that stupid Flying Squirrels name.)
   51. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4214975)
Just to clarify, the MLB teams don't move minor league franchises. Minor league franchises move for the same reason MLB franchises move - to get new stadiums and better attendance so the owners can make more money. I'm not sure there's more money in Richmond than there is to be made in Vegas.

MLB teams switch affiliations, but if no minor league team moves to Richmond, the Nats can't have an affiliate there.
   52. TerpNats Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4214977)
Wow this relationship soured so fast, given Buffalo actually competed hard with Syracuse for the Mets affiliation when it was up.

There were rumblings early last season that Buffalo might link up with Toronto for 2013 (I couldn't find the articles, unfortunately), so the relationship the Mets seems to have gone bad almost immediately.
Keep in mind that the Madoff-Mets finances problems came to light late in 2008, after minor-league affiliations had been made. Syracuse lost the battle (for the Mets), but won the war (the Nationals have a better farm system and future). Anyway, central New York is traditionally more Yankees than Mets country; the Chiefs likely would still be a Yankee affiliate had it not been for Steinbrenner's infatuation with Ohio.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4214990)
Richmond can't become an IL market simply by moving Las Vegas, unless you want two odd-numbered AAA leagues (and this isn't 2013 MLB, folks).


It may not be ideal, but it's not that hard. If the independent 13-team Amercan Association can play regular games against teams from the 5-team Can Am League, I can't see why Triple A teams couldn't do likewise.

   54. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4215012)
Or Nashville could also become an IL team.
   55. KJOK Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4215123)
MLB teams switch affiliations, but if no minor league team moves to Richmond, the Nats can't have an affiliate there.


Actually, they can purchase the IL franchise, then move it to Richmond, so technically they can...I know the Cardinals own their AA Springfield franchise, and had looked at purchasing the AAA Memphis one, but backed out for some reason.



   56. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4215171)
53: AAA leagues don't need to do the same stuff that indy ones do.

54: I think there's merit in franchise realignment, but that's easier said then done. For example, there have been off-and-on again rumors about two California League franchises transfering to the Carolina League for years - as well as a little bit of talk about the IL taking some from the PCL (Nashville among them).
   57. Gamingboy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4215176)
I would think that you'd have to move both of the Tennessee teams together. They are far too close to each other to NOT have a rivalry.
   58. God Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4215179)
Tucson is moving to El Paso, which would make them less desirable for the Padres, their current franchise, and more desirable for, say, a Texas-based team.
   59. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4215185)
I think moving to El Paso would make them less desirable for any team. It's not like El Paso is within driving distance of Dallas or Houston anyway, so you might as well have players fly in and out of Tucson. And I don't know much about park factors, but El Paso's elevation is higher than Tucson.
   60. RTSquared is not on the Rangers' DL...yet... Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4215192)
Tucson is moving to El Paso, which would make them less desirable for the Padres, their current franchise, and more desirable for, say, a Texas-based team.


Arlington to Round Rock is ~180 miles.
Arlington to El Paso is ~620 miles.

Houston to OKC is ~445 miles.
Houston to El Paso is ~750 miles.
   61. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4215254)
53: AAA leagues don't need to do the same stuff that indy ones do.


I wasn't speaking to the question of need, but of practicality. If the IL and PCL each had 15 teams, scheduling two interleague series weekly would not be difficult to manage.

   62. OsunaSakata Posted: August 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4215267)
I wasn't speaking to the question of need, but of practicality. If the IL and PCL each had 15 teams, scheduling two interleague series weekly would not be difficult to manage.


When the PCL only went as far east as the Rockies, the other owners hated the expense of the trip to Honolulu. Right now, the Nashville and Memphis owners aren't thrilled about going to California. The IL would be totally against interleague play. The American Association should be revived with the centrally located teams from both leagues. The original reason for having only two leagues was for a championship. Someone who knows better can whether the championship game has been worth the trouble. I think three leagues and two single-elimination games would be better overall. (I don't really favor one-and-done, but the AAA championship is already one game.)
   63. Boileryard Posted: August 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4215278)
When the PCL only went as far east as the Rockies, the other owners hated the expense of the trip to Honolulu.

While Tacoma isn't quite as far as Honolulu, it looks pretty isolated without Portland in the league. Travel to and from Tacoma has to be by air unless there's an off-day. Is Tacoma in any danger of moving, or does the affiliation with the Mariners ensure its safety?
   64. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4215283)
61: What OsunaSakata said. You see that in indy ball out of necessity - interleague series increase costs, hence are impractical. And, indeed, while I personally prefer two AAA leagues, there's an argument for going back to three - and I've seen columns suggesting that very idea.

Incidentally, my understanding (could be wrong, could be outdated) is that a majority of AAA travel is by plane - depends on where you going to/from.

El Paso was a pretty big time hitters park, back in its Texas League days (a hitters league). And, yes, I imagine that that's not a desirable affiliate.

I'd guess that Tacoma (longest tenure in the PCL, by the way) is pretty safe - they recently renovated the stadium + the whole M's thing. Their attendance is pretty low by PCL standards, however.
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4215290)
61: What OsunaSakata said. You see that in indy ball out of necessity - interleague series increase costs, hence are impractical.


I'm not advocating two 15-team leagues DK. In fact, I hate the idea of doing at the major league level, so I don't want to see it in the minor leagues either. I'm merely disagreeing with the idea that scheduling would make it a dealbreaker. It could be handled with a single, two-city road trip per team. That's the extent of the travel that would be required.

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