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Monday, November 18, 2019

Rob Manfred’s plan to destroy minor league baseball

As if they aren’t squarely involved in enough transgressions against baseball, we should not be at all surprised to know the Houston Astros — the Jeff Luhnow Houston Astros — were the ringleaders of the MLB plan to essentially destroy grass roots baseball and contract 42 of the 160 minor league teams.

In recent weeks, details of the plan have been slowly leaking out, the MLB spin being it’s designed to (1) upgrade all the minor league facilities and (2) improve “wellness” for the minor leaguers in terms of travel and living conditions. In truth, as always, it’s designed to save money, lots of money, and the proprietors of these minor league teams, many of whom have their life savings invested in them, be damned.

Here is the plan which is slated to go into effect beginning in 2021:

1. Forty-two of the 160 minor league teams (26%) guaranteed under the present, expiring Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors will be eliminated, most of them from the four short season Rookie Leagues — the New York-Penn, Appalachian, Northwest and Pioneer.

An update to a subject we’ve discussed earlier, with further details.

QLE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 188 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

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   101. DL from MN Posted: November 19, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5902376)
I wonder how this proposal would have been received it had been timed to match up with the next MLB expansion. Expansion would add 12 new teams (2 x MLB, AAA, AA, A+, A, Rookie) which means the cuts would be mitigated somewhat.
   102. Bull Pain Posted: November 19, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5902415)
One of the more intriguing tidbits from J.J. Cooper's original piece on this was talk of shifting a few of the MILB clubs to new levels to better balance things out geographically. I wonder which Triple-A clubs would be asked to move down and vice versa?

"The proposal also completely reorganizes the full-season minor leagues. While there would still be Triple-A, Double-A, high Class A and low Class A, those four levels would be completely reworked to make the leagues much more geographically compact. In Triple-A, the Pacific Coast League would shift from 16 teams to 10. The International League would grow to 20 teams. The 14-team low Class A South Atlantic League would be turned into a six-team league with a new Mid-Atlantic league springing up.

The short-season Northwest League would move to full-season ball.

Under MLB’s proposal, some teams would be asked to move from Class A to Triple-A. Others would be asked to move from Triple-A to Class A, and there would be other less dramatic moves as well."

   103. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: November 19, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5902434)
Under MLB’s proposal, some teams would be asked to move from Class A to Triple-A.
We can pretty much guarantee this means Dayton to AAA. They finished 10th in the whole minors in attendance while playing in the Midwest League, and have sold out every game for their entire 19 year existence in Dayton.

Vancouver is second in A ball attendance and have been averaging ~95% capacity in a short season. They'd be another obvious spot for a PCL team. Other A ball teams averaging 5,000+ per game are Fort Wayne, West Michigan, and Kane County in the Midwest League, and Spokane in the Northwest League. There are some biggish metro areas with A ball teams that could conceivably support a AAA team, most obviously Hillsboro, OR (outside of Portland). Near me I think of Greensboro and Columbia, SC. There are probably a dozen more that could be conceivable homes for a AAA team.

Nashville & Memphis are obviously moving to the IL. I could see a scheme to move Vancouver, Hillsboro, and Spokane up to the PCL, and drop the PCL teams in the middle of the country (Oklahoma City, Omaha, and Wichita starting in 2020) down a few leagues, but I'd think that the Royals would veto any attempt to move Omaha down the ladder.

While we're realigning, Dayton becomes Pittsburgh's AAA team, the White Sox take Indianapolis (which makes a ton of sense for them, both in terms of ease of shuttling players and trying to expand their footprint), and I guess Charlotte goes to Miami, with Wichita lost in the wilderness.
   104. DL from MN Posted: November 19, 2019 at 04:19 PM (#5902443)
drop the PCL teams in the middle of the country (Oklahoma City, Omaha, and Wichita starting in 2020) down a few leagues


They might only drop down to the AA Texas League.
   105. manchestermets Posted: November 19, 2019 at 04:21 PM (#5902444)
95/rusty: To be fair, Rusty, as I alluded to in #66, you no longer have the Champions either. (Sorry. That sucks and I hope they figure out a way to get pro ball back. Will it have to wait for light rail to reach the park?)


Is that the park near the Via Rail station? The light rail to there opened a couple of months ago.
   106. McCoy Posted: November 19, 2019 at 08:26 PM (#5902489)
Minor league teams are not the way to get baseball's demographic younger.
   107. Meatwad Posted: November 19, 2019 at 10:06 PM (#5902509)
I have heard that ft wayne has a great stadium, i wouldnt be surprised to see them move up. Its a shame the midwest league is losing some teams. Travel seemed pretty reasonable for everyone in that league.
   108. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 20, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5902560)
Ottawa: my comments were based on vague memories of this article.
“ It's also somewhat difficult to get to the park from downtown.

In a recent memo, City of Ottawa staff said poor attendance could in part be due to LRT construction delays.

Right now, the ballpark is only accessible by car, with no city buses going directly to the park (though there's a pedestrian bridge from the Transitway's Tremblay station) and many cyclists having to navigate the busy Vanier Parkway.

If the Champions "can somehow survive" until the LRT is complete, it might make a difference, [per a local fan]”
   109. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 20, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5902562)
Midwest league actually has a relatively big footprint, partly as they pursued good markets over close ones.

I think minor league baseball is absolutely important in having a younger fan base. Put bluntly, families with children can afford it in ways they often can’t afford other baseball options.

One note on teams changing levels: higher levels have more stringent criteria for inclusion. So, realignment might mandate lots of (sure to be unpopular) ballpark upgrades.
   110. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 20, 2019 at 10:37 AM (#5902580)
Leaving the Midwest, Big Sky County and upstate NY for a minute: Hagerstown and Frederick are on the chopping block.

Not many people care about Hagerstown, MD, but it's hard to imagine Municipal Stadium (built 1930, site of Willie Mays's first professional game with the Trenton Giants) having any sort of tenant again if they cut the Suns. They get attendance of about a thousand in a declining area. I don't see any college team that might move in.

Frederick led the Carolina League in attendance at over 4,000 and have a nice stadium (built 1990). MLB is going to keep the teams in Lynchburg and Kinston but drop Frederick? I don't get it. The Orioles' AA Seems like a great market for the Atlantic League.
   111. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 20, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5902617)
Sorry about that "Orioles' AA" there. Was thinking of pointing out that the Orioles' AA team couldn't get much closer to Baltimore than it already is.
   112. JJ1986 Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5902627)
Frederick is one of the few sub-AA parks that I've been to. Nice place to see a game.
   113. QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5902628)
   114. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5902636)
In Triple-A, the Pacific Coast League would shift from 16 teams to 10. The International League would grow to 20 teams.

Or just have a third league positioned in the middle of the country. What would we even call such a thing?
   115. DL from MN Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5902639)
Or just have a third league positioned in the middle of the country. What would we even call such a thing?


The Continental League
   116. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5902650)
114 - I can’t envision such an association
   117. DL from MN Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5902655)
Rearranging teams is fun

10 team PCL
Albuquerque, El Paso, Fresno, Las Vegas, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake, Tacoma, VANCOUVER, HILLSBORO

10 team IL
Buffalo, Charlotte, Durham, Lehigh Valley, Rochester, Scranton-WB, Syracuse, Norfolk, Worcester, RICHMOND

10 team CL
Columbus, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Omaha, Toledo, Wichita, DAYTON

Dropping to AA - Gwinnett, Oklahoma City, Round Rock, San Antonio

For travel purposes we should keep Memphis in AAA and move Round Rock to the Texas League with San Antonio and Oklahoma City but the attendance figures don't tell the same story. Maybe Round Rock stays in the PCL and El Paso gets dropped down.
   118. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: November 20, 2019 at 02:31 PM (#5902682)
There are some AAA teams that I think it would be impossible to drop to a lower division, because of proximity to and/or ties with the parent club. I'd include in this list Round Rock and especially Gwinnett. Also Pawtucket/Worcester, Tacoma, Omaha, Toledo, Buffalo, probably Iowa, probably Columbus, maybe Sacramento, maybe Syracuse, maybe Louisville, maybe Norfolk.
   119. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 20, 2019 at 02:34 PM (#5902686)
Which is too bad with Gwinnett, as that appears to have not worked out as a business proposition. (I'm saying this naively)
   120. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 20, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5902746)
While we're realigning, Dayton becomes Pittsburgh's AAA team


I cannot imagine the Dayton Dragons or Cincinnati Reds giving up this affiliation, especially to a division rival.
   121. DL from MN Posted: November 20, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5902771)
It makes so much sense to have Gwinnett in the Southern League along with a new franchise in New Orleans. Among other changes dumping Beloit, WI in favor of Madison would be a good move. I'm really not sure how Beloit survived the proposal and Quad Cities got the ax.
   122. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 20, 2019 at 05:46 PM (#5902776)
Quad cities - floods, right?
   123. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 20, 2019 at 07:11 PM (#5902807)
Well, it turns out minor league baseball is something that can unite folk across party lines- let's see if this has any effect.
A bit short of Committee Chairs or senior members who could move legislation, but given how little time has elapsed, a sign that the Manfred-Luhnow Plan may not play well politically. Keep an eye on the Senate, where small-town & rural interests have a bit more sway.

EDIT: With Iowa slated to lose 3 teams, and Chuck Grassley indicating that he will reclaim Chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee (if the GOP retains the majority) after the 2020 election, there’s a pretty good chance that the Senate might take a look at this.
   124. McCoy Posted: November 20, 2019 at 07:35 PM (#5902812)
How does the NFL have all the kids and viewers without minor league teams all over? Why does mlb have an age problem with minor league teams all over?
   125. zachtoma Posted: November 20, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5902821)
I don't think it has anything to do with the age gap, but the NFL has well over 100 minor league teams in the NCAA D1.
   126. McCoy Posted: November 20, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5902824)
And kids don't watch them nor go to the games in numbers like minor league baseball.
   127. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2019 at 09:37 AM (#5902893)
And kids don't watch them nor go to the games in numbers like minor league baseball.

Yeah, there really is no time in a young person's life where they might attend a bunch of college football games. /s
   128. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 21, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5902903)
The college football teams are trying to win the games, they plan several years down the line to win. That doesn't happen in the minors, so it's doubtful how well they're representing baseball in areas without MLB.
   129. Answer Guy. Posted: November 21, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5902904)
Whenever I create one of my historical OOTP leagues, I try to keep all of the teams in the largest possible cities, with only a handful in smaller "real" cities. (Of course, I also use promotion/relegation, so it quickly gets kinda messy.)


I was thinking of trying that for my next OOTP project. My current one is seeing what happens when I expand MLB by adding new teams in cities when they get big enough and travel there becomes viable as opposed to moving teams.
   130. Answer Guy. Posted: November 21, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5902907)
Sorry about that "Orioles' AA" there. Was thinking of pointing out that the Orioles' AA team couldn't get much closer to Baltimore than it already is.


That's in Bowie, even closer to B'more than Frederick is. Both are also helpfully on/near the border between the Baltimore and DC spheres of influence. I'd say that the Orioles are fighting a losing battle for the in-between suburbs, but that's a function of who's winning and who's not since the Ravens appear to be are eating the Redskins' lunch in the same areas.

   131. McCoy Posted: November 21, 2019 at 06:35 PM (#5903058)
Re 127. What's your point in regards to baseball/football and getting kids to watch?

All of the baseball arguments for having these minor league teams for kids falls apart when comparing baseball to the other leagues.

Taking a family of four to a Nebraska game or an Alabama game is next to impossible unless you're rich. The amount of "minor league" football teams is dwarfed by the amount of minor league baseball teams and yet the NFL had no problem attracting young people.
   132. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2019 at 08:54 PM (#5903076)
Re 127. What's your point in regards to baseball/football and getting kids to watch?


My point is the NFL has a ready made minor league audience among millions of college students. Baseball doesn't have that. Baseball fans are usually made earlier, and minor league games are a great way to allow families to attend games cheaply.
   133. McCoy Posted: November 21, 2019 at 09:10 PM (#5903079)
Kids become fans because of watching games on TV, their family and friends, and playing a sport.

Going to a minor league game once in their life makes very little difference.

Minor league attendance has been high for decades and it hasn't translated into a younger demographic for MLB.


College age is not the key time to create NFL fans. The vast majority of NFL are interested in the NFL well before that.

Going to FSU might make you a life long Seminoles fan but it isn't likely to make you a jaguars fan.
   134. Lassus Posted: November 21, 2019 at 10:13 PM (#5903083)
The idea that reducing the amount of baseball in America doesn't affect the amount of people interested in baseball strains credulity, even for a grump like you, McCoy.
   135. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 21, 2019 at 11:08 PM (#5903088)
I think that a lot of these towns probably have high school football and basketball teams that attract as much interest as the minor league baseball team. The low minors are puny in comparison.
   136. Howie Menckel Posted: November 21, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5903092)
indoor football in the US has had a rocky road.

the AFL lasted from 1987-2019, except for 2009. it may well be dead now.

the number of teams ranged from 4 to 19 (the latter weird number was 2004 and 2007) over the years. but those teams played in large markets.

better comps are leagues like the Indoor Football League, where players get about $200 a game. in 2008, the Sioux Falls Storm of the United Indoor Football league knocked off the Intense Football League's Louisiana Swashbucklers, and the leagues then merged a la old AFL/NFL.

their 2009 season also had 19 teams, including the Rochester Raiders, Saginaw Sting, Omaha Beef, Abilene Ruff Riders, Billings Outlaws, and Fairbanks Grizzlies.

there were 25 teams in 2010, because what could go wrong? The Alaska Wild didn't survive the season. a year later they added 7 new teams - and lost 9 more. by 2012, there were 16 teams such as the Tri-Cities Fever, the New Mexico Stars, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, and the Chicago Slaughter (based in Hoffman Estates).

2013, 9 teams left. the Bemidji Axemen replaced the Slaughter the following season. The fabled Iowa Barnstormers joined in 2015 to help maintain 10 teams.

after a ton of lawsuits over rival leagues poaching each other's teams, the IFL only could manage to field 6 teams in 2018. this year, they had 10 teams - including the Tucson Sugar Skulls, the Quad City Steamrollers, and the Bismarck Bucks.


   137. McCoy Posted: November 22, 2019 at 07:32 AM (#5903095)
Re 134. We have these things called TV and the internet and baseball has been around for over 150 years.

   138. DL from MN Posted: November 22, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5903108)
The idea that reducing the amount of baseball in America doesn't affect the amount of people interested in baseball strains credulity, even for a grump like you, McCoy.


They're cutting 40 baseball teams, some of which will be replaced with a college wood bat league. There are thousands of baseball teams in the United States (27,400 in Little League alone) and thousands more worldwide. This is less than a 0.1% decrease in the amount of baseball.
   139. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 22, 2019 at 09:43 AM (#5903110)
The amount of "minor league" football teams is dwarfed by the amount of minor league baseball teams and yet the NFL had no problem attracting young people.


What? There are more than 500 college football programs in this great nation of ours.
   140. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 09:43 AM (#5903111)

The idea that reducing the amount of baseball in America doesn't affect the amount of people interested in baseball strains credulity, even for a grump like you, McCoy.


but the issue is interest in MLB, right? HOw does that effect interest in MLB? Just cause you say so? You make it sound so obvious.
   141. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 09:46 AM (#5903113)

I don't think it has anything to do with the age gap, but the NFL has well over 100 minor league teams in the NCAA D1.


BUt then isnt the obvious response that baseball has 100+ teams playing collegiate baseball? Why isnt that enough or more than enough to keep baseball interest at a fairly high rate?

Its good enough for football right? BUt not baseball? Baseball needs MiLB to create interest and football doesnt?

What about hockey? or golf? we really need the Nike tour to keep young fans interested in golf?

Or basketball? We really need the intercontinental league or whatever it is to keep interest in that?
   142. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5903117)
My point is the NFL has a ready made minor league audience among millions of college students. Baseball doesn't have that. Baseball fans are usually made earlier


not sure what the pt is. The first baseball game I watched where I recall the teams and what was happening was the 1971 World Series. The first football game was AFC championship COlts/Dolphins in late 71 or early 72. Nearly the same time.

I started playing both sports at about the same time. BUt I really dont know what you're saying. Both these sports, perhaps most sports begin grabbing a hold at say age 7 or 8? yes? OR are you saying baseball fans are made earlier than football? I find that odd.
   143. jmurph Posted: November 22, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5903118)
Re 134. We have these things called TV and the internet and baseball has been around for over 150 years.

I think I lean more towards McCoy on this one. I think there was definitely a time when the minor league fan-building argument was compelling (I lived in southeastern Virginia for a time as a kid, and knew some Braves fans who could trace their fandom to cheering for the Richmond Braves, just as one example). But I'm skeptical it's much of a factor in the current media landscape.

EDIT: Though now that I think about it, it might be tough to separate the impact of access to the Richmond Braves vs access to TBS.
   144. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5903158)
but the issue is interest in MLB, right? How does that effect interest in MLB? Just cause you say so? You make it sound so obvious.
-shrug- I admit it seems so to me. I guess I could be wrong. I didn't say it was going to destroy MLB OMG!, just that less exposure means less interest. I know everyone hates advertising and PR, but they do know something about why repetitive exposure is important - if not integral - to a brand or product.

There are thousands of baseball teams in the United States (27,400 in Little League alone) and thousands more worldwide. This is less than a 0.1% decrease in the amount of baseball.
Offering Little League baseball in place of Minor League ball in regards to equal public interest seems a somewhat disingenuous argument. Again, maybe I'm wrong, but I go watch collegiate minors in Utica because it's advanced baseball. I have zero interest in watching 12-year-olds play baseball.
   145. DL from MN Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5903161)
Offering Little League baseball in place of Minor League ball in regards to public interest seems a somewhat disingenuous argument.


How so? MILLIONS of kids play Little League. Hundreds watch rookie league baseball games. It seems like there are orders of magnitude more interest in Little League than Appy League baseball.

Want to get kids interested in MLB? Have them PLAY baseball, not watch it.
   146. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5903165)
Well, kids have parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents. I don't know that an unaffiliated adult goes to a lot of Little League games.

And, I admit I may be wrong. Perhaps I'm too biased. I'll simply return to my original thought that less public accessible baseball means less people interested in baseball. I suppose any lesser interest is negligible and shouldn't be cared about about, and, fair enough.

It just certainly doesn't seem that shuttering large, budgeted baseball operations across the country somehow HELPS interest in baseball. (Is that something that's being argued?)
   147. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5903166)
Want to get kids interested in MLB? Have them PLAY baseball, not watch it.

I wasn't arguing against kids playing baseball. I was arguing that lesser baseball to experience means lesser interest in baseball. That's it.

If it's considered a negligible effect, so be it.
   148. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5903168)
I know everyone hates advertising and PR, but they do know something about why repetitive exposure is important - if not integral - to a brand or product


So you're saying that MLB doesnt know their own fan base and why its popular? And that they are destroying their own PR/advertising when they drop some MiLB teams? Like you know more about this then an association of 30 teams each of which are worth hundreds of millions. I find that hard to believe.
   149. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5903169)
Again, maybe I'm wrong, but I go watch collegiate minors in Utica because it's advanced baseball. I have zero interest in watching 12-year-olds play baseball.


You talk about"exposure" in the para. before that and it seems to me there' probably more little league baseball on TV then MiLB. Am I correct? They might show the MiLB all star game maybe once a year on ESPN II or something but they shown the litte world series for like two weeks?

Surely you think TV provides more exposure than in person games? or maybe you disagree? I didnt really grow up watching MiLB so it has very little appeal to me
   150. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5903170)

So you're saying that MLB doesnt know their own fan base and why its popular? And that they are destroying their own PR/advertising when they drop some MiLB teams? Like you know more about this then an association of 30 teams each of which are worth hundreds of millions. I find that hard to believe.

I think it's possible that a majority of the 30 owners might be more focused on short-term profitability in order to maximize a sale price in the next few years, than they are in the long-term health of the sport.
   151. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5903171)
I'll simply return to my original thought that less public accessible baseball means less people interested in baseball.


But then how do other major sports do so well without a minor league? YOu dont seem to address this.

Not just football and basketball. BUt tennis hockey golf..
   152. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5903173)
re: #148 - Actually, it was my opinion. Which I've already admitted - in its layperson's status - could certainly be wrong.

And New Coke did indeed happen. And movies from Oscar-winning studios, producers, directors, and stars that are so awful they went direct-to-video and you're shocked you've never heard of them. It's possible for people to make mistakes.
   153. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5903174)
Hockey actually has extensive minor leagues.
   154. JJ1986 Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5903177)
BUt then isnt the obvious response that baseball has 100+ teams playing collegiate baseball?
This is not arguing in good faith. College football and college basketball are giant sports. College baseball is barely a thing.
   155. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5903179)

I think it's possible that a majority of the 30 owners might be more focused on short-term profitability in order to maximize a sale price in the next few years, than they are in the long-term health of the sport.


Right that's possible. I cant assume that.

As you suggest, MLB does have issues with its product especially the pace of play that probably is impacting its reach into younger generation. so we cant assume they are making good long term decisions.
   156. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:49 PM (#5903180)
But then how do other major sports do so well without a minor league? You dont seem to address this.
Because that's a whole different issue

Not just football and basketball. BUt tennis hockey golf..
Hockey actually has extensive minor leagues.
And there definitely is an important minor-league golf tour.
   157. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5903181)
Hockey actually has extensive minor leagues.


I know they do and I thought about then when I posted, but I thought they were mostly in Canada. Does anyone really go to MiL hockey? Just cause you have them, I mean if no one in USA is going to Minor League hockey it doesnt seem their existence is necessary to maintain high interest at the major level.

Right its not just their existence we're arguing. You're arguing that their existence promotes attention to the sport.
   158. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:53 PM (#5903182)
And there definitely is minor-league golf.


Right but who's watching the NIke tour or whatever it is? Like 5000 hard core people.

And if I recall it didnt always exist. I dont think it existed in the days of HOgan or Byron Nelson, right? Did they really need them to generate interest? Im thinking the NIke tour or whatever it is is just to keep guys financially alive so they can qualify next year.
   159. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5903183)
College football and college basketball are giant sports. College baseball is barely a thing.


Maybe college baseball will take up the slack where MiLB left off?
   160. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 22, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5903187)
Maybe college baseball will take up the slack where MiLB left off?


Seems unlikely. It's not even a full-scholarship sport in a lot of places.
   161. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 22, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5903189)
Does anyone really go to MiL hockey?


Yes. The Canadian Hockey League has an annual attendance comparable to MLS, and the American Hockey League's is about 2/3 of that.
   162. DL from MN Posted: November 22, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5903199)
I don't know that an unaffiliated adult goes to a lot of Little League games.


True, but that still means millions of people attending amateur baseball games every year. It was also mentioned that plenty of unaffiliated adults watch the Little League World Series every year. In Japan the biggest event of the year isn't in professional baseball, it's in high school baseball.

I think this is why the game has a bright long-term future. Baseball fans watching on TV or in person are mostly those 'unaffiliated adults'. I know I'm far too busy going to my kids' games to attend professional games during the summer but we watch a lot on television.
   163. McCoy Posted: November 22, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5903231)
I've gone to two minor league hockey games. Both in Philly and at the time they seemed like they draw well. First game was on Valentine's day and was a blast so we went again and ran smack into a massive wall of kids yelling at the top of their lungs for several hours and so never went again.
   164. McCoy Posted: November 22, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5903232)
College football and basketball are not minor leagues for the pros. At least not in terms of viewership. They are their own separate entity.
   165. McCoy Posted: November 22, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5903234)
In regards to 500 minor league football teams i would not be shocked if Kennesaw's soccer and or lacrosse team draw better than their football team.

For some of these teams it's like little league baseball in that the only people in the stands are family members of the players.
   166. McCoy Posted: November 22, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5903248)
Dup
   167. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5903271)
Utica's biggest sports draw right now is their AHL team, the Comets, who are affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks.

(Sadly, not as entertaining as the locally-filmed Slapshot.)
   168. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2019 at 06:33 PM (#5903315)
I thought Slapshot was filmed in ALtoona?
   169. Lassus Posted: November 22, 2019 at 10:08 PM (#5903357)
   170. Howie Menckel Posted: November 22, 2019 at 11:45 PM (#5903363)
Right but who's watching the NIke tour or whatever it is? Like 5000 hard core people.

And if I recall it didnt always exist. I dont think it existed in the days of HOgan or Byron Nelson, right? Did they really need them to generate interest?

there always have been plenty of golf "satellite" pro tours. guy I grew up played some in a Florida version. winner got a decent check, as much as five figures - but it tailed off fast after that, iirc what he said.

the current, ridiculously-named "Korn Ferry Tour" really dates back about 30 years (ironically it was first called "The Ben Hogan Tour.") Nike, Nationwide, and others have been title sponsors. it's basically a single AAA Tour, so top players on that are earning six figures (but their expenses can be close to that, so keep on truckin' to pay back those sponsors).

as to the point of "does that Tour help generate interest in the game?" - I'd say, not really. as noted, it helps more players hang on a bit longer.

men's tennis is in the process of doing what MLB seeks - eliminating low rungs, in part to elevate the higher tiers.

although the tennis is in significant part motivated by betting scandals - whereas who the heck bets on low low minor league baseball? part of that is cultural, in that Americans are maybe the least inclined fans to want to wager money on a sporting event (the worldwide leader is Australia, btw).
   171. Lassus Posted: November 23, 2019 at 07:30 AM (#5903380)
as to the point of "does that Tour help generate interest in the game?" - I'd say, not really. as noted, it helps more players hang on a bit longer.

What economic system do you think we are living in that currently supports a charity league for C-level golfers? They run 28 tournaments a year with a 6-figure (just) winner's purse each tournament. In addition you do realize that not every golf lover can actually afford to go watch the TPC and greater Houston Open or Augusta in person?

I'd ask the same question: Cancel the entire development tour for the PGA, gone. As it doesn't help generate interest in the game, you would therefore think that that cancellation doesn't have any effect at all on the interest in golf?

I simply find this conclusion so weird. I say this honestly and not snarkily, but I must be missing SOMETHING, as it really does seem obvious to me.
   172. manchestermets Posted: November 23, 2019 at 07:51 AM (#5903382)
So you're saying that MLB doesnt know their own fan base and why its popular? And that they are destroying their own PR/advertising when they drop some MiLB teams?


So it seems what you're asking here is "Can a major sport governing body be fundamentally incompetent?" and I honestly have very little hesitation in answering "Yes" to that.
   173. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5903486)
I'm pretty sure there are a bunch of people who watch golf who have no idea there is a developmental league.
   174. Lassus Posted: November 23, 2019 at 10:16 PM (#5903502)
This doesn't actually address what I asked above.
   175. Howie Menckel Posted: November 23, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5903522)
Lassus,
Not sure what you are looking for. it almost sounds as if you are objecting to public subsidies for an AAA golf tour - which I would understand, if that was a thing.

but the PGA Tour finds this worthwhile, it seems. I know that it helps create more opportunity for diversity (I know, insert joke here), and some semi-popular players who have been off the top of their game for various reasons can tread water while they rebound. one early Tour contender this week recently announced that he is a recovering alcoholic. is the world a better place if the dude winds up unable to bounce back?

I follow golf closely, but I don't follow the "Korn Ferry Tour" at all (frankly, I don't follow the lame events from Sept-New Year's at all, practically). but that AAA tour's existence does not bother me.
   176. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2019 at 09:05 AM (#5903540)
Not sure what you are looking for. it almost sounds as if you are objecting to public subsidies for an AAA golf tour

Instead of looking art what it almost sounds like, why not look at what it actually sounds like:

The idea that reducing the amount of baseball in America doesn't affect the amount of people interested in baseball strains credulity
I didn't say it was going to destroy MLB OMG!, just that less exposure means less interest.
I'll simply return to my original thought that less public accessible baseball means less people interested in baseball.
I was arguing that lesser baseball to experience means lesser interest in baseball. That's it.
you would therefore think that that cancellation [of the qualifying golf tour] doesn't have any effect at all on the interest in golf?


The largest reduction of minor leagues in history (actual) or the full cancellation of the development league golf (conceptual) has zero effect on the brand? This is what I am looking for, confirmation of this theory that I've already said I don't get.


(I was simply saying that in hyper-Capitalism, the idea that the development league exists as a gift to golfers is kinda batshit. It makes money and promotes the league.)
   177. McCoy Posted: November 24, 2019 at 09:25 AM (#5903541)
I'm confused. The contraction of the minor leagues in the 50's and 60's was bad for MLB?
   178. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: November 24, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5903546)
Well, doesn't that more or less line up with the NFL's rise and declining interest in MLB?
   179. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5903562)
I have a great idea: Just fucking forget it. Discuss the 50s and 60s minor leagues in that thread.
   180. McCoy Posted: November 24, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5903565)
It lines up with the rise of TV.
   181. bads85 Posted: November 24, 2019 at 08:46 PM (#5903616)
It makes so much sense to have Gwinnett in the Southern League along with a new franchise in New Orleans. Among other changes dumping Beloit, WI in favor of Madison would be a good move. I'm really not sure how Beloit survived the proposal and Quad Cities got the ax.


Beloit has a new stadium deal in the works and a new wealthy owner.
   182. bads85 Posted: November 24, 2019 at 09:18 PM (#5903622)
We can pretty much guarantee this means Dayton to AAA. They finished 10th in the whole minors in attendance while playing in the Midwest League, and have sold out every game for their entire 19 year existence in Dayton.


Dayton's stadium does not meet AAA requirements for seats. There would have to be stadium expansion for this to happen.
   183. bads85 Posted: November 24, 2019 at 09:29 PM (#5903623)
Notice that none of the teams owned by MLB franchises are on the block.


This isn't correct.

MLB owned teams on the contraction list:

Danville Braves
Greeneville Reds
Staten Island Yankees
Grand Junction Rockies
Bristol Pirates
Johnson City Cardinals
Kingsport Mets
Princeton Rays

   184. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: November 25, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5903692)
Thank you for the correction, bads85 - I shoulda double checked that / figured it out on my own as I knew Danville was on the list. Mea culpa...
   185. bads85 Posted: November 25, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5903701)
The Yankees pushed back against it at the winter meetings in regards to their Staten Island franchise and were told nothing in the plan is set in stone. The is a bit farcical.
   186. . Posted: November 25, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5903731)
There shouldn't even be such a thing as "minor league" baseball and the only reason there is is that MLB's ridiculous antitrust exemption is permitted to persist. Their monopoly and control over franchising -- even the mere thing as franchising -- distorts the marketplace for professional baseball entirely.
   187. QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5903777)
   188. QLE Posted: December 02, 2019 at 09:49 PM (#5905075)
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