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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Staten Island Yankees cease operations, sue New York Yankees, MLB

“The New York Yankees announced on November 7, 2020 that the Staten Island Yankees were no longer part of the Yankees minor league affiliation structure, even though the Yankees had made repeated assurances we would always be a minor league partner.

“Although we still have not heard this from the Yankees directly, it would appear from their press release that they would like us to go from the past arrangement in which the Staten Island Yankees were an affiliated minor league team of the New York Yankees — where we facilitated player development and brand exposure, among other benefits to the New York Yankees — to one in which we play unaffiliated baseball with no relationship to the Yankees whatsoever.

This would force Staten Island to field a subpar team with players that have no connection to the Yankees farm system. Additionally, this would require additional expenses including payroll for players, coaches and staff. Unfortunately, that additional expense and the loss of the connection to the Yankees in our shared city makes it impossible for the Staten Island Yankees to pursue this business model.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:12 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues, yankees

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   1. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: December 03, 2020 at 06:02 PM (#5992330)
bump
   2. bads85 Posted: December 03, 2020 at 06:15 PM (#5992335)
Here we go. #### got real earlier this week in Fresno too.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: December 03, 2020 at 08:23 PM (#5992345)
IANAL but that's never stopped me before ... it comes down to the end of that opening sentence. Can they prove the Yanks made such assurances ... and what exactly does "minor league partner" mean exactly. I assume there was no currently active contract this decision violated so I assume Staten Island is behind the 8-ball here. If there is an ongoing contract then it depends what clauses it has about terminating the contract early.

There are lots of businesses whose "models" will no longer work if nobody is willing to pay them for their services.

I am curious about the legal organizational structures here. My naive understanding is that the minor leagues are technically a different organization so it's not clear to me how MLB gets to decide which teams are in and which out. The re-organization of leagues strikes me as even odder from that perspective -- how can the NY-Penn League (or whatever) disband without approval of its memebers? Or was Staten Island out-voted?
   4. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 04, 2020 at 07:38 AM (#5992376)
Pizza Rats RIP.
   5. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 04, 2020 at 07:42 AM (#5992377)
My naive understanding is that the minor leagues are technically a different organization so it's not clear to me how MLB gets to decide which teams are in and which out.

"Hey, you know that big chunk o' cash we give you every year? Well, we're giving it to someone else now. Godspeed."
   6. Adam Starblind Posted: December 04, 2020 at 07:51 AM (#5992379)
they would like us to go from the past arrangement in which the Staten Island Yankees were an affiliated minor league team of the New York Yankees — where we facilitated player development and brand exposure, among other benefits to the New York Yankees — to one in which we play unaffiliated baseball with no relationship to the Yankees whatsoever.


They provided “brand exposure” ... for the Yankees?
   7. Lassus Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:20 AM (#5992384)
Well, yeah. I believe they did. I went to MAYBE one game up at Speer Stadium since it was built, but went to an easy half-dozen of the SI Yankees games, probably more. I don't think "brand exposure" means "primary brand exposure". I feel like I saw constant Wall Street types heading out there for those games. Less trouble, easier access, shorter night. I'm bummed (even though not in the city any more) that this happened.
   8. . . . . . . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:31 AM (#5992385)
If you think “Wall Street types” went to Staten ###### Island, let alone for a “shorter night” a gajillion miles away from their offices and homes, then can I interest you in an investment in the second longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere?
   9. . . . . . . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:32 AM (#5992386)
I mean maybe the IT people or mail room guys? I am trying to wrap my mind around the perspective of Wall Street Guys
   10. . . . . . . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:34 AM (#5992387)
About 4 years ago I proposed taking our summers down there for a game, ferry ride is nice for kids who are new to the city, could rent a group space for nothing, maybe finish the night in bay ridge or something. And the recruiting folks said it would be embarassing
   11. . . . . . . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:39 AM (#5992388)
Oh and BTW the ownership team filing this suit is a bunch of actual finance guys, including a semi-retired SAC alum and a former MD at Morgan Stanley. Hire better counsel next time, bros.
   12. Lassus Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:10 AM (#5992392)
If you think “Wall Street types” went to Staten ###### Island, let alone for a “shorter night” a gajillion miles away from their offices and homes, then can I interest you in an investment in the second longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere?
-shrug- I saw guys in suits get on the ferry and go to the stadium the same way I was, more than once. I'll cop to poor sample size of random guys for two games? Maybe travelers vs. Westchester? Sure.

About 4 years ago I proposed taking our summers down there for a game, ferry ride is nice for kids who are new to the city, could rent a group space for nothing, maybe finish the night in bay ridge or something. And the recruiting folks said it would be embarrassing.
Well, I'm literally agreeing with your four-year-old idea. Like any department, recruiting is very often right, and certainly sometimes is not. But again - this is me thinking you were right. (Except about Bay Ridge. Ick.)


Same as prior, I just think this is a shame. I don't think that SUE, GODDAMMIT, SUE THEM TO DEATH WOOHOO! is anything I care about. But I do care that good baseball with a great view and local connections is getting punted.
   13. Adam Starblind Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:18 AM (#5992395)
Well, yeah. I believe they did. I went to MAYBE one game up at Speer Stadium since it was built, but went to an easy half-dozen of the SI Yankees games, probably more. I don't think "brand exposure" means "primary brand exposure". I feel like I saw constant Wall Street types heading out there for those games. Less trouble, easier access, shorter night. I'm bummed (even though not in the city any more) that this happened.


I think in this context, "brand exposure" obviously means exposure to the New York Yankees brand--it's listed as one of the "benefits to the New York Yankees." Which is ludicrous.

About 4 years ago I proposed taking our summers down there for a game, ferry ride is nice for kids who are new to the city, could rent a group space for nothing, maybe finish the night in bay ridge or something. And the recruiting folks said it would be embarrassing.


That does sound nice. On the other hand, you can also take a ferry from the Wall Street area to Yankee Stadium. At least you could 20 years ago.
   14. Lassus Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:23 AM (#5992396)
Which is ludicrous.
A stretch, sure. Like anyone's resume or suit. LUDICROUS seems a bit of an oversell. YMMV.
Exposure is exposure. I mean, I have spent time on Staten Island. They don't have a hell of a lot of exposure to anything.

At least you could 20 years ago.
That sounds like about how long that ferry would take.
   15. Adam Starblind Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:37 AM (#5992397)
That sounds like about how long that ferry would take.


Less than an hour, and there was beer. And at the end you were at Yankee Stadium.
   16. Adam Starblind Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:39 AM (#5992398)
I mean, I have spent time on Staten Island. They don't have a hell of a lot of exposure to anything.


I agree with you, the Yankees being one of the obvious exceptions.
   17. . . . . . . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:48 AM (#5992401)
following up on this, BaseballAmerica has the complaint, and based on the snippets that have been posted, it may not be ENTIRELY frivolous, though thats a low bar. Need to see the whole thing. My hunch is that if the Yankees pulled the affiliation and gave it to another low A team, they might've had a decent argument, but given that the whole league/level was scrapped, they're SOL.

More broadly, what's happening here is that the SI Yankees were bought by four guys who knew each other from HBS and were successful - but normal successful, not buy a sports team successful. I think they got out over their skis on this and the loss is meaningful to them. That being said, attendance dropped by 60-70% on their watch, so, if you dont want your team terminated, don't be a shitty operator.
   18. . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:01 AM (#5992403)
If the complaint meets the low bar of plausibly not frivolous the Yankees could just cut a drop in the bucket check and be done with it. That's probably all ownership is looking for and what will likely happen.

I liked Walt's questions -- first blush guess would be that there's something in the league constitution that if X number of affiliations go away, the league dissolves automatically. There certainly doesn't seem to have been any kind of formal vote.
   19. . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:05 AM (#5992404)
Our office did a "team building" thing at the SI Yankees a few summers ago. I picked my brain and finally came up with a politically palatable and plausible way to get out of it. Took a lot of work and thought and I very much channeled my inner George Costanza to get there. Early August, noon game, turned out to be like 98 degrees, no shade. I'd have rather donned the Marcellus Wallace mouth balls and sat with a sparse audience through the first chapter of Nieporent's Lectures on Libertarianism.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:11 AM (#5992408)

I agree with you, the Yankees being one of the obvious exceptions.


Isn't it kind of brand exposure to get people to become Yankees fans instead of Mets fans because there is a minor league affiliate in their backyard?
   21. Lassus Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:13 AM (#5992410)
SI Yankees were bought by four guys who knew each other from HBS

What year was this purchase, out of curiosity?
   22. . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:17 AM (#5992411)
More broadly, what's happening here is that the SI Yankees were bought by four guys who knew each other from HBS and were successful - but normal successful, not buy a sports team successful. I think they got out over their skis on this and the loss is meaningful to them. That being said, attendance dropped by 60-70% on their watch, so, if you dont want your team terminated, don't be a shitty operator.


Late to the run in minor league franchise values party. Pretty much the oldest story in business. Timing is everything. Eventually the run in major league franchise values will end, too. Ex-real estate, cable bubble, public mallpark it might have already.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5992412)
About 4 years ago I proposed taking our summers down there for a game, ferry ride is nice for kids who are new to the city, could rent a group space for nothing, maybe finish the night in bay ridge or something. And the recruiting folks said it would be embarassing
Pretentious bungholes, those recruiting folks. I, for one, would have loved that kind of event when I was a summer.
   24. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: December 04, 2020 at 11:18 AM (#5992421)
Baseball has always been a nice place to drink beer outside. Some recruiting people will get that, and some won't.
   25. Adam Starblind Posted: December 04, 2020 at 11:25 AM (#5992423)
About 4 years ago I proposed taking our summers down there for a game, ferry ride is nice for kids who are new to the city, could rent a group space for nothing, maybe finish the night in bay ridge or something. And the recruiting folks said it would be embarassing
Pretentious bungholes, those recruiting folks. I, for one, would have loved that kind of event when I was a summer.


Funny, in my experience recruiting people tend to be among the very few normal people employed at a large law firm.
   26. bads85 Posted: December 04, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5992428)
That being said, attendance dropped by 60-70% on their watch, so, if you dont want your team terminated, don't be a shitty operator.


There is a clause in the lease that states if the attendance hits a certain amount, a significant amount of money gets paid to the city. If not, no (or a very little payment). These guys were almost certainly deflating attendance to not have to make that payment.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, this stadium, along with the Brooklyn stadium, was built with tax payer money as part of the New Yankee Stadium/Citi Field deal. There was specific language written into the deal that stated that both the Staten Island team and the Brooklyn team had to have MLB affiliation. The current owners are claiming this language exists in their contract.
   27. Obo Posted: December 04, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5992436)
They provided “brand exposure” ... for the Yankees?

Single data point, but a former colleague of mine used to take his daughter to SI Yankees games when she was around, dunno, six or so. She didn't care at all about baseball and had no idea who the NY Yankees might be, but she loved the crowd and the atmosphere and whatever hokey minor-league entertainment was being provided along with the game. I don't even know whether she grew up to be a life-long Yankees fan, but that's definitely one way to get them hooked.

No idea about the merits of the lawsuit but it's a shame that such a great location is being lost.
   28. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: December 04, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5992452)
i imagine that, regardless of how this ends up, you could have some form of baseball at this site, either indy or amateur.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: December 04, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5992460)
I went to a game there once, nice park, nice afternoon - except for the monsoon, which I elect not to blame on the ballclub.
   30. BDC Posted: December 04, 2020 at 02:24 PM (#5992469)
i imagine that, regardless of how this ends up, you could have some form of baseball at this site, either indy or amateur

Absolutely - if independent baseball is viable anywhere, it would be viable at the SI Ferry terminal.

Far more than Yankee affiliation, though (which bads85 explains might be legally essential to all this maneuvering now), any SI team would need a league to play in. They don't need to be the SI Yankees or even the SI Blue Jays or Rays, but they do need to be able to play the Perth Amboy Paellas and the Poughkeepsie Pickapeppas or whoever.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2020 at 03:16 PM (#5992479)
the Poughkeepsie Pickapeppas or whoever.

Everyone knows they pick their feet in Poughkeepsie.
   32. . . . . . . Posted: December 04, 2020 at 03:25 PM (#5992483)
relatedly, one of my dreams was to go down to SI and hire a couple of ringers from the Yankees to play in the championship game of the softball league, like don't even try to hide it, get a couple of dominican kids who are like 19 years old, can't speak a lick of english and can hit the ball 600 feet, put them on the team being all "si, estoy asociado de Milbank Tweed" or whatever, and just dare people to complain about it.
   33. Adam Starblind Posted: December 04, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5992498)
Summer Associate from the Madrid office. The summer associates are all ringers anyway.
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2020 at 05:46 PM (#5992504)
relatedly, one of my dreams was to go down to SI and hire a couple of ringers from the Yankees to play in the championship game of the softball league,
That would have been an embarrassment to the firm. Only ringers from the MLB Yankees would have been acceptable.
   35. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: December 04, 2020 at 07:33 PM (#5992514)
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, this stadium, along with the Brooklyn stadium, was built with tax payer money as part of the New Yankee Stadium/Citi Field deal.

That can't be right. The minor league parks were around 10 years before the new major league parks.
   36. John Northey Posted: December 05, 2020 at 12:20 AM (#5992541)
The big question is what is the wording in the contracts the team has with the Yankees. If the Yankees promised they'd be an affiliate forever that is nice but meaningless in court. But if it is written down somewhere then that is different. If they didn't get that written down they are screwed. I could see them maybe having 1 year left on the agreement but I thought MLB switched all minor leagues to a 2-4 year window at best for affiliations. Plus thanks to COVID MLB could claim breach of contract if needed by those teams not playing in 2020 at all. Both sides might have some case to make on that but it would be an ugly, tough case. Given MLB is doing a death march for tons of teams I could see them teaming up to do a class action but it would be hard as MLB could just paper them into oblivion.
   37. bads85 Posted: December 05, 2020 at 12:26 AM (#5992542)
That can't be right. The minor league parks were around 10 years before the new major league parks.


Yeah, my failing memory conflated things. I should have said that the minor league parks were precursors of the New Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Both teams had to agree for the parks to be built. Maybe it was the the bond structure for the MilB parks laid the groundwork for the bod structure for the MLB parks? I am struggling to find anything about how it went down though.
   38. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: December 05, 2020 at 09:22 AM (#5992557)
30/need a league - well, I thought they’d join the mlb draft league (which needs another team) but that would be scuttled by this lawsuit I imagine. Same for the atlantic or other Indy leagues that would have this in their geographic footprint but also partner with mlb - absent a change in ownership (that’s the catch for now - let old owners sue and new owners have a team there).
   39. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 05, 2020 at 12:49 PM (#5992571)
That would have been an embarrassment to the firm. Only ringers from the MLB Yankees would have been acceptable.


They tried that, but they ended up not being able to play due to an overdose of nerve tonic, falling down a bottomless pit, and getting into an argument with a local drunk over who was the greatest British Prime Minister.
   40. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: December 09, 2020 at 11:20 AM (#5993318)
today is rumored to be the day when the 120 surviving minor league teams will be announced...

frederick (was a+ orioles) will not be one - they're joining the mlb draft league (amateurs in the mid-atlantic, acela area).
   41. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: December 09, 2020 at 12:45 PM (#5993340)
the list of teams is out. some highlights:
sugarland (hou), st paul (min), jacksonville (mia), worcester (bos) are new (or new-ish? what do we call the pawtucket move in this context?) to aaa
wichita (min - built a stadium to move to aaa and got shunted to aa before their first game; dang) to aa

a ball is radically different.

Full season teams which are out (several of these were known or were obvious):
Double-A: Jackson Generals (Southern), Trenton Thunder (Eastern)
High Class A: Charlotte Stone Crabs (Florida State), Florida Fire Frogs (Florida State), Frederick Keys (Carolina)
Low Class A: Burlington Bees (Midwest), Clinton LumberKings (Midwest), Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic), Lexington Legends (South Atlantic), Kane County Cougars (Midwest), West Virginia Power (South Atlantic)


there's a six team league in high a in the northwest now.

one spot not yet determined - colorado's low a affiliate, pending what fresno wants to do (drop 3 levels or sue). guessing that lancaster is the backup plan there, though that would have to be short term (i think - no one wants to be in lancaster).

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