22 September 2006

Say It Ain't So!

Once again, history in baseball means absolutely nothing when focused on the future and the almighty dollar. Baseball America is reporting a pretty major shake-up among the AAA baseball ranks. AAA is the level closest to the major leagues; affiliates are usually located in larger metropolitan areas; and don't shuffle major league affiliations quite as often as some of the lower level.

All the moving around started when the Phillies announced that they were moving their top affiliate from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Allentown, via Ottawa (they purchased the Ottawa franchise, and are remaining in Canada until the new stadium in Allentown is ready next year). That left the Scranton area as a desirable destination, and the Orioles, previously located in Ottawa looking for a home. In most years, the simple thing that would have happened is that the Orioles (who, right about now might be wishing that they were still affiliated with the Rochester Red Wings) would move to Scranton. Ummm...not this year. Enter the New York Yankees.

The Yankees affiliate had been in Columbus, OH since the late 70's. Scranton is a lot closer to the Yankees fan base, so they make an attractive courting partner. The problem is - Yankees fans are EVERYWHERE. They have a great fan base built up in Columbus. They don't need a nearby affiliate for injury rehab assignments, as they have teams in Staten Island and Trenton, NJ. In a year in which the Mets are not conceding any back page headlines to the Evil Empire, they also decide that Scranton would look pretty good, so they tell Norfolk (their AAA home since **1969**) that, well, they love Norfolk, but they think they might want to see other people. If you are Scranton, who would you rather have - the Yankees or the Mets? Duh. Most people wouldn't even blink before taking the Yanks.

The Orioles (remember them?) will likely jump into bed with Norfolk. That leaves the Mets and Columbus (the former Yankee affiliate) without dance partners. OK...enter the Washington Nationals, who have been relegated to AAA purgatory in New Orleans the last few years. The Nats jump on Columbus - leaving the Mets to toil in AAA hell...New Orleans. Ugh.

I always wanted to go and see the Mets in Norfolk. I understand that the ballpark there is a top-notch minor league facility. Instead, I am left to mourn the loss of another part of my childhood.



Walker Evans said...

The clippers have already signed with the Nats and will probably be signing with someone else in 2008.

I don't think this is a huge loss for the Clips.

Scott said...

I went to a number of Tides games in the late 80's. Hard to imagine the Tides not being with the Mets. Man, the Mets were just loved down there. Oh well, times change I suppose.