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 Post subject: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:21 pm 
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Legend of NYFS

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Agreement appears near on reducing the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120.

Structure would be creating 4 full season affiliates for each MLB team plus 1 rookie ball team at its ST facility. Seems like that Brooklyn would become a fullseason affiliate and St. Lucie would become a rookie league team.


Now, not really understanding the full ins and outs of the financial ramifications here - a few things come to mind;

1. MLB has of course resisted ever paying MiLB players a living wage. A lot of this pertains to low level minor leaguers who have no real path forward to a major league career. Under this agreement, many of the current affiliates would become unaffiliated with MLB but continue on as independent teams that may be subsidized by MLB - wouldn't that be, nominally, better for such players than sitting around XST (so no chance at a second job the way that many independent ball players take on)? Also, i think part of this is the consistent pressure for upping minor league wages - and MLB probably looking at doing that if they can "cut" down on the number of "no path forward" guys they'd be paying - so for the surviving players, the ones we as fans really "care" about insofar as they are "prospects" - doesn't this help their path forward?

2. Obviously this would (likely) reduce the draft. But again, given the number of players who get drafted with 1) little path forward to MLB career and 2) who have no negotiating leverage in contracts, isn't undrafted FA better than being a 27th round pick who is given a $1,000 bonus take it or leave it offer?Especially with expanded independent ball?

It appears the give-take in this is that MLB is committing to help fund the necessary improvement in facilities (which are focused on things like nutrition, training, gym equipment, etc.) at the surviving affiliates.

I'm ignoring economic impacts in some of the towns and cities where affiliated ball may be a source of revenue and jobs - that will likely be affected here and that stinks (and I think its where a lot of the resistance stems from). But for players, I'm open to hearing why the prevailing thought is that this is worse.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:31 pm 
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Sad day....lots of people who aren’t working this season have no job to return too...

I’m interested in some of the fine print details.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:35 pm 
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Exec. VP Baseball Operations

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Won't many of them now be working for independent teams?


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:03 pm 
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TomInNC wrote:
Won't many of them now be working for independent teams?


A lot of low level MiLB teams are owned by groups that also own independent teams as well.

So I think you're on to something.

Still, this is not good for a lot of communities where MiLB is their only professional sport.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:05 pm 
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stevereiff wrote:
Sad day....lots of people who aren’t working this season have no job to return too...

I’m interested in some of the fine print details.


MiLB has very few full-time employees. That do have a ton of interns and part-time employees.

That's not to say that this is okay, but MiLB employees a very small number of people full-time.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:06 pm 
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Legend of NYFS

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Metsfan980 wrote:
TomInNC wrote:
Won't many of them now be working for independent teams?


A lot of low level MiLB teams are owned by groups that also own independent teams as well.

So I think you're on to something.

Still, this is not good for a lot of communities where MiLB is their only professional sport.


Well, per the BA piece, there are alternatives they are looking at in these communities outside of affiliated ball (independent leagues, "Dream League" for undrafted players, expanded summer college wood bat leagues outside of just the Cape Cod league that runs now). Given most of the cut list was short season teams (I know thats not all of the teams), I think the concern of "no show in town" is abated somewhat. And especially for, like, NY Penn teams or Appy league teams - the likelihood of having real connections to the MLB affiliates is low, and the quality of players is unlikely to have a major correlation on anything given that most of those teams are filled with org fillers.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:14 pm 
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Maybe rather than these extra affiliated teams moving guys all over the place they can be replaced with regional independent leagues. Players can play closer to home. Fans will be interested in seeing local guys play.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:44 pm 
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While the economic impact is real and don’t take the following as dismissing it but to me the issue with this has been about re-energizing interest and growth in the game. I mean, the big picture has shown that attendance and interest in the game in general has been down over the past 10 years and more dramatically in younger people. Yeah I know there are lots of other activities that compete for the time of kids today but that’s kind of a lame excuse. As a major sport, baseball has by and large no competition for most of the summer months.

Point is that affiliated minor leagues was an entry point to a lot of people and a way of gaining grass roots support for baseball in many parts of the country, particularly for those who don’t live in or near major cities. So to me this action is simply penny wise and pound foolish... it will directly impair any broader attempt at growing interest in the game, which I think is desperately needed. Furthermore the idea that MLB couldn’t afford to pay minor leaguers more or invest in minor league facilities is ridiculous. As is the idea that *now* we will see minor leaguers finally get paid.

As to some of these teams becoming unaffiliated, I’ve lived in the NY area all my life and just learned recently that there is an unaffiliated team that plays in Rockland County the past 10 years I think. Losing mlb affiliation is kind of a big deal iow.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:06 pm 
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Still until I see otherwise, I'm not sure how many of these teams will simply fold with no other baseball filling the park they have. Are people in those small communities supporting these teams because they're somehow, in a tiny way, affiliaed with MLB? Is that really the deal breaker? Will they stop going if the local team is an independent filled with guys who almost certainly won't make the majors as opposed to an affiliated low A or short season team of guys almost certainly not to make the majors?


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:01 pm 
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HeyNowHK wrote:
While the economic impact is real and don’t take the following as dismissing it but to me the issue with this has been about re-energizing interest and growth in the game. I mean, the big picture has shown that attendance and interest in the game in general has been down over the past 10 years and more dramatically in younger people. Yeah I know there are lots of other activities that compete for the time of kids today but that’s kind of a lame excuse. As a major sport, baseball has by and large no competition for most of the summer months.

Point is that affiliated minor leagues was an entry point to a lot of people and a way of gaining grass roots support for baseball in many parts of the country, particularly for those who don’t live in or near major cities. So to me this action is simply penny wise and pound foolish... it will directly impair any broader attempt at growing interest in the game, which I think is desperately needed. Furthermore the idea that MLB couldn’t afford to pay minor leaguers more or invest in minor league facilities is ridiculous. As is the idea that *now* we will see minor leaguers finally get paid.

As to some of these teams becoming unaffiliated, I’ve lived in the NY area all my life and just learned recently that there is an unaffiliated team that plays in Rockland County the past 10 years I think. Losing mlb affiliation is kind of a big deal iow.


I think regionality (thats not a word, but hopefully the point comes across) of affiliates to their MLB parent - or lack thereof in many cases - kills the supposed connection in a lot of cases. I don't think its any accident that the BK Cyclones do pretty well (and certainly a lot better than, say, the K-Mets). Part of this whole thing is supposed to be redoing leagues and affiliates to make more sense regionally (and of course with the added bonus of reducing travel expenses).

I'm just not sure the KMets get a boost from being affiliated with the Mets. And certainly I think you would see better interest in AA/AAA teams if they were more closely aligned with a team's natural fanbase boundaries.

There's a NY Penn team in Auburn, NY that is an affiliate of the Nationals. We vacation up in the finger lakes and have gone to a handful of their games. Thats probably a team that is going to be contracted/removed from major league affiliation. I don't think it would affect the interest in their games, which was 0% about the MLB affiliates and specific players and more about going to a wacky cheap baseball experience, much in the same way we've gone to Ducks games occassionally over the years. of course thats anecdotal, but I highly doubt a lot of the Finger Lakes region cares whether the Doubledays retain their (very loose) connection to the Nationals.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:10 pm 
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TomInNC wrote:
Still until I see otherwise, I'm not sure how many of these teams will simply fold with no other baseball filling the park they have. Are people in those small communities supporting these teams because they're somehow, in a tiny way, affiliaed with MLB? Is that really the deal breaker? Will they stop going if the local team is an independent filled with guys who almost certainly won't make the majors as opposed to an affiliated low A or short season team of guys almost certainly not to make the majors?



I think most will end up folding. Probably make it a couple of years but interest will wane and they will close their doors. I do think being affiliated with a MLB team helps attendance. Gives fans a chance to see possible big league players when they are just breaking in. With that no longer an option the interest will not be there.


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 Post subject: Re: MiLB Contraction
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:27 pm 
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But these are the teams that currently already have the filler and "not really prospects". I don't know that the level of talent will be all that different.

Rather than have these non-specs scattered all over the country belonging to teams, what I'd do if I was one of these teams is load up on nn-specs from my area. Let fans come see kids they know. Build local interest. Then occasionally one is noticed and scooped up by a big league organization.


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