Last week we referred to a surprise player emerging as the 2012 home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League). That surprise player was Newark’s Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, but the New York Mets killed the move.
As you’ll recall, last week the SWB Yankees management — the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball — were supposed to present a plan to the International League Board of Directors about a home for the team, forced from PNC Field because of an extensive renovation of the facility.
But they didn’t, and the reason was that there were ongoing negotiations to have the team play at Newark’s Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, the 2011 home of the Newark Bears (independent; Can-Am League), among other possible venues. There’s some history there: the Yankees under Col. Jacob Ruppert owned the original Newark Bears, and the proximity to New York City was alluring.
One problem: the New York Mets share the territory with the Yankees and must sign off on any moves within the greater New York area. That’s why both teams operate NY-Penn League teams; that’s why the Yankees would have been asked to approve of the Mets bringing in an Eastern League team to Long Island. (We’re not sure the Yankees would have signed off on any deal, but the point is moot: the Yankees were never asked for a waiver, we’re told by MiLB owners.)
In this case (as lovingly and elaborately detailed by Jerry Izenberg) the Mets opposed the move to bring in the SWB Yanks to Newark for a year, even when the Yankees offered to extend the favor at any time in the future. Newark and Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a tentative one-year lease in place, basically giving the SWB Yankees run of the place for a fairly nominal fee and allowing the team to potentially salvaging some revenue during the temporary move. We’re told it was Jeff Wilpon leading the charge (Fred Wilpon might have approved it if it were up to him alone, we’re told), but it’s no surprise the Mets opposed to the move: we were reporting for weeks that the Mets were against any additional Yankee teams in the New York area. The Yankees even offered some cash to sweeten the terms of any deal.
So it’s back to the drawing board for a temporary SWB Yankees home: Rochester will once again surface as a main contender, we hear, but the SWB Yanks may stick with New York state homes and play out of Syracuse and Buffalo as well.
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