The group had signed a contract to purchase the MuckDogs, contingent on MiLB and MLB approvals. The team has been losing upwards of $100,000 annually and had its operations subsidized by the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) in recent years, in exchange for a portion of the proceeds when the team is sold by owner Genesee County Baseball.
The team would have played at Regency Furniture Stadium, currently home of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (independent; Atlantic League).
When we first reported on the sale, we noted that the move required approval from Major League Baseball teams who control the territory: the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles. Given that the team was slated to be a farm team for the Nats (and, from what we heard, the Nationals ownership was enthusiastically behind the move) and the Orioles front office had expressed many doubts about the move, it’s not hard to figure out what happened.
Which is a shame. There was much sentiment in Minor League Baseball to bring a black-owned team into the fold: addressing diversity issues has been a stated goal for MiLB President/CEO Pat O’Conner, and this development could be an important milestone in that effort. But, as we also noted earlier this month, this is a long slog and won’t be addressed by any single development. The last black-owned MiLB team we could find was the Savannah Cardinals of the South Atlantic League, owned by Thomas Lewis and run by Tracy Lewis for two seasons.
So, for the MuckDogs, it’s business as usual: the team is still on the market (with a reported asking price of $6 million), and the franchise will play the 2016 season under normal circumstances.
The news was first reported by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.