An agreement for the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) to operate the Batavia Muckdogs (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) has expired, raising questions about the team’s future.
Under a 10-year agreement, the Red Wings handled operations for the Muckdogs, who are owned by the Genesee County Baseball Club. In the event of a sale–something that has been discussed, as the Muckdogs have been on the market for several years–the Red Wings were to receive 5% of the proceeds for each year that they operated the club.
That arrangement ended on October 31, and the New York-Penn League was reportedly not on board with seeing an extension of the operation agreement between the Red Wings and Muckdogs. That has raised some questions about what the long-term plan is for the Muckdogs, but for now officials from GCBC are optimistic that Batavia will field a NY-Penn League team in 2018. More from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:
“We had a one-year renewable contract for up to 10 seasons and we completed those 10 seasons,” said [Red Wings president and CEO Naomi] Silver of a deal that ended Oct. 31. “That is the expiration of the agreement and we’re moving on. We would’ve stayed if mutually agreed by both the GCBC in Batavia and the league had wanted us to, but I think the league is trying to make other arrangements and I don’t know what they are, frankly.”
NY-Penn President Ben Hayes did not return a message left on his cell phone. His office mailbox was full.
Brian Paris, president of GCBC, the Muckdogs’ community ownership group, is optimistic that Batavia, the league’s last founding member, will field a team in 2018. The schedule has already been released and the Muckdogs are on it.
“The hope is that we’ll have baseball in Batavia in 2018,” said Paris, who had no details to share but said he doesn’t believe the league wants to shut down operations. “Right now, we’re working with the league to develop an outcome and we’re excited about potentially making an announcement in the near future in regards to what that outcome may be.”
In 2016 the Muckdogs were on the verge of being purchased by an investment group that intended to relocate the club to Waldorf, MD, where its major league affiliation would have changed from the Miami Marlins to the nearby Washington Nationals. However, the sale fell through due to territorial issues, as Waldorf is included in an area that is controlled by the Baltimore Orioles.
Over the years, the Red Wings reported high operating losses for the Muckdogs. Figures from 2017 have yet to be published, but a 2016 report showed an average annual loss of $172,000 over the Red Wings’ first nine years of operating the club.
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