It has been confirmed that the New York-Penn League will take over the operations of Batavia Muckdogs, leaving some questions about the club’s future.
In our most recent weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter, it was noted that the New York-Penn League was set to take control of the team’s operations. This move effectively ends an arrangement that saw the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) handle operations in exchange for proceeds from a sale. That agreement was terminated early this fall, and on Tuesday volunteer board members for the Genesee County Baseball Club voted to cease their role with the Muckdogs to the league.
While that decision is expected to clear the way for an eventual sale of the team, it leaves some questions about the Muckdogs’ status in Batavia for 2018 and beyond. More from the The Daily News:
President Brian Paris told The Daily News Thursday that the GCBC has given up control of the team’s operations and the pursuit of either a temporary operator or permanent team owner.
Nobody involved was happy about the action, Paris said, but there’s a bittersweet feeling about the community responsibility they carried for more than two decades.
“At the end of the day, if I’ve done something, and I have a responsibility to handle something that impacts the community, knowing how things operate … it’s difficult, but it was the best option,” Paris said after first announcing the move in a statement expressing “a powerful sense of sadness and loss, tempered by pride in our past and the hope of a faithful and resilient people for the future.”
“We really wanted to walk away with a dignity and a thoughtfulness for the community. We’ve tried as hard as we could.”
At this point, neither the team nor the league confirmed whether the Muckdogs will remain at Batavia’s Dwyer Field for 2018. With the club’s long-term place in Batavia in doubt, at least one summer collegiate circuit is confirming that it would consider fielding a team at Dwyer Field in the event that the Muckdogs relocate. In a separate story, The Daily News learned from New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL) commissioner Joe Brown that his circuit would have an interest in Batavia:
“We are so much more affordable, it’s a $10,000 franchise free and could be negotiated over two to three years,” said Brown. “You have to be a 501c3, not-for-profit. With that, you can pay employees, that is not an issue.
“I think this would be tremndous, the NYCBL would be interested,” Brown continued. “We get a lot of calls from towns and leagues who want to join us. We do not add just to add, we add solid franchises with great facilities. So we are open to this. We would love to be in Batavia.”
There was a fairly recent attempt to sell the Muckdogs to an ownership group that would relocate the franchise. In 2016, the club was on the verge of being purchased by an investment group that would move it 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 part of an area that is controlled by the Baltimore Orioles.
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