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Thunder owner Plumeri: We were betrayed by Yankees

Trenton ThunderTrenton Thunder owner Joseph Plumeri issued a sharp statement about the decision by the New York Yankees to sever its affiliation with the Class AA Eastern League team in favor of a new relationship with the Somerset Patriots.

Today the Yankees issued a statement that it would be dropping affiliations with the Thunder, the Charleston RiverDogs and the Staten Island Yankees in favor of new affiliations with the Patriots and Hudson Valley Renegades. The move removes the Thunder from the affiliated ranks after an 18-year relationship with the Yankees; the Yankees and the Patriots announced that the Thunder was welcome to the Somerset spot in the Atlantic League.

Here’s the statement from Plumeri:

“Last night, we learned through the media, that New York Yankees management has made the calculated and ungracious maneuver to leave the urban setting of Trenton for the affluent confines of Bridgewater Township, leaving one of the finest facilities according to Major League Baseball without an affiliate. For the last 18 years, Trenton has served as the Yankees’ AA affiliate with many of the contributors to the Major League team’s recent success, having first worn the Thunder’s navy and gold, and had their Louisville Sluggers picked up by Rookie, Derby, and Chase – our team’s bat dogs, on their way to the Bronx.

‘This is about more than baseball; the Thunder is a pillar of the Trenton community. My heart breaks for the thousands of stadium workers, fans, and residents of this great city. This move by the Yankees removes a key source of income for Trenton. Despite repeated assurances that the Thunder would remain its Double-A affiliate over the last 16 months, the Yankees betrayed their partnership at the 11th hour. By doing so, the Yankees have misled and abandoned the Thunder and the taxpayers of Mercer County, who have invested millions of dollars over the years to ensure that Arm & Hammer Park remains one of the premier ballparks in America. While this community built the Yankees organization up and set minor league baseball attendance records, it seems the Yankees were only focused on trying to cut culturally diverse Trenton down in favor of a wealthy, higher socioeconomic area in Somerset.

‘On behalf of my fellow owners, Joseph Caruso and Joseph Finley, I want to thank Trenton and all of the Thunder faithful, along with our sponsors and our partners. To all Thunder players past and present — we thank you for your inspiring teamwork, your community involvement, and for bringing your very best to the diamond every day. You helped Trenton make memories on and off the field.

‘My father knew Trenton’s character, and he wanted to develop a franchise that could be shared for generations to come. We know the character of Trenton — it represents what the Yankees purport to be but are most certainly not. The Yankees’ actions are nothing short of despicable. They may be abandoning Trenton, but we are not. We will continue to invest in Trenton and its people because Trenton deserves it – maybe more than any other place in America.”

Here’s the most up-to-date information about the current affiliation status.

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