All of this could change at any time, of course; deadlines in this process tend to be more conceptual than binding, and considering this whole reorg launched some 14 month ago, what’s another week or two?
But it does matter. Right now much of what’s happening really doesn’t involve MiLB teams, who may or may not be hearing from past and future parents about their future. Oh, sure, we know that the likes of a Lehigh Valley IronPigs or Birmingham Barons aren’t going anywhere, but if you’re a team on the bubble, your business is basically in stasis while your future is being decided in offices far away from your ballpark. There’s no way to be in the room where it happens, and as we’ve discovered after many discussions with MLB owners and front-office folks the past few weeks, many teams on the bubble are receiving mixed signals and incomplete information. Announcements earlier this week about the future of the Pioneer League and the MLB Draft League did clear up things a little–what was announced came after some different scenarios with different teams involved were revised–but for teams like the Tri-City ValleyCats, no news is absolutely crippling. The ValleyCats had been the Houston Astros affiliate in the NY-Penn League; with the league gone and some surviving teams moving the summer-collegiate ball, the ValleyCats are one of the league teams waiting to see what happens in the reorg. The ValleyCats have been mentioned in discussions of retaining one of the 120 affiliated MLB-licensed teams; absent that, a move to independent pro ball may be in order. From the Troy Record:
“We’re really in the same place that we’ve been in. We continue to work behind the scenes and work with some of our elected officials locally and across the state to try to make sure that Major League Baseball understands how important professional baseball is to the Capital Region,” ValleyCats General Manager Matt Callahan said on the team’s efforts to obtain a new MLB parent club.
“We’re also reaching out to a variety of contacts throughout the industry to try to make sure that we’re under consideration and in the best position to maintain an affiliation. Really at this point, we’re waiting to hear back from Major League Baseball and what that final list of 120 teams will look like,” Callahan added on how they and many other teams across the baseball landscape are awaiting the final verdict on the new minor-league structure….
“I think with the changing standards that Major League Baseball is going to pass on to Minor League Baseball there’s going to be upgrades required in most minor league facilities across the next couple of years but there hasn’t been anything specific in our facility that’s been highlighted as a problem or a challenge at this point,” Callahan noted regarding “The Joe.”
The lack of a solution has cascading effects on MLB Partner Leagues, which can’t finalize their lineups until they know if an affiliated team will be joining their ranks, as well as some of the eastern summer-collegiate leagues, whose lineups may also be affected by developments in the 2021 MiLB reorganization.
Yes, we know as a whole MLB has a lot of its plate, including many decisions regarding 2021 spring training and the 2021 regular season. But at some point you need to ask yourself: with 14 months to develop a plan, why are there so many last-minute decisions?
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