Major League Baseball has neared completion of its extreme revamp of the minor leagues, officially offering 120 Player Development licenses to franchises that will survive as affiliated clubs and comprise a slimmed-down player-development apparatus with centralized control under MLB. Read more here. Read more from Forbes here and Sporting News here.
Category Archives: Lease & Contracts
MLB Offers 119 Clubs Affiliation, Await Fresno Outcome
Saints Bring Their Distinctive Brand of Entertainment to Triple-A
PRESS RELEASE – For 28 years the St. Paul Saints introduced the baseball world to pigs delivering baseballs to umpires, nuns giving massages to fans, and promotions poking fun at current events, politics, the baseball industry, and oftentimes themselves, all while being an Independent Professional Baseball Club. The Saints “Fun is Good” motto is about to enter center stage on a completely different level. The Saints, in a partnership with the Minnesota Twins, have received an invitation to become the top tier, Triple-A, Minor League affiliate of their Twin Cities neighbor beginning in the 2021 season.
Staten Island Yankees Cease Operations, Sue Parent Club and MLB
The Staten Island Yankees, the former short-season Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced Thursday that the organization is ceasing operations and filed a lawsuit against its former parent club – as well as Major League Baseball. Read more here.
Fresno Grizzlies Given More Time to Work Out Deal
Major League Baseball has given the Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A, Pacific Coast League) more time to work out the fate of the franchise. MLB said in a letter last week the team must accept a demotion from Triple-A to Single-A baseball by Nov. 30 or prepare to go without affiliation to a team in the majors. Read more here.
Filed under League & Franchise, Lease & Contracts, Legal, Market & Location
Owlz Relocate from Orem (UT) to Windsor (CO)
The Orem Owlz (Independent Professional, Pioneer League) have announced that they are relocating from their home in Orem (UT) to the Future Legends Complex in Windsor (CO). They will be renamed the Northern Colorado (NoCo) Owlz in 2021. Read more here.
MLB to Launch League for Draft Prospects
PRESS RELEASE – Major League Baseball, Prep Baseball Report (PBR), and five founding members today announced the formation of the MLB Draft League, which will become the first league in the country focused on top prospects who are eligible to be drafted by MLB Clubs that summer.
Pioneer League Named MLB Partner League
PRESS RELEASE – Major League Baseball and the Pioneer League jointly announced today that the Pioneer League has been designated a “Partner League” of MLB.
NYC Committing $5.1M to Upgrade Richmond County Bank Ballpark
New York City has committed to a $5.1 million allocation to upgrade and revitalize Richmond County Bank Ballpark, which will prime it for other uses besides baseball. The funding comes on the heels of recent news that the New York Yankees would end its affiliation with the Staten Island Yankees (Single-A, New York-Penn League). Read more here.
Dodgers to Officially Cut Ties with Raptors
In expected news, the Los Angeles Dodgers will reportedly cut ties with Ogden Raptors (Rookie-level, Pioneer League), as part of the downsizing scheduled to take place across the minor leagues for the 2021 season. Read more here. Read more local news here.
Former AirHogs Ballpark to Become Venue for Major League Cricket
Major League Cricket has leased a 5,400-seat minor league baseball stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas, and will turn the venue into a cricket stadium for the league’s inaugural 2022 season. Read more here. The ballpark was the home of the now-defunct Texas/Grand Prairie AirHogs (Independent Professional, American Association). Read more here.
Twins Drop Triple-A Rochester, Look to Affiliatize Independent Professional St. Paul Saints
The Minnesota Twins are looking for a new top farm team, after officially informing the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A, International League) that they are out. The St. Paul Saints (Independent Professional, American Association) are the targeted replacement. Read more here.
Statement by Minor League Baseball
PRESS RELEASE – The Chairman of Minor League Baseball’s Professional Baseball Agreement negotiating committee, D.G. Elmore, issued the following statement today: Continue reading
Frontier League Adds Ottawa to Lineup, Ownership Group Led by Goldeyes’ Sam Katz
PRESS RELEASE – The Frontier League has announced the granting of an expansion membership to Ottawa, Ontario, to begin play in the 2021 season. Ottawa becomes the 15th Frontier League team and the third in Canada, joining the Quebec Capitales and Trois-Rivieres Aigles.
Frontier League Designated as Partner League of MLB
PRESS RELEASE – Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has named the Frontier League as a “Partner Leagues” of MLB. The Frontier League, along with the American Association, join the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), which was designated a Partner League earlier this week.
American Association, Frontier League Designated as Partner Leagues of MLB
PRESS RELEASE – Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has named both the American Association and the Frontier League as “Partner Leagues” of MLB. The American Association and the Frontier League join the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), which was designated a Partner League earlier this week.
Atlantic League Designated Partner League of MLB
PRESS RELEASE – Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has named the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) its first “Partner League”. As a Partner League, ALPB will meet regularly with MLB to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, including the leagues’ shared goal of providing baseball to communities throughout the United States. Continue reading
Filed under League & Franchise, Lease & Contracts
Lafayette Aviators Selected to Lease New Loeb Stadium
PRESS RELEASE – The City of Lafayette and Lafayette Board of Parks & Recreation are pleased to announce that the Lafayette Aviators have been named the baseball team to play in Loeb Stadium. The announcement was made during a Park Board meeting at the Loeb Stadium construction site.
Statement from Minor League Baseball
PRESS RELEASE – Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) issued the following statement regarding a pair of articles published in recent weeks regarding the state of the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA): Continue reading
MiLB Statement Today Regarding RBA Negotiations and Letter to MLB Commissioner
Minor League Baseball (MiLB) issued a statement today regarding the state of the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) negotiations with Major League Baseball. Read statement here. A letter was also sent last week by Minor League Baseball to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Read letter here.
Schaumburg’s Village Expected to Approve Revised Ballpark Lease with Boomers
Three months after becoming sole owners of Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, village officials are poised tonight to enact revisions to the baseball team’s lease agreement they say are in the best interests of both parties. Read more here.
It’s a No Go for Prospect League at Millikin University’s New Ballpark
Millikin University and the Prospect League (Summer Collegiate) could not come to an agreement to bring a franchise to the new Workman Family Baseball Field for the summer of 2020. A stumbling block to securing an agreement was reportedly over the length of the proposed 10-year contract between the potential team owners and the university. Read more here. View original renderings here.
Filed under Lease & Contracts, Market & Location, Stadium Issues
Louisiana Tech Helps Keep Smith-Wills Stadium in Business
The Ruston (LA)-based Louisiana Teach University Bulldogs baseball team is scheduled to play in nine conference games at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson (MS) in 2020. The team was forced to move out of their home ballpark because of an April 2019 tornado. Smith-Wills has narrowly avoided demolition and was leased to a new sports management group last year. Read more and view photo here.
Fire Frogs to Play in North Port
The Florida Fire Frogs (Single-A, Florida State League) finally have a (temporary) home. Minor League Baseball has approved the Fire Frogs to play at the Atlanta Braves’ new North Port facility for the 2020 season. The decision gives some finality to a question that hung over the team all offseason. Read more here.
Filed under Lease & Contracts, Market & Location, Stadium Issues
U.S. Sen. Blumenthal (CT) Sends Letter to MLB Commissioner
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has become the latest Connecticut official to urge Major League Baseball to save the minor league team in Norwich (CT), warning congressional action might be taken. Read more here.
Filed under League & Franchise, Lease & Contracts, Market & Location
The Future of Dutchess Stadium
The long-term future of Dutchess Stadium and its tenants, the Hudson Valley Renegades, remains uncertain pending a new agreement between Major League Baseball and its 162 minor league teams. Read more here.
County Agrees to Sell Land to A’s
The Alameda County (CA) Board of Supervisors voted Monday to sell its ownership in the Coliseum complex to the Oakland A’s, capping a years-long effort by the county to get out of the sports business and all but securing the baseball team’s future in the East Bay. Read more here.
Angel Stadium Sold to Angels
The Anaheim City Council on Friday approved a $325 million sale of Angel Stadium. The decision is one of a three-step proposal that would see the Angels play in Anaheim through 2050. It also includes potential development around the stadium and community benefits. Read more here.
MLB Threats Take PBA Negotiations with MiLB to the Brink
Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball shared the same Las Vegas hotel at last year’s Winter Meetings. A year later, the MLB contingent was at the Grand Hyatt, while MiLB was housed at a Hilton down the road. Physically, the two groups were separated by only a mile. After a few rounds of negotiations—both in conference rooms and in the media—the sides appear much farther apart. Read more from Baseball America here.
Minor League Baseball Position on Key PBA Issues
PRESS RELEASE – During this week’s Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, representatives from Minor League Baseball (MiLB) and Major League Baseball (MLB) engaged in formal and informal discussions regarding the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) that were cordial and productive. Following those meetings, MLB has repeatedly and inaccurately stated the position of MiLB with respect to several key areas under consideration in the PBA negotiations. To correct the record, Minor League Baseball’s positions on the key areas are as follows: Read more here.
Vote Today on Future of Mobile’s Hank Aaron Stadium
A big vote is happening today for the future of Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile (AL). Since the Mobile BayBears (Double-A, Southern League) packed their bags and moved to a new home in North Alabama, questions have swirled about the future of this historic ballpark. Read more and watch news report here.
Communities, Congress Fighting Back Against MLB’s Minor League Contraction Plan
Norwich (CT) Mayor Peter Nystrom says he plans to fight hard to preserve his town’s little piece of Americana — the soon-to-be-renamed Connecticut Tigers (we’re hoping for Narwhals) (Single-A, New York-Penn League). Mayor Norstrom stated:
I’m writing to every municipality affected by this. These are community centers. Dodd Stadium is a community center. To me, this is a stab in the back.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who represents Norwich, said he believes MLB has underestimated the clout these communities have. He co-authored a letter signed by over 100 colleagues to MLB officials outlining the negative implications of contraction and reminding them Congress has the power to reconsider the league’s antitrust exemption. MLB responded. Read more here.
Filed under League & Franchise, Lease & Contracts, Legal, Market & Location
MLB Proposes Radical Restructuring of Farm System, Would Eliminate 40 Teams and Cut Draft in Half
The Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between Major League Baseball and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. But if a new MLB proposal were to become reality, more than three dozen cities with affiliated minor league teams will lose those teams a year from now and thousands of minor league players will be out of work as well. Read more here, here and here.
Statement From the T-Bones About Sale of Franchise
PRESS RELEASE – The Kansas City T-Bones are progressing toward a sale and are scheduled to complete the sale this week. The incoming owner has been in close negotiations and planning with the Unified Government, all for the sake of setting the table for continued American Association professional baseball in Wyandotte County. Continue reading
Group Forms to Manage Mobile’s Hank Aaron Stadium
Two former Mobile BayBears (Double-A, Southern League) assistant general managers are now part of a new company working on a plan to manage Hank Aaron Stadium, which is losing it’s team to a new ballpark near Huntsville (AL). It’s called Mobile Sports and Entertainment Group, or MSEG, and the owners plans go beyond, but include, baseball. Read more here.
Filed under Lease & Contracts, Personnel & Operations, Stadium Issues
Expedition League’s Hotshots Suspend Operations
After two seasons in Aberdeen (SD), the Hub City Hotshots (Summer Collegiate, Expedition League) have suspended operations for the 2020 season. As reported, in a letter from Expedition League President Steve Wagner, who took over operation of the Hotshots this summer, he cited neglect by former team owners Chuck and Mayra Heeman. Read more here. Read more background here.
Marshall U. Secures Land for New Ballpark
Marshall University has completed the purchase of the Flint Group Pigments property in Huntington (WV) from the Huntington Municipal Development Authority. The land will be used to construct the Thundering Herd’s new baseball stadium, which is set to open in Huntington in March 2021. Read more here.
Naming Rights Contract for Routine Field Not Signed, Lawsuit Filed
The company for which Routine Field is named is suing the developer of that Franklin baseball park, claiming it is using its name and logo without approval. Franklin-based baseball apparel company Routine Baseball LLC says it approved a nonbinding letter of intent to sign a naming rights contract with Ballpark Commons LLC, which operates the stadium. Read more here. View ballpark photos here.
T-Bones Evicted from Ballpark
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City Kansas will evict the Kansas City T-Bones (Independent Professional, American Association) from the county-owned stadium in Village West after the independent league team went months without paying rent and utilities. Read more here.
No Kicking Angels Out of Angel Stadium
The one-year ballpark lease extension the council approved with the Los Angeles Angels in January didn’t mean the current lease would expire when the extension does. As a result, the Angels could choose between a new or renovated stadium in Anaheim, a proposed waterfront ballpark in Long Beach, or simply play out their current lease, which extends through 2029. Read more here.
Land Sale Agreement Advances Thundering Herd Ballpark Project
Members of the Huntington Municipal Development Authority agreed Monday to sell the future site of the planned Marshall University baseball stadium to the university. Construction of the the $22-million, 3,500-seat stadium is slated to be placed out for bid by November 2019 with ground breaking by March 2020. Read more here.