“It’s their right,” said Brian Cashman, New York Yankees general manager. “That’s where it begins and where it ends on that one.”
Cashman’s comment referred to the denial by the New York Mets to allow the Yankees top minor league affiliate, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees, to play next season in Newark. S-WB’s home stadium will be renovated over the next year and the team is searching for a temporary home for the 2012 season.
According to the rules of Major League Baseball, the Mets have certain territorial veto rights, which include parts of New Jersey, to block the play of any team affiliated with another major league club. The Yankees have the same rights in the New York market.
After the Mets rejection of the Yankees’ request was revealed earlier this week, the Mets declined to comment on the decision.
The rejection of the request and the Mets “no comment” policy are part of the franchise’s constant bumbling that has involved front office management, ownership finances, player development, player health, stadium architecture, portraying team history, public and community relations, and a lot more.
Mets Strike Out
Here’s what the Mets’ decision will cost New Jersey:
- Strike one: Though the independent league Newark Bears would have had to make other accommodations for the 2012 season, the Yankees would have paid rent to use Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium. Rent translates into local revenue for businesses and government.
- Strike two: The presence of the top Yankees farm club would have improved attendance significantly for baseball games in Newark. More people would have spent their discretionary dollars in Newark.
- Strike three: Ticket sales, concessions, parking and other income would have risen, along with tax receipts. The Yankees brand would have created temporary jobs that would have financially uplifted a community plodding through these tough economic times.
The Yankees asked the Mets to waive its rights and also, reportedly, offered to pay the Mets an undisclosed amount of cash. Even a call from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office could not budge the Mets. According to The New York Times, the Mets may have felt threatened by the nearly 260 games by Yankees Universe (Bronx, Newark, Double-A Trenton Thunder, Single-A Staten Island Yankees) that would have consumed too many 2012 baseball season dates and threatened attendance at CitiField.
As Cashman stated, the Mets have the right to veto team relocations, even temporary ones, within its territory. The decision, though, showcases a lack of marketing foresight by the Mets. The team may have been able to negotiate a promotion deal with the Yankees that could have created a year-long joint celebration of the game of baseball in Newark, which has a long minor league, Negro league and independent league history. With the Yankees, the Mets also could have helped provide some economic relief for the community.