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The Mets say no to Yankees AAA baseball in Newark

Sep 27, 2011, 8:25 AM EDT


Jerry Izenberg of the Star-Ledger Ledger wrote a story last night that should bug the crap out of you. It’s about the Yankees, the Mets and the city of Newark and shows you just how dumb baseball’s territorial rights rules are.

Read the story itself because it has a strong and compelling personal element to it from Izenberg, but the short version is that, for one season, while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ballpark undergoes renovations, the Yankees wanted to put their AAA team in Newark, where it had been for decades back in the day.  The Mets, who are co-owners of the New Jersey territory, rejected the idea. They rejected it even though the Yankees offered an open-ended waiver to the Mets to allow them to do the same thing one day. They rejected it even though the Yankees offered to pay the Mets for their trouble.

The Yankees are not anyone’s idea of a sympathy case, but this would have been great for Newark and great for baseball fans.  It strains credulity to think that it would have any serious negative consequences for the Mets, apart from perhaps their organizational ego being bruised in the event that the Newark team’s attendance came a bit too close to the Mets’ for comfort.

But if that were the case, it just underscores how stupid and artificial the territory system is in the first place.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    It’s the Mets, what did you expect?

  2. paperlions - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    But….I thought Wilpon was such a swell guy that everyone loved, admired, and respected. Obviously, this is a false report…because the Fred Wilpon I’ve read about would never do anything so petty as this.

  3. garnermusic - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    A perfect example of why the Mutts are a second rate organization.

    • CJ - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      second rate organizations everywhere are now offended they’ve been put in the same sentence as the Mets.

  4. steve keane - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    The Yankees love to look down their noses at the Mets as the Mets have had some very rough seasons of late. Michael Kay, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman report with glee, the misfortunes of the Mets. Insuferable Yankee fans who are not baseball fans but fans of World Championships love to mock the Mets daily, as most older Yankee fans know that NYC, can change from a Yankee town to a Mets town in the drop of a two year hiatus from the post season because NYC is the front running fan capital of the universe.

    Believe me if the shoe was on the other foot, Randy Levine would give Fred Wilpon the same middle finger he got from Fred. For the first time in years the Mets finally stood up to the bully and now the bully is the victim.

    No Yankee fans are going to Newark to watch the Triple A Yankees the same as they don’t go to Staten Island to see the NY-Penn League Yankees. The only games the SI Yanks sell out is when the play Brooklyn the Mets NYP affiliate. All Yankee fans care about are the 25 guys who play in the Bronx .

    • garnermusic - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:43 AM

      And you know that Levine would do this? And the Yankees are a “victim”???

    • paperlions - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:48 AM

      If the Mets stopped doing things that are so easily mocked, then no one associated with the Yankees would mock them. When you make yourself an easy target and do so with arrogance and hubris, it isn’t the world’s fault when it makes fun of you.

      • kopy - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:21 AM

        Yeah, those Mets are so arrogant. It really gives a bad name to all the humble New York baseball teams.

        The Yankees are in a tight spot, and the Mets aren’t going to help them. If the shoe was on the other foot, the Yankees wouldn’t help the Mets. I say just leave them both to their quarrel.

      • paperlions - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        If you are going to be arrogant, it helps to back it up…then at least arrogance and confidence may be conflated. Being arrogant and continuing to act like you know what you are doing while running your franchise and business into the ground…..well….that’s different.

        Outside of New York, people respect and hate the Yankees….they mock and ridicule the Mets.

    • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      Not entirely true.

      When the Yankees AA affiliate left Norwich, CT (which is more Red Sox Country than it is YankeesLand) – and was replaced by the Giants – the attendance took a significant hit.

      While Dodd Stadium was one of the better ballparks in the Eastern League – it was still tough to get people to drive to an Industrial Park in Eastern Connecticut – but it was a whole easier when the Yankees were the affiliation.

      In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the City of Norwich is currently scrambling to figure out how they could host the AAA Yanks and not violate their lease with the Connecticut Tigers.

    • jeffhink - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      What you said, “No Yankee fans are going to Newark to watch the Triple A Yankees,” is just one more reason this should have happened. The Mets have nothing to worry about. Most of Newark is Yankees territory anyway. How do I know this, you ask? I live in Newark. Having a team here for even a year would have been great for this city.

      • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        I’ll bet that dollars to donuts, the Mets are far more concerned about this potentially opening the door for the Yankees to maneuver their AA or AAA team into Newark or another close by city – without the Met’s having a similar move or the resources to make such a move lined up.

      • garnermusic - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        It would be a good thing for the city and the surrounding areas. I live in Parsippany. And a ride to that stadium is about 20 minutes for me. I’d absolutely go to games.

  5. Old Gator - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    This is one of those situations where MLB ought to have the right to overrule the teams for the greater good of the sport – you know, the way they can smack down the umpires when they get too big for their breeches.

    • okobojicat - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      I agree, MLB should have the right to over rule, and probably should in this case. However, the Mets do have a very good reason for refusing.

      If baseball were played in New Jersey, it would be very successful simply because there are a crapton of people over there. Soon, there would be people calling for allowing an additional MLB team in the New York area. This of course, would cut severely into the fan base of the Mets, much more so than the Yanks. Considering the Mets are already having financial difficulties, taking away tv revenue and gate proceeds is not good.

      All that said, there should be at least one additional team in the NY area. The population is ginormous and because it generates a huge revenue stream for two teams, its unfair. The Rays should in fact, move to Jersey. It makes perfect sense.

      • kellyb9 - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:20 AM

        Give me a break. One NL team and one AL team is the max for one geographic area. They can’t even really support two – as I’ve said in the past, the Mets can’t sell out because they stink and the Yankees can’t sell out because not everyone in New York is rich. I’m so sick of New York being the exception to every rule in professional sports. Hell, they’re playing a Super Bowl there… can’t wait for that… it’s going to be a complete joke with the weather.

      • kopy - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:25 AM

        There are 22 million people in the tri-state CSA. They can easily support 3 teams. Hell, they could probably support 4 (Chicago’s CSA has 9.7 million and 2 teams). It’s just that they would have to run with normal revenue and ticket streams.

      • okobojicat - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:34 AM


        NY is the exception to the rule now because they generate so much more revenue than anyone else, because their fan base is so much larger, and that fan base has a much higher income – and thus more disposable income to spend on the teams.

        Why is one AL and one NL team the max? That’s ridiculous. The NHL has three team in the NYC region, and another in Buffalo. There is no rule, and there shouldn’t be a rule. If a team can attract fans and compete there, then they should have a team. The rule of one team each league is a defacto rule that exists for no reason. Put the Rays in Jersey!

        This is the same reason I’m hesitant that an MLB team could make it in Portland. While Portland is a good sized city, there isn’t a huge population base in Oregon or southern Washington so that team just has a smaller footprint. Its the complete inverse in NYC.

      • gammagammahey - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        A team in Buffalo isn’t really relevant to the NYC area. It may be in the same state but Philly, DC, and Boston are all closer to NYC than Buffalo is.

      • kellyb9 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        There are technically 3 NHL teams in NYC, but I would argue that its more like 2 1/2 (sorry Islanders). If NYC deserves 3… there’s a whole boatload of cities that deserve 2… or even 1. That’s really my only point. I honestly don’t see why any Yankees or Mets fan (or for that matter any member of either organization) would want another team in their city and in their division that could presumably compete at or near the same level of payroll.

  6. adenzeno - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    This also seems like one of those things that one should probably do as a good neighbor, but I realize that business works differently. It also seems like a petty thing to do.

  7. jcoan59 - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Did you know the Yankees did the same thing to the Mets, when the Mets wanted to build a Minor League Stadium in Long Island back in 1997?

    The Wilpons may not just be thinking of the Mets, they may also be thinking of that Brooklyn Cyclones, the Rudy Guiliani led settlement thanks to the 97’s blockade, who are also owned by the Wilpon Family.

    • sacharisma - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      Because building a stadium is the same thing as occupying a stadium for one season, right bro?

      • jcoan59 - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        So the Yankees should use their rights to block the Mets, but the Mets should bend over backwards and gain nothing and let the Yankees do whatever they want.

        That’s just dumb.

    • jeffhink - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      The Mets wanted to build a stadium and place a team there permanently. There’s a big difference there. If it is still such a big deal, though, as you suggest, the Yankees offers to approve a similar situation for the Mets in the future AND pay the Mets for the right to have a team in Newark should still have been enough. More than enough really. 14 years should be enough time to settle something like that.

      • jcoan59 - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        Really? 14 years, the Yankees do shit like this to the Mets all the time.

        Example, the Mets trade Billy Wagner to the Red Sox 2 years ago after the deadline, the Yankees BLOCK Chris Carter from the trade not allowing the Mets to view and scout Carter as a Met.

        And perhaps through all their faults the Mets aren’t dumb enough to sign up with an Affiliate that has a 22 year old stadium that needs “Massive Renovations”. Meanwhile the Yankees have numerous other spots to put their team, this is really just another media figure just piling on the Mets.

        If the Yankees were so insistent on the deal, why not offer the Mets the future rights to North Jersey?

      • jeffhink - Sep 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        I’m sorry jcoan, I meant 14 years as specific to the example you gave, not the thoughts in your head. I’m not so good at reading them. It seems like you’re getting caught up in forgetting the part where this is just for one season. The Yankees offered to extend the same courtesy to the Mets had they agreed. North Jersey is a vital market for both teams, so forget exclusive future rights. It’s kind of a big place.

    • clydeserra - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      No you are wrong, they did build a stadium for a AAA club on long Island. I think its called CitiField.

  8. yankeesfanlen - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    New Jersey is known for keeping highly public “secrets”, so here’s the plan:
    AAA Yankees just move in. Word of mouth will provide attendees who merely have to say “Yogi Sent Me” and provide a couple of $20 bills.( Alternate “Tony Sent Me”).
    Oblivious Mets don’t know anyone’s over there but late August Sam from Long Island City is going to visit his Aunt Mabel in Linden, gets lost and finds activity around the park, which, being a Mets fan in a strange land, he reports.
    This prompts a Jersey Investigation, some money is passed through the correct channels, and Voila-the Yankees produce a rent receipt singed by Bernie Madoff. Case closed.

    • Alex K - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      If you see something sat something. At least that’s what the LIRR teaches.

      • Alex K - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        *say something.

  9. Panda Claus - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    The Mets brass probably had serious concern about possible confusion among their fans.

    When the fans heard there would now be Triple-A baseball in Newark, many NJ-based Mets fans would flock there, but silently wonder why their loveable AAA team would move out of a nice park like Citi Field so soon after it was built.

  10. browngoat25 - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    The Yankees and Mets have done some petty things to each other (the waiver claim by the Yankees during the Billy Wagner deal comes to mind), but I think for one season, it would have been nice to relive a little history and have the Yankees top affiliate in Newark.

  11. citifieldurinal - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    Well, I might as well disclose that I am a Met fan, and I live 25 minutes from Newark. As someone who saw 2-3 games per year when Newark played in the unaffiliated Atlantic League, it really is a capable stadium for affiliated ball. I have even thrown around the idea of the Mets moving their AA Binghamton affiliate to Newark.

    I don’t give a crap that the Yankees are playing there, I’m a huge follower of prospects and the idea that affiliated ball could be so close to me regardless of affiliation makes me giddy. Staten Island and Brooklyn are technically as close to me, but I’m not dropping $8 or $19 in tolls alone for SI and Brooklyn respectively (not to mention Brooklyn’s $20 parking due to scarcity in Coney Island). I could even see the Buffalo Bisons play whenever they came into town.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m within an hour and a half of a ton of teams, but to have one that close to me if only for a year would have been awesome. Not to mention you can snare some awesome Portuguese food post-game in Newark.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      Citi – Do you recall the name of that Portugese restauant in the Ironbound section where you parked across the street at a Pathmark? Great stuff there!

  12. zidanevalor - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    I’m happy for purely selfish reasons as I heard rumors that the Triple-A Yankees might play some games at Frontier Field in Rochester this year, which would be awesome for me. Especially when players make rehab starts.

    • kopy - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      Would they really do that when the Rochester Red Wings already play there? That really seems like a territorial rights issue.

      • browngoat25 - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        I heard that Rochester was in the mix to host the Yankees AAA affiliate for the year, but I thought that the Twins AAA affiliate was still in Rochester?
        But I guess only a major league team could object, because they “control” the territory? So, is Rochester part of Toronto’s territory or Cleveland?

      • zidanevalor - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        The vague rumors that I have heard were that the entire season was ruled out, but the Yankees playing some games at Frontier Field were still possible. Either way, the Red Wings (Twins AAA-affiliate) will play their entire home season at Frontier Field as well unless something else changes.

  13. hooks024 - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Just shows what we’ve known all along… The METroSexuals are just jealous of an organization with a tradition of excellence, because it’s right across town. The second class team in ny will not improve until theres a complete overhaul from the top down. A competent ownership group, a competent gm (maniya was the joke of the decade), scouts who are worth more than 2 squirrel farts, a manager who knows how to motivate and get the most out of his players (look what girardi did with the marlins), and a decent roster (beltran and santana were definitely worth the money, sarcasm intended). You can’t be the yankees, even on your best day. Accept it, and try the rays, tigers, or giants model for success. Let go of the envy, otherwise you’ll never taste that sweet, sweet october air (unless the season happens to end in early october).

    • citifieldurinal - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      I will address you point by point because you just reek of a brain-dead WFAN caller (except for the hacky Metrosexuals jab).

      “A competent ownership group”
      >> Like the one the Yankees had in the 80s and early 90s? Steinbrenner was a disaster when he was running day-to-day operations.

      “a competent gm”
      >> What is Sandy Alderson? He had to make a bullpen from 5 million dollars, tape and glue this year.

      “scouts who are worth more than 2 squirrel farts”
      >> Any basis for this claim? Do the names Eric Duncan, CJ Henry, and John-Ford Griffin ring a bell to you? Scouting’s a tough deal, and where the Yankees (and Mets) really excel is Latin America.

      “a manager who knows how to motivate and get the most out of his players”
      >> Be objective. Look at this Mets roster and the injuries. This is the most you’ll get out of this team and I’m pretty content with 76-84 currently. You’d probably be kissing Girardi’s ass if he did the same thing with this Mets team.

      “Accept it, and try the rays, tigers, or giants model for success.”
      >> Stupid to the highest order. The Rays model is based upon their financial situation relative to a division that has the two highest AL payrolls in baseball and the fact that they are 20 million behind the nearest AL East team in payroll. They need “The Extra 2%” just to survive, the Mets don’t. They have the resources, but spend terribly. The Rays would love to have even the Orioles payroll if they could.

      Also, look at how wonderful the Giants model is treating them. They’re still the best pitching team in baseball, but cannot hit worth a damn. People were predicting this in projections because so many Giants had career years last year (Huff, Andres Torres) and their production from last year was unsustainable.

  14. bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    If you got the Presidents of the affiliated Minor League’s in a candid moment they would express their frustration with the territorial rules. The net effect of which, essentially creates opportunities for independent leagues and keeps affiliated teams out of the best remaining markets.

    If not for the territorial rules Bridgeport, CT and/or Stamford, CT would have had the opportunity to land an affiliated team.

    Bridgeport currently plays host to the Atlantic League’s Bluefish in a facility that could easily be brought up to AA specs.

  15. foreverchipper10 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    It is going to be strange next year without a team playing in that stadium. ( I live in the Scranton Wilkes-Barre area) but it is necessary. They said they could continue to play at PNC Park while the renovations took place but that it would take 1-3 years to complete it that way. Without a season next year it will be done in a year. They are claiming the renovations will make the stadium the nicest in AAA baseball so that is pretty neat. Just stinks I can’t take in a random game on some Tuesday night next summer.

  16. clydeserra - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Territorial rights made sense in the mid century. They don’t any longer.

  17. Spiro Agnew - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    who gives one s***? We are talking about minor league baseball and new jersey

  18. bigmacmantle - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Yankees should ask the Mets if the AAA team can play in Citi Field that way no worries about setting precedents about territorial rights in New Jersey.

    • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:25 PM

      Wait . . . isn’t there a AAA team already playing at Citi Field?

  19. dparker713 - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    How would this be good for Newark? From the article, the current stadium in Newark needs work and there was some agreement between the Yankees and the county. Likely this agreement included public funds being spent to upgrade the facility for a 1 year tenant. Regardless of whether this cost the city any money, any gains from the AAA team playing for the year would be marginal at best.

  20. leftywildcat - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    There’s a stadium available in Montreal, isn’t there?

    • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:27 PM

      Imagine if they hadn’t knocked down the old Yankees Stadium?

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