Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So much for our road trip to Buffalo

It seemed like such a great idea: the Jays move their Triple A farm team to Buffalo, and baseball fans from all around the Golden Horseshoe could take the short treacherous car ride to see the team's future prospects just across the Peace Bridge. Win-win.

There's just one small problem: The Mets, who are apparently ready to move their shit out of New Orleans and settle in the Paris of Western New York.

Syracuse was in an all-fired rush to sever ties after a 31-year relationship with the Blue Jays because of their extended run of futility. (We're sure that this is somehow J.P. Ricciardi's fault.) Now, the denizens of Onondoga County may now have the pleasure of dealing with the Washington Nationals or the Florida Marlins. Have fun with that.

In spite of Chuck Schumer's song and dance to get the Mets' top affiliate in Syracuse, it looks as though the Mets have decided that the culture shock of moving their prospects from a two-bit one-horse town to the Big Apple could have lasting and palpable affects on the team's prospects.

If not Buffalo, where?
The unfortunate thing about this turn of events for the Jays is that the other cities left open in this game of Minor League Musical Chairs are primarily Pacific Coast League teams. They are:

New Orleans Zephyrs: Had their final series wiped out by Hurricane Ike. And thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, their home town will likely end up submerged again soon.

Albuquerque Isotopes: That Simpsons joke will be funny for about two more minutes.

Las Vegas 51's: Well, at least we'd know that Bob McCown will be up to speed on the progress of the Jays prospects. The only option with direct flights to Toronto.

We're not crazy about any of those options, and god help us, we'd probably rather go back to Syracuse. Of course, the PCL is an offensive league, so maybe we can get extra excited about some of the future Jays when they start cranking out dingers in the high and dry air of Colorado Springs or Salt Lake.


Brendan said...

I think those dingers heading out of Colorado Springs will be because Josh Towers is there, not because of the thin air.
I know little to nothing about minor baseball around Canada, but if Ottawa is out of the mix(which apparently it is) what about another Canadian city? Montreal, Quebec City, Winnipeg...do any of these make sense?

wiffleballs said...

There are direct flights to Las Vegas from Hamilton (for those of us on the other side of the lake). I'm sure Bob McCown knows this.

Tao of Stieb said...

Problem is: the franchises available are in the PCL (go west, young man), and they are all doing well.

So the chances of any of them moving to Canada, where they would undoubtedly be neglected and left to rot on the vine, is remote.

And while we're sure the Ack would love a Triple A team in the 'Peg, that ain't happening.

dave said...

Tao, if the Jays put support behind a city would that make expansion possible in one of these leagues?

As for Winnipeg, their ballpark is nice, it's usually packed for Northern League games but the problem is the park only holds about 7,000 people.

Actually, it turns out that that isn't much of a problem because according to Wiki the Las Vegas 51s sell around 5,000 tickets per game....

The Ack said...

that would be fucking awesome, yes indeed (but never gonna happen).

You know, we have a gorgeous minor league park here in the 'Peg - right downtown, along the river, holds 8,000ish with never less than 6,000 asses in the seats for our hometown Goldeyes.... Winnipeg's actually a good little balltown.

$10 dollar ball tickets and $5 beers. Pretty damn good summer afternoon, if you ask me.

...and yes, I've finally emerged from my pLAYOFFS! depression.

dave said...

Ack, it turns out it's right in the middle of our two approximations, the park holds 7,481 people.

Interestingly enough they were named organization of the year in the Northern League this past year so they do have their shit together somewhat. And even more interestingly; "Winnipeg's per-game total average of 6,464 fans was highest of all 58 teams in independent baseball, a mark the club has hit for nine consecutive seasons."


I emailed the writer who follows the Goldeyes here in Winnipeg and asked him if they were contractually obligated to play in the Northern League next season so we'll see what he says.

I know it's a long shot but if anything it'll be fun to start the rumour.

Joe said...

Wonderful research. Thanks for not leaving your parents' basement and completing this.

I presume that the Jays will go shopping again after a couple of years in an attempt to move the prospects closer to home.

I CANNOT believe that Ted Rogers did not pay off Buffalo whatever they wanted to put the AAA team there.

MK Piatkowski said...

I doubt it was money and rather, it was about having a team that already had a local following. When I was in Buffalo in March, I was in a bar watching YES talking about the upcoming season, I edged closer to the TV to hear what they were saying about us. When I mentioned I was a Jays fan, everyone gave me pity looks.

Buffalo's a city that's having a tough go. They want a team that will bring them hope. After Syracuse dumped us for being losers, I knew there was no way Buffalo would have us.

Tao of Stieb said...

Just so that we're all clear on this: There are 30 AAA teams already, with 16 in the PCL and 14 in the IL. You can't add an expansion team onto that. You'd have to move a franchise, and at this point, they are all doing pretty well where they are.

dave said...

Tao, what about Las Vegas? It doesn't seem like they are doing to well for themselves.

So what do you foresee happening here? The Jays signing a club just to get through a year or two and then reevaluating?

I think if the Jays want an AAA team that can turn a profit and won't freak out about not making the playoffs then they should look at somewhere in Canada. True Ottawa couldn't cut it but they were supporting, what? Baltimore and Philly?

But I'm back down to earth for a AAA Winnipeg ball club. Though, if anyone was wondering Gary Lawless emailed me back and said the Goldeyes would have pay $2Mill to play outside of the Norther League.

Tony said...

There is about a zero change that the Jays get Albuquerque, as the Dodgers are interested; ABQ used to have LA's top farm team until it up and moved to Portland. The stadium was then renovated (it's fantastic) and Florida moved in. But Florida, as noted, may be moving out.

This little bit of information brought to you by a Jays fan in Albuquerque.