Sox Officially Sever Ties With Lowell Spinners (With a Caveat)

The Allented Mr Ripley

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The Lowell Spinners will not be an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox for 2021, due to the MLB-mandated reduction in MiLB affiliates.

The Red Sox decided to cut ties with the Lowell Spinners for the upcoming season, but the door has not been slammed shut for Lowell to regain Red Sox affiliation as early as 2022.
The Red Sox are working with the City of Lowell, US Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), US Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Gov. Charlie Baker, and Spinners owner Dave Heller on a long-term strategy to make Lowell’s exile from the Red Sox family a short one.
In citing how the Red Sox examined “every option that would keep baseball in the City of Lowell,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy alluded to the shifting landscape in a press release.

“We are exploring what form that could take in 2021, and are committed to maintaining the 24-year-long tradition of baseball in the Lowell community,” he said.
Other elected officials struck a supportive tone while emphasizing there is unfinished business.

“Like everyone in our community, we know how important the Red Sox are to our city and how valuable Lowell is to the Red Sox,” said Trahan. “We are proud to be working closely with [the Red Sox] to not only keep baseball in Lowell, but to also keep the Red Sox in Lowell, and we look forward to announcing our plans once finalized.”

Warren said she was “deeply grateful for Congresswoman Trahan’s tireless advocacy to keep baseball and the Red Sox in Lowell and I will continue to fight alongside her and Senator Markey until these plans are finalized.”
 

Ale Xander

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Was this an either or situation? If so, why Greenville over Lowell? Georgraphy would seem to indicate the other would be better?

Is it a business competition issue? (What other franchise would want Lowell-none)
 

saintnick912

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Was this an either or situation? If so, why Greenville over Lowell? Georgraphy would seem to indicate the other would be better?

Is it a business competition issue? (What other franchise would want Lowell-none)
I think it's a geography thing. The High-A league that Greenville will play in will likely be centered in the Carolinas, and Lowell is a long long drive (no pun intended) from there.
 

Ale Xander

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I think it's a geography thing. The High-A league that Greenville will play in will likely be centered in the Carolinas, and Lowell is a long long drive (no pun intended) from there.
Well yes. Is the Ny-Penn league dead?
Obviously no one gets promoted from A to MLB. So the proximity to Boston is not important.
My bad
 

section15

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Why was Greenville saved and Lowell killed off? Easy answer.

Geography and weather. While MLB is probably going to dangle a carrot ("baseball MIGHT be back in Lowell - a full A team") - but don't count on it. At all.

The weather for baseball in Lowell SUCKS in April and May. A full-season A team would be hampered by that.

There are no full A-ball leagues in the Northeast - but there is hope if one or more NYC teams (Brooklyn) are saved.
 

billy ashley

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Baseball probably does need to rework its minor league system (which of course expired this year). There is an argument for fewer teams, for sure.

A lot of stadiums and facilities are just lousy.

But yeah... MLB hasn't exactly done a humane job of managing this transition.
 

AlNipper49

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Why was Greenville saved and Lowell killed off? Easy answer.

Geography and weather. While MLB is probably going to dangle a carrot ("baseball MIGHT be back in Lowell - a full A team") - but don't count on it. At all.

The weather for baseball in Lowell SUCKS in April and May. A full-season A team would be hampered by that.

There are no full A-ball leagues in the Northeast - but there is hope if one or more NYC teams (Brooklyn) are saved.
Weather. It’s been a live extended spring training for a few big players, the most recent being Pedroia two years ago.

It’s also a machine. They’re completing another 10 mil in renovations this year and turning a kind of unused street next to it into a quasi-Yawkey Way. It’s also the site of the very modest Shoeless Joe Museum, who was from Greenville.

I was made a little skeptical when the Yankees de-affiliated with Charleston. While their stadium kinda sucks, the team is party owned by Bill Murray and was reasonably popular. Charleston is also a bigger town than Greenville. NY, perhaps unsurprisingly, chose Steinbrenner home Tampa to be their warm weather domicile.
 

Ale Xander

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Weather. It’s been a live extended spring training for a few big players, the most recent being Pedroia two years ago.

It’s also a machine. They’re completing another 10 mil in renovations this year and turning a kind of unused street next to it into a quasi-Yawkey Way. It’s also the site of the very modest Shoeless Joe Museum, who was from Greenville.

I was made a little skeptical when the Yankees de-affiliated with Charleston. While their stadium kinda sucks, the team is party owned by Bill Murray and was reasonably popular. Charleston is also a bigger town than Greenville. NY, perhaps unsurprisingly, chose Steinbrenner home Tampa to be their warm weather domicile.
Thank you for this info
 

JimD

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Baseball probably does need to rework its minor league system (which of course expired this year). There is an argument for fewer teams, for sure.

A lot of stadiums and facilities are just lousy.

But yeah... MLB hasn't exactly done a humane job of managing this transition.
Yeah, this is how I feel. There are some positive developments here, such as strong indy teams like St. Paul and Somerset being brought into affiliated MiLB, but it really sucks to see the NY-Penn League being unceremoniously shut down, especially after the 2020 season was cancelled. We have the Auburn NY team 25 minutes down the road and it was a nice place to catch a game even though I had no real connection to any of the players as a Sox fan. They will probably end up with a team in a new wood-bat summer league but that just isn't the same.
 

judyb

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I live in North Wilmington which isn't a separate town like North Reading but it's so much closer to the part of North Reading than the Part of Wilmington where most of the stores and other things that people know are in those towns are.The weather here is so much like winter in spring and fall.,Wilmington used to be a suburb of Lowell'when I'vegone toanything in Lowell it didn't convince me that the weather there was better
 
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Bongorific

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Yeah, this is how I feel. There are some positive developments here, such as strong indy teams like St. Paul and Somerset being brought into affiliated MiLB, but it really sucks to see the NY-Penn League being unceremoniously shut down, especially after the 2020 season was cancelled. We have the Auburn NY team 25 minutes down the road and it was a nice place to catch a game even though I had no real connection to any of the players as a Sox fan. They will probably end up with a team in a new wood-bat summer league but that just isn't the same.
Yeah, it's unfortunate. We go to a decent number of Tri-City ValleyCats games. They were an Astros affiliate and had a lot of the big name Astros come through. Very nice facilities, great family entertainment, and one of the highest attendances in short-season A. Now they are going to have to find some type of independent wood bat league. I don't understand the contraction of minor-league baseball. This was a great way for kids to see professional baseball live. It's a very affordable family night out and you don't have to drive 3 hours.
 

NomarsFool

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I've been to many more Spinners games than Red Sox games in recent years. Although you don't see the stars, the experience was much better overall - especially for kids.
On the one hand the Red Sox affiliation was hardly important to the overall experience - I'm not enough of a Red Sox fan to say whether we actually ever saw any grade A prospects in Lowell.
On the other hand, I have never been to a pure independent league baseball game - so I think going to "a Red Sox game" was part of the draw.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Yeah, it's unfortunate. We go to a decent number of Tri-City ValleyCats games. They were an Astros affiliate and had a lot of the big name Astros come through. Very nice facilities, great family entertainment, and one of the highest attendances in short-season A. Now they are going to have to find some type of independent wood bat league. I don't understand the contraction of minor-league baseball. This was a great way for kids to see professional baseball live. It's a very affordable family night out and you don't have to drive 3 hours.
The college summer/Indy league you’ll get in pro ball’s place will feature the same sort of players as you would have seen in Rookie League and A ball. The only difference is that instead of them being paid sub-minimum wage, they’ll either be playing for free, or more likely paying to play.

That’s why MLB is restructuring it all. Why PAY people to be in your enterprise, when you can get them to pay YOU instead?

Your experience will still be an affordable family-friendly night out, with fun mascots, tasty hotdogs, great entertainment in a pleasant facility...and the quality of the baseball won’t change either, just the economics of the enterprise.

Truth is, after the initial shock of “demotion” goes away, 90% (or more) of your typical minor-league attendees are there for the affordable family entertainment anyway - they’ll keep coming.
 

sharke5

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But the demise of the Spinners, on top of screwing over Pawtucket, to move the PawSox to Worcester, just makes it that much worse. Especially when it can be taken that the latter move was done to line the pockets of LL and Dr. Charles.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I've been to many more Spinners games than Red Sox games in recent years. Although you don't see the stars, the experience was much better overall - especially for kids.
On the one hand the Red Sox affiliation was hardly important to the overall experience - I'm not enough of a Red Sox fan to say whether we actually ever saw any grade A prospects in Lowell.
On the other hand, I have never been to a pure independent league baseball game - so I think going to "a Red Sox game" was part of the draw.
We went to a few Brockton Rox games. The facility wasn't as nice and was smaller than Lowell, the field wasn't in as good condition, and the quality of play was slightly lower than Lowell. Prices were a bit cheaper and the in between inning entertainment was similar.
 

terrynever

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But the demise of the Spinners, on top of screwing over Pawtucket, to move the PawSox to Worcester, just makes it that much worse. Especially when it can be taken that the latter move was done to line the pockets of LL and Dr. Charles.
Former Rhode Island Speaker of House (who shall go unnamed here) squashed a potential Pawtucket/PawSox deal in 2019 because he was “listening to his voters” and then was voted out of his State representative position in November. Baseball fans all over southern NE got screwed. Pawtucket got screwed by state government, not LL and Dr. Steinberg. They did their best and were appalled by how much power the House Speaker owned in RI.
 

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Yeah, it's unfortunate. We go to a decent number of Tri-City ValleyCats games. They were an Astros affiliate and had a lot of the big name Astros come through. Very nice facilities, great family entertainment, and one of the highest attendances in short-season A. Now they are going to have to find some type of independent wood bat league. I don't understand the contraction of minor-league baseball. This was a great way for kids to see professional baseball live. It's a very affordable family night out and you don't have to drive 3 hours.
Isn't the easiest explanation that it does compete with Major League Baseball? If you are at a minor league game you aren't at a major league game. Nor are you watching a major league game on TV. I have a partial season ticket plan with the Hartford Yard Goats and it is fantastic. The stadium is great, the level of play is fantastic, and the kids love it. Also it is a 20 minute drive from my house. Since getting the Yard Goats season tickets we stopped going to Fenway which is an inferior fan experience that does not offset the difference in the on field product most nights of the week.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Isn't the easiest explanation that it does compete with Major League Baseball? If you are at a minor league game you aren't at a major league game. Nor are you watching a major league game on TV. I have a partial season ticket plan with the Hartford Yard Goats and it is fantastic. The stadium is great, the level of play is fantastic, and the kids love it. Also it is a 20 minute drive from my house. Since getting the Yard Goats season tickets we stopped going to Fenway which is an inferior fan experience that does not offset the difference in the on field product most nights of the week.
It’s not so much that it’s competing, it’s more that it makes sense to control different price points. Live MLB is a premium product, a special once-a-year treat, an steak dinner. MiLB/College Summer/Indy is a cheeseburger you’ll eat and enjoy much more often.

Plus - MLB gets consumed in ways other than live attendance. You could be listening to a Red Sox game (and the ads) on the radio on your way to and from a Yard Gots game (or even AT a Yard Goats game), and still contributing to their revenue while also enjoying the Yard Goat experience.

I also predict with the new alignment that MLB teams will have more direct ownership of teams and other levels.
 

Bongorific

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The college summer/Indy league you’ll get in pro ball’s place will feature the same sort of players as you would have seen in Rookie League and A ball. The only difference is that instead of them being paid sub-minimum wage, they’ll either be playing for free, or more likely paying to play.

That’s why MLB is restructuring it all. Why PAY people to be in your enterprise, when you can get them to pay YOU instead?

Your experience will still be an affordable family-friendly night out, with fun mascots, tasty hotdogs, great entertainment in a pleasant facility...and the quality of the baseball won’t change either, just the economics of the enterprise.

Truth is, after the initial shock of “demotion” goes away, 90% (or more) of your typical minor-league attendees are there for the affordable family entertainment anyway - they’ll keep coming.
Thanks for the info. Yes, we are just there for the family friendly entertainment. My concern is/was that without MLB affiliation, their budget will go down and the product experience will suffer. We had a summer league team in the 90's at a different "stadium" and regardless of the player talent, the overall product wasn't good and the team folded pretty quickly. But that was also a dumpy facility.

So I guess overall, little change for us, crappy deal for the players. Yay sports capitalism...
 

Bongorific

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Isn't the easiest explanation that it does compete with Major League Baseball? If you are at a minor league game you aren't at a major league game. Nor are you watching a major league game on TV. I have a partial season ticket plan with the Hartford Yard Goats and it is fantastic. The stadium is great, the level of play is fantastic, and the kids love it. Also it is a 20 minute drive from my house. Since getting the Yard Goats season tickets we stopped going to Fenway which is an inferior fan experience that does not offset the difference in the on field product most nights of the week.
Maybe. But my kids are small. I'm not driving 3 hours to walk a mile after parking for the off chance that maybe the kids will get to see Wally. For $400.

My daughter, who will not watch baseball on TV yet, loves going to the MiLB games because she knows she's getting some kettle korn, there's carnival games when she gets bored after 6 innings, and she likes the fun animations on the scoreboard when there's a foul ball. There's fireworks after the game. She actually watches some of the game and enjoys it because of all of the ancillary stuff that goes with it. The players came over and signed her team shirt one time and she still talks about it. Getting her out to MiLB games is MLB's best chance of hooking her as a new fan. And MLB is desperate for young fans.
 

Burn Out

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Maybe. But my kids are small. I'm not driving 3 hours to walk a mile after parking for the off chance that maybe the kids will get to see Wally. For $400.

My daughter, who will not watch baseball on TV yet, loves going to the MiLB games because she knows she's getting some kettle korn, there's carnival games when she gets bored after 6 innings, and she likes the fun animations on the scoreboard when there's a foul ball. There's fireworks after the game. She actually watches some of the game and enjoys it because of all of the ancillary stuff that goes with it. The players came over and signed her team shirt one time and she still talks about it. Getting her out to MiLB games is MLB's best chance of hooking her as a new fan. And MLB is desperate for young fans.
I agree so much with this post and others like it. This is the experience MLB needs to be nurturing if it wants to be relevant.

Some subsidies for foam rubber dinosaur mascot costumes and beer below $5 would offer the best ROI.

If a game costs my family less than $400, I might do it more than twice a season.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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I agree with Bongorific and Burn Out above that MLB is losing the opportunity of gaining young fans by contracting the minor leagues. For most of us going to an MLB game is a commitment; it's expensive and far enough away it has to be planned for well in advance. For a lot of people if there's a minor league team close by the decision to go can be made on game day and it's relatively cheap. Even though she wouldn't sit for very long watching a game on TV I started taking my daughter to New Britain Rock Cats games when she was around 4, and between the hot dog, red Gatorade, the Funzone and Rocky the Rock Cat she had a blast. One time she got a foul ball and got so excited that she wouldn't let go of it and literally fell asleep with it in her hands that night. As she got a little older she started to get into collecting autographs, and when she saw former Rock Cats playing on TV as Twins she declared Minnesota as her alternate team. Fast forward to today and now she's 14 years old and has an iphone with the MLB app. She'll literally text me when there's any type of MLB news at all. I really have to wonder if she'd be so into baseball if she didn't have really good, in person experiences with it at a young age.
 

JimD

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The college summer/Indy league you’ll get in pro ball’s place will feature the same sort of players as you would have seen in Rookie League and A ball. The only difference is that instead of them being paid sub-minimum wage, they’ll either be playing for free, or more likely paying to play.

That’s why MLB is restructuring it all. Why PAY people to be in your enterprise, when you can get them to pay YOU instead?
Isn't this the same as the Cape League, minus the history and picturesque settings?
 

8slim

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The biggest predictor of someone becoming an avid sports fan as an adult, is having a parent who was an avid sports fan. The second biggest predictor is kids attending live games (which, admittedly, tends to be highly correlated to having an avid fan parent). Baseball is easily the most-accessible live experience among the major U.S. team sports, and that live, and local, connection is what's keeping MLB alive (and arguably flourishing, from a revenue standpoint).

I'm sympathetic to wanting to fix the flawed economics of MiLB. But this really couldn't have been handled more poorly. Hopefully new independent leagues will spring up and do well. In my area, the Bridgeport Bluefish were always the worst-attended franchise of the Atlantic League, largely because ownership was never all that good. But teams in NJ and LI did really well (and Somerset parlayed that into an affiliation). I feel for all of the communities who committed public money to stadium development, and are now left holding the bag.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Pretty much, and that essentially kills the Cape League.
I don’t think it will kill the Cape League at all. It might drop the average age of Cape League players down a year, though.

People in America want to watch baseball, other people in America want to baseball...one way or another entrepreneurial minds will connect the two groups and make themselves a little money.

As far as OTHER college summer leagues go, they’ll either be competing with, or joining in with, the new MLB supported amateur leagues. If your town has a decent stadium and track record of reasonably good attendance, you’ll still have baseball.

I think what MLB is trying to do is get rid of is the ridiculous 20+ round draft, and the resulting glut of “professional” players they need to support.

I also predict that college baseball will change a lot over the next few years as a result of all this, and when MLB decides to write a bigger check than Easton we will even see wood bats there.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Isn't this the same as the Cape League, minus the history and picturesque settings?
Cape League is the absolute gold standard of college summer baseball. It’s absolutely the worlds BEST amateur baseball right now. It will be premier moving forward, but I guess the MLB pre-draft league will take that top spot away.

Once you get past Cape League, there’s lots of really good college summer ball - Northwoods League in the Midwest for example, but also the NECBL and Futures League in New England...but remember, these leagues feature players who’s parents have been spending tens of thousands of dollars a year in the whole youth sports industrial complex travel ball racket since they were eight-years old. They’re used to paying to play, and they’re happy to continue to do it. Look at the list and you’ll see well-known travel ball operators like Cal Ripken and Perfect Game running their own leagues. And most of these leagues are definitely pay-to-play operations, in fact the ones with bigger crowds are more attractive to players’ families, because you get that ego boost that a few hundred or even a thousand people paid to come watch.

When people think of the business of baseball, they tend to think about the big money flowing from the top/MLB spectator oriented model down, but there’s equally huge money flowing from the bottom/Youth Sports Industrial Complex participation fee model up, too...and the two revenue streams happen to intersect at the college summer level.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Maybe think about the current reorg as this; Moving the the lo-A/Rookie players from being the lowest tier of of the MLB professional baseball industry to them being the top tier of the amateur/youth baseball industry.

If I am the owner of a team that’s been impacted, I just re-brand around that; “Best Amateur Baseball on Earth”
 

JimD

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Minor leagues are the gateway drug to lifelong baseball fandom. Killing off the minor league teams is astoundingly short-sighted.
To add to this ... minor league baseball (both affiliated and unaffiliated) experienced a resurgence in the 1990's and its attendance figures have remained relatively high since, yet at the same time baseball in the U.S. as a sport has continued its gradual decline in popularity. Not sure how such a tone-deaf, shortsighted effort like this one is going to help reverse that trend.
 

Winger 03

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I don’t think it will kill the Cape League at all. It might drop the average age of Cape League players down a year, though.

People in America want to watch baseball, other people in America want to baseball...one way or another entrepreneurial minds will connect the two groups and make themselves a little money.

As far as OTHER college summer leagues go, they’ll either be competing with, or joining in with, the new MLB supported amateur leagues. If your town has a decent stadium and track record of reasonably good attendance, you’ll still have baseball.

I think what MLB is trying to do is get rid of is the ridiculous 20+ round draft, and the resulting glut of “professional” players they need to support.

I also predict that college baseball will change a lot over the next few years as a result of all this, and when MLB decides to write a bigger check than Easton we will even see wood bats there.

Perhaps, but MLB is also offering a league for non draft-eligible players as well. I am not sure where the Cape fits in with official MLB sanctioned leagues for everyone post-high school and beyond.
 

Beomoose

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Cape League is the absolute gold standard of college summer baseball. It’s absolutely the worlds BEST amateur baseball right now. It will be premier moving forward, but I guess the MLB pre-draft league will take that top spot away.

Once you get past Cape League, there’s lots of really good college summer ball - Northwoods League in the Midwest for example, but also the NECBL and Futures League in New England...but remember, these leagues feature players who’s parents have been spending tens of thousands of dollars a year in the whole youth sports industrial complex travel ball racket since they were eight-years old. They’re used to paying to play, and they’re happy to continue to do it. Look at the list and you’ll see well-known travel ball operators like Cal Ripken and Perfect Game running their own leagues. And most of these leagues are definitely pay-to-play operations, in fact the ones with bigger crowds are more attractive to players’ families, because you get that ego boost that a few hundred or even a thousand people paid to come watch.

When people think of the business of baseball, they tend to think about the big money flowing from the top/MLB spectator oriented model down, but there’s equally huge money flowing from the bottom/Youth Sports Industrial Complex participation fee model up, too...and the two revenue streams happen to intersect at the college summer level.
Any chance someone will get some of this flowing through McCoy? A little sad that Boston's talking up its 24-year relationship with Lowell but could give a shit about its 47-year relationship with Pawtucket.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Any chance someone will get some of this flowing through McCoy? A little sad that Boston's talking up its 24-year relationship with Lowell but could give a shit about its 47-year relationship with Pawtucket.
I was thinking that this whole re-org could very much work in Pawtucket/Providence’s favor toward getting baseball back. Conversely, had the whole Worcester thing not happened this probably would have killed AAA at McCoy anyway.

The big losers to me are the journeyman pro types who made up most of the independent league rosters, especially those from other countries. The kinds of guys who stopped progressing through affiliated ball and got cut to make room for the next draft class. Baseball won’t need those guys anymore...
 

judyb

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Maybe they should move the Portland Maine AA team to PawtucKet if winter weather in spring is what's causing them to not want a team in Lowell
 
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OCD SS

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Difference might be that the Sox worked really hard to stay in the Pawtucket area, and dint get local help, while the Lowell situation is totally different.
Have to imagine that the fact that the MLB team and parent corporation are also in Massachusetts, where the listed state politicians are from, also is a factor.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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I was thinking that this whole re-org could very much work in Pawtucket/Providence’s favor toward getting baseball back. Conversely, had the whole Worcester thing not happened this probably would have killed AAA at McCoy anyway.

The big losers to me are the journeyman pro types who made up most of the independent league rosters, especially those from other countries. The kinds of guys who stopped progressing through affiliated ball and got cut to make room for the next draft class. Baseball won’t need those guys anymore...
For me one of the big attractions of the Atlantic League was seeing guys who you heard of but eventually fell into this category. My daughter and I went to many Bees games in New Britain while they were in the Atlantic League, and we got autographs and had short, but pleasant conversations with former Red Sox Mike Carp and Rich Garces (EL Guapo). Every game we went to had at least one former major leaguer that you probably heard of playing in it. Granted it was the last stand for most of them and from a forward looking baseball standpoint seeing the AA level Rock Cats was better, but the Atlantic League games were always a pleasant day or evening out.
 

Phil Plantier

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Apologies for the Pollyanna-ish take, but can the expansion of independent baseball be a good thing? Now fewer teams will prioritize player development at the expense of team performance. Can this make the competition better or more exciting, possibly? Does an independent baseball world championship exist?
 

Fred not Lynn

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Apologies for the Pollyanna-ish take, but can the expansion of independent baseball be a good thing? Now fewer teams will prioritize player development at the expense of team performance. Can this make the competition better or more exciting, possibly? Does an independent baseball world championship exist?
Independent professional baseball just doesn’t make economic sense. Why pay guys to be independent pros when college kids are willing to pay to wear the same uniforms in the same stadiums and fans in those towns are willing to pay to watch them, and pay to eat the same hot dogs and drink the same beer?
 

Leather

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Yeah, this is how I feel. There are some positive developments here, such as strong indy teams like St. Paul and Somerset being brought into affiliated MiLB, but it really sucks to see the NY-Penn League being unceremoniously shut down, especially after the 2020 season was cancelled. We have the Auburn NY team 25 minutes down the road and it was a nice place to catch a game even though I had no real connection to any of the players as a Sox fan. They will probably end up with a team in a new wood-bat summer league but that just isn't the same.
It's all very sad. Going to a minor league game is part baseball (obviously) but also part county fair. I love checking out local minor (and independent) league games when I'm travelling because you get as good a feel for the local culture and community at those things as you do just about anywhere else, and it's usually very affordable and accessible. One of the things that still makes me feel like a kid is checking out some obscure/bizarre team mascot, name, logo, and seeing the merch in the stadium store, maybe buying a hat... When I used to travel for work over a decade ago, checking out teams like the Cedar Rapids Kernels, or the Clearwater Threshers, or the Brockton Rox, buying a hat, and then walking around some other far-away locale and having someone recognize the logo and say "Hey! Kernels! Alright! I'm from Iowa!" was a wholesome micro-thrill. Sure, I nod at other Sox fans from time to time, but there's no sense of connection, especially for teams in smaller cities/towns, that goes with it; an acknowledgement that, hey, I've *been* to where you live and for a few hours was *a part of your community.*

Shit, just last weekend I was on the phone with the guy who runs the business end of the Port Angeles Lefties (summer wooden-bat league) because, 18 months after watching some batting practice in their stadium while we were on vacation on the Olympic peninsula, we finally connected to buy some merch and they had stuff in stock. So I bought $160 of merch for myself, kids, and as gifts for various people. I mean, ostensibly because my family loves seeing marmots when we're hiking in the mountains, so a logo of a marmot (an area-specific Olympic Marmot to be exact) grimacing as he holds a baseball bat is, like, custom made to appeal to me. So I was on a mini-crusade to get a shirt with that thing on it. But it also was just great to support a local business and talk to the guy about the economics of selling merch, how it was going with COVID, the problems with excess stock and dealing with a printer 100 miles away in Seattle, etc... It was such a pleasant baseball-adjacent experience that I will never get at the Twins Clubhouse Store. The guy Facetime'd me and showed me the merch over video on the shelf. It was just...nice.

So anyway, this just bums me out. A great part of Americana is being down-sized in the name of cold corporate efficiency, and it sucks.
 

saintnick912

GINO!
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Oct 30, 2004
4,455
Somerville, MA
Just got an email from the Sea Dogs that they have signed a 10-year extension on their PDL with the Red Sox. Longest one I've ever heard of.
 

8slim

Member
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Nov 6, 2001
16,402
Unreal America
Just got an email from the Sea Dogs that they have signed a 10-year extension on their PDL with the Red Sox. Longest one I've ever heard of.
The release from MLB about the new minor league structure seemed to suggest that all of the 120 teams signed 10 year PDLs. Perhaps I misunderstood that, but I think that's the reward for being a surviving franchise.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

Member
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Nov 24, 2007
307
Pittsboro NC
David Laurila in his Sunday Notes column says the league names are going to be sold for corporate branding. Disgusting.
"The latest news in the restructuring of the minors includes the replacing of longstanding league names with generic placeholder names, with MLB reportedly planning to sell branding rights to all of them. At the highest levels, there will no longer be an International League (founded in 1884) or Pacific Coast League (founded in 1903). With the caveat that logistical factors are involved, it’s safe to say that future financial gains are driving these decisions. MLB — a multi-billion-dollar industry that has recently been laying off low-and-moderate-salaried employees — clearly has priorities that deserve scrutiny, if not disdain. By all accounts, dollars trump history in the eyes of the deep-pocketed decision-makers."
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/sunday-notes-jonathan-schoop-needs-a-better-two-strike-approach-maybe/#more-354832
 

JimD

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2001
7,753
David Laurila in his Sunday Notes column says the league names are going to be sold for corporate branding. Disgusting.
"The latest news in the restructuring of the minors includes the replacing of longstanding league names with generic placeholder names, with MLB reportedly planning to sell branding rights to all of them. At the highest levels, there will no longer be an International League (founded in 1884) or Pacific Coast League (founded in 1903). With the caveat that logistical factors are involved, it’s safe to say that future financial gains are driving these decisions. MLB — a multi-billion-dollar industry that has recently been laying off low-and-moderate-salaried employees — clearly has priorities that deserve scrutiny, if not disdain. By all accounts, dollars trump history in the eyes of the deep-pocketed decision-makers."
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/sunday-notes-jonathan-schoop-needs-a-better-two-strike-approach-maybe/#more-354832
I guess the 'National League Brought to You by FanDuel' and the 'American Express League' rebrandings can't be too far behind.