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The Buffalo and Mets Relationship



By Mike Silva ~ February 12th, 2010. Filed under: Mets Minors, Mike Silva.

During Adam Rubin’s “Twitter Coming Out Party” one of the discussions was the relationship between the Mets and their Buffalo AAA affiliate. Last summer it was no secret the Bisons were unhappy with the support they received from the Mets. To be fair, the injuries at the big league level robbed them of any quality ballplayers, but Buffalo was struggling way before that. Quite simply the Mets didn’t stock them with very good talent leading to a ton of losses. In difficult economic times, especially in the upstate New York economy, this can be trouble for a team that had high hopes about their affiliation months earlier. Coca Cola actually entered an agreement to sponsor their stadium, no small deal in the world of minor league baseball.

It is believed that one of the motivations behind many of the Mets 4-A signings is to stock Buffalo. Names like Chris Coste, Mike Jacobs, Mike Hessmann, Josh Fogg, and Frank Catalanotto aren’t bad for a AAA team. How can they be much worse than the 56-87 team of last season? A key move also was the Mets hiring Terry Collins as their minor league field coordinator. Collins is a Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer who led the Herd to 246 wins from 1989-1991. Other good news includes Buffalo hosting the 2012 AAA All Star Game.

This type of relationship with affiliates is nothing new during the Minaya regime. As Rubin pointed out last night, the Mets never wanted to leave Norfolk, but rather, were spurned by the Tides after 38 seasons. I heard from individuals the lack of attention that Minaya and company gave to Norfolk was one of the main reason for the divorce. Norfolk had a similar bad season their last year affiliated with the Mets going 57-86. Even the two years with New Orleans didn’t go smooth as there were reports the Zephyrs didn’t feel the Mets embraced the hurricane torn city enough. This is something that apparently their new affiliate, the Florida Marlins, has done.

What if things turn out bad for the Mets and Bisons? Where would the Mets go? According to those in the know, affiliations are either two or four year deals. I could see the Mets being forced to Syracuse after this season. Apparently this would not be a good thing as Rubin described the Chiefs as “seeming to have a ton of dysfunction, and definitely an inferior facility.” The dysfunction is the pot calling the kettle black, but maybe that would be a match made in heaven. If not Syracuse where else? I couldn’t find a list of team affiliate contracts (if someone does have it send it my way), but I do know that Las Vegas was part of the same 2008 affiliate shuffling with Syracuse and Buffalo.

This may seem trite to many, after all, we care about the well being of the big league club. The minors are about player development and we rarely, if ever, discuss the success or failure of an affiliate. However, I would think having ballplayers in a good facility in New York would be helpful in player development versus playing for a dysfunctional organization, or in a different time zone. Shuttling players from Buffalo is far different than New Orleans or Las Vegas. The Mets have made a promise to Buffalo that things will be better. We all know how little Mets promises are worth.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to The Buffalo and Mets Relationship

  1. R U Kidding

    How about Birmingham? That club was pretty bad too! And so were the Single A clubs. Heck of a farm system.

  2. Mark P

    I’ve been to many minor league stadiums in the past 15 years including the Tides (when with the Mets), Cyclones, the Cyclone’s former home as the Pittsfield Mets. the Binghamton B-Mets and this year the Savannah Sand Gnats. In contrast to most other minor league teams I’ve visited, and except for the close proximity Cyclone’s, the Met’s minor league affiliates and their fans give little impression or feel that their is a link to the parent club.
    The Mets have unfortunately poorly stocked their minors and pretty much use the players to be traded away or pretty much used as canon fodder when MLB’ers go down to injuries. And, correwct me if I’m wrong, but there were at least two players on the Mets who, when told they would be sent to Buffalo last season, said they wouldn’t report (matters changed and it never came to that). That says a lot. Yeah, it’s Buffalo, and when darkness falls at the end of June and the winds come off Erie you need a ski jacket, but if the team was anything worthwile and there was hope of any kind, the attitude of players might be different.
    However, ownership of the Mets is too narrowminded, thinking of the big bucks of the big league team, and forgetting that a house built on a weak foundation will not stand. (Credit to Harry Belafonte.) And you can’t win pennants with brick temples, tributes to the Brooklyn Dodgers or $17 lobster rolls.

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