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The Mets Out Evil the Evil Empire

By Mike Silva ~ September 26th, 2011. Filed under: New York Mets, New York Yankees.

The last time the Mets blocked a minor league team from coming into the Tri-State Area it led to the wildly successful Long Island Ducks and the Atlantic League. Seventeen years later the Mets play the baseball grinch again by blocking the Scranton Yankees from playing their 2012 International League home schedule at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark. This time, however, I don’t believe baseball in Newark will have a happy ending.

Newark baseball has a rich tradition that dates back to 1902. There were the Newark Indians, Newark Pepper of the Federal League, and the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League. Effa Manley was their owner and she was the first woman to own and operate a professional baseball team. The current Newark Bears edition, which plays in the independent Can-Am League, is a spinoff of the Yankees minor league affiliate of the same name that existed from 1926 to 1949.

Former Yankees catcher Rick Cerone brought baseball back to Newark in 1998 when he became the first owner of the Newark Bears. The Bears played their first 12 years in the Atlantic League, and just completed their first season in the Can-Am League. Multiple owners and financial difficulties have put the Bears on the brink of extinction. Attendance at the ballpark was brutal most of this past season. Many say the urban nature of the area doesn’t lend itself to future success.

Would a season of Scranton baseball save baseball in Newark? Who knows, but it couldn’t hurt. At the very least it would have been nice for the local fans to see up and coming Yankees prospects, as well as other stars of the International League, which includes the Mets affiliate in Buffalo.

Due to baseball’s anti-trust exemption, the Mets have territorial rights that allow them to block any affiliated team that comes into the area. Remember, this request was only for one season. The Yankees reportedly even offered to reciprocate regardless of how far into the future it came. Again, no dice.

Mets fans have suffered so many embarrassments over the last few years. On the field futility, front office incompetence, medical maladies, and their team at the center of the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Now the ultimate insult to injury; pettiness. The Wilpons have every right to exercise their territorial claim and block Scranton’s temporary move to Newark. Whether it gets them any closer to whatever end result they desire is another story. Would the big league team or their local Brooklyn affiliate be impacted so greatly by a Triple-A team playing in a 6,200 seat stadium? The answer is “yes” if you don’t have the ability to field a competitive team. With the talented front office and desirable marketplace that answer should be an obvious “no”. If the big league club is competing no amount of marketing by the Newark affiliate will matter. If they can’t compete, which is very likely next season, they have no one to blame but themselves. They were the ones that bought the team with fairy tale financial backings; not the Yankees. If they were worried about the Cyclones they clearly don’t have a pulse of the loyalty of that fan base. Any business reason cited can’t be backed up with any legitimate facts.

Another individual who comes out looking like a weasel is Bud Selig. Two weeks ago he was able to strong-arm the organization and prevent them from wearing hats honoring NYC first responders. Today he can’t facilitate an agreement to bring baseball to Newark, New Jersey for one season. It’s clear the used car salesman is carrying the Wilpons water. What will be interesting is the look on Fred and Jeff’s face when their proverbial Titanic goes down. I suspect Selig will not be standing by them, but in a lifeboat with the women and children.

The Scranton Yankees will probably have to play next season in some International League outskirt. Those fans will benefit, while the fans in the baseball hotbed suffer thanks to the pettiness of the Wilpon family.

These types of antics usually result in karma returning the favor. Last time the Atlantic League and the Ducks showed the Mets why they couldn’t stop progress. This time it might not save baseball in Newark, but may result in the Wilpons losing their beloved baseball team. All signs point to this story have that type of ending.

New York baseball use to be the battle of good vs. evil. It was Mr. Met’s angelic face versus the petulant George Steinbrenner. The underdog versus the wealthy and oppressive. Now the real face of baseball evil resides in Queens and is in the form of a portrait of Fred and Jeff Wilpon.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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6 Responses to The Mets Out Evil the Evil Empire

  1. FONZ

    No where has anyone explained why the Mets should allow the Yankees to do this.

    What do the Mets have to gain from this, looking like we are cowtoeing to the Yankees? Or Perhaps we get to allow them to take money from us.

    But Silva, maybe you should do some actually research.


    The Yankees originally blocked the Mets idea of putting a Penn League team in Long Island.

    So as you say, “These types of antics usually result in Karma returning the favor”, well Karma has been returned.

    Plus if Joey D wanted this so bad maybe he could have used his BFF the Governor and “Mets” Fan to give the Wilpons a call.

  2. Mike Silva

    Fonz - yes Frank Boulton, who owns the Ducks and I interviewed spoke about the subject was going to put that Penn team on LI as the Ducks

    When Mets blocked it in ’94 the Atlantic League was formed

    You can listen to Frank talk about this on my show w/ him from 2009

  3. Edgy DC

    Honestly, the real issue is the existence of the anti-trust exemption that allows teams to do this at all.

    There’s no other choice for a competitive team to make. To make any other decision is to say, “I don’t believe in the anti-trust exemption so much, that I’m not going to use my unjust rights under it, even if other teams do, and thereby set an example of honor for a better future for all.”

    It would be courageous and righteous — and I’d love it, as a Mets fan. But I don’t think the Mets alone should be held to that standard, or be derided as particularly evil for failing to meet that standard.

    The anti-trust exemption has been a terrible thing for baseball and America. So has affiliated baseball. Long live indy ball.

  4. Mike.BTB

    Newark baseball needs a permanent solution. And it needs to be untethered from affiliated baseball. They need an incredibly original thought that does not take Gotham City into account. That’s every-one’s problem. They are Newark; not NYC. They need something done independently with the concentration focused wholly on Newark. Their base gate must come from the nearby neighborhoods in order for any team to survive there. They are surrounded by organizations respectively pulling in healthy gate receipts.; including the S.I. Yankees who are coming off their three best years attendance wise. A one year stop in Brick City by a prospecting travelling road show would do more harm to Newark than good. The more I think about it, the worse I think the idea of having upper-level minor league ball around here is. It’s akin to allowing Wal-Mart into the city and effectively putting Mom-and-Pops out of business. Why snub noses at the Law of Diminished Returns. Minor League Baseball teams are very important pieces of local economies outside the NY metro area. It’s best if they remain on the outskirts of our area. We need to stop being so centric about where we live and how much clout we think it brings.

    Hey, just had two cups of coffee man.

  5. Edgy DC

    Preach, Mike.

    Be the change you long for, Newark. Don’t look to the big brothers to fight your battles.

  6. JP

    Why not help the city of Newark? It’s only for one season…

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