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Frederick Keys on the chopping block

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20 minutes ago, TonySoprano said:

The Ironbirds are owned by the Tufton group, and the Ripken brothers are majority shareholders.

Thanks.

I did find this.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/harford/aegis/sports/ph-ag-ripken-world-series-reaction-0928-20160923-story.html

 

Quote

Shopping the minor league team, which Ripken and his brother, Billy Ripken, also a former Orioles player, acquired in 2002, is in the discussion stage, according to John Maroon, spokesman for Ripken Baseball. Ripken Baseball wants to maintain a minority interest in the team.

 

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1 hour ago, Pheasants said:

It would not surprise me if a goal--and a result--is to increase the number of students going to college.  Only expected stars would get drafted out of high school while MLB lets the colleges develop everyone else as is done in football and basketball.  It would be bad for college academics and for the prospects who aren't really interested in being students, but that's no skin off the owners.  About 80% of players  would enter the minors at age 21 and get at most 3 years to make the majors or become AAAA.  

The reduction of MiL teams is a fundamental consequence of the part media of all types have influenced analyzing and scouting athletes today. College?? I might be in the minority here, but being "at the same level of competition" for 3 or 4 years may not indicate the true growth of a player. If a player was doing his third year at Delmarva or whatever, he'd likely get knocked up a bit by OH'ers despite his improved numbers. There is certainly growth and maturity at the college level. A bit more of a secure environment for the 17-19 year old out on hid own for the first time. I am also not sure if having the same coach for 3 years at the age is necessarily advantageous for the young player. Likewise, I often wonder how many players drafted out of high school, with some $$$$ in their pockets, away from home for the first time...just implode, partying, poor diet, etc.

My guess is post HS baseball academies will come into play. Teams may likely share facilities, dorm like housing, staff etc. Some travel and games to other facilities and the lower level minors will disappear. It may save ML some money and develop players quicker. They won't have to draft non prospects to fill rosters. But it may come with some consequences. Small town, minor league ball is an American tradition, fun, cheap and you get to see live good baseball. Kids get to see it and dream. Old folks get to remember and share. Kill minor league ball and kids will choose other opportunities available..there are lots.

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1 minute ago, TonySoprano said:

Well, it's still the Ripkens involved in the dispute with Aberdeen over the stadium.

Understood, sounds like they never found the right partner, but at least they was shopping, and I was partly right.

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There’s two issues here: (1) what arrangement best suits MLB’s player development needs, and (2) what arrangement is best for the owners of the MiL teams and the cities where they play?   Obviously, those things are not necessarily aligned.    
 

While I think attending a game that features (1) a few major league prospects, and (2) teams having an affiliation with a major league team, is probably inherently more attractive than attending a game between two unaffiliated teams, I think a fair amount of the attendees at these games just want to watch some good baseball.     The Atlantic League drew 3,894 fans a game last year.   That’s above what several Orioles affiliates drew.    So, it seems like the Keys wouldn’t necessarily lose tons of fans if they were independent.    But the expense side might be a lot tougher.   

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3 hours ago, Pheasants said:

It would not surprise me if a goal--and a result--is to increase the number of students going to college.  Only expected stars would get drafted out of high school while MLB lets the colleges develop everyone else as is done in football and basketball.  It would be bad for college academics and for the prospects who aren't really interested in being students, but that's no skin off the owners.  About 80% of players  would enter the minors at age 21 and get at most 3 years to make the majors or become AAAA.  

MLB would love to emulate the NFL or NBA and have colleges serve as their free minor league system.  Offload a ton of risk and development costs to someone else.  Instead of paying for the minimal care and feeding of hundreds of 18-to-25-year-olds, they just buy players as they need them.  Instead of praying Hunter Harvey gets through the injury nexus unscathed, you only sign players who've already run the gauntlet. 

The perfect situation for the majors would be to delay signing anyone until they're almost MLB-ready, but at a discount cost, of course.  In the beginning all minor leagues were independent, and MLB teams bought players as needed.  The problem was they players cost a lot of money, and teams didn't want to pay.  So they bought out all the minor leagues.  Now the players come relatively cheap, but you have to pay for seven minor league teams and take on all of the development risk.

I'm sure the majors would be completely fine with a much smaller affiliated minor league system, some indy leagues, and many more players in college. Just so long as the indy leagues can't demand $5M for their hot prospect.

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6 minutes ago, Frobby said:

There’s two issues here: (1) what arrangement best suits MLB’s player development needs, and (2) what arrangement is best for the owners of the MiL teams and the cities where they play?   Obviously, those things are not necessarily aligned.    
 

While I think attending a game that features (1) a few major league prospects, and (2) teams having an affiliation with a major league team, is probably inherently more attractive than attending a game between two unaffiliated teams, I think a fair amount of the attendees at these games just want to watch some good baseball.     The Atlantic League drew 3,894 fans a game last year.   That’s above what several Orioles affiliates drew.    So, it seems like the Keys wouldn’t necessarily lose tons of fans if they were independent.    But the expense side might be a lot tougher.   

In theory I think you could have a business model where independent teams get a strong following.  It's the community's team.  It's not the impersonal group of millionaires in the $billion taxpayer funded stadium in the city.  They're signing players to try to win the league.  They're not selling off or promoting players at the drop of a hat.  They might have players who stick around for 3-4 years or longer.  Teams could have an identity, a personality.  It could be like college sports where half the fans have nothing to do with the college, it's just their local team.

But I don't know how well that would work in today's entertainment climate.  It's not 1920 or 1950, there are a million things to do, baseball isn't everyone's favorite thing, and community ties might not be as strong as they once were.  And it's hard to establish that kind of tradition.  People are used to minor leagues being fake baseball where the Orioles prospects hang out for a while.  It would be a steep curve to get a foothold and build on it.

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17 hours ago, Legend_Of_Joey said:

Anyone want to put up and sign a petition to try and keep the Minors the way it is, in terms of teams?

 

http://chng.it/KmzRZxt6

Who's going to pay to subsidize the teams that MLB doesn't want to any more?  Is everyone signing the petition going to buy a bunch of full season tickets?

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41 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Who's going to pay to subsidize the teams that MLB doesn't want to any more?  Is everyone signing the petition going to buy a bunch of full season tickets?

No, but (wishful thinking here), if a lot of people sign it, maybe it can show a bit that fans aren't going to go along with this and instead of spending money for the MLB teams, they would rather go to their Independent Leagues or ignore baseball with their money all together.

MLB is looking for money here. Plain and simple.

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6 hours ago, orioles119 said:

Why should Delmarva get sacrificed?  After all, they were the Minor League Team of the Year and has a modern stadium in Salisbury.  Screw convenience... it's nice to have professional baseball come through the Eastern Shore since 1996 and I don't see why that should be tampered with.  An increase in affiliation could lead to the team putting more seats down the left and right side of the diamond to encourage more revenue to accommodate their increased affiliation.

I think that OC and the Perdue family keep the Orioles in Salisbury. I bet there are plenty of scouts and folks in the FO that love to take a ride to the beach and check up on some prospects. 

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3 hours ago, Snutchy said:

I think that OC and the Perdue family keep the Orioles in Salisbury. I bet there are plenty of scouts and folks in the FO that love to take a ride to the beach and check up on some prospects. 

I’m sure Elias, who just fired about half the scouting staff, cares deeply about getting the other half some time at the beach.  

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1 hour ago, MurphDogg said:

Congress sent MLB a letter condemning the plan to cut 40+ teams. If they were to make noise about reconsidering MLB's anti-trust exemption, that could convince MLB to change course.

Well, technically not “Congress.”   Rather, slightly over 100 members of Congress.  Probably including all 42 representatives of the cities whose teams were identified as candidates to lose their affiliation.
 

Still, I agree MLB may not like the attention this brings them.    

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19 hours ago, Frobby said:

I’m sure Elias, who just fired about half the scouting staff, cares deeply about getting the other half some time at the beach.  

Duquette fired his pro scouts for golfing all the time. 

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Two things that have been talked about needing attention in the minors are distances between venues within a league (i.e. travel burden on players) and pay. 

As someone already mentioned, fewer clubs = fewer players, possibly making it more feasible to consider pay increases for those remaining. This makes sense to me, and their current pay situation really does need to be addressed. 

As for distances, many of those on the list of 42 are clearly being eliminated because of their distance from other clubs. As someone else already mentioned, remaining venues will probably be reassigned, not only to a different MLB affiliation but also perhaps a different level and thereby a different league. With some doing, a better geographic alignment within leagues might ultimately be possible. Shortening the grueling bus-ride distances may take away a traditional rite of passage, but could really assist in the health of the players that teams are investing so much in. 

About Frederick? Perhaps their ability to draw decent attendance means they're good candidates for success as an independent league venue. Otherwise, no idea. Would really like to know the thinking behind eliminating them.

My hope is that since the plan was initiated by Luhnow and quickly adopted by Stearns and Elias (see below), its focus really was on improving the development process, not just another plan to cut ownership costs -- naive as that might seem. 

More info: https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/rob-manfreds-plan-to-destroy-minor-league-baseball/ar-BBWRVGV

  

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