Expect Muckdogs baseball in Batavia for a couple of more years, but under a new general manager
It still remains likely that the Muckdogs will be back in Batavia for the 2019 season but General Manager Dave Chase said today he won't be back.
"It was a one-year deal," Chase said. "I finished that year. Ben and I have talked about me continuing as a consultant for some period of time but I don’t think I’ll be here next season."
Chase has lived at the Quality Inn & Suites this summer but at one point thought about renting an apartment downtown with the idea of staying longer but decided against it.
"I will admit I go back and forth," Chase said. "There are parts of Batavia that I really like but I did it for a year and that’s what I wanted to do and it was a difficult year, professionally and personally."
Chase said he has had medical issues doing the year that made things more difficult.
"The reality is this is my third city in four years," Chase said. "I’ve sort of developed a reputation of going into troubled markets and none of them have failed yet so I might have one or two more years of that lifestyle left in me."
He thinks he will leave Batavia in good shape but the day the Muckdogs leave Batavia is still close at hand. It gives the team two or three more years before moving.
"That's still better than it was a year ago," he said.
At the start of the season, associates of one of baseball's top executives, Larry Lucchino, former president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox and co-owner of the AAA team in Pawtucket, inquired about the Batavia franchise, Chase said.
The scenario discussed at that time involved the Muckdogs either moving to Pawtucket or Worcester.
There have been no further discussions since but it's been announced that the Pawtucket franchise will move to Worcester, where a new stadium is being built.
The problem with any such move is that the Red Sox have territorial rights over the area and currently, the NYPL team in that market is Lowell, a Red Sox affiliate. For the Muckdogs to move to Pawtucket, the team would need to become the NYPL Red Sox affiliate and the Lowell franchise would have to move to another city.
One reason the Muckdogs haven't moved yet is there appears to be no city in the Northeast that has the facility and market availability to accommodate a short season Class A team, so if Lowell had to move the league would face the same difficulty in trying to relocate that team.
The earliest, apparently, any of this can happen, is 2021.
Meanwhile, the affiliate agreement between Batavia (which has not gone bankrupt, contrary to a story in the Lowell Sun), and the Marlins is up for renewal. The renewal is expected to take place by the end of the month. The length of any such agreement could complicate a move by Batavia to New England.
Chase is confident the Marlins will return to Batavia in 2019. He said when the team packed up after the last game, they left a lot of equipment behind.
"That seems to indicate a desire to come back," Chase said.
Sort of a Good News-Bad News story.