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February 1, 2020 - 10:52am

MLB official lies about Muckdogs status in negotiating letter to MiLB

posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, muckdogs, notify, batavia.

Major League Baseball officials are apparently spreading false information about the Batavia Muckdogs as part of a negotiating tactic to destroy professional baseball in 42 communities, including Batavia.

Daniel Halem, MLB's deputy commissioner, said in a letter to a Minor League Baseball official that the Muckdogs have been sold and are being relocated to another city.

That is not true, City Manager Marty Moore said. Moore has spoken both with the Muckdogs general manager and Ben Hayes, president of the New York Penn League. The league owns the team.

Moore said city officials and club officials are excited about the upcoming 2020 season after the team's most successful season in many, many years in 2019 when attendance averaged 1,165 per game, up from 785 the previous season.

In Halem's letter to MiLB's Pat O’Conner, he wrote:

The recent information we learned about the Batavia affiliate not only proves this point but, frankly, calls into questions whether MiLB is truly pursuing a strategy in the “best interests of our 160 community partners.” Batavia is a failing affiliate, with both facility and economic issues, that was put into receivership by the NY Penn League (which essentially owns and operates the team). New York State officials requested that MLB officials meet with Batavia community officials to discuss how to preserve baseball in Batavia. After we set up the meeting, we learned for the first time from multiple sources (but not MiLB) that the NY Penn League sold Batavia — presumably for millions of dollars — to an owner who intends to move the team to another city. While this transaction certainly benefits the NY Penn League owners who may split millions in proceeds by selling an asset with no intrinsic value, we fail to see how it is in the “best interests” of the citizens of Batavia or MLB owners, whose minor league players endure unreasonable travel burdens because MiLB permits its affiliates to hopscotch around the country for purely economic reasons.

Moore said at no point have MLB officials contacted him or anybody else in the City of Batavia.  

Contrary to Halem's letter, if the team is ever sold, its "intrinsic value" would be split between the NYPL, the Rochester Red Wings (who operated the team for 10 years in exchange for equity in the club), and the Genesee Community Baseball Club, a community organization that would return its share of the proceeds to the community.

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