Mets buy minor-league team from community owners, immediately demand $25m in stadium cash from community

I’ve already marveled this week at Worcester offering more than $100 million in subsidies to lure to town a Triple-A team that it could probably outright buy for $20 million, but no city would be dumb enough to sell a team it already owns and then offer subsidies to the new owners to keep it in town, right? Oh, ye of little faith:

Baseball fans can look forward to a major upgrade of Syracuse’s minor-league stadium if Onondaga County officials can pull together a renovation project that could cost $25 million or more.

The ambitious renovation, which depends on state funding that is not yet guaranteed, aims to make sure the new owners of the local Triple-A team, the New York Mets, stay in Syracuse for the long term.

Okay, the Syracuse Chiefs weren’t actually owned by Onondaga County; they were owned by a community public corporation, much like the Green Bay Packers. But the corporation agreed to sell the team to the New York Mets owners last year, and nobody thought to include a lease extension as part of the deal, meaning the team could now leave town as soon as 2025. (Yes, the whole point of the Mets buying the Chiefs was to have a Triple-A team close to their big-league club, but there’s no stopping them from looking for the next Worcester elsewhere in the Northeast.) And so now the county is looking at renovating the team’s stadium to keep its new owners happy, because, in the memorable words of county chair Ryan McMahon: “The reality is, we can’t keep a Triple-A baseball team [here] with a 25-year-old facility.”

And as the cherry on top, Empire State Development, New York state’s economic development agency, is looking at getting involved, which could mean state taxpayers — including those all the way south in New York City, including yours truly — could soon be on the hook for subsidies to keep a team from leaving Syracuse. Maybe I shouldn’t have been quite so sanguine about the promise of community ownership, huh?

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12 comments on “Mets buy minor-league team from community owners, immediately demand $25m in stadium cash from community

  1. On the one hand, what kind of facility does a Triple-A team really need?

    On the other hand, New Shea feels exactly like Camden Yards and all the other stadiums of that era. So what’s wrong with a 25 year old stadium when your place looks like a 30 year old stadium?

  2. These stupid mothefuckers. This blog is making me lose faith in people’s ability to govern themselves. Bring on the robot overlords.

    1. To be fair, it’s representative politics, so it’s really losing all faith in the ability of people placed in power by an electoral system corrupted by money and besieged by paid lobbyists to govern us.

      On the other hand, I’ve seen Twitter and Reddit, so people probably wouldn’t do much better governing themselves directly either.

  3. Unless there is some unknown backup place to relocate I’m not thinking of I could easily see this spiraling into more Wilpon stupidity that has the new AAA team ending up somewhere on par or even more asinine than Vegas.

    I truly wish that the state of NY and Syracuse would call their bluff and let em move.

  4. I don’t see the logic of a MLB team wanting their AAA team to be geographically close. We’ve had jet travel in this country for 60 years. In case of a call up,a a player could hop a plane and be ready to play anywhere in the country by the next day.

    1. They don’t want somebody who can be there the next day; they want someone who can be there in a couple of hours, in case of an injury or whatever.

      Also, with the way players are called up and send down with regularity these days, it’s way easier not to have them dealing with constant jet lag.

  5. “The reality is, we can’t keep a Triple-A baseball team [here] with a 25-year-old facility.”

    That comment is so embarrassing on so many levels – including the likelihood that he’ll never understand how embarrassing it is.

  6. Very beneficial for NHL teams to have their AHL teams in the same “barn.”

    Also, in response to your previous post, I think my college philosophy professor would argue that Plato’s Republic II is less philosophy and more Mike Judge’s Idiocracy.

  7. The community ownership model is great if you are making money. The Chiefs were losing $1 million a year so they were looking for a bailout. There’s nothing wrong with the stadium although it is kind of sterile.

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