Staten Island Yankees officially fold, sue Steinbrenner and MLB for “false promises”

And we have the first lawsuit of the Great Minor League Baseball War of 2020:

The Staten Island Yankees, who lost their affiliation with the mother ship last month, on Thursday announced they are ceasing operations and filed a $20 million lawsuit against both the Yankees and Major League Baseball “to hold those entities accountable for false promises.”

False promises! That’s not exactly antitrust violations, but it’s something.

The crux of the suit seems to be that the New York Yankees “made repeated assurances” that the Staten Island Yankees would “always” be their minor-league partner, which presumably amounts to a verbal contract or something:

(The suit itself, according to the wretched excuse for a newspaper that is the New York Post, also charges “promissory estoppel,” which I’m not even going to look up because it is too platonically perfect an example of legalese. No, don’t tell me in the comments, I don’t want it ruined for me.)

There’s more to the suit, including accusations that the big-league Yankees ownership objected to the minor-league team wanting to change their name to the Staten Island Pizza Rats, but mostly this comes down to “We bought a minor-league team for its affiliation with the Yankees and then the Yankees pulled the rug out from under us and we went out of business so fire up the lawyers. If this is the last lawsuit we see coming out of this winter of minor-league discontent, I’ll eat my promissory estoppel.


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9 comments on “Staten Island Yankees officially fold, sue Steinbrenner and MLB for “false promises”

  1. There was a story making the rounds a while back about Italian-Americans being offended by “Pizza Rats,” and now I wonder if the (MLB) Yankees planted that story.

  2. Similar to the current StL lawsuit against the Rams, the Rams promised stuff and their promises made us (StL) due stuff

    1. That was part of a lease deal, though. This case appears to be based on “We wouldn’t have bought the team if we’d known you were going to cut it loose,” which is somewhat different. Obviously the key is going to be exactly what those promises were, and how legally binding they were.

  3. Ok, we won’t tell you if we know what either of those words mean (much less both, though one is relatively self explanatory…). This does not mean that any of us DO know what they mean, just that we won’t tell. Even if we did we might just be guessing, which obviously would be inappropriate and misleading in a promissory (but non-estoppel related) context.

    Interesting effort. I find myself wondering a bit about the tactics in play. They aren’t Guiliani level incompetent, but presumably if you are filing a claim against your partner/parent/guardian organization(s) for the increase in costs/reduction in revenues associated with the change they have forced upon you, you do have to continue operating the business to be due any form of compensation for said losses (or at least attempt to continue).

    The S.I. Yankees clearly want no part of that and have folded up the tent. If the goal was to inspire the Steinbrenners (or MLB, which is even less likely) to cough up some settlement money to make this action disappear, folding on or about the date the action is filed seems an odd tactical move. Doubly so given that the pandemic is making it hard/impossible to operate at the present time anyway. Typically you have to prove both harm and a direct link to those who caused it. It is difficult for me to see how they might pin this solely on the parent club and/or MLB given all that is currently in play.

    I’m actually pulling for them to win/at least win a moderate settlement, but from where I sit the odds aren’t very good.

    1. OOOOOOO, so close! Are you sure you don’t want to know what it is (I imagine that, like everything else, it is googleable)?

      Like an awful lot of legal terms, it is widely deployed by plaintiffs and defendants but does not always result in victory…

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