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Is the Affiliation Dance about to begin?

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#1 Jim Crikket

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 09:57 PM

The Twins have renewed their Player Development Contract with the Class AA New Britain Rock Cats, but both Rochester (AAA) and Beloit (A) are up for renewal, as well.

The time is approaching when teams declare whether they wish to investigate new affiliations and there's no shortage of speculation concerning whether the Rochester and Beloit agreements will be renewed.

Here in Cedar Rapids, where the local Class A Kernels have been affiliated with the Angels for 20 years, there's growing sentiment for a change to a closer MLB franchise.

http://thegazette.co...ld-do-with-pdc/
I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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#2 COtwin

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:15 PM

The twins should definitely look into this. Especially if Rochester could be nixed. Triple A close could create a larger fan base. Having the sky sox (AAA) in Colorado springs creates creates a much deeper tie between fans a players for the Rockies org. It's amazing how many people in IA are cubs fans cause they follow the IA cubs.

#3 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:47 PM

The twins should definitely look into this. Especially if Rochester could be nixed. Triple A close could create a larger fan base.
Having the sky sox (AAA) in Colorado springs creates creates a much deeper tie between fans a players for the Rockies org. It's amazing how many people in IA are cubs fans cause they follow the IA cubs.


Your line of thinking is correct, but I am not too sure there is a venue very close to us that could house a AAA baseball affiliate. Sioux Falls and Fargo probably would not work. Although Madison, WI is Brewer's territory it probably would not work anyways - if it could why don't the Brew Crew have their AAA affiliate there? Winnipeg - Minor league baseball has been stripped from Canada, I cannot see a fit there. Omaha and Des Moines are taken with no chance of a change. Although I can see the Twins jettisoned from Rochester, NY - I do not see a AAA venue that can be close to home... it sucks, what do you do?

#4 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:30 PM

While I could care less where Rochester ends up, I think that Beloit will stay with the Twins, as it is fairly close to the Twin Cities and has a strong Twins' fan base.

#5 Highabove

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:40 PM

Pohlam Feild in Beloit is far below the standards of an Independent League Team. The Twins Should not be putting their Class A Team in a Park and Rec. dump. I hope they wise up on this one.

#6 Jim Crikket

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:54 PM

The longer things go without news of a renewal of existing agreements, the more likely it is that there will be changes. From what I've read, organizations are free to negotiate extensions any time with existing partners, but teams can't begin talking to potential new affiliates until mid September. If the Twins so much as hint that they'd be interested in another specific community before then, they risk a tampering fine of up to $500K. Likewise, if a minor league organization says anything about being interested in aligning with another specific team before the allowed date, they can be fined up to $100,000. Are there backchannel communications? I would guess it does happen, but obviously officials on both ends have to be cautious. Teams don't have a lot of time to come to agreements once mid September rolls around, however. Any teams that haven't come to agreements with an affiliate partner by the end of September will be assigned a partner by MLB and MiLB officials in the first week of October. All existing minor league teams in affiliate leagues are guaranteed to have an affiliation. All of this means you probably won't be hearing anything at all from executives of the Twins, any of their existing affiliates or any prospective new affiliates before September unless it's another renewal announcement.
I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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#7 Post-Concussive Blues

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 12:20 AM

It would be pretty sweet if the Twins teamed up with the St. Paul Saints to have an affiliate share the new Midway Stadium. The Pohlads would probably save a bundle on airfare for all of the AAA journeymen pitchers the big league team will be cycling through the next few years if they can just take the 50 express across town.

#8 Highabove

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 01:58 AM

It would be pretty sweet if the Twins teamed up with the St. Paul Saints to have an affiliate share the new Midway Stadium. The Pohlads would probably save a bundle on airfare for all of the AAA journeymen pitchers the big league team will be cycling through the next few years if they can just take the 50 express across town.


The two AAA Leagues would be the only ones which could put a Team here. St. Paul is to far north for the single A Midwest League.
The South and the East is where you find the AA TEAMS. AAA Teams Fly, which allows them to be located throughout the Country.
I doubt that the Twins would put a Team here. They would be competing against themselves.

Edited by Highabove, 22 July 2012 - 02:00 AM.


#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 05:15 AM

If you would have asked me two weeks ago to rank the likelihood of the Twins switching affiliate cities, I woudl have said that New Britain was most likely to move, followed by Beloit, then Rochester and then Ft. Myers. I was actually a bit surprised the Twins are staying in New Britain.

#10 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:26 AM

So far all the discussion has been about the full-season leagues. Has there been any thought given to rearranging their short-season leagues? Right now we have two rookie-level teams - Elizabethton and GCL. Would it make sense to have a short-season A team, perhaps in the New York-Penn league?

#11 kirbyelway

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:43 AM

How about Sioux Falls SD, could they support a AAA franchise?

#12 mbents

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:05 AM

Sioux Falls and Fargo probably would not work.


Why not?

#13 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:09 AM

How about Sioux Falls SD, could they support a AAA franchise?


I don't know about that... but they have a pretty kick-ass waterpark. Their attendance yesterday was approximately what the Snappers pull in an entire year. Oh, and they sell beer too... so I'd guess a lot of those people would fit at a baseball game.

#14 Shane Wahl

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

It would be nice if the Twins could convince the Pirates to swap AAA affiliates (Rochester for Indianapolis). It's a 100 miles or so closer to Rochester for them. And Indy is what, 700 miles closer for the Twins? At least it makes for an interesting road trip next summer if A- is still in Beloit. Beloit for the snappers, Chicago for Twins vs. Sux and Indianapolis for (a team not likely to be called "Indians" anymore if the Twins got the team, for two very different reasons). And back.

#15 Shane Wahl

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:51 AM

I don't see much changing. A lot of hopes out there would really require some league re-alignment and geographic shifts (an Appalachian league . . . really?) of those leagues. An upper midwest league would be nice . . .

#16 Highabove

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 12:01 PM

How about Sioux Falls SD, could they support a AAA franchise?



Sioux Falls has the independent League Canaries. They draw under three thousand a game.

To small a market.

#17 neli21

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 02:16 PM

Sioux Falls has the independent League Canaries. They draw under three thousand a game.

To small a market.


I tend to think that a minor league team with the same fan base as its major league affiliate has more potential to develop interest and draw in fans than an independent league team. This is especially true with the leagues like the Northwoods League that have a revolving door of players from colleges across the country gaining experience with the wood bats. There's just no connection there, which fans would have if they were watching a team with two or three prospects every year that have a legitimate chance of playing in the bigs with their favorite team.

Duluth has a huge Twins fan base (including thousands of UMD students from the Twin Cities), and the Huskies (Northwoods League) average around 1,000 fans per game - which is ~150 more than the Snappers. They play in a 100 year old stadium that is up for a renovation that would be guaranteed if they were to be granted a Twins affiliate.

I think a low A team could thrive there. It would expand the Midwest League a bit geographically, but I have been thinking for a while that the Twins should explore it. If an independent league team can survive there, and Duluth has had independent league teams surviving in Wade Stadium for decades, a Twins should do very well. Minor league teams do not necessarily have to be a sunk cost.

#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:03 PM

I tend to think that a minor league team with the same fan base as its major league affiliate has more potential to develop interest and draw in fans than an independent league team. This is especially true with the leagues like the Northwoods League that have a revolving door of players from colleges across the country gaining experience with the wood bats. There's just no connection there, which fans would have if they were watching a team with two or three prospects every year that have a legitimate chance of playing in the bigs with their favorite team.


This. Sioux Falls is very much Twins country and I think that would help attendance quite a bit.

#19 Rosterman

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:09 PM

You have to worry about climate, and other things that may compete for sales and funds. A teams are best is small towns. AA in midsized markets (think Rochester, Duluth, Mankato, Fargo locally). But you always have weather issues...everywhere. AAA teams are those that draw from a regional or state base...Las Vegas, Rochester (upstate NY), Des Moines (Iowa proper)...

#20 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:35 PM

I have always been surprised that Lincoln,Nebraska doesn't have a team. Omaha has always done pretty well, and the distance between Omaha and Lincoln is far enough where it shouldn't effect much.

#21 DuluthFan

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:59 PM

Duluth has a huge Twins fan base (including thousands of UMD students from the Twin Cities), and the Huskies (Northwoods League) average around 1,000 fans per game - which is ~150 more than the Snappers. They play in a 100 year old stadium that is up for a renovation that would be guaranteed if they were to be granted a Twins affiliate.

I think a low A team could thrive there. It would expand the Midwest League a bit geographically, but I have been thinking for a while that the Twins should explore it. If an independent league team can survive there, and Duluth has had independent league teams surviving in Wade Stadium for decades, a Twins should do very well. Minor league teams do not necessarily have to be a sunk cost.


A low level affiliate in Duluth would be nice but I don't think the numbers would work. Yes, there is the UMD students to draw from, but classes are usually out during the summer. I have never attended a Huskies game, but I have to question the 1000 fans per game number. With those numbers you would see the nearby parking lots filled more often. During the Dukes most recent tenure here they had attendance problems which led the team to move to Indiana. I remember a playoff game with attendance under 400. While the Huskies have survived here for a few years, these are unpaid college eligible players, not paid players with a payroll needing to be supported by attendance. The 100 year old Wade Stadium is a nice vintage park but is in need of major upgrades to support a MLB affiliate. There has been talk since professional baseball returned in the 1990's to upgrade this park, but the local money is not there to fix it. While the field itself has always been maintained, the seating, concessions and restrooms are not what you would expect to find in a MLB affiliate stadium.
I would love to see a team here. But I just can't see it happening.

#22 spideyo

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:02 PM

I would be surprised if Beloit left. It's fairly close, and it seems like there are always lots of Twins fans tripping out there. They also seem to be doing a decent job of player development. Rochester on the other hand... They've been around longer than the Twins have, and the last couple years have been BAD for them. I would expect that they would actually be more likely to nix the contract than the Twins would. They want to return to their winning ways, and if they don't think the Twins are going to make that happen, I wouldn't be surprised if they look elsewhere. Are there any AAA teams any closer to us that might be open to switching affiliations? Far more likely we would switch to an existing team, and then try to move them in a few years, than that we would start a new team from scratch in a new market

#23 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:05 PM

I would be surprised if Beloit left. It's fairly close, and it seems like there are always lots of Twins fans tripping out there. They also seem to be doing a decent job of player development.

Rochester on the other hand...

They've been around longer than the Twins have, and the last couple years have been BAD for them. I would expect that they would actually be more likely to nix the contract than the Twins would. They want to return to their winning ways, and if they don't think the Twins are going to make that happen, I wouldn't be surprised if they look elsewhere.

Are there any AAA teams any closer to us that might be open to switching affiliations? Far more likely we would switch to an existing team, and then try to move them in a few years, than that we would start a new team from scratch in a new market


You do know they are playing .500 ball this year and have an outside shot to make the playoffs, don't you? And based on New Britain's results this year Rochester can look forward to some better players in the pipeline.

#24 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:06 PM

I have always been surprised that Lincoln,Nebraska doesn't have a team.

Omaha has always done pretty well, and the distance between Omaha and Lincoln is far enough where it shouldn't effect much.


Not too sure about this. I think it is less than 60 miles from Omaha to Lincoln. That seems pretty close, especially for the mid-west market. Not to say it couldn't support it (I have never been there). Seems pretty tight in proximity though.

#25 spideyo

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

You do know they are playing .500 ball this year and have an outside shot to make the playoffs, don't you? And based on New Britain's results this year Rochester can look forward to some better players in the pipeline.


They are 5th in their division, and 6th in the wild card hunt. They have about the same chance of making the playoffs as the Royals do.

And yes there are better players in New Britain, but if you follow some people's suggestions and trade everyone, most of those guys will be needed in Minneapolis next year.


Really, it's more a question of is this the start of an upward trend, or just a slight improvement. Remember, 2010-2011 were the worst two years for Rochester in 107 years.

#26 Shane Wahl

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:20 PM

And based on New Britain's results this year Rochester can look forward to some better players in the pipeline.


New Britain's performance last year was great too. But the Twins will more likely repeat players at New Britain next year or push them up to the MLB roster where they will be Tosoni-ed (2011) and Parmelee-d (2012).

Anyway, I don't see the MWL adding Duluth. Only a big re-alignment is really going to bring any minor league affiliate into Minnesota.

#27 spideyo

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 05:21 PM

Anyway, I don't see the MWL adding Duluth. Only a big re-alignment is really going to bring any minor league affiliate into Minnesota.



Good point. Probably the best chance we'd get of having an affiliate in Minnesota would be if MLB brought the entire American Association league into the Minor League farm system and gave every team one more affiliate

#28 Jim Crikket

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:20 PM

Minnesota missed out on an opportunity to get MWL teams a few years ago. Communities in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio started building new stadiums when smaller communities in Iowa and neighboring areas weren't willing to do so. Several teams moved east. If Rochester, Albert Lea, maybe La Crosse WI, had made a move together, the MWL wouldn't have shifted east. Now, it would be difficult to get MWL teams anywhere in MN.
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#29 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:42 PM

It would be nice if the Twins could convince the Pirates to swap AAA affiliates (Rochester for Indianapolis). It's a 100 miles or so closer to Rochester for them. And Indy is what, 700 miles closer for the Twins? At least it makes for an interesting road trip next summer if A- is still in Beloit. Beloit for the snappers, Chicago for Twins vs. Sux and Indianapolis for (a team not likely to be called "Indians" anymore if the Twins got the team, for two very different reasons). And back.


I live in Indy... this would be really nice.

#30 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:58 PM

Personally, I hope MN keeps its teams out east. The inflated #s of players out west makes it VERY difficult to judge players. At least the players out east play on a somewhat even ground with geography not a part of the stats. Remember some of our numbers in Edmonton & Salt Lake??