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Thread: AAA Affiliation

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    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    AAA Affiliation

    Very interesting article in the newest BA about the possibility of a Triple-A shuffle. I'll give you the brief version.

    A chart shows the following:

    Only four International League teams have expiring contracts. (The PCL has 10.)

    Buffalo - currently NY Mets (could be Toronto) - mentions a change and Rochester hints at it. In the PCL, Fresno, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City are candidates to change affiliation. Tucson appears up in the air.

    The rest are listed as "unlikely to change".

    If Toronto leaves for Buffalo, that leaves Las Vegas and Rochester for the Mets and Twins. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to do that math.

    However, in the article, the IL president is quoted as saying about Rochester, "There is always a possibility of something happening there, but the relationship between the business side of Rochester and the Twins is so good."

    If the AAA team isn't going to be in Iowa, Wisconsin or Minnesota, it doesn't matter to me. I just though you may find this interesting.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer righty8383's Avatar
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    How is it possible that not only does Minnesota not have a minor league team affiliated with the Twins, but they don't even have a minor league team affiliated to any ML team? I suppose it has a lot to do with geography but this has always bothered me. I seriously could care less about the independent league.

  3. #3
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    There is a Northwoods League that is a summer short-season league for some pretty good college players that haven't been drafted or did but opted not to sign. That might be better than the North American League or whatever it is called now.

    But yeah, Beloit, for instance, has a population of 34,000 or so. Outside of the Metro area, I think Rochester, Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato, and Moorhead are all bigger. Wisconsin and Iowa have a few minor league teams each, right? Maybe even 3 or 4.

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    Did I just read that the Twins could have a AAA affiliate in Las Vegas? Is that why my pulse just quickened???

  5. #5
    The rumor is that Las Vegas doesn't consistently draw that well, unless the team is winning, because of so many otehr distractions. Plus, it is a hot place to play and can be expensive for housing and such for players. Plus, a distraction for players. It's a favorite place to play for visiting teams. I can see Gardy pushing for Oklahoma. I hope the relationship will continue with Rochester. But the Twins also might be kicked out of New Britain, and heaer rumbles of departing Beloit (which is a nice roadtrip).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Double-A zenser's Avatar
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    Sioux Falls could easily support a AAA team. They may need to improve their facilities but attendance wise and being in close proximity to Omaha and Des Moines and being close to the parent club would be a benefit too.

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    Fargo Moorhead would be better than Sioux Falls

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    Senior Member All-Star James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strumdatjag View Post
    Fargo Moorhead would be better than Sioux Falls
    That is kind of what I was thinking as well. Moving to Fargo would be a good way to keep the ND fanbase connected to the Twins as well.

    ND has all that new oil money now, you think it wouldn't be too hard to get some money for a AAA team and maybe a new ballpark or something.
    You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Steve Lein's Avatar
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    Thing about Fargo-Moorhead, is they already have a very successful Independent League Team with a very good following, the F-M Redhawks. Their stadium is also pretty sweet (Newman Outdoor Field, seats about 5,000) and they share it with North Dakota State University (my alma-mater) already, I don't really see that connection happening.
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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Anyone know the lowest population for a city with a AAA, AA, etc. team? One problem is that only the Midwest League and the International League are really regionally available for Minnesota teams to be a part of. Maybe a F-M team could make sense in the Pioneer League or whatever that Montana-heavy league is. Better than E-Town, certainly.

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    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
    Anyone know the lowest population for a city with a AAA, AA, etc. team? One problem is that only the Midwest League and the International League are really regionally available for Minnesota teams to be a part of. Maybe a F-M team could make sense in the Pioneer League or whatever that Montana-heavy league is. Better than E-Town, certainly.
    Need to look at Metro area population not only City Population and I'd say Scranton/Wilkes Barre metro is the smallest with about quarter million (on a good day) and they are hurting bad to keep a team

    I don't think that the IL is an option for MN, since even the western-most team is on Eastern Time Zone. PCL on the other hand is an option, but their is not much infrastructure (and large enough population, Rochester is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and the metro is the city.) Not sure if something in SD makes sense. Got to consider the weather in April as well...
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    Some of the Northwoods League cities used to have teams in the Midwest League. I don't see either Fargo or Sioux Falls as AAA cities and don't think the Twins would want their AAA affiliate so close as it could negatively affect the Twins gate. Of course, an argument could be made the other way that it would drum up more interest since the AAA affiliate would be geographically located within "Twins Territory". Prior to Rochester, the Twins affiliate was Salt Lake City. Why did the Twins leave SLC for Rochester? I do know that Rochester has had an excellent AAA history/reputation.

  13. #13
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    I'm pretty sure F-M would listen if the Twins came poking around. The current independant team just suffered their first losing season in it's history last year after switching to a new league. Travel was certainly a factor as the league stretches from Winnepeg to Texas. I would doubt that those opporating the team would object if a MLB team took interest and was on the hook for travel, not that I pretend to know how that finacial dynamic works. Travel of course would be the catch for any team in the upper-midwest. Rochester can easily take the bus to the teams in their division. Not sure if the already tight Twins would ante up to charter flights to either coasts for one of their affiliates on a regular basis.

    I think it would be tough to get more minor league affiliates around here unless a mass of MLB teams decided the stronger Midwest economy would be ripe for relocation and an existing league decided to form a new division with several of the medium midwest metro areas. Scranton and the other leagues on the East coast may be struggling as one poster mentioned, but the teams in the Midwest are still pulling strong numbers.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Double-A zenser's Avatar
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    I think the Twins would benefit from having a higher level affilliate in either Sioux Falls or Fargo. I do think Fargo is a little more a stretch than Sioux Falls. I don't think weather would be that big of a difference from Minneapolis. The Twins also had Edmonton as a AAA before SLC.

    With Twins Territory being as big as it is, I think they wouldn't be hurt at the gates by having it in the same region. Keep in mind that Twins Territory stretches past western SD and ND into parts of Wyoming and Montana. There are a lot of Rockies fans there now but the people who are over the age of 20 didn't have the Rockies and many are Twins fans. I also think populations of Fargo and Sioux Falls could support a team. With the example of Scranton struggling to keep a team, that area also has different levels of minor leagues in the area too. With Sioux Falls or Fargo, it would be the only game in town.

  15. #15
    Ever since the Ricketts bought the Cubs there have been rumors popping up every summer here in Des Moines that they may move the I-Cubs over to Omaha, the Ricketts' hometown, leaving Des Moines open for either the Royals or the Twins. I think DSM would be a great spot for the Twins, although it might take a couple years for the city to warm up to the idea of being a Twins affiliate with the local sports scene dominated by Cubs fans.

  16. #16
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    I'm from Fargo so I'd love to have a Twins affiliate in my hometown, but from a marketing standpoint, getting Des Moines from the Cubs would be a gigantic advantage for the Twins. There is no competion for the Twins in the Dakotas, but getting Des Moines would give them a huge advantage in the volitile area that currently has large groups of Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers fans. Getting a larger marketing footprint would help in getting more television rights which is where the money currently is. Although I guess it's entirely possible the Twins wouldn't invest a dime from the additional television revenue into the payroll, in which case I could care less about a Des Moines club.

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    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    Need to look at Metro area population not only City Population and I'd say Scranton/Wilkes Barre metro is the smallest with about quarter million (on a good day) and they are hurting bad to keep a team
    Media market is probably better than even the nominal Metro areas as defined. Arbitron's Radio Market list fits my general notions of town sizes in practice, and helps explain why certain places of a given size don't have sports teams (or why a smaller one does). Average income also matters but that requires pulling together various sources.

    Reno, my nearest city, is pretty small for a AAA league. Unfortunately no AA league is near, and the town was sick of single-A. So they stretched, and with a new downtown ballpark the attendance so far has been encouraging. I still think we need to wait 10 years to really judge. Anyway, Arbitron lists Reno as 124th. Wilkes Barre-Scranton comes in at 71st. A quick scan of the list doesn't reveal anywhere markedly smaller than Reno that has AAA. It's hard to compare exactly, because once you get out of Reno and Carson City there aren't a lot of population centers within 50 miles for fans to make the trek, while a place like Lehigh Valley (Allentown-Bethlehem) has much more of this to draw from. OTOH Reno does pull in conventions and vacationers, who are looking for things to do, to an extent Scranton probably doesn't.

    Back to the question at hand, Fargo-Moorhead ranks #204. Rochester MN is #205 and suffers (as already mentioned) from the larger city likely drawing away from them more than it would contribute. St. Cloud is #218. Duluth is #205. Sioux Falls is not listed (an error maybe) but looks like would slot in around #175. Eau Claire is #237. Cedar Rapids is #206. Frustrating, really - aside from the Twin Cities the state and surrounding area does have these pockets of population but they are so far from each other (and divided by the Twin Cities in several cases) that there is no synergy among them. Too small even for AA, by my quick scan; probably several could be candidates for single-A Midwest League, indeed they have had teams in the past and I guess don't like the small-time atmosphere.
    Last edited by ashburyjohn; 05-03-2012 at 03:08 PM.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Gernzy's Avatar
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    Having our AAA close to here makes sense to me. Most fans would probably already be Twins fans so they would want to go to the games. Plus how nice would if be for us to take a few hour drive and see our top prospects play? I would love that. All we have now is Beloit, which is worth going to now because of the young guns there.
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    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
    Media market is probably better than even the nominal Metro areas as defined. Arbitron's Radio Market list fits my general notions of town sizes in practice, and helps explain why certain places of a given size don't have sports teams (or why a smaller one does). Average income also matters but that requires pulling together various sources.

    Reno, my nearest city, is pretty small for a AAA league. Unfortunately no AA league is near, and the town was sick of single-A. So they stretched, and with a new downtown ballpark the attendance so far has been encouraging. I still think we need to wait 10 years to really judge. Anyway, Arbitron lists Reno as 124th. Wilkes Barre-Scranton comes in at 71st. A quick scan of the list doesn't reveal anywhere markedly smaller than Reno that has AAA. It's hard to compare exactly, because once you get out of Reno and Carson City there aren't a lot of population centers within 50 miles for fans to make the trek, while a place like Lehigh Valley (Allentown-Bethlehem) has much more of this to draw from. OTOH Reno does pull in conventions and vacationers, who are looking for things to do, to an extent Scranton probably doesn't.

    Back to the question at hand, Fargo-Moorhead ranks #204. Rochester MN is #205 and suffers (as already mentioned) from the larger city likely drawing away from them more than it would contribute. St. Cloud is #218. Duluth is #205. Sioux Falls is not listed (an error maybe) but looks like would slot in around #175. Eau Claire is #237. Cedar Rapids is #206. Frustrating, really - aside from the Twin Cities the state and surrounding area does have these pockets of population but they are so far from each other (and divided by the Twin Cities in several cases) that there is no synergy among them. Too small even for AA, by my quick scan; probably several could be candidates for single-A Midwest League, indeed they have had teams in the past and I guess don't like the small-time atmosphere.
    That figure listed for the ABE (Allentown Bethlehem Easton/ Lehigh Valley) area is way lower than the population of the Metro in the last census survey (close to 850K) and we are talking for a 20-25 mile radius, if you go to 30 miles and add the Reading area, we are talking for more than a million... For Scranton to be listed that high, you probably need to include everything south of Erie PA. Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are close to 100K people combined and there is not much metro around there, just small towns of 2-10K people here and there... That 250K figure I put there was on a good day I suspect radio signals can travel 100 miles or more, but not many people do this on weekdays to watch a ballgame...
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    Why are we still talking about this? CDog wants Las Vegas!!!!!!

    CDog may be getting a little loopy today. Tough times in Twins Territory.

    CDog doesn't think he likes using the third person. CDog will stop that now.

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