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Drama in Elizabethton: Twins might be moving out after this season

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#1 Thrylos

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:44 PM

Not sure whether you have been following the happenings in Elizabethton the past couple of years. In summary:

 

  • Joe O'Brien Field, the ballpark the E-Twins are playing is horrible.
  • The ballpark is owned by the Town and the Fields and Parks Head serves and the E-Twins GM
  • The Twins fully own the team (unlike their A, A+, AA, and AAA teams) and they can move it
  • The Twins want the town to improve the field and the player accommodation to stay
  • The City council earlier this year approved a bill to pay and the Twins decided to stay for the 2017 season
  • Last month lots of back and forths, including an ultimatum by the city of Elizabethton to the Twins (ha) that expired today, asking an answer from the Twins on whether they were planning on staying past 2017 and whether planning to pay $600K.Of course the Twins declined to answer.

 

 

Latest news here.The City's budget is to be set up next week, so we shall see.Elizabethton is a pretty small town, under 14,000 people and not sure whether they can support even a rookie league ball team.The Twins might be better off moving the team somewhere else in the Appalachian League or even look for a short-season A league.

 

Interesting bit to watch the following couple weeks.

Edited by Thrylos, 11 March 2017 - 06:44 PM.

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#2 mlhouse

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 07:07 PM

If I were Elizabethon I would tell the Twins to go take a flying f&^!.  Seriously, a city of 14,000 being blackmailed into spending $600k is insane.  HAving a Rookie League team isn't that valuable.

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#3 Thrylos

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 07:15 PM

 

If I were Elizabethon I would tell the Twins to go take a flying f&^!.  Seriously, a city of 14,000 being blackmailed into spending $600k is insane.  HAving a Rookie League team isn't that valuable.

 

I am actually looking it the other way around.The Twins are a major income source for that city, and there are more cities than baseball teams.

 

Looks like the Twins will end up flying anyways and it will be a win for them.

 

Bottom line: The city is their landlord and the building does not pass code.

Edited by Thrylos, 11 March 2017 - 07:15 PM.

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#4 NCtwinsfan

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 07:20 PM

I just looked it up, and had no idea how close the team is to me - only about 3 hour drive from Charlotte NC. I feel like I am in baseball wasteland with Atlanta the closest team 4 hours drive, and National League at that. Perhaps I should make a trip this year while they are still there. Anyone ever been to a game there? Is it worth the trip? Any interesting prospects expected to be there this year?


#5 Thrylos

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 07:30 PM

 

I just looked it up, and had no idea how close the team is to me - only about 3 hour drive from Charlotte NC. I feel like I am in baseball wasteland with Atlanta the closest team 4 hours drive, and National League at that. Perhaps I should make a trip this year while they are still there. Anyone ever been to a game there? Is it worth the trip? Any interesting prospects expected to be there this year?

 

You are not in baseball wasteland, you got a decent AAA team, albeit the White Sux'.   

As far as current prospects go, position players: Aaron Whitefield, Akil Baddoo, Ben Rortvedt and pitchers: Jordan Balazovic and Huascar Ynoa will likely be in E-town next season as will be lots of the 2017 draft picks, and maybe even the #1 pick, if he is a certain High School P, so it might be a good place to go watch games.

 

The ballpark is a pit and the town is quaint.To find name brand hotels or motels you have to stay in Johnson City 10 miles away or so.

 

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#6 NCtwinsfan

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 07:50 PM

Yes, we have the knights, and it is a nice new stadium, we go to the games whenever the Redwings are in town, but I find it hard to root for a White Sox team. I'll probably take a trip up there then this spring/summer.


#7 DocBauer

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:31 PM

I have never, necessarily, backed the owners of any professional franchise in to any sort of forced concession financially or "corporate blackmail" for the sake of a new stadium or upgrades of such. But at the same time, there is a real partnership, financial and otherwise, that exists between said entities. The "Minnesota" Vikings and "Minnesota" Twins are still primarily the "property" of the Twins Cities and not the state directly. And I do, and always have, understood the objections of some in regard to billionaires having someone else pay for stadiums and upgrades, etc. But the reality is these billionaires don't have a couple million just sitting in an account waiting to be spent on something. Even over and above the value of empowering a local work force to construct a stadium, or improvements, there is the longer lasting results of daily employment and tax dollars, etc.

Here in Omaha, sometimes referred to as "little Indianapolis" for the amount of amateur athletic events that take place, the only lasting professional team is the AAA team for the Royals. And it has been a very long lasting partnership that has benefited both parties. The amateur side of things, including the college world series, has also given Omaha a real boost financially directly and indirectly via immediate funds as well as perception and general tourism.

Now, I get Elizabethton is a smaller community. But on a smaller scale, this type of partnership must exist. I certainly don't know or understand all the financial implications, obviously, but I find it difficult to believe there isn't a real benefit to having the Twins affiliate there ll these years, and for years yet to come. As one who grieves that a multi-billion sport can't take better care financially for the players in their pipeline, I still feel there is some onus on the host cities to maintain this partnership. If the facilities are really that backward, then the Twins should absolutely consider a move elsewhere.

That being said, may I also state that were I an owner of a ML franchise, my investment interest in my milb franchises would not be small or one bordering on dis-interest. (Not saying this is the case with the Twins). I would attempt to hold at least some financial control and interest in each of my affiliates beyond players and coaches. I would totally get behind the local interest and flavor of each team. While team names and subsequent uniform colors may be unique, I would embrace a look and feel in overall scheme and presentation that you KNEW who that affiliate belonged to, as a fan and a player. Maybe the answer is the Twins chipping in part of the cost.

I don't know the details. Perhaps the Twins ARE involved with a portion of the finances. But it's my $.02 worth.
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#8 Thrylos

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:37 PM

 

 


That being said, may I also state that were I an owner of a ML franchise, my investment interest in my milb franchises would not be small or one bordering on dis-interest. (Not saying this is the case with the Twins). I would attempt to hold at least some financial control and interest in each of my affiliates beyond players and coaches. I would totally get behind the local interest and flavor of each team. While team names and subsequent uniform colors may be unique, I would embrace a look and feel in overall scheme and presentation that you KNEW who that affiliate belonged to, as a fan and a player. Maybe the answer is the Twins chipping in part of the cost.

I don't know the details. Perhaps the Twins ARE involved with a portion of the finances. But it's my $.02 worth.

 

 

I am with you here.The Twins own their DSL, GCL, and Appalachian League affiliates.Teams like the Yankees, Braves and Cardinals own all of their affiliates.Memphis (AAA affiliate of the Cardinals) is a Cardinals' town.Rochester is not a Twins' town and the #$*@#$& who are running the Red Wings have Yankees' merchandise instead of Twins' merchandise in their gift shop.Unacceptable.

 

The Twins have to negotiate with the owners of their A-A+-AA-AAA clubs about serving as their affiliates, thus the move from New Britain to Chattanooga. For the Twins to buy the Miracle is a total no-brainer. This way you make your team more than a regional team (i.e. expand the "Twins Territory")I hope that some of the people who are running the Twins recognize one of these days that there are Twins' fans (and potentials) outside of the Dakotas and Minnesota...

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#9 DocBauer

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:57 PM

I am with you here.The Twins own their DSL, GCL, and Appalachian League affiliates.Teams like the Yankees, Braves and Cardinals own all of their affiliates.Memphis (AAA affiliate of the Cardinals) is a Cardinals' town.Rochester is not a Twins' town and the #$*@#$& who are running the Red Wings have Yankees' merchandise instead of Twins' merchandise in their gift shop.Unacceptable.
 
The Twins have to negotiate with the owners of their A-A+-AA-AAA clubs about serving as their affiliates, thus the move from New Britain to Chattanooga. For the Twins to buy the Miracle is a total no-brainer. This way you make your team more than a regional team (i.e. expand the "Twins Territory")I hope that some of the people who are running the Twins recognize one of these days that there are Twins' fans (and potentials) outside of the Dakotas and Minnesota...


Seriously about Rochester? I had no idea! That's ridiculous! I mean, considering where they are located in could understand SOME Yankees merchandise available, or some sort of "knock off" that has Twins/Red Wings look to it...but is it really that bad?

Agree 100% on Ft Myers. Why wouldn't you control the very city where you have your "second home"? It's a complete no Brainer to me! I haven't been to Cedar Rapids yet, but from everything I read and hear, they seem to do things right there and even embrace the team uniform look. Still, some controlling interest would be nice to keep it that way.

The Twins themselves are stuck in a northern climate, and players do need to learn how to play in different temperate zones, but with all the milb city options available, I've always been in favor, in certain situations and where possible, to keep at least some of your affiliates close to "home". Always envied the Royals and Cubs having their AAA franchises so close. Once upon a time, unless I'm imagining it, didn't the Dodgers own all or most of their milb clubs and the uniforms, with different names across the front of the uniform, copy the ML club?

Work your way up, I say, and get hold of Ft Myers first. CR and Chattanooga seem to be embracing their affiliation. Maybe leave them alone for the time being. But do something about Rochester.

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#10 The Wise One

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:24 PM

 

I am actually looking it the other way around.The Twins are a major income source for that city, and there are more cities than baseball teams.

 

Looks like the Twins will end up flying anyways and it will be a win for them.

 

Bottom line: The city is their landlord and the building does not pass code.

How are they a major source of income in a short season with most people involved with the club making a poverty wage?As near as I can find for estimates, season attendance is 25,000 giver or take a few people.

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#11 mlhouse

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 12:06 AM

 

I am actually looking it the other way around.The Twins are a major income source for that city, and there are more cities than baseball teams.

 

Looks like the Twins will end up flying anyways and it will be a win for them.

 

Bottom line: The city is their landlord and the building does not pass code.

 

 

MAJOR INCOME source.....The entire annual attendance for Elizabethton is 20-25,000 people.  At $6 a ticket and assuming every person in attendance pays, the entire gate revenue for the team is $150,000.  In their 34 game season, I doubt they have $50,000 in other revenue sources.  

 

Your comments about this are just the typical remarks of people who VASTLY overestimate the value of sports revenues.  

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#12 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:20 PM

 

Agree 100% on Ft Myers. Why wouldn't you control the very city where you have your "second home"? It's a complete no Brainer to me! 

You would think so but the Twins had their chance.  As the Miracle sold about three years ago for around 8M or so.  The prior owner was Goldklang with minor owners Jimmy Buffet and Bill Murray.

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#13 Han Joelo

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:08 PM

Boise, where I live, must be a statistical/geographical anomaly as far as rookie league (Cubs) go. Close to 500,000 people in area. Every road trip is a minimum 4-5 hour bus ride, though.

#14 LiquidQuick

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:56 AM

Han,

 

First off, to be technical,  Boise is in the Northwest league, which is a Short Season Single A league.  SS Single A is a little bit higher skill/experience and generally a lot more professional fan experience than true "rookie" league or even the "Rookie Advanced" league the Appalachian is considered.

 

For example, the largest city in the Appalachian league I believe is Johnson City, with less than 70,000 people.  In the Northwest League in addition to Boise you have Everett, Eugene, Spokane, Hillsboro (right outside Portland) and even Vancouver!  Much larger areas all around.

 

The geographic anomaly isn't so much about the bus rides, it's about the league locations.  The three Double-A leagues are in the northeast US, the southeast US, and Texas, so Boise can't join any of them. The Midwest and California leagues are too far for such an outlier as well.

 

 It'd be a stretch to say Boise is a triple-A sized city/region, but the PCL arguably would have made the most sense.  Salt Lake, Reno, and Tacoma would work well in a division with Boise.  However, their opportunity probably went away when Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver all moved south.


#15 ashburyjohn

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:50 PM

 It'd be a stretch to say Boise is a triple-A sized city/region, but the PCL arguably would have made the most sense.  Salt Lake, Reno, and Tacoma would work well in a division with Boise.  However, their opportunity probably went away when Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver all moved south.

As a point of reference, Reno is by quite a margin the smallest AAA city, or at least it was when I looked at that question a couple of years ago. Reno went through similar deliberations you describe - ideally a AA sized town, but no such league is nearby, and they had struggled with single-A California League teams for many years before giving up and embracing the Independent league route to no great success, so I was skeptical a AAA team could thrive. It's been several years now, and so far so good - the town built a very nice new ballpark, and I think the casinos got behind it. Boise being of similar size but different nature (I like the place a lot), I think we're in agreement to doubt the success could be replicated - but since I was wrong before, I'd never say never.

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#16 Brian

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 02:19 AM

Lived in Rochester. Get over the Yankee merchandise thing. The team has to make money and the fact is everyone is a Yankee fan out there. People go to those games to enjoy some cheap baseball on a sunny day, see future ML talent (no matter what team they play for) and have a few beers. They could probably care less about the ML club and I don't begrudge them for it. 

 

And I'll echo others comments in regards to having no sympathy for billionaire owned orgs leveraging small communities. 

Edited by Brian, 19 March 2017 - 02:22 AM.

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#17 SD Buhr

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 04:42 PM

Of course, MLB teams can't just "buy in" to their affiliates just because they might like to. Many teams (such as CR) are community owned and those communities will not sell even a share to an outside entity if it means they could lose ANY control over their situations.

 

Cedar Rapids, for example, COULD decide (after 2020) that the Twins' philosophy isn't conducive to putting a competitive team on the field in CR and can opt to seek another affiliation. This is exactly what happened when CR elected to end a 20-year history with the Angels after the 2012 season.

 

Likewise, the Twins COULD decide that they want to see if another Class A option might open up that they would like better than CR. The danger, for the club, though, is that they could end up with a far less appealing site (such as Beloit or Burlington).

 

It makes for some interesting "musical chairs" at times.

 

The Twins also can't simply say, "we're going to place our Class A team in XYZtown." Existing MiLB team owners are guaranteed an affiliation under the current MLB/MiLB agreement. That working agreement expires after 2020 which, not coincidentally, is when a LOT of the existing affiliation agreements (including the Twins/Kernels agreement) also expire.

 

MLB and MiLB were supposedly waiting for the MLB and MLBPA to reach an extension agreement before they decided on terms for a new broad minor league governing agreement. 

 

But the bottom line is that ownership groups of the MiLB clubs will do whatever it takes to at least break even and if that means selling Yankees or Cubs or Dodgers t-shirts, that's what they will do. MOST fans of minor league teams don't care (and many don't even know) what the team's MLB affiliate is. They are there for the dollar hot dogs or $2 beer nights. 

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#18 etwinsfan

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 08:56 PM

I must first say there is no "Drama in Elizabethton. I can say this with a matter of fact because I am a resident of Elizabethton. My family and I have been loyal season tickets holders since 1998. We attend every home game and most of the away games, even traveling to some that are 2-3 hours away. We have been a host family and gotten to know several of the players over the years, even being able to call some friends. 

Now I understand this is a place for people to post their opinion (just like I am doing now) however it really upsets me when I read some of them.I feel that some of the post are from people guessing or just making stuff up because they are uninformed.And some I have taken personal because I feel that my city is being attacked by people that may not even be about to tell me where Tennessee is on a map.

So here is some things to clear up this “drama.”

• The city likes to keep it more on as “entertainment” and not run as a business so they can keep prices affordable and have a fun family atmosphere. So making money off the baseball team is not a priority. Elizabethton is a small quiet town with not a lot of activities to do so summer nights at the baseball game is our entertainment.
• Yes we do have a much smaller population in our city verses some of the other Appy League team’s cities but I feel we have a much larger core group of loyal fans. There is a large number of people that have been season tickets holder since 1974. There have been nights that I have attend a game in Johnson City or Kingsport (who have triple the amount of population) and there are more Twins fans there. I know because i have counted. 
• Joe O'Brien field is NOT horrible or a pit. Yes it needs improvements however there are other ballparks in the Appy League that are worse, trust me I have been to them. Bristol to name one.
• There was no "ultimatum" given by the city. They asked to have an answer by a specific date because the following day they were have a meeting regarding the city budget.

 

My family attended the city council meeting when the vote was to be done if the city would agree to make the changes. To be honest the majority of the people that attended that meeting where there in support of the Twins that night. They voted that night to spend over an estimated  3 million dollars for improvements without having to raise any taxes. Also stated that night, several residents have spoken up about the private donations they are wiling to contribute to help fund the project. There has been such a great relationship with Minnesota and the loyalty they have shown the city through out the years, they wanted to make it stronger by continuing that affiliation. So you tell me how does that show that city and residents of Elizabethton does not embrace the team and understand how valuable and important it is to be one of small number of cities in the country to have a minor league baseball team? Ask any player that came through Elizabethton and they can tell you how much this town loves their E-Twins.

 

"I don't want to tear away at the fabric of who the Twins are, which is that loyalty. People care about the Twins." A quote from Derek Falvey. Can Elizabethton get some of this loyalty?????

 

Here is the link to the article. It is very good. https://www.nytimes....alvey.html?_r=0

Edited by etwinsfan, 28 March 2017 - 09:01 PM.

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#19 Teflon

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 09:24 PM

 

As a point of reference, Reno is by quite a margin the smallest AAA city, or at least it was when I looked at that question a couple of years ago. 

 

Yes, but it's also the biggest little city in the AAA.

 

usnv52155.jpeg

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#20 goulik

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 10:05 PM

I must first say there is no "Drama in Elizabethton. I can say this with a matter of fact because I am a resident of Elizabethton. My family and I have been loyal season tickets holders since 1998. We attend every home game and most of the away games, even traveling to some that are 2-3 hours away. We have been a host family and gotten to know several of the players over the years, even being able to call some friends. 
Now I understand this is a place for people to post their opinion (just like I am doing now) however it really upsets me when I read some of them.I feel that some of the post are from people guessing or just making stuff up because they are uninformed.And some I have taken personal because I feel that my city is being attacked by people that may not even be about to tell me where Tennessee is on a map.
So here is some things to clear up this “drama.”
• The city likes to keep it more on as “entertainment” and not run as a business so they can keep prices affordable and have a fun family atmosphere. So making money off the baseball team is not a priority. Elizabethton is a small quiet town with not a lot of activities to do so summer nights at the baseball game is our entertainment.
• Yes we do have a much smaller population in our city verses some of the other Appy League team’s cities but I feel we have a much larger core group of loyal fans. There is a large number of people that have been season tickets holder since 1974. There have been nights that I have attend a game in Johnson City or Kingsport (who have triple the amount of population) and there are more Twins fans there. I know because i have counted. 
• Joe O'Brien field is NOT horrible or a pit. Yes it needs improvements however there are other ballparks in the Appy League that are worse, trust me I have been to them. Bristol to name one.
• There was no "ultimatum" given by the city. They asked to have an answer by a specific date because the following day they were have a meeting regarding the city budget.
 
My family attended the city council meeting when the vote was to be done if the city would agree to make the changes. To be honest the majority of the people that attended that meeting where there in support of the Twins that night. They voted that night to spend over an estimated  3 million dollars for improvements without having to raise any taxes. Also stated that night, several residents have spoken up about the private donations they are wiling to contribute to help fund the project. There has been such a great relationship with Minnesota and the loyalty they have shown the city through out the years, they wanted to make it stronger by continuing that affiliation. So you tell me how does that show that city and residents of Elizabethton does not embrace the team and understand how valuable and important it is to be one of small number of cities in the country to have a minor league baseball team? Ask any player that came through Elizabethton and they can tell you how much this town loves their E-Twins.
 
"I don't want to tear away at the fabric of who the Twins are, which is that loyalty. People care about the Twins." A quote from Derek Falvey. Can Elizabethton get some of this loyalty?????
 
Here is the link to the article. It is very good. https://www.nytimes....alvey.html?_r=0


Thank you for your home town input and insight. I thought it was cool to put our AA team also in Tennessee because of our presence in E Town. Did y'all like having AA move close enough to maybe go see former players in Chatanooga?
I Would love to hear lots more from you on the Adopt a Prospect side when your team is up and running this summer!
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