Why the Rochester Red Wings Should Stay a Twins Affiliate

The Rochester Red Wings’ affiliation agreement with the Minnesota Twins ends this year. And while it’s entirely possible that it will be renewed, it’s also entirely possible it will not, as there is some discussion that, with the future of the Twins’ front office uncertain after the firing of Terry Ryan, now may be the time to again switch. This speculation is especially occurring because the New York Mets, one of the most popular MLB teams in the area, will also likely be available in the affiliation shuffle after this year, and the Mets are desperate to get a new affiliate closer to home, as opposed to distant Vegas.

However, I’m here to argue that the Red Wings should stick with the Twins, at least for another two years. Here’s why:

1. Don’t mess with success.

While it is true that the Red Wings have not had much postseason success during the Twins’ years, with only two appearances and no titles. However, this forgets that the Wings have been competitive for most of the Twins era and probably would have reached more postseasons if not for the tough IL North division and some bad luck. In 2014, for example, they were not eliminated until the final weekend of the year. 2015 saw something similar, and had the Red Wings finish with the same record as the previous two seasons, including the 2013 year where they made the playoffs. This season may see the Red Wings miss the playoffs despite currently having the third best record in the league.

It’s not the Twins fault that Rochester geographically lies in the International League’s toughest division, nor is it their fault that the IL doesn’t have a rule that kicks any team under .500 out of the playoffs, to be replaced by the Wild Card runner-up:

#ContractTheILSouth

#ContractTheILSouth

2. The Twins are a Better Farm System, from a winning perspective.

Here’s a look at the winning percentages of farm systems, as of August 3:

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.12.40 PMAs you can see, the Twins are a respectable 10th place. This is the entire organization, from AAA all the way down to the lowest of Rookie leagues. The Mets, meanwhile, are sub-.500 and are at 19th. And if you go level by level, the Twins have a better team in most of them: The AAA Twins (the Red Wings) have a better record than the AAA Mets (Las Vegas). The AA Twins (Chattanooga) have a better record than the AA Mets (Binghamton). The low-A Twins (Cedar Rapids) have a better record than the low-A Mets (Columbia). The rookie-ball Twins (Elizabethton) have a better record than the rookie-ball Mets (Kingsport). The Twins even have a better record in the Gulf Coast League! The only minor-league level where both organizations have teams and the Mets have a better record than the Twins affiliate is the High-A Florida league.

It’s been said that the two biggest determinants of minor league team attendance are also the two things the local GM (in the minors, the GM is more of a business position, not like the position in MLB) has the least control over: how the team is doing, and how the weather is. Except that isn’t really true, as the Minor League team CAN decide who it affiliates with. And when you look at the success on the field up and down the minors, the Twins clearly are the better choice when it comes to wins than the the Mets.

3. The Twins have better prospects overall than the Mets.

One of the neatest things about Minor League Baseball is that you can see the stars of tomorrow. And in this case, the Twins have a better case than the Mets. At the beginning of the year, MLB.com listed the Twins as the fifth best farm system in baseball. While obviously this has likely changed as players like Max Kepler and Byron Buxton have headed to the big leagues, it should be noted that the Mets were nowhere to be found in the top ten this year, and another site (which ranked the Twins 8th) put the Mets all the way down at number 20.

4. The Mets probably wouldn’t cause the big attendance boost some people think.

My fellow Rochester seamheads will remember the Empire State Yankees. In 2012, as their stadium was being renovated, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (now the Scranton RailRiders) played their home games on the road, mostly in Rochester. Before the season, some Yankee fans were declaring that the people of Rochester would love them and support them even more than they did the Wings, that it was a dream come true, etc. etc.

Well, here’s the secret: The Empire State Yankees were a bust. Look at this news report from back then:

Yes, the Baby Bronx Bombers were in town and, with the exception of a Andy Pettitte rehab assignment, they drew flies, despite the fact they had a very good team. And the Yankees are definitely far more popular in Rochester than the Mets.

Now, admittedly, the fact that they were the “Empire State Yankees” and not the “Rochester Red Wings, AAA Affiliate of the New York Yankees” probably had a lot to do with it. But when you consider that attendance wasn’t particularly skyrockety for the Buffalo Bisons when they had the Mets affiliation (although to be fair, the Mets system was even worse back then), I think it’s safe to say that in general the affiliation doesn’t drive attendance all that much- winning and weather does. And as I showed with number two and number three, the Twins are a better choice for that.

5. The Mets have horrible owners.

Red Wings fans still speak in hushed tones about Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Why, the only people who hate Peter Angelos more than Red Wings fans are Orioles’ fans! GET IN LINE, NATS FANS, THIS SPOT IS TAKEN! Peter Angelos’ interference with minor league operations, general incompetence, breaking of traditions, and favoritism (intentional or not) to other teams in the Orioles’ system (especially the AA Bowie Baysox) led to the end of one of the longest affiliations in baseball. Well, say what you will about Angelos, but to the best of my knowledge he never ended up drowning in debt after being caught up in a massive Ponzi scheme and as a result been unspeakably cheap for his team that was in the World Series last season and plays in New York City. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has Peter Angelos been sued for firing somebody because she had a baby out of wedlock and then resolved it before it reached trial. And while I’m sure he (like, sadly, seemingly every single MLB owner) would sign somebody who was suspended for domestic abuse, he hasn’t as far as I know. Yet.

But you know who has done all of this? The owners of the New York Mets! Now, full disclosure, I own a very small (essentially symbolic) portion of the Rochester Red Wings (I covered this before). Not enough to make a difference, but I do own some. But let’s say I did own enough. Would I want to do business with the Wilpons?

No. No I would not.

6. The Red Wings shouldn’t be like other Minor League teams

Many minor league teams change affiliation with relative regularity. The Red Wings don’t- they were Cardinals affiliates from the late 20s to 1960, and then spent the rest of the 20th century and the first two years of the 21st with the Orioles. That means that it should still be another decade or two left with the Twins. Perhaps I’m just being a romantic, ignoring the business nature of modern baseball. And, to be sure, if everything was bad and the Red Wings were doing horrible with no good hope in the lower minors, I’d agree that perhaps it’s time to move on. But the Wings have been one of the most successful minor league franchises in history by not changing course at the first sign of trouble, and I see no reason to start swapping every decade or so now.

So… I say: stick with the Twins and nix the Mets. The reasons to stay with Minnesota lay in the evidence, and the reasons to go to the Mets are nowhere near as high as they seem.

And, besides, if the Mets want to be in Rochester so damn bad, maybe they can call back in two-to-four years. By that point, maybe whoever has replaced Terry Ryan will have shown how he will treat the minor leagues. And maybe they won’t be owned by the Wilpons either.

 

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“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): The Future of Cespedes in 2016 Mets Camp

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, I go over other ways that Yoenis Cespedes can arrive at Mets camp.

The big story this year in Mets’ camp hasn’t been the pitchers, or the fact they are coming in as defending National League champions. No, it’s been Yoenis Cespedes. He’s arrived in crazy cars and on a horse, when he hasn’t been buying pigs for $7,000 just to eat them.

So, I have used a crystal ball to stare into the future and see what the future holds for Yoenis Cespedes in Mets camp:

  • On March 4, Cespedes will arrive in a Aston Martin DB5, like James Bond drove.
  • On March 7, Cespedes and his entourage will go to an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet in Port St. Lucie. They will proceed to eat it out of business.
  • On March 9, Cespedes will fly an autogyro to Tampa, where he will play against the Yankees. He will hit a home run and unleash a massive bat-flip. Certain Yankee columnists will take this the wrong way. It will be glorious.
  • On March 12, Cespedes will arrive at Mets camp driving a go-kart.
  • On March 13, Cespedes will skip the game at the Marlins and instead take a helicopter to Disney World, where he will have a blast.
  • Aware that you should “Beware the Ides of March”, Cespedes will stay inside in his room all day and play video games.
  • From March 17 to 19, Cespedes will disappear to go undercover and takes part in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando. He will be leading when the Mets find him and haul him back to camp.
  • On March 21, he will arrive at the Mets facility in a DeLorean with Christopher Lloyd, who he has paid to reprise his role of Dr. Emmett Brown.
  • On March 23, he will arrive on a hovercraft.
  • March 25 will see him arrive at the facility in a Harrier jump-jet.
  • March 30 will see Cespedes arrive riding an elephant.
  • On March 31 and April 1, Cespedes will accompany the Mets to Vegas to play the Cubs. He will proceed to break the bank at the Luxor, and then leave Vegas flying a UFO from Area 51.

 

What’s scary is… some of these might actually come true!

 

MVP of Yesterday (August 31, 2015): Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon went 8 shutout innings yesterday, giving up just 4 hits and striking out 9. In addition, he had a hit of his own and scored a run.

So he’s Yesterday’s MVP.

Standings, as always, after the jump:

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“30 Teams, 30 Posts”: The Mr. Met Game

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, we honor Mr. Met, mention the latest crazy thing to happen to the Mets, and I introduce you to a fun game.

The New York Mets have a special quality. Perhaps it is because of their little brother status, their second-banana nature, the fact they are always on camera but never standing first in line. They are the Luigi to the Yankees’ Mario, the Teller to the Yankees’ Penn, the Roebuck to the Yankees’ Sears.

Or maybe it’s because they have really weird stuff happen to them all the freaking time. Like on Monday, when a blow-out spring training defeat led to a long meeting between manager and owner.

Which is crazy, and yet not even in the top 20 craziest things to happen to the Mets.

But, one man stands tall, no matter how bad it is and how top-heavy it is:

Yes, Mr. Met. No matter how bad it is, he smiles.

And, he’s the subject of a fun game I have: The Mr. Met Game.

It works similar to how people can add “… in bed” to dialogue from movies, books, and speeches. Y’know, like “He’s been doing the heavy lifting… in bed.”

Basically, take a list, any list, and then add “and Mr. Met” at the end.

Let’s take the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, for example:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and Mr. Met.

Or, list the actors who have played James Bond: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, and Mr. Met.

…You don’t find this funny, do you?

Well, you see, it’s funnier when it’s just slipped in there when you least expect it, thus totally ruining the gag for this post. But, rest assured, when done right… it’s hilarious. Especially when spoken aloud.

 

Bizarre Baseball Culture: Spider-Man, Uncle Ben, and the Mets

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

(Note: This article may have spoilers to Amazing Spider-Man 2, since I reference a major storyline that I’m going to guess shows up in the movie. It’s in the second-to-final paragraph before the jump, if you want to know what to skip to avoid the spoiler.)

As the sequel to the reboot of Spider-Man comes out, entitled The Amazing Spider-Man 2, now is as good as any to do a Bizarre Baseball Culture on a comic entirely about Spider-Man and his baseball fandom. Now, ole’ Web-Head is no stranger to Bizarre Baseball Culture, having shown up in the past on at least three occasions (most recently fighting Doctor Doom alongside Billy the Marlin), but those were promotional comics that happened to feature Spider-Man. This time, we are looking at an honest-to-goodness Spider-Man comic: Peter Parker Spider-Man (Volume 2) #33. This issue from 2001 is about Peter Parker’s relation with his late Uncle Ben, and how baseball was a bond between them.

Now, before we begin, I’d like to write a bit about Spider-Man in general. What made the Marvel characters different when they first started appearing in the 1960s was that they were, in general, more relatable and flawed than the DC counterparts and the Marvel superheroes that had been created in the 30s and 40s. The Fantastic Four was often bickering with each other (like an family does), the X-Men were shunned by most of society (Stan Lee has said that being a mutant is basically meant to be a stand-in for being a minority), the Hulk was shunned by basically all of society… and Spider-Man, for lack of a better term, was a loser.

Okay, maybe not a loser, but definitely the closest thing there had been up to that point: an unpopular kid with no parents, only one family member of any sort (Aunt May) and little money. To make matters worse, when supervillains weren’t coming after him, the press and/or the police were. If things could go wrong for Peter Parker, they probably have. Parents? Dead. Uncle? Dead. Aunt? Perpetually sick. First true love (Gwen Stacy)? Murdered (and, amazingly, never came back to life). Second true love (Mary Jane)? Marriage magically annulled in a story far too stupid to talk about. Heck, while I haven’t read it, apparently most recently poor Peter Parker saw his body body-snatched by Doctor Ocopus while he was forced to die in “Doc Ock’s” cancer-ridden body (don’t worry, he got better). But all of this pales in comparison to the greatest, most horrible fate to ever fall upon Spider-Man:

Being a fan of the New York Mets.

(JUMP)

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If you have 230+ dollars and are willing to break trademark law, then you, too, can be Mr. Met

While looking for some Bizarre Baseball Culture on eBay, I came across something else….

Above, you see a “BASEBALL BALLPLAYER ADULT SIZE CARTOON MASCOT COSTUME” available from “sinooceantrade” on eBay. And, for $229.99 plus potential shipping, it can be YOURS via eBay. Seems totally legit.

How legit?

Well, for one thing, the “outter fabric” (sic) is “Short hair velvet”, but the “lining Materials” is “POLYESTER TAFFETA”. I don’t know anything about mascot uniforms or the Mr. Met costume, but I’m sure that it has POLYESTER TAFFETA in it. Also, guess what? It’ll be shipped to you in the finest packaging: “Put into thick box”.

And, that’s not all, look what it has to say about the “characteristic” of the costume:

3.One-piece of the head material :: We use the advanced machine to manufacture POLYFOAM head, it is only one piece, it is stronger and enough hard to avoid to break when it meet strike accidentally ,User head can be protected very well,   but paperboard or foam head was produced by different  paperboard or foam pieces,  they was usually agglutinated by the bad gluewater ,this kind of head is not very firm, and very easily to turn into fragment, At the same time, the gluewater do harm to the User, It makes the User headache or feel unhappy.

4.Breather and vision : User can breath very well when he wears it, there are the hole of eyes and mouth and the neck area, They have enough ventilation for User, User have a good vision from the head eyes or mouth.

5.Eye net: there are plastic net on the costume eye, They can prevent the dust or the others into the User eyes.

6.Waterproof: POLYFOAM material can be Water resistance

7.Costume fabric:  We choose the high quality fabric for our costume. we fill polypropylene cotton Material in the middle of outer and inner fabric, It make the costume soft and verisimilitude.

So… what are you waiting for? You too can get your own soft and verisimilitude-y Mr. Met costume!

HUMOR: The Reaction to Matt Harvey’s Injury

Matt Harvey has a UCL injury and will miss the rest of the season and probably longer, since he will likely have to undergo TJ Surgery. Upon seeing some of the online reaction to this, I believe it can be summed up by clicking here. Note that certain parts of that reaction are not-safe-for-work.

As a fan of baseball and great pitching, I agree with the above assessment.