ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC ) — This fall, Major Baseball League announced its plan to restructure the minor leagues.
The restructuring will affect dozens of franchises, including the Batavia Muckdogs. The league plans to strip those organizations of their affiliation and assign them to a new lower caliber independent league — “the Dream League.”
The Red Wings are currently safe from elimination under the MLB proposal, but team officials say they will “remain vigilant and united with all Minor League Baseball teams in opposition to the MLB plan.”
News 8’s Alexa Ross had a chance to speak to Naomi Silver, owner of The Red Wings.
The MLB seems to be fighting back and saying “we don’t need you” to the minor leagues.
NS — Now it’s a matter of us fighting back against their thought that they can do without the lower level of Minor League baseball.
We’re here to say that Minor League baseball has been the backbone of the Major Leagues for as long as baseball has been in existence.
Minor league teams are going to stick together on this issue, we are here to support the lowest level of the minor leagues — that have a significant place in the economies of these many cities that they’re trying to do away with right now.
The Major Leagues saying they can do without the lower level is hard for communities like Batavia, Auburn, and 40 other cities around the country that would have to do without their teams.
Those are teams that owners have put a lot of money into, fans have out their heart and soul into, and communities and government entities have built stadiums for these teams. So the investment is huge, both emotionally and financially for these communities.
Being in AAA and knowing that you won’t be touched, but development is the biggest thing in baseball — what do you want people to know about the farm system in baseball?
NS — Farm systems have built major league baseball, and the kids that come out of college, sometimes high school, start at a lower level, and the best of the best work their way up, but they have to start somewhere.
You can’t go from college level baseball to Triple A, or to the big leagues, it’s a gradual process, except for a very few number of players who can make a huge jump.
It’s very important that these kids have an opportunity to play in front of many thousands of people before they go into the tens of thousands that they’ll play in front of [in the majors].
It’s a big learning curve, and the coaching gets better along the way, and everything about it changes and becomes more important. The players need this backbone, and they need to be able to start in a small way as a professional in order to make it to the big leagues.
Losing sight of what minor league teams do at every level, what they mean to this country, and to the people that support them, can’t be overstated.
MLB’s stance seems to be shifting everyday, but everyone is pushing back, inclining the government. Do you feel defeated that MLB isn’t listening to the push back?
NS — I feel very confident that we’ll come out of this alright. This is a lot of posturing by the major leagues, and I’m not so sure that many of the major league teams are that much involve or are in favor of what’s transpiring right now.
I think it’s going to be a long negotiation, I hope we’ll be able to save many if not all of the 42 teams that are at risk right now.
I think the commissioner of MLB will come around to understand the importance. I think maybe he didn’t understand how important minor league baseball is, but minor league baseball is certainly in front of many more fans than 30 major league teams are, and that’s what has to be remembered here: We represent a large portion of this country.