ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Red Wings relationship with the Minnesota Twins is done.
Rochester posted a statement tonight confirming a report in the the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Twins informed Red Wings President and CEO Naomi Silver their intention is to no longer affiliate with the Red Wings.
“We’ve known for a while that this was a possibility,” Wings general manager Dan Mason said Tuesday night. “The finality of it kinda hit home today. It’s been a bit of a bummer.”
Part of the reason for the change is Major League Baseball’s hope to have all minor league affiliates geographically close to their major league parent clubs. Reportedly, the Twins hope to have their new Triple-A affiliate in nearby St. Paul.
“We had a great run with the Twins. A lot of unbelievable memories. A lot unbelievable people have come through here,” Mason said. “They were great to work with.”
Major League Baseball is conducting a sweeping reshuffle of minor league baseball that will reduce the number of minor league teams from 160 to 120. It’s highly unlikely the Wings would be one of the franchises lost or would not have a major league affiliate for 2021.
“We don’t anticipate that,” Mason said. “We’ve been assured (by the MLB committee handling the minor league restructure) we’ll have a franchise. We just don’t know who that will be yet.”
Mason added the Wings have no idea who their new partner would be. MLB had kept information on these changes fairly tight. All the Wings can do is wait.
The Washington Nationals have been at the head of the line for teams rumored to connect with Rochester. Their Triple-A team last season was in Fresno, California. Not only does baseball’s attempt to regionalize farm structures require a different affiliate for Washington, but the Fresno franchise has already been designated a single-A team for next year.
The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Blue Jays are among the teams who already have announced agreements with Triple-A teams or are widely expected to remain with their current partners.
The Wings are hoping their new partner will treat the team and the community with respect. They want a parent club who will provide a team that will make Rochester fans proud every summer and players who are proud to play in Rochester.
Mason also has one more item for his wish list.
“It’s always fun to win,” Mason said. “This city has an incredible baseball history. Our history is richer than many other major league cities. just continue that tradition of greatness.”
This year, Minor League Baseball canceled its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first summer without baseball in Rochester since 1898.
The next season with begin with only the fourth major league parent club in over 90 seasons of affiliated baseball for the Wings. The divorce may be a “bummer” today, but better days could be on the horizon.
“There will be a newness surrounding the organization next year and an air of excitement,” Mason said. “Anticipation of what the next era of Red Wings baseball is going to look like. We’re gonna be pumped whoever our partner is.”
The Wings only made the playoffs twice in 18 seasons with the Twins. Today’s “bummer” could be next summer’s blast.