(Bumped from FanPosts. --Eric)
Newsday recently published an article titled Mets, LI Ducks submit minor-league plans. According to the article, the Mets are competing with the Long Island Ducks for the new stadium. The proposed stadium should seat approximately 10,000, the size of which was not reported for the Mets' proposal. 10,000 is good for AAA teams, and on the large size for AA. 10,000 seats is larger than what A ball teams usually play in, but the more salient issue with a team from the low minors is that the nearest full season A-ball leagues, the Carolina and South Atlantic, may not want a franchise that is so far from their other teams.
The AAA team, and not the AA team, should move to Long Island. Why? So that the AA team can be moved to Brooklyn, which has an existing stadium that is likely not up to AAA standards. What would happen to the short-A team? We'll get to that after the jump.First, the Mets may not be able to move any team to Long Island. The Yankees territorial area mostly overlaps that of the Mets, and both can veto any major or affiliated minor league team from moving there. If the Mets moved a team to Long Island, they may need to coordinate a similar move with the Yankees. Perhaps the Yankees could move a team to The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That stadium is currently the home of the independent Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. It has a small seating capacity of 5,300. The location is excellent, with a MetroNorth stop in walking distance. All Atlantic League teams play in stadiums that were built to AAA specs. If the capacity can be increased, this would be an excellent venue for a AAA team. Alternatively, the Yankees might choose to relocate their AAA affiliate to a closer locale such as Stamford. We'll go with Stamford so that a map can be posted further down that is easier to read.
MCU Park, the current name of the Coney Island ballpark that hosts the Cyclones, is likely not up to AAA standards. This is why the Mets AA team should not be moved to Long Island. It would then be very difficult to move their AAA team into the metropolitan area as an appropriate venue would be difficult to obtain. MCU Park's capacity of 7,500 is a bit small for AAA, but appropriate for AA. If the Mets tried to move their AA team there, the Yankees would have to approve the move. The most likely way for this to happen would be if the Yankees moved their AA team to Staten Island.
If the Mets and Yankees move their AA teams into the venues occupied by the New York – Penn League, the short-A teams would be best served with new homes. To where should these short season teams be relocated? How about a stadium in Inwood, in northern Manhattan, that is shared with Columbia University? Columbia has the land. The Ivy League baseball season ends before short-A ball begins. These three teams could easily share such a stadium on that land:
If all of this were to happen, the Mets would ultimately have their AAA team in Nassau County, their AA team in Brooklyn, and their short-A team in Manhattan. By working with the Yankees, they too would have a similarly reduced farm system footprint. Columbia University would also benefit by gaining a real stadium for their baseball team.
All of this would not happen at the same time. The first thing for the Mets is to move their AAA team to Long Island, and possibly for the Yankees to also move their AAA team to the metro area. It is probably best to wait several years before moving the AA teams to the city so that potential market saturation can be assessed. Then the Mets would need to work with the Yankees and Columbia University to move the AA teams to the city, and to build a baseball stadium to Inwood.
What about the existing locales that are home to minor league teams? Toronto could move their AAA team from Las Vegas. A struggling AAA team could move to Las Vegas, but that city would lose a team. Binghamton, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton would have to attract new teams or go without. This could be mitigated if Major League Baseball were to expand by two teams, but that is highly unlikely any time soon.
If all of this were to happen, both the Mets and Yankees would benefit from farm systems that are more compact. Roving instructors could spend less time roving and more time instructing. Moving players between AA, AAA and the big leagues would be much easier. Fans would also benefit with more baseball, and new opportunities to watch prospects. This is a winning plan for New York.