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Thread: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

  1. #61
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Great post. I wanted to focus on this, because I think it touches on why life without the MLB affiliation might be good for a lot of these mom-and-pop operations. MLB is corporate and the development process means good players usually don't spend a full season with any one club. Billy Hamilton in 2011 and Tyler Mahle in 2015 are probably fond memories for Dayton fans, but those are rarities.

    Summer collegiate leagues have teams filled with local players. And the player-fan bond on indy teams seems (to my viewing) a lot stronger than at minor league affiliates. The notion that this is "our" team is much more palpable. So, if baseball dries up in the places the get dropped by this MiLB cull, that would be a shame. Yet if a more local and organic version of baseball takes hold in those places, I think people will like it better. The sport of baseball might be better off if MLB pulls back its tendrils and lets something more independent find its footing.
    I think there's a cool possibility here for the organic, more fan-driven franchises. I also think it's unlikely. Try to think of a strong and stable professional minor league in America. The ABA and CBA did basketball for quite a while until the NBA alternatively bought one league and stepped in and developed its own minor league. American football has failed spectacularly in developing a sub-NFL professional league. Even the AFL has a foot in the grave. I can't comment confidently on soccer or hockey, but I think both have semi-affiliated status.

    Were the cull to happen and the new hometown teams organize (which seems tough given the new operations expenses), the MLB would see these leagues as competition, and I would imagine treat them predominately as a threat. If they did want these teams to thrive, sending them out into the wilderness is sure a strange expression of their support.

    In the end, I get the whole MLB effort. But make no bones about it, this is corporate business decision and not one geared toward baseball populism (or evening the playing field or any other BS they pitch). Given the financial health of ownership, it seems unnecessary and frankly cruel, but as Reds fans know well enough, the packaging of professional baseball is myth and sentiment but the contents are about the bottom line.

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  4. #62
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    If this plan is adopted, I'll be interested to see how it changes player development schedules and ultimately the mix of major league players.

    Without Rookie and Short-season ball, prospects will be in A ball more quickly. A high school prospect will play in complex ball for awhile, but the next step is Low A.

    There could be an upward push to AA and AAA more quickly; less time for slow learners; maybe a slightly younger group making the big league.

    I'm not sure how it will all work out, but it should be interesting to see. I understand the impetus for it, interested to see how the plan impacts the game.

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  6. #63
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Great post. I wanted to focus on this, because I think it touches on why life without the MLB affiliation might be good for a lot of these mom-and-pop operations. MLB is corporate and the development process means good players usually don't spend a full season with any one club. Billy Hamilton in 2011 and Tyler Mahle in 2015 are probably fond memories for Dayton fans, but those are rarities.

    Summer collegiate leagues have teams filled with local players. And the player-fan bond on indy teams seems (to my viewing) a lot stronger than at minor league affiliates. The notion that this is "our" team is much more palpable. So, if baseball dries up in the places the get dropped by this MiLB cull, that would be a shame. Yet if a more local and organic version of baseball takes hold in those places, I think people will like it better. The sport of baseball might be better off if MLB pulls back its tendrils and lets something more independent find its footing.
    Only if there's some real possibility that some of the kids on these independent leagues will end up in affiliated ball. We had an independent league team in Wichita for the first 7 years I lived here, and I attended exactly one game. To me, independent league baseball is just depressing. You feel like the guys are just playing because they don't have anything better to do with their lives and have really no future. I preferred college baseball to that, because at least the players with no future in baseball are presumably getting an education. Just not something I was ever interested in being a part of.

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  8. #64
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Big data is making the world boring.

    Your Netflix algorithm suggests more things like what you've already watched, Spotify suggests more things like what you're listening to, and the worst thing is creators are starting to cater to those algorithms. They have to if they want to be successful. There's less and less room for weird. The algorithm smooths everything out.

    It's the same way with business. More efficiency, but a dull world.

    Baseball has seen data make way for less contact, longer games where little happens (a ball goes over the wall a few times), and now this. I'm sure a team in Billings isn't ultra-efficient and spends more money than is necessary. Obviously a ton of guys are playing professional baseball every year who aren't going to ever make it, and that's inefficient. But it's fun, it keeps baseball alive in every geographic corner. People show up. People in Billings follow these guys to Cincinnati, I saw it on a trip I took there with my father in law a few years back.

    Eventually we'll get it down to AAA (maybe AA will live, probably not - how many future major leaguers are in the minors at any one time) and a bunch of closed camps in Arizona and that'll be efficient and Bob Castellini will squeeze out a few more dollars every year which god knows he needs. And baseball will bleed a few more fans here and there, but not enough to really notice, and the tv money is going to be this huge forever, right?

    No need to grow the game or market it outside of MLB major league markets, that's not efficient right here, right now and years from now is someone else's problem.
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  10. #65
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by BillDoran View Post
    But make no bones about it, this is corporate business decision and not one geared toward baseball populism (or evening the playing field or any other BS they pitch).
    100% agreed. My thinking, though, is that they open up markets as they recede. The upside the game of baseball has is it's a pleasant, communal thing to attend during hot months when people like to get outside. So, if MLB abandons Billings, the people of Billings might still be looking for some low key fun. The interesting sidebar is how much does soccer encroach in those places? It's less of a time commitment and more of an event, and - if the U.S. ever commits to an integrated soccer pyramid - there are opportunities for a small town team to tilt at the big boys.

    Alternate football leagues have failed because college is the NFL's minor leagues and the appetite for out-of-season football is exceedingly low. Also, what sane human subjects their body to the damage of football after college for minor league pay? I remember in my 20s when all the guys my age collectively decided to stop playing tackle in pickup games. Every game ended with an injury. There's a lot of factors that go into it, but football's not a democratic sport. Basketball's a bit like football in that the college game is so big, it doesn't leave a lot of oxygen for minor league/independent teams.

    There is a fair amount of low-rent hockey and soccer out there. Yet baseball has always been the runaway leader in selling charm of low stakes contests. In my neck of the woods, we've got a semi-pro city league around Boston and the Cape League during the summer, and people show up for those games. People view off-brand as something to do. So I' hesitant to gauge the likeliness of what might happen as MiLB leaves certain markets behind. At least it seems just as likely that baseball withers and dies in those places if MiLB sticks around. If there's something that can spark interest, I don't think it's coming from the suits making this wholly corporate decision.
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  11. #66
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    Only if there's some real possibility that some of the kids on these independent leagues will end up in affiliated ball. We had an independent league team in Wichita for the first 7 years I lived here, and I attended exactly one game. To me, independent league baseball is just depressing. You feel like the guys are just playing because they don't have anything better to do with their lives and have really no future. I preferred college baseball to that, because at least the players with no future in baseball are presumably getting an education. Just not something I was ever interested in being a part of.
    I've seen a few dozen indy league games over the years (from Atlantic City up to Quebec City). It was fun to take the kids when they were younger. Went to MiLB games too, but one of the cool things about indy ball is exactly what you found depressing. Those guys are playing their tails off, trying to eke one more summer of baseball out of their talent. The result of that contest is not inconsequential to them. MiLB contests are played by guys trying to book a ticket out of town as soon as possible, win or lose. Very different vibe.

    If your goal is to go see a few notable prospects, it doesn't have that. If your goal is to have an enjoyable time out seeing some baseball, I'd argue it's better at that.
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    The result of that contest is not inconsequential to them.
    The result of beer league softball isn't inconsequential to the participants, either. But much like independent league baseball, the result IS inconsequential, and I don't find it interesting to watch. Personal opinion.

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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    I guess it really depends on the individual, but for me the entire draw of minor league baseball is to see some of these big time prospects in an intimate setting... So while I’ll drive 2.5 hours to be able to watch Vlad Guerrero Jr play ball in the Midwest League, I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d drive 10 minutes to watch an Indy league game.

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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    The result of beer league softball isn't inconsequential to the participants, either. But much like independent league baseball, the result IS inconsequential, and I don't find it interesting to watch. Personal opinion.
    You don't have to. There's people who only want to go see plays on Broadway or that are put on by folks with Actors Equity cards, but more people every year see community theater productions. Most of the music people hear live is played by local acts with no record contract. I get the pro fan mentality. I live in Boston, where it's as strong as anywhere on the planet. I'm just noting that just because it's not your thing doesn't mean it's not a thing.
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    I don't think it's enough of a thing to work, though. Not at the level MILB works.

    And I love college sports, so it's not really the pro fan mentality. There's just a pointlessness to it that I can't get past.

  17. #71
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Boston Red clearly stated that it was his personal opinion. That's fair

  18. #72
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    You don't have to. There's people who only want to go see plays on Broadway or that are put on by folks with Actors Equity cards, but more people every year see community theater productions. Most of the music people hear live is played by local acts with no record contract. I get the pro fan mentality. I live in Boston, where it's as strong as anywhere on the planet. I'm just noting that just because it's not your thing doesn't mean it's not a thing.
    For the record, community theater only exists because of benefactors. It’s a huge money loser, trust me.

    I’m with Boston Red. The core driver of attendance for minor league games is to see future stars. There also is the desire for a family friendly event, but if there were no chance to see a future star, attendance would plummet at most minor league stadiums. Most minor league stadiums are plastered with pics and posters of former players who made it to the bigs. Everyone wants to be able to say, “I saw Nick Senzel before he made it.”
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by nmculbreth View Post
    I guess it really depends on the individual, but for me the entire draw of minor league baseball is to see some of these big time prospects in an intimate setting... So while I’ll drive 2.5 hours to be able to watch Vlad Guerrero Jr play ball in the Midwest League, I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d drive 10 minutes to watch an Indy league game.
    So, I get that with a 2.5-hour drive (for the record, I wouldn't drive 2.5 hours to see any baseball game). However, let's say there's a team right where you live (within 20 minutes). Cheap ticket, cheap hot dog, cold beer, fun promotions running every half inning, people generally in good spirits (because it's summer). The umps can hear you when they screw up and you let them hear about it. People bring the kids. You can go with a couple of friends. It's actually kind of social. Costs you less than a movie (at least with popcorn and a soda). You can do a lot worse on a weeknight or a lazy summer afternoon. Having lived in a few places where there's nothing going on more often than not, that sounds like a sweet deal.

    Like, if I got sent on business to Lincoln, NE, a Lincoln Saltdogs game might rank fairly high on a list of pleasant diversions on a Tuesday night. Though, maybe Lincoln's more lit than I realize.
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  20. #74
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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    For one that enjoys MiLB much more than MLB, this is news that I really never needed.
    Last edited by muddie; 11-18-2019 at 08:47 PM.

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    Re: MLB Reportedly Pursuing “Radical Restructuring” Of Lower Minors

    Quote Originally Posted by RedTeamGo! View Post
    Good riddance to all these minor league teams. The legit talent is stretched too thin and minor league ball is watered down. This will make the ball being played in my hometown (and future town) of Toledo much better.
    As long as Toledo is affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, I wouldn’t get too optimistic. 😁

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