With a joined statement of the current Mayor and the Mayor-Elect of Fresno, the city made clear that it is backing the Fresno Grizzlies in their quest for AAA baseball.
In the statement, both local politicians claim that thanks to the award winning seasons the club had and thanks to the investments the club made to improve Chukchansi Park, it deserves AAA ball.
If MLB is constantly talking about geography, the Grizzlies should be a good location for one of the eight MLB teams in the West. As many of the MLB teams want their AAA affiliate as close at home as possible, at least one of the California based MLB teams should be a good fit. Sure, the Giants have their AAA team in near proximity as it resides in Sacramento, but the other five teams? The Athletics have an affiliation with the Las Vegas Aviators, the Angels with the Salt Lake Bees, the Padres with the El Paso Chihuahuas, and the Dodgers are nowhere near California with their AAA affiliate in Oklahoma City. All of the aforementioned teams are nowhere really close to their farm teams.
Perhaps a realignment could be introduced. The Reno Aces could become the AAA team of the Athletics for example. The Arizona Diamondbacks could move their AAA team to El Paso, which is much closer to Phoenix and the Padres could fill the void at Las Vegas if the Athletics would move their AAA team to Reno. Fresno would be a good fit for the Angels or Dodgers. Neither of both teams have their top farm team in their close proximity.
What I am trying to point out here is that the excuse that MLB is using about geography is a moot argument. What sense does it make for the Dodgers to have their farm team more than 700 miles away from them? So the geography argument doesn’t make any sense.
I realize that when the Grizzlies will remain in AAA ball, another AAA team will be the victim and I don’t agree with that either. It is all the result of this rotten plan of the greedy MLB owners, who do not want to pay more salary. As they were forced by the Supreme Court to pay better wages to their minor league players, they rather cut rookie ball and short season ball so the amount they will have to spend on salary will be the same as the amount they spent with all levels (from AAA to rookie) still around.
Nevertheless, with the current attitude of MLB and its owners, I fear that Fresno has signed its own death sentence with the statement above. If the Grizzlies are ousted from AAA and affiliated ball, what will be left for them? Summer Collegiate leagues perhaps? There are three of those in California.
Coming Monday, we will know more about the Grizzlies’ future in affiliated ball as the ultimatum set by MLB will expire.