Jerry Izenberg of the Star-Ledger Ledger wrote a story last night that should bug the crap out of you. It’s about the Yankees, the Mets and the city of Newark and shows you just how dumb baseball’s territorial rights rules are.
Read the story itself because it has a strong and compelling personal element to it from Izenberg, but the short version is that, for one season, while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ballpark undergoes renovations, the Yankees wanted to put their AAA team in Newark, where it had been for decades back in the day. The Mets, who are co-owners of the New Jersey territory, rejected the idea. They rejected it even though the Yankees offered an open-ended waiver to the Mets to allow them to do the same thing one day. They rejected it even though the Yankees offered to pay the Mets for their trouble.
The Yankees are not anyone’s idea of a sympathy case, but this would have been great for Newark and great for baseball fans. It strains credulity to think that it would have any serious negative consequences for the Mets, apart from perhaps their organizational ego being bruised in the event that the Newark team’s attendance came a bit too close to the Mets’ for comfort.
But if that were the case, it just underscores how stupid and artificial the territory system is in the first place.