The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Rochester to wait another year for Batavia sale

Though the primary message was not surprising, there was still significance in an announcement made by Rochester Community Baseball (RCB) this week. CEO Naomi Silver told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that her organization will be back to operate the Batavia Muckdogs in 2012.

There was one important caveat, however. Silver’s pledge would only be binding if the St. Louis Cardinals’ New York-Penn League affiliate is not sold in the interim. While the money-losing Muckdogs have been on the market for over a year, it does not appear a sale is imminent.

The story is a bit different than it was back in January. At that time, RCB chairman Gary Larder told uneasy shareholders at the organization’s annual meeting that he expected 2011 to be their last season operating the Muckdogs. His view was that the team would change hands this year. Obviously, that has not happened.

Through 2008-10, their first three years operating the Muckdogs, RCB, owners of the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, lost just under a half-million dollars in total. They have cut the deficit each successive season, and expect to have done so again this year. 2011 financial results have not yet been disclosed.

While the Muckdogs’ expenses may be under control, their revenues most likely aren’t growing substantially, if at all. Batavia held onto its unenviable position as the poorest-attended club in the 14-team league in 2011. Average attendance per game did increase very marginally this year, from 1,016 in 2010 to 1,057.

On the other side of the ledger, RCB’s nest egg continues to grow as the Muckdogs’ owners, the Genesee County Baseball Club, cedes equity each year to delay the inevitable loss of their team. RCB has gained five percent ownership of the Batavia franchise each season. Based on an estimated $6 million value of the Muckdogs, RCB’s potential return will grow to $1.5 million by the completion of the 2012 season.

The Cardinals’ Player Development Contract with Batavia is in place through next season as well, so barring a late sale to a buyer with a ready and waiting facility, it appears the Muckdogs may have dodged the executioner for one more year.

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45 Responses to “Rochester to wait another year for Batavia sale”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    The Muckdogs are unsold, for the same reason Fannie and Freddie have huge stockpiles of foreclosed homes on their books. In a bubble pop economy, everybody wants to sell, few have the moola to buy. It is especially hard to unload sub-prime properties, including a team located in a small town in western NY. Another sign of the times.

    Here is some hopium, for those who do not enjoy just gloom and doom. Western NY is endowed with Marcellus Shale. If NYS were to encourage harvesting its endowment of nat gas, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, this might give western NY’s economy a much needed lift. Then, if some locals near Batavia start earning more income, they can go to more Muckdog games, the team can eke out a profit, Naomi recoup some losses, and Brian will be write an uplifting story about the revivial of Batavia! Bravo!

  2. CariocaCardinal says:

    If the franchise is worth anywhere near close to the $6 million estimate, the Rochester group would be silly not to continue. In fact, they have little incentive to make the franchise attractive to a buyer in the short term.

    • Brian Walton says:

      One would have to assume the sale decision rests with Batavia. They seem to be content with ceding $300,000 in equity each year to RCB just to keep their team on life support. This could go on indefinitely – if they can maintain an organizational affiliation. If I was the Cardinals, I would be looking for a better environment when the bi-annual PDC musical chairs begin again next fall.

      Also, realize that a number of the RCB shareholders were upset because the Red Wings lost money in 2010 for the first time in years. The worry was that Batavia has been diluting their attention from their primary business, hence the promises to sell and get out. To make matters worse, the last two years, Rochester had terrible W-L records, though that is on the Twins’ player development. Red Wings attendance fell from 6,600 per game last year to 6,493 in 2011, so they may again show red ink.

  3. crdswmn says:

    I see where Bud Selig is ready to force the Astros to move to the AL. This reorganization is really going to happen isn’t it? A year long nightmare of interleague play. Baseball, the final sport to be ruined for all eternity.

  4. Brian Walton says:

    Friday lineup: Furcal SS, Jay CF, Pujols 1B, Holliday LF, Berkman RF, Freese 3B, Schumaker 2B, Molina C, Jackson P.

    • Brian Walton says:

      A lot of internet tough guys are eating their words tonight.

    • LarryBird says:

      I knew he had to say something. Even though Morgan is a loose cannon I could not see anyone yelling back like that without Carp saying something. With that being said………When you strike out you lower your head and head back to the dugout. He was chirping all series and deserved to be yelled at when he struck out! He reminds me of Milton Bradley and I would be shocked if he doesn’t end up like him. What a waste of talent!

    • RCWarrior says:

      :) Don’t sweat it Crdswmn, most fans tend to believe their team’s players don’t do anything wrong and always go to church on sunday.

      • crdswmn says:

        I have no illusions that Carp never does anything wrong because I have eyes in my head. :) The circumstances of that game were such that I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. I think you know that I am not a worshiper RC, hell, I would even bet Wainwright is no saint either. ;)

      • LarryBird says:

        I think Carp did nothing wrong there. Nyjer or as you would say Niger should have been yelled at when he struck out!

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        This the NL………. Carpenter has to go to the plate too…………If they bring in a September call up power reliever to match with Chris…….. I think Tony pulls him ……….. but it was the 9th…….wasn’t it………. Chris isn’t stupid……………… Albert is the new team leader…….leads the cheering…..leads the fight……..takes the base hit for the team……………… gets a hit and run with a 3/0 count………Tony is amazing……………..

        • blingboy says:

          Tony thinks he has a couple of players hitting ahead of Albert. Finally. He and Albert are focussed on .300/100rbi. I think its 13 in 18 games. Maybe. Jay could finish it a .300 hitter without getting sat to protect it like last year.

          As for Carp, better not act like a bsd. He might suck next time out and look like a fool.

  5. Nutlaw says:

    It may not count for much, but at least we’re getting an interesting game tonight!

  6. Brian Walton says:

    Saturday lineup: Furcal ss; Jay cf; Pujols 1b; Holliday lf; Berkman rf; Freese 3b; Molina c; Punto 2b, Garcia lhp.

  7. crdswmn says:

    Does anyone else sense something is up with Garcia? He seemed uptight in his post game interview tonight. Tension between him and TLR?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Probably didn’t want to come out after 74 pitches. Can’t be too upset. Signed that four-year deal not too many weeks ago.

      • crdswmn says:

        You are probably right but he has acted this way on the post game before, just a couple of starts ago as a matter of fact. Thought he might be getting an attitude. Something seems off to me lately and not just his pitching.

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          performance related activities are “endlessly challenging” CRD……….. self esteem is a complicated dragon to slay………….. his sole motivation concerning his family identity has been altered………. he has something he always wanted now……. and its guaranteed to boot…….. the fear of losing self esteem by failing to fulfill expectations is a much more complicated beast at this point………….he will get through it……… he is just worrying his delivery too much……….. that particular variety of worry will morph into wisdom as he finds his groove again………. he is just over throwing…… happens to all youngsters………..
          he did have good movement today…….just for the wrong reasons.

        • Brian Walton says:

          For those interested in assessing Garcia’s demeanor, I included the video with part of his post-game remarks in today’s (always free) Major League Notebook on the main site.

          While you are there, check out two other videos – Jack Buck reciting his “For America” poem as well as a video with Cardinals players’ and coaches’ remembrances from that night when baseball resumed after the 9/11 tragedies.

          • crdswmn says:

            As I said, it’s just a feeling . His body language and his voice raised a red flag for me. When confronted by TLR’s remark about his inability to get lefties out, he blew it off as a one time thing. He was very dismissive of any criticism of his pitching and several of those type questions were, “Tony said……..” This could be him having an attitude, as I said before, or it could be something more.

    • blingboy says:

      Since the blowout game at the end of May he’s 6-6 with an ERA of 4. Been giving up well over a hit per inning.

      Last night, it was the lefties who did the damage against him. Of the 8 hits he gave up in 6 innings, 6 were to lefties, including the HR.

      So I’d say yes, somethings up. What, I don’t know. The blowout, getting his turn skipped, no longer having to work for a living, lots of stuff happenning to a young guy.

      There may be a big psychological difference between striving to prove something and grasp the brass ring, on the one hand, and trying to find and buy into a new motivator and meet expectations, on the other.

      TLR is now dealing with a young player who doesn’t have to kiss his butt. That could affect things.

      • Bw52 says:

        Since Garcia got his money his pitching has mostly crap.Maybe its trying too hard or trying to be too fine with location.Maybe he lost a bit of his edge when he got his big payday.Bling could be hitting right on.Maybe Garcia has a case “my crap don`t stink” attitude.
        For whatever reason the fact remains that the Cards need Garcia to pitch the way he was earlier.For the Cards sake let`s hope Garcia gets it together.

  8. Bw52 says:

    Crdswmn-national inquirer type speculation ?

  9. CariocaCardinal says:

    Is playing good baseball down the stretch when you are all but out of it considered “clutch” or simply “tease”.

  10. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    A guy that looks at strike 3………..3/2……..2 outs………batting 7th………who was looking for
    “something else”………….is a troubled individual……a personal speculator……..

    Pujols is easily disposed of the hard way (DP)……….he too saw his AB as a chance to speculate on where he would like to hit the ball……….. it has been a losing strategy for him………an easy roll over pitch..off speed away………. a bad sign for this game………..

    Berkman hasn’t been the same since the right shoulder injury……… no power to left field……..and that fact has been exploited by opposing pitchers for 6 weeks……… that last swing with good contact probably hurt a little, but was the best swing he’s had in months in that direction……… a sign of 1) healing or 2) desperation?????????

    Atlanta appears flat……….if we wait…….they will wake up…….we need to play team ball now!

  11. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    nice bat work by Molina……..cardinals look at a few pitches…….that helps………. the Braves feed showed Molina’s complete base path………..wish he would have stopped and stranded Hudson out there for a few more pitches…who knows………we don’t need to just beat these guys…..we need to bludgeon them so that they wear it in their next series……….

  12. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Bottom line……….this is not Bobby Cox in Atlanta…………. and I don’t mean that as a compliment in this case. Getting a full 6 out of an embattled Hudson was a necessary evil for the Braves…… if we could have stressed their BP at least 2 more arms……..it would have impacted there next series with Florida…………. AP didn’t help much……that got Holiday and Berkman involved……… the question is….will Pujols try to stay the center of attention when he isn’t? That affects the whole club……….

    Skip should have been out by the 6th………..that means Tony is still baby sitting……just one more person riding the 6 runs that shouldn’t have been……….Molina responds to the promotion……..I appreciate that, but also recognize the problem……..lets hope he goes back to 7th……… instead of Freese…………..all of the Tony’s favorite crap has to stop if we are getting to 90 games……..and that is what it will take…………to have a chance…………and we still need help……………… We absolutely must sweep Pittsburgh…………..and then split with Philly……… if we were to win three in Philadelphia, they might just go soft on Atlanta to close the season……electing them as the patsy………..instead of us……………. and lets face it…………we need to crush the Cubs………… we can’t do any of these things if AP is duck walking away from the plate after a foolish AB……………. the guy can unmake this thing in a hurry……………………….. Tony was right to get Westbrook out of there……….. They need to bring up what ever arms they have so we can keep the tactical guys fresh……………..Atlanta is a good hitting team……….their rotation is breaking down…….. not really their hitting….we pitched them well.

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