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

The Binghamton Redbirds?

The Binghamton Redbirds?

Several dominoes would need to fall for the St. Louis Cardinals’ New York-Penn League affiliate to end up in Binghamton, NY in 2013, but it could happen.

The story begins with a group in Ottawa, Canada having received encouragement to pursue membership in the Double-A Eastern League.

“All signs indicate Ottawa would become the new home of the Eastern League franchise currently in Binghamton, New York,” the Ottawa Citizen reported recently.

Ballpark Digest noted the same, stating the Ottawa group had been in serious negotiations to buy the Binghamton club and move it north. The club would become the Toronto Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate.

It gets even more interesting from there.

Based on conversations with “several MiLB team owners and brokers with knowledge of sales discussions,” Ballpark Digest suggests a second move could then be in the offing.

The scenario is that the Binghamton group, currently affiliated with the New York Mets, would remain in organized baseball and honor their stadium lease commitment currently running through 2016. The vehicle would be to drop down from Double-A to the short-season Class-A NYPL by purchasing the for-sale Batavia Muckdogs.

Batavia is heading into its sixth season affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals. The club is always among the bottom dwellers of the NYPL in attendance, the physical facilities are less than state of the art and the franchise has perennially lost money.

Placed on the market by its local ownership well over a year ago, the Muckdogs are estimated by Ballpark Digest to be worth $5 million, about $7 million less than selling the Eastern League franchise might net. The Muckdogs would then be moved to Binghamton starting in 2013 with the new owners making a tidy profit from the sequence of moves, goes the storyline.

Not surprisingly, B-Mets ownership denies the rumors. After all, they must remain focused on their knitting – selling tickets to the 2012 EL season – at least publicly. Even if the moving plans are true, announcing a lame duck summer would hardly accomplish anything positive for fan interest.

The Cardinals player development contract with the Muckdogs franchise runs through the 2012 season, same as the Mets’ agreement with Binghamton. While the Cardinals’ NYPL affiliation has shifted homes twice since 2005, from New Jersey to State College to Batavia, the organization previously expressed a desire to remain in the NYPL over the long haul.

The open question seems to be their 2013 location. Stay tuned to see if this story develops further over the upcoming months.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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59 Responses to “The Binghamton Redbirds?”

  1. blingboy says:

    “For the first season ever complimentary tickets to players, managers and coaches (up to 240 per game) plus special $1 ticket promotions were counted in the nightly attendance figures by Major League Baseball.”

    The article also says the Royals are interested in Colby.

  2. blingboy says:

    Photos and info – ball park in Binghamton.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Binghamton has got to be a ho-hum metro area for supporting a AA franchise. The Capital City of the great nation of Canada, Ottawa, is more promising for drawing AA fans. It could make sense for the Binghamton owners to sell their franchise to new owners in Ottawa.
    This would orphan a nice stadium. Any NYPa franchise interested in moving to a stronger locale could consider Binghamton.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Looks like Collby rakes a half share……………..and a ring it would appear………… He should be too proud to wear the ring…………..but it would look good on your finger RC ……………. also make him pay for those hitting lessons……….they’re a bargain…… twice the price………….which is also what I would be charging you……………… should at least get you another grenade launcher for Christmas………….

    • RCWarrior says:

      I would be shocked if he got a dime, and I’m not sure anyone but the guys who actually played in the playoffs should get any money. Although I will say this….he could use the money. His new 40 x 80 hitting facility/weight room was pricey. 🙂 Up to 218 lbs as of yesterday WC……damn guy getting after it. We’ll see.

      The ring deal is the most ridiculous thing ever imo. Why would a player that didn’t play an inning in the playoffs get a ring for winning the world series? I say those guys who didn’t play in the playoffs should put those rings on ebay and let some rabid cardinal fan buy it. Who would wear a World series ring if you didn’t actually play on the team that won it?

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        Looks to me like he gets a half share and a ring…………….. Love the muscles……if he doesn’t start making adjustments in his hand positions……….. its not going to matter………. if he’s stronger, make him shorten up and use the extra time to adjust his swing plane situationally ………. no change…less change……..

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        Maybe in most circumnstances RC, but you gotta remember the Cardinals journey this year (what a journey it was!)- if the team would have lost EVEN ONE of the games they won this year, none of it would have ever happened, as you know they wouldn’t have made the playoffs (arguably, they may have had to play a one-game playoff with the braves).

        But anyway, Colby contributed to several wins this year, if I remember he had several game winning RBI’s (IIRC in Houston was one home-run rbi). Therefore, for everything to work out, every one of the wins and everyone who contributed made this run possible. So he should be proud of his contributions and the team should recognize them. We were literally one strike, one out away from just being second place in the NL Central all season, not just in that magical World Series.

        It is, almost as if it was wrtitten in the stars (like the song they kept liking to play on TBS during the playoffs).

        • Kansasbirdman says:

          Hell, if an actual player on the team can’t take any credit, how can I as a fan!?!? 🙂

        • Brian Walton says:

          Three minutes in the penalty box for mention of that badly overplayed song. That could easily have ruined my day unless I can get it back out of my head… 😉

          • Kansasbirdman says:

            I didn’t like the song (esp since it caused me to do a superstitious ritual everytime it came on), but it came to represent to me another chance to see the Birds play so I had forced myself to associate it with something positive. Plus, you gotta admit, how this season played out it is as if there were some greater force at work (I am not talking about God, because I don’t think God cares about sports for sports sake) so the song has become a nice fit for this magical season.

      • blingboy says:

        I’m still wondering whatever happenned to the cage at his house in Sunset Hills here? And now what happens if he ends up in KC or somewhere?

        • RCWarrior says:

          Fortunately I doubt Colby will encounter the resistance from anyone else on the planet that he got from Tony LaRussa. When Colby hit 9 jacks in June of the year before last and Tony stopped him from hitting because he wasn’t hitting with Mark do you not think it was obvious that Tony didn’t care about Colby doing good?

          Colby has hit numerous times already and has more hitting sessions scheduled with the Toronto hitting coach. Colby was never invited to hit with anyone from the Cardinals during the offseason. You just always wondered why nobody from the Cardinals ever communicated with Colby……ever. The situation was weird from the beginning with Tony, and only got worse.

          The house in sunset hills was sold pretty quickly. And like I said, I wouldn’t anticipate Colby having anywhere near the same issues with trying to work on his game in any other organization.

          • blingboy says:

            Hope you are right. Maybe he will have his breakout season.

            Hope the younger Rasmus in the Cards system picks it up with the stick this year.

            Have a great holiday season.

            • RCWarrior says:

              I’m cautiously optimistic Bling in regards to Colby. He has had so many issues with Tony L that he has been definitely damaged imo. I am hopeful that he can pull himself out of it but boy to hear him talk everyday is amazing. He will mention TLR and killing 1000 times a day. Its truely unbelievable.

              Case is really working hard. He works out with Colby every day in the weight room and hits with Cory(who is the resident hitting guru) every night. Cory insists that Case has made huge strides in his hitting. We’ll see.

              Thanks Bling, You have a fantastic Christmas as well.

              • crdswmn says:

                I saw on the Scout Board that Colby is getting married this weekend. Please give Colby and Megan my warm congratulations.

                I expect to see some pictures on Facebook.

              • Bw52 says:

                RCW-playing Devils adovate who is Colby going to blame now when he gets into a slump?Whats he going to do? Throw darts at h Tonys picture.Blame Tony because he is slumping or gets into a 1 for 20 rut.
                Killing and TLR 1000 times a day.Sorry pal i question his mindset.He`s out of STlouis.Time to start anew and become the ballplayer everybody hoped he can.

                • RCWarrior says:

                  You love Tony and I say good for you. You don’t have the luxury of knowing what I know.

                  Well if you slump and the one guy you trust isn’t allowed to come and help you who would you blame? The guy that prevented your hitting coach to come?

                  You see I’ve never let Colby go in the tank completely. If he struggled for an extended period of time I would go to wherever he was and help him. Last year Tony asked me not to help. So I didn’t. Wanted him to work with Mark. He did. Thats all fine and good but then don’t come out and say he was listening to somebody else, making the inference that his dad was causing him to struggle. It was just the opposite. Dad helped him get ready for Spring training and he hit then and in the month after that. Then Mark made some changes and he went in the shitter. Who do you blame? I blame Colby for making the changes.

                  • Bw52 says:

                    RCW- i tell you what i see as a fan.I saw a number 1 pick who played like he didn`t give a damn.Who acted like he would rather be doing something else.I saw a kid who was rated a great talent seem to play like “who gives a damn”.How many guys in the major leagues have their daddy along as hitting coaches?As a fan i see a kid who was unable to adapt and resistent to coaching.So as a fan i once again read Colby bitching about TLR even though LaRussa has retired and Colby is gone to Toronto.I read sour grapes in this situation.
                    You say i don`t have the luxury of knowing what you know……………..well then spill the breans and clear the air instead of throwing hints .
                    I see a player who has to grow up and get beyond whatever past problems he is leaning on now.
                    As a long time Cards fan i had many high hopes for Colby in STLouis and hoped to see him as another Jim Edmonds type guy on the field.So somewhere along the line problems happened with the Golden Boy and others.As a fan i was sad to see that seperation was the ultimate solution.
                    Thats the way i see things.I wish Colby well in Toronto.Maybe less pressure and less expectations will help.

                    • CariocaCardinal says:

                      Who cares who has for his private hitting coach – it could be a player’s mom for all I care as long as it worked. I wonder if TLR told Deidre not to help Albert with his hitting?

                    • Nutlaw says:

                      It’s unfortunate the way that it all worked out, especially with TLR due to leave so quickly.

                    • RCWarrior says:

                      BW, I can’t take too many issues with what you viewed when you watched Colby.

                      He wanted out so bad that his effort did appear to be that of someone who didn’t give a damn, as you so eloquently put it. He had had so many conversations with Mo regarding his plight that he had done everything that he could to rectify the situation but could find no relief.

                      I do believe he would have rather been digging ditches than playing baseball in St. Louis so again your perception was correct.

                      Colby does give a damn which was why he wanted out from under a person he considered to be negatively impacting his game.

                      Dads who are helping their sons in the ML’s? Way more than you would ever guess. Did you know that Tim lincecum has a clause in his contract regarding his dad being allowed to come to the Giants facility and work with his son? I don’t like doing it and I know it was a touchy situation for Tony. My problem as a father was this…..My son struggles, calls me and asks me to come help him. I know Tony didn’t want me doing it so I stayed away for too long in order to hope that Colby would figure it out. Then finally after my wife would be on me I would give in and go help him. He would immediately snap out of it and go on a tear. Today I regret trying to abide by Tony’s wishes these last three years because Colby would go through extended slumps and would be asking for my help and I would not help because of Tony. Those could have been avoided if I hadn’t been trying to do what Tony wanted.

                      Resistant to coaching? I don’t think so. I actually believe just the opposite. Colby would try so hard to do what the coaches told him as to over think his way through a game and he lost every bit of instinctive play…..and that was a real asset when he started. He appeared to be a robot on the field. That wasn’t always the case.

                      Bitching about TLR? Not at all. Hate him? Certainly. Does he feel Tony hurt him as a player? Most definitely.

                      Spill the beans to you? Come on BW. Some truths are better left unsaid. You consider me some crazy maniac who is a little league dad/stage mom type of personality and thats the way it should stay and would stay regardless of what I ever said.

                      Grow up? I agree to an extent if you mean not allow others to negatively effect your life. Colby allowed Tony to get in his head and destroy a part of him. That is Colby’s fault for being so weak minded. That would never happen to any of my other kids but Colby is so easy going and good natured as to not be capable of going against any adult. Thats the part he needs to grow out of.

                      Funny you mention Jim Edmonds as he is one who said Colby needed to get far away from Tony back in 2008.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    For the record, Rasmus contributed. He drove in a team-high six runs in one game, which tied for the third-best RBI game in the NL in 2011. He had a team-best five-walk game and another game in which he had four hits, tying the team high, including two triples, which was the team best. He had three doubles in a game, tops on the 2011 Cards, and his six-game run scoring streak was also first on the team.

                    Of course, the on-field problems were between those highlights.

                    • Bw52 says:

                      Brian -nobody said Colby failed to contribute.His biggest contribution was being traded.That way things worked out best for the Cards.Colby went somewhere away from all from expectations and Cards got rid of a unhappy player.

                  • CariocaCardinal says:

                    RC, why didn’t you go public with your version of the facts right after Colby was traded? This is the first time I’ve heard you come out directly (not beating around the bush) with this version. unfortunately it will get buried in the off season.

                    • RCWarrior says:

                      Because, at that point, who really cared CC? Honestly, it is largely irrelevent today as well. Tony had already had his newspaper fellas spin it into I was Colby’s problem. And at that point we were actually thankful Tony said and did what he did because it got Colby out of there.

                      It was sad to hear Tony say what he did after I stepped away because thats what he wanted but that the way things go. The more painful thing is that I was all for it in order to get Colby away from his need for me to help him and to get him more reliant on himself to self fix his hitting problems when they popped up.

                      I’ve stated before….perception is all that matters and the truth means very little……unless the truth and the perception you are trying to create are one and the same. And the perception that was created was that I was the person who was causing Colby to struggle. ITs just like the other tidbit TLR put out there. That I am trying to get Colby to hit HR’s……when all I ever work with Colby on is going the other way when he is struggling. But here again, Tony was the master of getting his reality out into the media and the St. Louis guys just ran with it.

              • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                Thanks for the honest testimonial RC. I think it needed to be said………… for those that still struggle with appearances here………consider this……… Tony’s teaching/coaching methodology should no longer be a mystery to intelligent observers……….. his was the domain of the emotions, cloaked in the guise of a savvy field general……which he was not….. most of the great defensive positioning was a result of Dave’s somewhat unorthodox pitching approach………which Tony was very aware of and utilized in their shared tactical understanding……….. The rest of his game was surrounded by superstition and fear………. when medications and other issues clouded his emotional receptivity…….he flat out stunk……….. it wasn’t until he lay the battle with Mo/BD aside…agreeing to retire……….that he began appealing to the players on a purely emotional level……trusting in his instincts and validating his own personal hopes and expectations….did the team begin to function as a team……………. you witnessed it…………. Colby became a victim of the earlier struggles…….he was vulnerable to selective emotion intrusion, having grown up as RC’s son….both developing their shared recognition of what it takes to win… the same moments…….. a strength then becomes a liability/vulnerability when a son excepts a surrogate father…….. who then proves to be insincere……

                Colby was the property of BD………..Tony attacked him when confronted with a no win scenario…… which was where this team was being held……….. Tony forced the issue, threatening to destroy all of the equity that BD had built up in Colby………. Tony won ………. the Cardinals winning is quite another story……… Tony receives one final concession………Furcal………at this point Tony was retired……… you know the rest of the story…………….. when I do the Colby Rasmus story….I will talk about the “trade” and how the illusion of carefully select player talents is just a joke…….that was a 0 sum garbage haul at best……..facilitated by a clever Kenny Williams……and a gambling Jays GM…..who were the only takers………… but hey……… there was so much carcass left on the battle field with the Braves and the Red Sox going down……… we foraged enough to get to the promised land…….. with a bunch of drummer’s and bugle boys and flag carries………. and crazy Tony leading the charges… foot already in heaven……………

                • blingboy says:

                  As intriguing as the TLR/CR saga was, what’s more interesting to me now is the aftermath, and especially how the regime change affects the veterans. There is bound to be a whole new dynamic about the team and how it works day to day. I have no idea if this will present to players in any way prior to spring training, but it will definatly hit home then.

                  It will also be interesting to see how young guys react. Greene, Jay. Will Cruz still be the golden boy and Anderson the red haired step child.

                  How will home to first moseys and tunnel talks and stare downs go over?

                  I have seen in my own workplace experiences that once a senior/favored subset is allowed to create some distance between itself and the rest, forming a team within a team, there is no going back for that group.

                  • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                    Good observations BB……………… Matheny is the new Mo…….Mo moves up…
                    I doubt you see that drastic of a change……… Carpenter and Berkman with lead. Wainwright is likely to struggle out the gate…….Holiday still needs to find himself…….. Freese and Craig have new persona’s to explore………… I think we have a winner as Matheny will be open to the “traditions of the past.”……..
                    Duncan and Carpenter will not suffer the red head…….. I think they just want him to show well enough to reclaim some of that investment in a trade………….

                    Bottom line………….how can you not offer Furcal and Dotel a fair contract gilded with incentives……..if all the malarkey about “chemistry” is to taken seriously……….. these are the guys that now retain the Tony emotionality………they are the living statues of the WS experience……..more so than all but Carp and Puma………….. I offer Furcal a 5 million base……1 for a world series appearance, 1 for over 500 AB’s……… 250,000 for each level of the playoffs……. 500.000 for a WS appearance……… kick butt and make money……………same with Dotel……..just start at 3 M…………..

                    If AP’s roles/rolls in here ……… the Cardinals the recipient of the collusion……..with a chip on his shoulder…………. and his integrity challenge still front and center…………. he will ruin the whole barrel ……….. how the hell not…….. just remember how he was treated on the awards stand after the parade……….he won’t forget……… his entire energy will go to pressuring Matheny for the privileges…….and he will have that ugly contract in his pocket……..even if its just 198…….. Matheny is a carefully groomed apprentice…….why would BD risk his “usefulness”……………. Pujols whining about team competitiveness for 9 yrs………….. sober up over AP…..everyone that pitched to him knows his vulnerabilities…..and how that likely impacts his temperament ………… in a tony-less world.

                    • CariocaCardinal says:

                      We could have Dotel for 3.50 but opted to pay him 750K instead. Now Westie wants to pay him 3.0 + incentives on top of the 750K. I think every agent in the league wishes Westie was the Cards GM.

                    • blingboy says:

                      I’ll digest that and get back to you. First thought, I’m not sure the ‘Tony guys’ Mo had to bring in to save the ‘Luhnow/Mo guys’ will be further glorified.

    • blingboy says:

      Just moving it back over to the left.

      Dotel and Furcal both seem like better short burst bets rather than long grind. Just what was needed down the stretch. Their positive effect as clubhouse guys would have been enabled or at least enhanced by their positive results on the field. Theriot, a clubhouse guy, most likely lost effectiveness in the clubhouse as his detrimental play at SS sunk in, and he may have become a clubhouse negative as a result, until Mo brought in Furcal so that Theriot could assume a role in which he could be a positive on the field.

      Give those guys and a bunch of rookies to Tony and he would trot them out day after day if they had to be dug up and wheeled out on a gurney. Until Mo figured out how to get rid of them, and by then the damage would be done, if not in the standings then in the clubhouse. That probably happened earlier in the season.

      Would Matheny (Mo?) use them in moderation? Would the guys making the money be used in moderation? So that they’d be there down the stretch. Or would Mo have to go out and find a new Dotel and a new Furcal for the drive to the wire in 2012?

      What we have exactly, should Albert come back, is the great unknown. How the dynamic would work, and what kind of Albert will prowl the brave new world I don’t know. I appreciate your thoughts on it, though.

      I’m more focussed on his on-field performance, which I think will deteriorate rather rapidly to the point he is no more of an offensive presense than Craig or Holliday or Freese on a game in-game out basis all through the season-early, the dog days. He will retain the ability to put on a monster performance now and then, but without the ability to do it in the clutch, its just a dog and pony show. He is smart, and experienced, and will be able to fatten up on middle relief. Ooos and Aaahs. That’s what I think we will get on the field for four or five years.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        Theriot was a bust……….. they would be insane to bring him back………. Baseball is quite the mercenary sport in many organizations…….. Dotel has always had good stuff…….just never a role he enjoyed…tough to find the groove he was in……..but he has established it here…….. he will likely get an offer………and take it like he always has……….. just seems like a waste………. I liked Furcal’s professionalism………… of all the things they spend money on……. that would have the most value to me……… Greene, Descalso, Punto……up the middle….also needing to spell Freese????…… we need Furcal…… we need the testosterone…………

        • blingboy says:

          Greene/Descalso- Mo said if he had to go with it, he’d be fine with it but:

          “I don’t think from a fan’s standpoint that’s quite as attractive as maybe something else but it’s certainly an option.”

          What does ‘from a fan’s standpoint’ mean? No sizzle, not sexy, what?

          Quote is from the BJ Rains Mo interview on FSM.

  5. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    It should really be said here…………. Colby was an innocent……….. yes he has his personal challenges……… as everyone does ……… but he became the chew toy is a rather “seedy” ….and in the end “brutal” struggle between larger predators…………which in the end proved fatal for one….. and choking on pieces of Colby was a huge contributor to his demise……….. But…….alls well that ends well……..and as all struggles reveal something……Cardinals won it all……… and thats the most perfect resolution to that particular framework of reasoning ………… Colby lived with a chance to prove his Value …..Tony passed into the West, preparing to join the immortals………. And BD continues to be the luckiest man alive ……….. sitting in his tower of gold ……… now too high even for the mighty to challenge him ………….. but whats that on the horizon……..looks like Rumpelstiltskin sneaking through the forests from the West country…………………. stay tuned……..and hope theres a two yr extension floating around the league somewhere…….. for the crafty…………..

  6. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Pujols has suggested that he would like to meet face-to-face with any legitimately interested party, as he did visiting the Marlins in Miami earlier this month.

    Read more:

    He likes parades……………………… this articles is “filled” with information about what is taking place…..
    Don’t mistake Mo’s posturing around their private “family” like relationship with Albert……..that is just a ploy to influence the agents in waiting ……….. keep this in mind…… if the Cardinals presented a formal offer sheet to AP/Lozano……of 198/9……..with a deadline of January 1st……….all other teams would be forced to make their plays soon… at least 15 to 20 million over that number….or at least 5+ million superior on a yearly basis………….. to overcome AP’s hometown preference………. its that easy……… they could always respond to a lager offer in the end …to get inside Albert’s wanna stay home threshold………. but in truth, readers here should know the answer to this…………….. they are on plan…………

  7. blingboy says:

    Matheny says he will hire an assistant hitting coach.

  8. Kansasbirdman says:

    A way for the club to afford pujols?

    I want my picture on Schumaker’s uni. It would be covered in dirt often. 🙂

    Maybe Craig’s uni.

  9. blingboy says:

    IIRC, at the Missouri-Illinois high school seniors game at Busch, Matheney managed the Missouri squad and Mabry managed Illinois.

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