Monday, September 17, 2012

KC To Pickup PDC With Lexington...Possibly, Perhaps, Maybe

SEPT 17th, 2012-Following up on yesterday's post regarding Lexington's break-up with Houston (long-distance relationships can be tough; let's be fair), news out of Illinois and the Midwest League could have bearing on the future of the Legends and perhaps even professional baseball in Central Kentucky. Please keep in mind that I am speculating here. I am not Nostradamus, I have never claimed to be Nostradamus, and therefore I could be way off-base. But that's OK; I've been wrong, from time to time. 

As reported by the Peoria Journal-Star:

All 30 Major League teams have standard PDCs with all their affiliates. The contract lengths typically are two or four seasons and expire after even-numbered calendar years. The Cougars' contract with the Kansas City Royals also expires at the end of this season.(emphasis added by yours truly)

Here's why that matters:

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on August 21st that the Chicago Cubs are planning to end their affiliation with the Peoria Cubs, their Class A affiliate in the Midwest League. The fact that either Peoria, Chicago or both could be fined six figures for discussing new PDCs with other teams before the September deadline notwithstanding, it's appearing more and more like this will happen. 

Meanwhile, in Kane County, their affiliation with Kansas City is ending as well. There have been rumors among Kane County fans that Peoria and Kane County would end up switching major league affiliations...


While Lexington is also without an affiliation, they would appear to be in the mix to become KC's next Class A affiliate (at least on the surface). One problem with KC coming to Lexington (leaving Kane County without a parent club) is that Kane County has been a big draw at the gates, historically. Last year they AVERAGED 6,000 per game, and all things being equal it's reasonably logical to assume that they won't come close to those numbers in Lexington. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but baseball just doesn't seem to be the draw in Lexington that it is in places like, oh, say Kane County?

Another thought: with the Reds and Cardinals both bordering Kentucky, this has always seemed to be National League country. Kansas City would not only be moving it's Low-A affiliate farther away, it would also be sending them straight to the front-line of a century-long pissing contest between Cincy and St Louis fans, where they would likely end up being non-combatant casualties. That's kind of a long, meandering way of saying that they'd take a pretty big hit in gate receipts and merchandising as compared to what they were bringing in while playing in Kane County. 

Of course, there are tons of Cards fans in Illinois as well. But I digress...

I guess the thing about minor league baseball and parent club affiliations is this: it doesn't really seem to matter much in the long run who your team is ultimately sending prospects to. If you've got a strong front office, good field staff and an effective promotions department, you're gonna sell tickets. You're also going to sell hats, t-shirts, cards, pennants, souvenir bats and balls, etc. If I had the last say in what organization ended up signing a new PDC with Lexington, I'd probably say that Cincinnati would make the most sense. But that's in a perfect world, and this isn't a perfect world. If it was, the Cubs would still have fans who remember what it was like to see the World Series trophy hoisted triumphantly in The Friendly Confines in ANY other environment than one involving an overpriced gaming system, a 60" flat-screen and a pile of pizza boxes housing a young middle-class family of cockroaches. 

Time will tell who ultimately comes here and adopts Lexington as their new Class-A. Until then, I'm liable to spout any number of ridiculous theories as to who it will be. You've been warned. 
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