Dear Jacquline Holm [General Manager; Quad City River Bandits]:
I could offer you condolences about your organization being placed on the Minor League Baseball contracting list, but we really do not have time for the niceties of pleasant conversation because Big Bad Bob Manfred has declared war. By now you must realize that your employer, Main Street Baseball, is someone’s target as all but one of their teams is on the contraction list. I am sure you are cognizant of the fact that ten current or former Houston Astros affiliates are on the lest, plus the plan calls for another former affiliate, the AAA Fresno Grizzles, to be pushed into the California League. Maybe even more alarming is that at least four of the teams on the list have women executives in top positions: the River Bandits, the Lexington Legends, the Staten Island Yankees, and the Burlington Royals. The way I see it is you have two choices: make sure your resume is in order or fight.
You probably remember me fondly as the friendly minor league ambassador, but before I grew naturally into that role, I wielded a pretty bad ass war hammer in the dark days of Bud Selig’s reign. We really do not have time to re-tell those past exploits because time marches forward, and the opportunity to strike decisively is just in front of us at the winter meeting in San Diego. Imagine if the lobby of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront was filled with vociferous protestors loyal to the cause of preserving minor league baseball. Think how the images would explode on both social and traditional media, especially if the crowd rushed the bar to usurp all the bourbon for THE CAUSE while a burning effigy of Robert Manfred sets off the sprinter system.
I understand that not too many Iowans will be able to make the trip to San Diego for this as the Presidential Caucus is nearing, but they can be there in spirit. However, they can certainly flood the Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville next August in the flesh. I am sure the temporary fences there will be easy to scale to swarm the field to interrupt the game. Maybe some lucky protestor from Clinton will be turned into a martyr when an overzealous first responder unleashes a fire hose.
It is important to remember that the beating of war drums also present the shred with lucrative marketing opportunities. This is a wonderful opportunity to sell so many t-shirts about saving the River Bandits with slogans like “You can take our affiliation from our cold dead hands” or “Touch my team, and this bat goes in your posterior orifice.” Your crack merchandise team can probably sell a great deal of victory socks also — I am not sure how that would work because like most great prophets, I usually wear sandals. And hats, oh, you will be able to sell so many hats.
Here is an idea you can float to your boss, David Heller [President and CEO of Main Street Baseball]: minor league baseball owners are hardly destitute. In fact, they are quite wealthy, wealthy enough to partner up with organization like Perfect Game USA to usurp talent from MLB if the draft is pushed back to August. Sign and pay players to a three year contract to play in a new development leagues, then sell the blue chippers to MLB at exorbitant prices. While this new league could never go toe to toe with MLB, the threat of taking players of their draft board will make them have an accident in their pants. They have had complete control of the talent pool for so long that they are too blind to see their proposal opens the door for OPERATION TALENT SNATCH.
I have many more ideas, but tonight I must rest. Let me assure you that things are not as dark as they seem.
Your friend in baseball,