NEW YORK (WFAN/CBS 2/AP) — In the latest battle between the Yankees and Mets, Newark ended up the biggest loser.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said Tuesday that Yankees officials contacted him last month about having its top minor-league team play in Newark’s Eagles & Bears Riverfront Stadium in 2012 while the team’s regular Triple-A field in Scranton, Pa., undergoes a year of renovations.
It was an exciting prospect for New Jersey’s biggest city, DiVincenzo said.
But the Mets said no.
“Having a Triple-A team here would have revitalized the area and the stadium,” said DiVincenzo. “What makes me sick is it’s just a year, not a 20-year contract.
“They did everything in their power, the Yankees, to make it happen. And the Mets just wouldn’t do it,” DiVincenzo told CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman. “You know, it would’ve been a boon to the city of Newark. There’s no question. To put a price tag — I don’t want to do that. But to have 6,000 people come to the city of Newark every night, 72 dates, plus the playoffs …”
Because the Mets, like the Yankees, share a territorial claim to the metroplitan area, including Newark. The Mets did not return requests for comment. Danielle Dronet, CEO of the Newark Bears, said she would have moved her team out for a year.
“That’s why we’re here: because we love Newark. And we believe in Newark. I’m from New Orleans. And this is as close to New Orleans as you can get in the North, I believe,” Dronet told Guzman.
Residents, too, were not happy with the Mets’ move.
“Well I’m not pleased with it. I think they should be more cooperative rather than adversarial, of course,” John Martorana said.
According to the New York Daily News, Mets brass were “livid” Tuesday because the team felt they had been “painted as villains.”
“The Mets blocked us to go to Newark,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed. “That’s where it begins and ends on that one.”
The Newark stadium is owned by the City of Newark and Essex County governments and managed by the Essex County Improvement Authority. DiVincenzo, who said he is a fan of both New York teams but prefers the Yankees, said it’s “a huge disappointment.”
He said that his office, the Governor’s Office and the Yankees had worked out what improvements would be needed and even how to compensate the Can-Am League’s Newark Bears for spending a year on the road.
Now, the Bears know they’ll be at home next year.
“I (have) no further comment other than to say, I went there,” said Cashman. “I reviewed the place, a request was made, they have territorial rights that they have the right to invoke.”
Were the Mets right to block the move? Sound off in the comments below…
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