Yankees and Mets Battle Off the Field Too!

September 28, 2011
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The N.Y. Yankees recently offered the N.Y. Mets $250,000 in exchange for permission to temporarily relocate their Triple-A team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, to Newark, NJ, for one season while their home stadium, PNC Field in Moosic, Pa., undergoes a $40 million renovation. But Yankees chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, said on Tuesday that negotiations broke down after the Mets demanded the right to permanently relocate one of their minor-league affiliates to either Long Island or Connecticut.

It’s an interesting decision on the Mets’ part, and one that could potentially come back to bite them in the backside. Here’s the thing…

Newark’s Riverfront Stadium would have perfect for the Yankees and would have provided Newark with a much-needed economical shot in the arm, as the independent-league Newark Bears have struggled to draw fans. But under Major League Baseball rules, the Mets and Yankees share territorial rights to the region. No team can move a major-league franchise or minor-league affiliate into the area without both teams’ consent.

The Mets’ decision to block the move left the Yankees searching for another home for their Triple-A team in 2012 and disappointed local New Jersey government officials, especially Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who wrote on Twitter, “I’m not happy about this.” Even NJ Governor Chris Christie tried convincing the Mets to allow the move, but they declined.

When contacted, a Mets spokesman declined to comment, but a person familiar with the team’s thinking said Mets officials didn’t believe it was in their interest to help the Yankees cultivate more fans in the region. The person also said the Mets wanted to permanently divide the teams’ territory for minor-league affiliates by giving the Yankees Westchester and New Jersey while the Mets would take Long Island and Connecticut.

Essex County, NJ, Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, said, “I understand it’s a business, but this is where I’m a little disappointed. This was only for one year. It was not something that was going to go on for the next 10 years.”

Personally, I think this is an example of the Mets just trying to stick it to the Yankees off the field. It’s not like the Yanks were looking to permanently relocate; it was just for one year. And I think it’s selfish on the Mets’ part to not consider (and apparently not care about) the economic boost this move would have given the struggling city of Newark.

Sports teams in general have long memories, and the Yankees will be looking to pay back their cross-town rivals at some point in the future. And at that point the Mets will have to ask themselves, “Was it worth it?”

I believe the Mets can still save face; however, by admitting they made a mistake in their assessment of the situation and allowing the Yankees to make the move. Such a decision will make them look like heroes and win them more fans than the number they will lose by disallowing the move to Newark.

Put into a business concept, it provides a perfect opportunity to implement Dale Carnegie’s Success Principle #12 — “If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”

Here’s an example of the Principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey:

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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