Trenton Thunder: Yankees ‘ungracious’ for cutting ties with us
One of the owners of the Trenton Thunder has called the New York Yankees’ weekend announcement that it was cutting ties with the minor league baseball team a “calculated and ungracious maneuver.”
According to Joseph Plumeri, after an 18-year affiliation, the Mercer County team found out about the decision through the media, not the major league baseball organization itself.
The Somerset Patriots now will serve as the Yankees’ Class AA Eastern League team, which founding owner, Steve Kalafer, has called "a dream come true."
In his written statement, as reported by BallparkDigest.com, Plumeri noted that the Yankee’s management had opted to “leave the urban setting of Trenton for the affluent confines of Bridgewater Township, leaving one of the finest facilities according to Major League Baseball without an affiliate.”
The Patriots, in turn, offered the Thunder its spot in the independent Atlantic League, which in September signed on as an official "MLB Partner League."
The Yankees also announced the team had dropped its affiliation with the Staten Island Yankees and the Charleston RiverDogs while adding the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Plumeri said he and fellow owners, Joseph Caruso and Joseph Finley, wanted to “thank Trenton and all of the Thunder faithful,” along with sponsors, partners and players past and present.
“The Yankees’ actions are nothing short of despicable. They may be abandoning Trenton, but we are not. We will continue to invest in Trenton and its people because Trenton deserves it – maybe more than any other place in America,” Plumeri said.
Plumeri also said “This move by the Yankees removes a key source of income for Trenton. Despite repeated assurances that the Thunder would remain its Double-A affiliate over the last 16 months, the Yankees betrayed their partnership at the 11th hour.”
“By doing so, the Yankees have misled and abandoned the Thunder and the taxpayers of Mercer County, who have invested millions of dollars over the years to ensure that Arm & Hammer Park remains one of the premier ballparks in America.”
Meanwhile, Somerset will hold a Tuesday noontime press conference at TD Bank Ballpark to formally announce their new affiliation with the Yankees.
Recently, the Ocean County team that is the Philadelphia Phillies Class A affiliate rebranded as the Jersey Shore Blueclaws, while extending their lease at the FirstEnergy ballpark in Lakewood.