Red Wings, Monroe County given March 1 deadline for lease agreement
Rochester, N.Y./Dublin, OH (WHAM) - The International League Baseball president has set a deadline for the Rochester Red Wings and Monroe County to come to an agreement on a lease for Frontier Field.
In a letter dated Tuesday, February 6, President Randy Mobley said in order for the Red Wings to open their 2018 season at home as scheduled, an agreement must be signed in one of three forms.
One option is a proposed lease for the season and beyond must be signed with accompanying documentation showing the County and Rochester Community Baseball (RCB) agreeing to the terms. A second option would be a document signed by the County and RCB that simply extends the lease for a minimum of one year.
"For the league's protection, that would immediately provide what we needed," Mobley said. "While a multi-year lease would be wonderful, preferable from the league’s perspective is that the 2018 season can be played without a hitch. So a commitment of that type would suffice as far as what the league is interested in.”
The third option would be a document from Monroe County, stating Frontier Field could be used by RCB in an uninterrupted manner until a new lease is put in place.
Any of these three options will need to be signed and delivered to Mobley by March 1.
"That gives the parties ample time to come to a resolution here," Mobley said. "It’s the cloud of uncertainty that needs to get removed. [It'll] still provide what we need to be able to put final touches on a plan "B" at that time."
Opening Day for the Red Wings is scheduled for April 6.
If none of these documents are put into place, the league will reassign all games scheduled for Frontier Field to other locations. Those locations will not be disclosed until it is determined that reassigning the game locations would be necessary.
Mobley goes on to call the process between Monroe County and RBC "disappointing."
"With 130 seasons of history in this League, there is no city where opening day means more than it does in Rochester," Mobley said.
Earlier this week, Assemblyman Joseph Morelle said Monroe County has not claimed or used the $1.5 million capital grant that was awarded by New York State in 2014 for renovations at Frontier Field. The County disputes his claim, saying it already spent the money on a new pedestrian bridge, lighting enhancements, steel restoration and safety netting.
Monroe County spokesperson Jesse Sleezer said in a statement that County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will be meeting with team officials Thursday.
"We are pleased the International League has acknowledged that it is vital for the two parties to have a new long-term lease in place before the start of the baseball season," Sleezer said. "County Executive Dinolfo is meeting directly with team officials today to advance the negotiations towards a positive resolution."
Naomi Silver, the team's president, CEO and COO, was similarly optimistic about the outcome of negotiations in her own statement issued Thursday. "At this moment, we are very hopeful that it will not be necessary to sign a one-year lease to allow us to stay at Frontier Field, and that the County Executive and the County Legislature will do what is necessary to ensure a 10-year lease with the option for a 10-year renewal," she said. "We believe the people in our community deserve this assurance. We have been part of the fabric of this community longer than Kodak and Xerox, and we hope that we will be able to remain here for the next generation.”