When everything from Newark Bears jerseys to mascot costume heads was sold off at auction this spring, it seemed like we’d seen the last of professional baseball in Newark.
The Bergen Record reported yesterday that someone thinks baseball could still work in Newark. And if you’ve ever bought one of those “As Seen On TV” products, maybe you shouldn’t dismiss the idea out of hand.
“As I get older, like most people, you start to think about their legacy and what they’re going to do with the money they’ve accumulated,” Telebrands founder A.J. Khubani told the Record. “I’m a Jersey boy,” he said. “I love this state. The goal is to bring that team back and support it. It’s something that’s good for the state.”
5 thoughts on “Someone’s interested in bringing baseball back to Newark?”
As the late pitchman Billy Mays would say… “But, wait, there’s more!”
As owner of Telebrands, Khubani has also been in trouble with the FTC and the state Department of Consumer Affairs for dubious advertising claims and fraud.
OK, so he’s not the most upstanding person in the world, but it appears as if this guy knows how to sell, reportedly (as in, it was noted the article in The Record) that he’s been quite successful at identifying fads and milking them then knowing when to move on. So, if his goal is to sell the area on a new baseball team for Newark, he’d be the man. Hopefully, he has enough sense to stay away from a weak league like the CanAm. And, hopefully, should this come to fruition, though he’ll likely get little local support, he does far more than the previous owners (and not just Dronet and Spiel) when it comes to marketing.
In my opinion, anything less than an affiliated club in Newark at this time would be a bust, even with a salesman such as Khubani at the helm.
If there’s any chance baseball can still be viable in Newark, it will take someone with a strong marketing background to pull it off. I’ve got my doubts too, but let’s see what happens.
Put it this way, Paul… If Khubani puts another CanAm team in Newark, you can kiss him goodbye. Atlantic League? Maybe, though a heavily-marketed team with some familiar ex-major leaguers could do OK. I think he needs to buy an affiliate, get approval to move it to Newark (tall order) and he’ll have a good chance.
The Atlantic League is probably the best option. I don’t think a NY-Penn League team would be any better than a Can-Am League one — both are filled with unfamiliar players who haven’t spent a lot of time mastering the game of baseball at the professional level. A South Atlantic League team would be better – maybe you’d have a shot if you got the Yankees to move their Single-A team from Charleston. (I doubt there are enough Mets fans left in New Jersey for one of their farm teams to be that big of an asset.)
But for the affiliation to really make a difference, I think you’d have to get the Yankees to move their Triple-A team from Scranton to Newark. (The Mets would almost certainly insist on the right to put a team on Long Island as compensation — I wonder how long the Long Island Ducks would last if that happened.) You’d have familiar names & faces, high level baseball & affordable tickets. That could be a winner for Newark.
You’re shooting high there, Paul. 🙂 I was trying to be a bit more realistic as the Newark ballpark is barely AA compatible. And it would need some serious cleaning up to become that.
If the Mets and Yankees were willing to play nicely in the same sandbox and the Mets gave Newark to the Yankees in return for Long Island, I think you’d have a winner. But, after what happened with the temporary relocation idea, I’m not getting my hopes up, which is why I thought that maybe another team’s low-level affiliate could move to Newark with both the Mets and Yankees affiliates making three trips a year there (or however it’s scheduled)–kind of a neutral solution. But that would require the approval of both the Mets and Yankees.
Not sure how this will turn out (my guess is that, like the current baseball situation in Newark, it’ll die on the vine). But, if the Mets and Yankees could put whatever animosities they have aside, this could be a win-win for both of them as well as for Newark.
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