The Yankees wanted to have their Triple-A team play in Newark for one season while renovations occur at the team's existing Scanton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) ballpark. But the temporary move was rejected by the Mets, who can block such moves within their shared territory, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.
“Unfortunately, the Mets exercised their territorial rights to block this temporary partnership and have prevented the chance for baseball fans to come to Newark and Essex County to watch players in minor league baseball’s highest classification on their way up to the major leagues. It would have rejuvenated interest in one of the highest levels of the sport in an important urban area,” County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo told the newspaper.
The Mets and Yankees jointly waived their rights of refusal before the 2001 season, when each placed a New York-Penn League team in the area -- the Mets in Brooklyn and the Yankees in Staten Island.
Amazingly, the Mets were considering placing their Double-A team on Long Island had Nassau County recently selected them for the minor league ballpark as part of the Coliseum initiative, which was rejected by voters anyway. That would have required the Yankees' approval.