TROY, N.Y. (AP) — Left in the lurch by minor league contraction, the Tri-City ValleyCats have filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros.
The suit, filed Thursday in New York State Supreme Court, seeks more than $15 million, ValleyCats chairman Doug Gladstone told the Albany Times-Union. The move comes in response to MLB’s decision to drop 42 minor league affiliates.
The ValleyCats played in the now-defunct New York-Penn League, operating as a short-season affiliate of the Astros for 18 seasons.
Gladstone told the Times-Union the loss of the affiliation greatly affected the value of the franchise, which was moved from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Troy in 2002 by Gladstone’s late father. It had previously been located in Little Falls, New York.
The ValleyCats won three New York-Penn League championships and drew more than 4,000 fans per game for 11 straight seasons — from 2008-18.
In their most recent season, Tri-City had the third-highest attendance in the 14-team league, averaging more than 3,869. The only two teams that were higher, Brooklyn and Hudson Valley, survived with moves to a new league.
The team is joining the independent Frontier League and will continue to play its home games at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
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