The Red Wings' future in Rochester could be in doubt

ROCHESTER — The International League has given a March 1 deadline for Monroe County and the Rochester Red Wings to come to terms on a new lease at Frontier Field.

If the requested documents aren’t received by the league by then, the league will move the Red Wings home games to another city.

"If we get to March 2, then the one point I can confirm is that the Red Wings will not open at home as currently scheduled. If we get to March 2, at that point in time we will be prepared to share with the general public and the media what the Plan B will be," says Randy Mobley, the president of the International League.

In a statement, Mobley stated: "With 130 seasons of history in this League, there is no city where opening day means more than it does in Rochester. I remain optimistic that the Parties will get this done, guaranteeing an uninterrupted opening day #131 on April 6."

It was something he reiterated in an interview with News 10NBC.

"The Red Wings have been in this league ... this will be the 131st year, and I have a very clear understanding and grasp of how important the Red Wings are not only to the Rochester community, but to the league itself," Mobley said. "They are a cornerstone franchise in this league, and it would be a very sad day if either one of those, a temporary or permanent location, were to take place."

The league is requesting one of the following documents from the parties by the March 1 deadline:

• A proposed lease for the 2018 season and beyond for the league and Minor League Baseball to review. This must be accompanied by documentation stating that the parties are in agreement with the content and prepared to execute once required baseball approvals are provided.

• A document signed by the parties extending the recently expired facility lease for a minimum period of one year from its expiration.

• A signed document by Monroe County guaranteeing that Frontier Field will be made available to Rochester Community Baseball in an uninterrupted manner.

A Monroe County spokesperson issued the following statement regarding the deadline: “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. County Executive Dinolfo is meeting directly with team officials today to advance the negotiations towards a positive resolution.”

Red Wings President, CEO, and COO Naomi Silver issued the following statement:

“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. 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.”

Under the shadow of the new deadline, attorneys for the Red Wings met with the county late on Thursday afternoon. The meeting was meant to discuss the arrangement they want and have presented and to answer any questions about it. The Red Wings, as they have said, want a 10-year-lease.

Monroe County says it wants a long-term deal as well, but sources say the issue really isn't about the length of the lease, but instead the stadium upgrades and changes that will have to happen — especially on how much they'll cost and who will pay. Those are important things to the International League as well, said Mobley.

"Things of that nature are very important, and I can confirm that's one of the points that's being discussed — the current and longer-term meat and some capital improvements that need to be made to the ballpark," Mobley said.