The United States government continues to act out against Major League Baseball’s idea to cut 42 minor league teams.
"Minor League Baseball teams have had a major impact on small communities,” said representative Mike Simpson, a New York Republican who introduced the resolution alongside three more members of the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force – Lori Trahan, D-Mass.; David McKinley, R-W. Va.; and Max Rose, D-N.Y, according to the Associated Press. “These teams provide an enormous cultural and economic benefit to the communities they call home. Doing away with 42 teams is not a reasonable solution.”
The plan that Major League Baseball proposed in 2019 would cut 42 teams across 22 states after the Professional Baseball Agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2020. According to CBS Sports, 13 of those teams would cease operations while 29 would lose their MLB affiliation.
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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the four main reasons for cutting the teams were inadequate facilities, untenable travel created by 77 franchises moving since 1990, poor pay for minor leaguers, and signing players who don’t have a realistic chance of making the big leagues.
Congress immediately reacted, with more than 100 members signing a November letter opposing the proposal.
“The abandonment of Minor League clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate our communities, their bond purchasers, and other stakeholders affected by the potential loss of these clubs,” the letter said.
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The new resolution states that the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force wants to preserve minor league baseball in 160 American communities due to the “unique social, economic, and historic contributions that minor league baseball has made to American life and culture.”
According to the AP, the MLB’s commissioner’s office released a statement in response to the House’s resolution.
“MLB is confident that we can modernize our minor league system, improve playing conditions for our players, and protect baseball communities across America,” the statement said. “However, doing so is best achieved with Minor League Baseball’s constructive participation, and a recognition that they need to be part of the solution. So far their approach has been neither constructive nor solutions-oriented. The most constructive role Congress can play to achieve these goals is to encourage Minor League Baseball to return to the bargaining table so we can work together to address the real issues impacting minor league players and communities all across the country.”
Minor League Baseball responded with a statement saying that they have been negotiating with the MLB, according to NBC Sports.
“Minor League Baseball was encouraged by the dialogue in a recent meeting between representatives of Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball and a commitment by both sides to engage further on February 20,” minor league officials said. “However, Major League Baseball’s claims that Minor League Baseball is not participating in these negotiations in a constructive and productive manner is false. Minor League Baseball has provided Major League Baseball with numerous substantive proposals that would improve the working conditions for Minor League Baseball players by working with MLB to ensure adequate facilities and reasonable travel. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball continues to misrepresent our positions with misleading information in public statements that are not conducive to good faith negotiations.”