Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took to Twitter to oppose Major League Baseball’s proposal to contract 42 Minor League Baseball teams, saying the move would “destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies.”
In negotiations for the next Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, set to replace the current PBA that expires at the end of the 2020 season, MLB has put forth a series of proposals culminating in a current plan to eliminate 42 teams, restructure specific leagues, move the player draft back by two months and delay the first year of player signings by a season, and upgrade player facilities. In our coverage, we’ve outlined the proposals as well as the teams targeted for contraction, documented early political opposition to the proposal, and outlined what Minor League Baseball can do to address MLB concerns.
You can view Sanders’ full letter here:
.@MLB is proposing to cut 42 Minor League Baseball clubs.
This has nothing to do with what’s good for baseball and everything to do with greed.
It would destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 25, 2019
The arguments here are related to the economic impact of eliminating 42 teams and how local communities past the MiLB operators will be affected, along with the need to pay MiLB players a living wage. All true enough. But the real power in Sanders’ letter isn’t economic justice: it’s in the threats to examine the anti-trust exemption and revise exemptions for MLB that avoid overtime:
In other words, instead of paying Minor League Baseball players a living wage, it appears that the multi-millionaire and billionaire owners of Major League Baseball would rather throw them out on the street no matter how many fans, communities and workers get hurt in the process. If this is the type of attitude that Major League Baseball and its owners have then I think it’s time for Congress and the executive branch to seriously rethink and reconsider all the benefits it has bestowed to the league including, but not limited to, its anti-trust exemption.
Image courtesy Williamsport Crosscutters.
RELATED STORIES: Addressing MLB’s Player-Development Concerns Without Contraction; Legislators, Elected Officials, Owners React to MiLB Contraction Plan; More Details Emerge on MLB’s Assault on Hometown Baseball; MLB/MiLB Negotiations: We’re at the Beginning, Not the End; Radical MiLB Realignment Proposed by MLB