A group of bipartisan Congressional lawmakers has introduced a resolution calling on Major League Baseball to retain the existing Minor League Baseball structure, rather than move forward with the proposed contraction of 42 MiLB teams.
The resolution was introduced Tuesday by Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA), David McKinley (R-WV), Max Rose (D-NY), and Mike Simpson (R-NY), who serve as co-chairs of the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force. It represents the latest act of political opposition against MLB’s proposal, which comes as it negotiates with MiLB over the next Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) to replace the current PBA, set to expire at the end of the 2020 season.
“We launched the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force for a simple purpose — to help ensure a level playing field in the negotiations between MLB and Minor League Baseball so that they yield a fair resolution and protect minor league baseball in communities across the country,” Trahan said. “Congress has long been a partner to the league in protecting and expanding America’s favorite pastime. We deserve to have our voices heard in any conversation with such potentially devastating consequences. This resolution makes our position clear, and I am grateful to my fellow co-chairs and colleagues for their continued support of this effort.”
“Minor League Baseball teams have had a major impact on small communities. These teams provide an enormous cultural and economic benefit to the communities they call home,” McKinley said. “The goal of our involvement in this fight is to ensure a level playing field in the negotiations between Major League Baseball (MLB) and MiLB. Doing away with 42 teams is not a reasonable solution. We are hopeful that MiLB and MLB can find a compromise that will preserve the 42 MiLB teams and address MLB’s concerns.”
“The value that Minor League Baseball adds to our communities goes so far beyond entertainment,” Rose said. “Teams like the Staten Island Yankees offer youth clinics for our kids, donate to local schools and charities, and volunteer countless hours to help those in need. This resolution sends a clear message that we recognize those contributions, and that I’m going to do everything in my power to protect the Staten Island Yankees.
“Minor League Baseball is at the heart of small towns all across rural America,” said Simpson. “The proposal to cut 42 teams will leave communities like Idaho Falls without affordable and accessible options for families to experience America’s pastime. I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution which expresses more than 60 Members of Congress opposition towards eliminating the Chukars and other minor league organizations. I hope Major League Baseball takes the concerns of fans in small-town America seriously when considering the current proposal.”
The full resolution can be read here. Congressional opposition to MLB’s proposal has been evident for months, as a bipartisan group of more than 100 lawmakers signed a letter calling on the league to pull back on its plans in November. In addition to the representatives who sponsored the resolution, several lawmakers have issued statements in support of MiLB.
“The proposal to eliminate our Norwich Sea Unicorns and 41 other Minor League teams across the country is a profound mistake,” said Congressman Joe Courtney. “Countless baseball fans of all ages attend MiLB games each season, and for many, it’s their only chance to see our nation’s pastime in a family-friendly, affordable atmosphere. There have been well over half a million statistical errors committed in the MLB since its founding in 1896, but this plan to do away with a quarter of all our Minor League teams ranks among the worst of them – it will cost American communities jobs, and more importantly it will cost us in quality of life. The House is leading the charge to protect our Minor League Baseball teams, and I’m proud to be part of this bipartisan effort. MLB Commissioner Manfred and his team need to take a hard second look at their proposal, and consider what it could mean for the long-term support that Congress has always afforded to the MLB on a variety of issues.”
“The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are a pillar of our community and provide an affordable and fun way for families to spend time together. These Minor League teams are an integral part of American baseball. Not only do they offer a pipeline to the MLB, they stand as a cultural cornerstone in communities like mine,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “I’m 100% with the Scrappers because I know that in the Mahoning Valley, the best days for America’s pastime are yet to come.”
“Minor league baseball provides so much to our local communities, bringing family friendly entertainment, job opportunities and a significant economic impact to every city a team calls home. The impact of the Lexington Legends is no exception,” said Congressman Andy Barr. “The 2019 South Atlantic League Champion Legends bring an average economic impact of $47.2 million per year to my community, and in addition, donate an average of $1 million locally. I am committed to doing what I can to support the Legends and ensure that they stay in Lexington for years to come.”
“With 5 teams in our region, perhaps no area in America would be more affected by the proposed restructuring of minor league baseball than East Tennessee,” said Congressman Phil Roe. “Baseball is an integral part of so many communities, and a significant source of community pride and entertainment. I will do everything I can to ensure America’s pastime is preserved for generations to come across East Tennessee. That is why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing a bipartisan resolution to help preserve Minor League Baseball in 160 communities across the nation.”
“Michigan families love spending their summers outside watching baseball and our minor league teams have fans throughout the state. It is my hope that Major League Baseball and its minor league affiliates reach an agreement that is good for teams in Michigan and across the nation,” said Congressman John Moolenaar.
“The proposal by Major League Baseball to eliminate minor league teams, like New York’s Binghamton Rumble Ponies, is a big swing and a miss. Minor league baseball and the communities that support it are part of the fabric of America and its favorite pastime,” said Congressman Anthony Brindisi. “I joined my colleagues, from both parties, to call on Major League Baseball to work with Minor League Baseball and preserve affordable, family friendly fun. As a lifelong baseball fan and New Yorker, I am not going to sit on the bench in this fight. We need to keep the Rumble Ponies in Binghamton and help save minor league baseball.”
“Minor League Baseball teams are a crucial part of America’s pastime, and they provide affordable entertainment options for working families across our country. Major League Baseball’s plan to cut ties with 42 minor league teams, including Erie’s beloved SeaWolves, would be devastating to millions of baseball loving Americans. I am a proud co-sponsor of this resolution that urges MLB to reconsider. It would be tragic to lose these teams,” said Congressman Mike Kelly.
“Minor League Baseball is most appreciative of the bipartisan support we have received from so many members of Congress. The resolution introduced today shows the widespread support for Minor League Baseball and we thank representatives McKinley, Rose, Simpson and Trahan for leading the charge in support of Minor League Baseball,” said Pat O’Conner, President, MiLB.