Congress urges MLB to scrap minor league overhaul in bipartisan letter

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Congress is not happy about MLB's proposal to eliminate 42 minor league teams. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Major League’s Baseball proposal to eliminate 42 minor league baseball teams by 2021 has been met with strong opposition from those within the baseball community.

Now over 100 members of Congress have collectively expressed opposition after sending a letter to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred that blasts the proposal and urges the league to scrap its planned overhaul.

Congress sends disapproving letter to MLB

On Tuesday, 104 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter expressing their “firm opposition” to MLB’s proposed restructuring of the minor leagues. The letter included signatures from both sides of the political aisle.

“If enacted, it would undermine the health of the minor league system that undergirds talent development and encourages fan loyalty,” the letter read, courtesy of SportBusiness. “It would particularly be felt in areas far from a major league team or where tickets to a major league game are cost-prohibitive.”

You can read the full letter here.

At a time when Democrats and Republicans in Congress can’t seem to agree on anything, it’s clear they are united on this front.

After the letter explains why Congress is opposed to the proposal, it also makes clear that if the proposal goes through, MLB risks losing its support on future legislative initiatives.

From The Day:

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. We want you to fully understand the impact this could have not only on the communities we represent, but also on the long-term support that Congress has always afforded our national pastime on a wide variety of legislative initiatives.

For over a century, Congress has taken numerous actions specifically designed to protect, preserve, and sustain a system and structure for both Major and Minor League Baseball to flourish.

The letter is certain to get MLB’s attention. Now we wait to see if the league is willing to back off.

How MLB’s proposal would impact the minor leagues

We first learned of MLB’s proposal to eliminate 42 minor league teams in October.

Initial reports stated that MLB was targeting teams with stadium facilities that were well below the level they’d like. While many believe the league could do more to help minor league teams improve their facilities and increase player’s salaries, the league seems determined to go the other way by eliminating teams altogether.

A full list of teams in jeopardy of being shut down was reported on Monday.

With the elimination of teams also comes the elimination of jobs. Under the proposal, teams would be limited to 150 minor-league contracts. The New York Yankees, for example, had 285 players under minor-league deals in 2019. That doesn’t take into account the number of coaches, scouts, front office staff and stadium workers that would also be out of jobs.

The potential loss of thousands of jobs isn’t going to be taken lightly. To get this done, MLB will have quite a fight on its hands.

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