Are MLB Owners Really Ready To Contract Minor Leagues?

The bargaining continues.

Should any minor league baseball cities elected officials trust Major League Baseball owners? In 1990, Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball agreed to a players’ development deal that required minor league cities to spend money to build new facilities or renovate existing facilities to whatever standards Major League Baseball owners deemed suitable for player development. Three decades later, Major League Baseball owners are again dictating to the operators of minor league baseball teams and demanding 2020 state of the art stadiums. MLB owners also have given thought to getting rid of short season baseball leagues, the leagues that run from around June 15 through September 1 and are the points of entry for many players into the world of professional baseball. The problem that Major League Baseball could face in getting rid of 40 teams is existing contracts with cities who spend money on stadiums to please the barons of baseball. Contraction was a problem on the Major League level when MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his owners tried to get rid of the Minnesota Twins franchise in 2001 in an effort to pair Major League Baseball to 28 teams. A Hennepin County, Minnesota Judge, Henry Seymour Crump, issued a temporary restraining order that forced MLB to honor its Minneapolis contract and the issue went away with a new owners-players collective bargaining deal.

It is hard to image that local municipalities will sit back idly and allow Major League Baseball to get rid of teams after paying a price to be minor league baseball cities. But Major League Baseball is not negotiating with those cities. MLB’s talks are with Minor League Baseball. Major League Baseball has very serious United States growth issue problem. The sport is not popular with younger people who have embraced other sports and find baseball tiresome. Cutting small town teams won’t help get interest back.

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