Money makes the world go round.
Congress returns from a brief Thanksgiving holiday recess on Monday and on Tuesday, one House group plans to begin the effort to save a good number of Minor League Baseball teams from being put out of business at the end of the 2020 season. The Save Minor League Baseball Task Force will be co-chaired by Massachusetts Democrat Lori Trahan, whose district includes Lowell, Massachusetts and a team headed for the chopping block, the Lowell Spinners, along with West Virginia Republican David McKinley. Others will be added to the task force. Major League Baseball owners know Congress as federal lawmakers artificially suppressed Minor League Baseball players’ salaries by giving MLB owners the ability to exempt minor league baseball players from earning a minimum wage. Major League Baseball owners view minor league players as seasonal workers and that in the eyes of the owners the players should not count a short term seasonal apprenticeship as some sort of real career.
Minor League Baseball teams in Erie, Pennsylvania and Binghamton, New York are on the elimination list. This despite the fact that earlier this year, Pennsylvania gave a $12 million state grant to Erie to fix up the local stadium for the Double A Eastern League Erie Sea Wolves, a Detroit Tigers minor league team. The money was earmarked for a new scoreboard, revamped concessions and upgrades in bathrooms, all which would fall under Major League Baseball’s stadium upgrade guidelines. New York State and Binghamton city officials came up with $5 million in public money to upgrade the local stadium. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has found millions of public dollars for stadium improvements for the New York Mets-owned Syracuse Triple A International League team. Major League Baseball owners want public money for stadiums and seemingly feel no sense of loyalty to local taxpayers. MLB owners are complaining about stadium conditions and travel concerns. It’s all about money.