Visalia May Be The Next Minor League Baseball Town To Lose Its Team


MLB wants the Visalia ballpark renovation plan by April or it will move the team.

There is a drama unfolding in Visalia, California over the future of the Visalia Rawhide baseball team or more specifically who should be paying for stadium upgrades that have been demanded by Major League Baseball of the Visalia baseball park. Should it be the Rawhide owners or the city that pays to get the minor league baseball park up to Major League Baseball standards. On December 22nd, 2023, Tulare County Superior Court Judge David Mathias did not rule in favor of either party in a lawsuit filed by the city against the Rawhide ownership as to who should be responsible for funding the city-owned ballpark’s renovation. The city filed the suit against Rawhide owners on December 21st, 2022. Judge Mathias said there is no definitive language in the lease outlining who is responsible to pay for stadium upgrades.

So what happens next? MLB wants cities that have been flagged for not having minor league ballparks up to whatever MLB minor league standards are by April. That means time is running out on Visalia to get a deal done and Major League Baseball doesn’t care. It will just find another city willing to pay whatever it needs to pay to get a minor league team. MLB is strong-arming cities in both Major League and Minor League Baseball. You don’t give us what we want too bad. MLB approved the move of John Fisher’s Oakland Athletics franchise to Las Vegas. Wisconsin and Maryland legislators knuckled under to MLB’s request for funding to renovate the Milwaukee stadium and get renovations at the Baltimore stadium that went with a lease renewal between Maryland officials and Baltimore Orioles ownership. Minor League cities are losing franchises if those cities cannot come up with money for new venues or renovate existing stadiums. It’s just business.

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