MLB’s Minor League Baseball Takeover Is Complete

The new look comes sometime this year.

Mission accomplished. Major League Baseball’s takeover of Minor League Baseball is virtually done with a few “I”s that need to be dotted and some “T”s needing to be crossed. But the minor leagues will have a different look once the 2021 season comes along and that may not be in April as the United States may still be contending with a massive COVID-19 problem. There was no minor league baseball in 2020 because of the pandemic. What has emerged is this. Each Major League Baseball team will have just four minor league affiliates. The entry-level short season rookie leagues have vanished. There will be just 120 teams as 42 clubs ended operations. Major League teams will still have some developmental facilities open at spring training bases in Florida and Arizona. Politicians of all stripes in the United States Senate huffed and puffed and complained about their state losing teams but, in the end, Major League Baseball officials didn’t care and why should they? MLB has an antitrust exemption shielding the business from the Sherman Antitrust Act and can function as a monopoly. There is a lawsuit out there filed by the owners of one of the contracted teams, the Staten Island Yankees but getting monetary damages out of MLB and the New York Yankees probably will not happen.

MLB lopped off teams that played in stadiums that were paid in part by local taxpayers. The bill for those stadiums that were built to house some of those teams that no longer exist is estimated around a quarter of a billion dollars. Some of the teams have been exiled into leagues that will feature players who will showcase their talents but will not get paid. Major League Baseball has decided to slash research and development funds and that saves them a few million dollars a year. Play ball.