Column: MLB Ignores Grassroots With Plan to Whack Minors

“It blew our minds,” said Freier, who runs a group that also owns teams in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Columbia, South Carolina. “It is really hard to envision Chattanooga without the Lookouts. It’s a great market with an unbelievable baseball history.”

There have been discussions to build a new ballpark in Chattanooga, but Freier said those efforts will surely be complicated by MLB’s contraction scheme.

“Obviously, when people see the team might go away, the public and private partners take a step back and say, ‘Wait, why should we spend the time and energy on this if there’s not going to be a team here?’” he said.

This it not an idea that came totally out of left field.

With the minor league agreement expiring at the end of the 2020 season, MLB made clear it wanted some changes. In addition to stadium upgrades, there was a need to address increasingly grueling travel times for the players, caused by leagues expanding and dozens of franchises moving to new cities in recent years.

Take the South Atlantic League, a Class A organization that now has 14 teams stretching from New Jersey to Georgia.

Under the contraction plan, three of its teams — the Hagerstown Suns,…

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