MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues


Congress and MLB are barreling toward a showdown over the league’s plans to eliminate 42 minor league franchises across the country ahead of the 2021 season.

The league insists the plan is needed to improve the finances of minor league baseball and conditions for developing players. But MLB is facing opposition from the general public and a broad coalition of lawmakers from both parties who say closing those teams would devastate communities in their districts.

Lawmakers moved quickly against the plan, setting up the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force, which is drawing broad bipartisan support.

In a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in November, more than 100 lawmakers detailed the damage contracting minor league teams would have.

“These professional baseball clubs are vital components of our communities because they provide affordable, family-friendly entertainment to members of our communities, support scores of allied businesses, employ thousands of individuals, donate millions of dollars in charitable funds, and connect our communities to Major League Baseball,” the letter read.

MLB has said it is pushing ahead to force an overhaul to the system. Its plans to cut…

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