Mayors Across U.S. Form Task Force To Oppose MiLB Contraction
Dozens of U.S. mayors have "formed a task force opposing a proposal" by MLB to eliminate 42 affiliated minor league franchises for the '21 season, according to Jake Seiner of the AP. MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are "negotiating a minor league agreement to replace the contract" that expires after the '20 season, and MLB has proposed cutting more than a quarter of its 160 affiliates, "citing concerns over the quality of facilities, travel and player salaries." Mayors at a news conference Wednesday in N.Y. were "frustrated to have been left in the dark on the MLB-NAPBL negotiations despite having provided public money for stadiums in exchange for franchises that play a major role in their communities." Many MiLB facilities are "either publicly owned or have been supported by tax dollars." Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said that the proposal "may 'disincentive' the city from using public money to support renovations" at the Double-A Southern League Lookouts' privately-owned ballpark. Task force leaders "met with MLB last week." The mayors "hope to work closely with the congressional task force, as well as partners with ties" to MLB and MiLB, to "pressure the league into giving them a say in MLB-NAPBL talks" (AP, 1/22).