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Anti-trust Exemption Newsbeat

Monday, July 18, 2022

Senate Judiciary Committee asks MLB to explain potential impact of stripping away league’s antitrust exemption on the minor leagues

The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred to explain the potential impact of stripping away the league’s antitrust exemption on the minor leagues.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent the letter on Monday and asked for a response from Manfred by July 26. The letter was also signed by Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

“Your answers will help inform the Senate Judiciary Committee’s analysis of this century-old exemption,” the letter reads.

The committee previously sent a letter in late June to non-profit group Advocates for Minor Leaguers, which recommended that Congress create legislation that nullifies the exemption for minor leaguers.

“We look forward to providing detailed information to the committee regarding baseball’s limited antitrust exemption and how it has provided franchise location stability at the major league level, maximized the availability of minor league baseball for fans and quality employment opportunities for aspiring major leaguers,” the league said in a statement.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 18, 2022 at 11:00 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Senate Judiciary Committee targets MLB’s antitrust exemption [$]

Sub required.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has set its sights on Major League Baseball’s century-old antitrust exemption.

Bipartisan members of the committee, including chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have sent a letter to the non-profit Advocates for Minor Leaguers requesting further information on the antitrust exemption and its interplay with three developments in baseball: the pay structure for minor leaguers, the MLB-orchestrated reduction in the number of minor league affiliates, and the state of MLB’s international amateur system. The two-page letter, dated Tuesday, is signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, as well.

“We need to examine how Major League Baseball’s 100-year-old antitrust exemption is affecting the operation of Minor League baseball teams and the ability of Minor League ballplayers to make a decent living,” said Durbin, the U.S. Senate Majority Whip, in a statement. “This bipartisan request for information will help inform the Committee about the impact of this exemption, especially when it comes to Minor League and international prospects. We need to make sure that all professional ballplayers get to play on a fair and level field.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2022 at 10:09 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Bernie Sanders Can’t Fix Baseball

Sanders’ critique, of course, came from the left: He accused team owners of negotiating in bad faith during the offseason to try to break the players’ union, and promised “to prevent the greed of baseball’s oligarchs from destroying the game.”

But just last year the senators grandstanding on the issue were top right-wing Republicans: Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who announced their own such bill in response to MLB’s decision to move last year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver following the passage of Georgia’s new voting restrictions.

“There’s no reason Major League Baseball should enjoy special subsidies — corporate welfare that no one else gets,” Cruz said at a news conference. But the bill, like others before it, has gone nowhere.

Despite the recent noise, the high-water mark of Congress’s skepticism about the exemption came in the middle of the last century. As the New York Times reported in the summer of 1951, “Capitol Hill, somewhat sated with solemn inquiries into the firing of General MacArthur, communism in Hollywood and crime all over the map, got a change of pace this week when a House Judiciary subcommittee began an investigation of organized baseball to determine whether it runs afoul of the anti-trust laws.”

At the time, baseball was worried that the Supreme Court would yank the exemption, and sought a law enshrining it. Baseball trotted out stars for the hearings, such as Ty Cobb, who was its lead witness.

No laws were passed. And the Supreme Court offered a chance to rethink the ruling, wound up keeping the status quo, affirming baseball’s exemption in a 1953 case called Toolson v. New York Yankees. Four years later, in ruling that the NFL was not exempt from antitrust laws, Justice Tom Clark elaborated on the rationale for the ’53 opinion: “The court did this because it was concluded that more harm would be done in overruling Federal Baseball than in upholding a ruling which, at best, was of dubious validity,” and noted that Congress hadn’t made any change to baseball’s exemption.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2022 at 10:23 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption

Thursday, March 10, 2022

MLB’s Antitrust Exemption Coming Under Fire From At Least One U.S. Senator

But the exemption also comes up not infrequently when it is time to do some political grandstanding. For example, last year, when MLB decided to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia, a group of politicians rattled sabers about stripping MLB of its antitrust exemption, which is indeed something Congress COULD do legislatively if they wanted. That never went anywhere.

The latest political mention comes up tonight via Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois, who doggonit just wants his Cubs baseball back (probably):

To be sure, this is theater. I don’t think this kind of thing ever goes anywhere, given the kind of large coalition and political will you’d need to ACTUALLY put together and push through legislation on this. Hold some hearings, maybe. That’d be about the max you would realistically see.

But that doesn’t mean the topic isn’t important, or that owners want this kind of thing being discussed publicly by a sitting U.S. senator. It’s an ugly look for them, which, well, probably doesn’t matter that much. But it’s quite clear that MLB doesn’t ACTUALLY want to have its antitrust exemption threatened, and if the lockout did carry on for many more weeks or months, this kind of thing would become much more commonplace.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2022 at 12:22 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption



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