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Contraction Newsbeat

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mayors launch task force to oppose minor league contraction

This week in contraction news:

Dozens of mayors from across the United States have formed a task force opposing a proposal by Major League Baseball to eliminate 42 affiliated minor league franchises for the 2021 season.

The coalition launched Tuesday with three leaders and was up to 30 members by Wednesday afternoon, ranging from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Hillsboro, Oregon.

“All of us understand this plan is a major league error,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said.

MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are negotiating a minor league agreement to replace the contract expiring after the 2020 season. MLB has proposed cutting more than a quarter of its 160 affiliates, citing concerns over the quality of facilities, travel and player salaries.

 

QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Save the Spinners: How One Town Attempts to Stave Off MLB’s Contractual Plan for the Minors

LOWELL, Mass. — Major League Baseball’s controversial plan to reorganize Minor League Baseball faces headwinds as local communities who stand to lose their teams—and accompanying jobs, business and investment—unify efforts to persuade or, if necessary, try to stop MLB.

One such community is Lowell, Massachusetts, a city of about 112,000 people and home of the Lowell Spinners. The Spinners are the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. They are one of 42 teams rumored to face losing a major league affiliation as part of a tentative MLB initiative to contract the minor leagues.

On Tuesday, U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-Massachusetts and Lowell native) chaired a community meeting at the Spinners’ LeLacheur Park. Trahan, along with U.S. Congressman David McKinley (R-West Virginia), is leading a bipartisan effort in Congress to ensure that MLB appreciates the gravity of legal risks and political fallout it could face.

“Major League Baseball,” Trahan stressed to a packed clubhouse room of community and business leaders, “received a sweetheart deal in 2018 by getting an exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Trahan’s remark about the FLSA exemption is sure to attract notice in the office of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and in offices of attorneys who are representing minor league players.

An update on the current state of Minor League Baseball contraction.

 

QLE Posted: January 08, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues

Sunday, December 29, 2019

MLB says it is committed to protecting minor league teams

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Major League Baseball said Saturday it is committed to protecting minor league teams, a day after U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal warned of possible congressional action if the organization followed through on minor league contraction plans.

“It is not Major League Baseball’s goal to eliminate any club in these negotiations, and MLB currently has a plan for every club to continue operations with some level of support,” Major League Baseball said in a written statement.

MLB has proposed a contraction plan that could end minor league baseball at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Connecticut, and ballparks across the nation by eliminating its affiliation with 42 teams. The Norwich Sea Unicorns — formerly the Connecticut Tigers — play in the Class A New York-Penn League.

I suppose it is possible to believe MLB on this- then again, I suppose it is possible to get people to believe that I have a nice bridge for sale…..

 

QLE Posted: December 29, 2019 at 12:56 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues

Monday, December 16, 2019

Why some MLB executives think a leaner minor-league system is best for baseball

SAN DIEGO — Baseball’s minor leagues are a bloated and antiquated system that does not adequately serve either the player or his development, according to several Major League Baseball executives, who support a proposal to eliminate a quarter of minor-league teams and a movement to rethink how the sport may better prepare its next generation.

“The system has been around for a long time,” Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said. “We have a lot of great partners. A lot of great relationships. There’s a great history within the game for the minor leagues. It’s part of the fabric of what we’re doing. But, it’s been a while since we talked about what’s the optimal way for us to develop players.”

MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are negotiating a contract that would replace the current agreement, which expires after the 2020 season. As part of that negotiation, MLB submitted a proposal that would pare the number of affiliated minor-league teams by 42, most of those in Class A or below. The remaining teams would be realigned, primarily by geography.

In response, Pat O’Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, the communities of the teams that could lose their affiliations, and various politicians — including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — have vowed a fight to maintain the status quo. A slew of lawsuits from eliminated teams and their fans have been predicted. Sanders appeared to threaten the standing of baseball’s antitrust exemption. In a recent address that opened the minor-league version of baseball’s winter meetings, O’Conner said, “Big storm clouds loom on the horizon.”

Mind you, this would mean more if I had any belief that any general manager could publicly defy the interests of ownership today and still have a job tomorrow….

 

QLE Posted: December 16, 2019 at 01:04 AM | 111 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, contraction, minor leagues

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Manfred: MLB `flexible’ on minor league cuts, irked by talks

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred countered outcry over Major League Baseball’s proposal to chop 42 farm teams by challenging the minors Wednesday to “move off the take-it-or-leave-it status quo approach” to their ongoing negotiations.

MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are negotiating a minor league agreement to replace the contract expiring after the 2020 season. MLB has proposed cutting more than a quarter of its 160 affiliates, citing concerns over the quality of facilities, travel and salaries for players.

Minor League President Pat O’Conner delivered an impassioned speech defending the minors to team executives at these winter meetings, and fans from small towns across the country have been outraged to see their teams listed as being on the chopping block. Manfred has even been roasted on Twitter by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Manfred said MLB “will remain flexible” in negotiations and is asking the NAPBL to do the same.

Every generation gets the Bowie Kuhn it deserves….

 

QLE Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:14 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Minor League teams on MLB’s shutdown list are looking to rebrand

One of the many joys of Minor League Baseball is the unique team names. From the Biscuits and Yard Goats to the Rubber Ducks and Flying Squirrels, teams have been able to create unique mascots beyond the run-of-the-mill Tigers, Wildcats and Eagles of other sports.

The latest team to join in on the fun is the Connecticut Tigers, which announced on Friday that it will become the Harwich Sea Unicons for 2019. Fans in the Constitution State can grab the hottest new narwhal-themed baseball gear already.

But fans may want to jump on this new gear soon because the Sea Unicorns may not be long for Minor League Baseball. The franchise is one of 42 that Major League Baseball has proposed slashing in the name of saving money.

The move to eliminate a quarter of all minor league teams is not official, and there’s no timetable for a change yet either. MLB still has to negotiate its Professional Baseball Agreement next year, but it seems plausible that not all 162 teams will be around in the near future, much to the dismay of fans, owners, and at least one presidential candidate.

For those curious as for how the teams threatened by contraction are behaving in spite of this threat.

QLE Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:07 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues, reboots

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Minor league cities fighting back against contraction plan

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — Mayor Peter Nystrom says he plans to fight hard to preserve his town’s little piece of Americana.

For a quarter century on baseball nights at Dodd Stadium, children have played on the hill next to the right field fence while neighbors chat in the stands and watch future major league stars.

But Major League Baseball has proposed a contraction plan that could end those summer nights at Dodd and other parks across the nation by eliminating its affiliation with 42 minor league teams, including the Connecticut Tigers, Norwich’s single-A New York-Penn League team.

The contraction plan is being proposed as Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues negotiate a new Professional Baseball Agreement to replace the one that expires after the 2020 season. The 176 minor league teams affiliated with the NAPBL combined to draw 41.5 million fans this year.

Another round in the fight against a bad idea has begun.

 

QLE Posted: November 26, 2019 at 10:38 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, fight, fight, fight, minor leagues

Monday, November 18, 2019

Rob Manfred’s plan to destroy minor league baseball

As if they aren’t squarely involved in enough transgressions against baseball, we should not be at all surprised to know the Houston Astros — the Jeff Luhnow Houston Astros — were the ringleaders of the MLB plan to essentially destroy grass roots baseball and contract 42 of the 160 minor league teams.

In recent weeks, details of the plan have been slowly leaking out, the MLB spin being it’s designed to (1) upgrade all the minor league facilities and (2) improve “wellness” for the minor leaguers in terms of travel and living conditions. In truth, as always, it’s designed to save money, lots of money, and the proprietors of these minor league teams, many of whom have their life savings invested in them, be damned.

Here is the plan which is slated to go into effect beginning in 2021:

1. Forty-two of the 160 minor league teams (26%) guaranteed under the present, expiring Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors will be eliminated, most of them from the four short season Rookie Leagues — the New York-Penn, Appalachian, Northwest and Pioneer.

An update to a subject we’ve discussed earlier, with further details.

QLE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 188 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

 

 

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