BOROUGHWIDE– In response to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) proposal to de-affiliate over 40 minor league baseball (MiLB) teams by the start of the 2021 season, U.S. Rep. Max Rose and representatives from other three other states launched the bipartisan Save Minor League Baseball Task Force on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Rose, along with Representatives Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), David McKinley, (R-W. Va.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) kicked off the effort by conferring with MiLB President Pat O’Conner, Vice President Stan Brand and several Minor League team owners about the initiative that is geared to keeping the dozens of MiLB teams on the field.
According to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, reasons for the move include inadequate facilities, unacceptable travel time for teams and players not receiving a fair wage for their services.
Rose, who represents parts of Brooklyn and all of Staten Island in Congress, began the push after word was leaked about the proposal, which lists the Staten Island Yankees as one of the teams to be de-affiliated. Although the Brooklyn Cyclones were not on the list, most of its competitors from the NY-Penn League Short Season A are, leaving the future of Coney Island’s team uncertain.
“Major League Baseball can look at all the ‘sabermetrics’ it wants, but what they don’t understand is the serious impact that losing these baseball teams will have on our communities,” Rose said. “You won’t see it in any formula, but my colleagues and I have all seen the impact teams like the Staten Island Yankees can have on the faces of the children who show up at the ballpark every year. I’m proud to join this effort to urge MLB to reconsider.”
The Save Minor League Baseball Task Force will advocate on behalf of the communities that stand to be most harmed by MLB’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league franchises — including the Yankees. They will also closely monitor ongoing negotiations between MLB and MiLB as well as discuss potential legislative action if and when such a remedy becomes necessary.
“Minor League Baseball values the support of Representatives Trahan, McKinley, Rose and Simpson and the entire Task Force for America’s pastime and for recognizing our positive contributions to their communities and local economies as well as dozens of others across the country,” MiLB said in a statement. “While it is our hope to negotiate a fair agreement with MLB, the overwhelming support from elected officials on both sides of the aisle, at all levels of government, has been tremendous and shows that baseball helps to unite our nation.”