Minor Leagues With A Major League Problem?
Major League Baseball has identified 42 minor league clubs that could be slashed in an effort to improve pay for minor leaguers. But at what cost? While increasing wages for deserving players, the proposed mandate would cost many players and team personnel their jobs.
Ultimately, an organization like the New York Yankees could continue to sustain their nine farm system teams in the current landscape, but this proposal would eliminate the Staten Island Yankees, a short-season affiliate. If this does come to fruition, the result would eliminate the necessary bridge from rookie ball to full-season Single-A. As well, it would deprive a community of baseball fans exposure to the game at a professional level that they wouldn’t normally enjoy.
Having worked for the Williamsport Crosscutters this summer, a short-season Phillies affiliate also on the list of 42, I can speak from personal experience when I say that a minor league baseball team can have a tremendous impact on the local community and economy. Especially in a small town like Williamsport that already has a strong baseball culture, the team is a fixture for families and young baseball fans. I met dozens of people who have long spent their summers attending every Crosscutters home game. I dread to imagine the emotional impact that losing the team would have on them.
At the end of the day, this proposed mandate is about getting more money for the owners. While I recognize that these are tough decisions with a lot at stake, I see more harm than good in slashing 42 teams from the low levels of the minor leagues. As the game continues to grow and organizations like the Yankees continue to generate revenue, why make cuts? Under the current proposal, no MLB organization would be exempt from losing teams from their farm system.
How would you feel if the Staten Island Yankees were no more?
Whose interests should take priority when addressing player wages in the minors?
In my opinion, MLB would lose fans if this proposal becomes reality for the 2021 baseball season. In addition, I believe that the negative effects will be felt at the pro level, even if the owners are in denial.