Bipartisan group of senators working to save minor league baseball teams

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), today led a bipartisan group of United States Senators introducing a resolution supporting Minor League Baseball (MiLB) and their efforts to fight Major League Baseball’s (MLB) proposed elimination or demotion of 42 MiLB clubs, including the West Virginia Power, Bluefield (W.Va.) Blue Jays, Princeton (W.Va.) Rays, and Norwich (Conn.) Sea Unicorns.

“For dozens of years, Minor League Baseball’s legacy and tradition has run deep in West Virginia,” Senator Capito said. “The game has fostered players on their way to the majors and in pursuit of their dreams of playing professional baseball. The franchises who call West Virginia home enhance our towns by providing affordable entertainment to families and partnering with schools and sports leagues to promote the national pastime. I hope that this resolution will continue to encourage dialogue and partnership so that the relationships that have been built over decades can continue.”

“Our resolution sends a sharp signal to Major League Baseball – shuttering minor league teams like the Sea Unicorns is unacceptable. Communities depend on such teams for jobs and small business vitality. Young fans learn there to love and play America’s pastime. MLB is putting finances above fans. If MLB moves ahead with this shortsighted misguided plan, our resolution signals there will be consequences,” said Senator Blumenthal.

The resolution calls on the Senate to:

  • Support the preservation of Minor League Baseball clubs in 160 communities across the United States;
  • Recognizes the unique social, economic, and historical contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to the lives and culture of the people of the United States; and
  • Encourages the continuation in 160 communities across the United States of the 117-year foundation of Minor League Baseball through the continued affiliation of the Minor League Baseball clubs in those communities with Major League Baseball.

Along with Senators Capito and Blumenthal, U.S. Senators cosponsoring the resolution include: Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

The full text of the letter of the resolution can be found below:

Whereas, each season for 15 consecutive years, more than 40,000,000 fans have attended a Minor League Baseball game;

Whereas Minor League Baseball provides wholesome, affordable entertainment in 160 communities throughout the United States;

Whereas, in 2018, Minor League Baseball clubs—

(1) donated more than $45,000,000 in cash and in-kind gifts to the communities in which those clubs were located; and

(2) completed more than 15,000 volunteer hours;

Whereas the economic stimulus and development provided by Minor League Baseball clubs extends beyond the cities and towns where Minor League Baseball games are played to a wide range of diverse geographic areas in which 80 percent of the people of the United States are located;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through—

(1) the Copa de la Diversio1n initiative;

(2) the MiLB Pride initiative;

(3) the Fostering Inclusion through Education and Leadership Development Program (commonly known as the “FIELD Program”); and

(4) the Women in Baseball Leadership initiative;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is the first touchpoint with the “national pastime” for millions of youth, and the only touchpoint for youth located in communities far from cities in which Major League Baseball clubs are located;

Whereas Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions and immunities to preserve and sustain—

(1) a system for Minor League Baseball; and

(2) the relationship between Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball;

Whereas the proposed abandonment of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus that those Minor League Baseball clubs provide;

Whereas Minor League Baseball facilities not only house the affiliated team, but also serve as venues for community events and other sporting competitions;

Whereas Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of people in the United States each year through economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and

Whereas the preservation of Minor League Baseball clubs in 160 communities across the United States is in the public interest, as those clubs will continue to provide affordable, family-friendly entertainment to those communities: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) supports the preservation of Minor League Baseball clubs in 160 communities across the United States;

(2) recognizes the unique social, economic, and historical contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to the lives and culture of the people of the United States; and

(3) encourages the continuation in 160 communities across the United States of the 117-year foundation of Minor League Baseball through the continued affiliation of the Minor League Baseball clubs in those communities with Major League Baseball.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can Follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com