It has been a devastating 2020 calendar year for Minor League Baseball. The season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this cancellation came the loss of jobs throughout the minors — players themselves included.
Sadly, this is going to be taken to a whole new level once Minor League Baseball’s current agreement with MLB ends on Sept. 30. It’s a power play from those in the bigs, embattled commissioner Rob Manfred included.
Minor League Baseball as we know it will end later this month
According to ESPN, there’s going to be some drastic changes when the above-mentioned current agreement between the two leagues ends later this month.
- There will only be 120 affiliated minor league teams compared to the current number of 160. At least 42 teams will lose their affiliations with some independent league teams gaining affiliations.
- There will no longer be a short and rookie season at the Class-A level. Instead, low-level minor league players will work out at spring training facilities of MLB teams.
- Minor League Baseball offices will be shuttered with operations now being run out of MLB headquarters in New York Cities, eliminating a ton of jobs in the process.
- MLB will take over merchandising, broadcast and sponsorship rights, splitting revenue 50-50 with minor league clubs.
“You’re basically wondering, are they going to compromise even a tiny little bit to get a deal signed or are they going to impose on us? Because they can impose if they want,” one owner told ESPN.
It’s part of a major power play from Major League Baseball that has included the unwillingness to pay minor league players a livable wage. The politics of it all has been seen within the elite D.C. sector of the United States Senate, too.
Those within the government feel bamboozled by the actions of Major League Baseball during a time that has seen so many impacted in the minors.
“One of the things that kind of burns me. They really leaned and relied on minor league baseball to come to people like me and say, ‘This is going to harm our teams,’” Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told ESPN. “And now here we are. ‘Guess what: You’re going to lose all four of your teams in West Virginia.’ Huh?’”
To be clear, this is not a great look for the powers that be within the Major League Baseball world. The hope is that a new, fair, agreement is reached before the Sept. 30 deadline.
For now, it appears that Minor League Baseball as we know it will cease to exist Oct. 1. That’s just terrible.