Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Reject National Defense Authorization Act, save Yemen instead MORE (I-Vt.) sent a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred Saturday to express his outrage at the league’s threat to completely sever ties with its affiliate minor league baseball teams.
“I’m outraged to hear of your threat to eliminate the entire existing Minor League Baseball system,” Sanders wrote in his letter.
“When we last met, you gave me your word that you would be negotiating in good faith with Minor League Baseball to preserve professional baseball in the communities that currently have it,” he added. “Threatening to walk away from the entire minor league system is the exact opposite of negotiating in good faith.”
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 14, 2019
Tensions between Minor League Baseball (MiLB) and MLB have reached a boiling a point as the two sides try to reach a new agreement. Their current deal expires in 2020.
Friday night, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) issued a report blaming MLB for “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing MiLB’s stance on the negotiations.
MLB responded Saturday, saying “If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table.”
“Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement,” the league continued.
Initially, Manfred proposed to cut 42 minor league teams, an idea that didn’t sit well with many, including Sanders.
Sanders has previously written to and met with Manfred, urging him to not cut any of the teams.
“Shutting down 25 percent of Minor League Baseball teams, as you have proposed, would be an absolute disaster for baseball fans, workers and communities throughout the country,” Sanders initially wrote to the commissioner. “Not only would your extreme proposal destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies, it would be terrible for baseball.”
.@MLB is proposing to cut 42 Minor League Baseball clubs.
This has nothing to do with what’s good for baseball and everything to do with greed.
It would destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 25, 2019
In his first letter, Sanders also called on Manfred to pay minor league players a living wage.
According to his campaign, Sanders will hold an event Sunday in Burlington, Iowa with minor league officials and former players who are against the proposed reduction. Burlington is home to the Burlington Bees – a Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels – one of the 42 teams that is on the chopping block.