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Wolf writes MLB to rethink baseball cuts

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s governor wants Major League Baseball to rethink a restructuring plan that would affect three minor league teams in his state.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday wrote to baseball commissioner Robert Manfred to express concern about the impact on the Erie SeaWolves, the Williamsport Crosscutters and the State College Spikes.

The Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues expires after the 2020 season. The restructuring proposal would lead to 42 minor league teams being dropped from circuits.

Major league teams say they spend nearly $500 million annually in salary to support the minor leagues but get back only $18 million.

Wolf says the current proposal will put players and employees out of jobs and be economically harmful to host communities.

The State College Spikes released the following statement on Nov. 21 regarding the overhaul of Minor League baseball:

“Over the past several weeks, multiple media outlets have reported about the reduction of Minor League Baseball teams for 2021 and beyond, including the State College Spikes and 41 other clubs throughout the United States.

MiLB is early in the negotiations with Major League Baseball, and the process is ongoing, with nothing finalized to this point and perhaps not for quite some time.

However, we are compelled to reassure our fans and stakeholders that we are open for business for the 2020 season, providing the 15th Season of fun, affordable family entertainment at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

We are also committed to once again support our local communities year-round. Through numerous events at the ballpark, as well as in-kind and monetary donations, we were able to help raise over $500,000 for local charities this past year alone and look forward to doing so again in the coming year.

In addition, while MLB has stated publicly that among their main concerns are facility standards, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park has always been fully compliant with MLB’s standards.”

The main reasons for changes to the system for MLB include the ability to increase player compensation — something that they have been sued over in the past — the ability to have better facilities for athletes to avoid substandard training rooms and the ability to have affiliates closer to parent clubs geographically according to The New York Times.

Minor League Baseball teams in Class-A Short Season baseball like the Spikes (St. Louis Cardinals affiliate) and Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies) face elimination under the current proposal following the 2020 season, along with the rest of the New York-Penn League, according to a report by The New York Times.

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