WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress is throwing heat at Major League Baseball to strike out a plan to cut more than 40 minor league teams from the MLB farm system.
Without support from MLB, the teams are likely to fold, leaving smaller cities and towns around the country with empty ballparks.
Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-New York, is ramping up efforts to save those teams, like the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in his home district, which is in danger of losing its affiliation with the New York Mets.
“Minor League Baseball is so important to many small cities across the country, it’s part of our pastime,” Brindisi said. “I think if we work together here we can actually come up with a compromise.”
The issue has drawn the ire of many lawmakers, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Major League Baseball comes to us for certain things and now we’re coming to them,” Schumer, D-New York, said.
Schumer said he intends to fight to save the teams.
“I encourage Major League Baseball to sit down with these clubs work with them to address any concerns,” Brindisi said.
Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders has also cried foul, hitting back at the proposal by saying it “…would be an absolute disaster for baseball fans, workers and communities throughout the country.”
MLB responded to Sanders saying they’re “…committed to negotiating with Minor League Baseball to find solutions that balance the competing interests of local communities, MLB Clubs, Minor League owners.”
Lawmakers said they plan to monitor the negotiations and progress very closely.