WASHINGTON — Nearly 100 members of Congress are urging Major League Baseball to reverse course on a plan to eliminate numerous Minor League Baseball clubs.
The MLB said they are considering eliminating more than 40 of the 160 affiliated teams.
One team on the proposed chopping block is Binghamton, New York’s Rumble Ponies — the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets.
Rumble Ponies Owner John Hughes is calling the move “an assault on America’s pastime.”
“The current plan demolishes community pride, eliminates jobs from players and teams,” he said.
Lawmakers are now hitting back at the MLB’s proposal. “We would hate to see a loss of that team,” Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-New York, said of the Rumble Ponies.
Brindisi said he’s ready to do whatever’s necessary to protect the Rumble Ponies. “This is a great community draw for us in the Binghamton area – it’s a family entertainment product that’s put onto the field every night,” Brindisi said.
Brindisi has joined nearly 100 lawmakers that are calling on the MLB to reverse course. “There are members that represent these areas across the country that are under threat by the MLB from taking away their teams,” he said.
MLB said many of the minor league teams do not meet their standards — adding that they want their prospective athletes playing in better facilities and want to reduce their travel burden.
In a letter to lawmakers, the MLB said they also believe “the compensation of Minor league players should be significantly improved” and see their plan of reducing teams as a way to do that. For now, they are urging lawmakers to support the negotiation progress.