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Bennet Campaign Press Release - Michael Bennet Calls on MLB Commissioner to Save Minor League Baseball in Colorado, Iowa, and Nationwide

December 04, 2019

DAVENPORT, IA — Michael Bennet this week sent a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, urging the league to reconsider its proposal to eliminate 42 minor league baseball teams across the country. The proposal, which would affect two teams in Colorado and three in Iowa, would destroy beloved community institutions that serve as an affordable entertainment option for families and an important economic engine in small cities.

Bennet visited eastern Iowa this week, hosting meet and greets with caucusgoers in Muscatine, Clinton, and the Quad Cities. Both Clinton and the Quad Cities stand to lose their minor league teams under this proposal.

Read the full letter here and below:

December 2, 2019

Robert D. Manfred Jr.
Commissioner of Baseball
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167

Dear Commissioner Manfred:

I am writing to join several members of Congress, community leaders, and baseball fans around the country to strongly oppose a proposal that would eliminate more than forty minor league teams, many in rural communities and small cities. Coloradans have a strong bond with the Colorado Rockies and its minor league affiliates—at least two of which would be eliminated under this proposal. This is true of Americans everywhere, including in states like Iowa, where three of the five minor league teams would be eliminated.

For most Americans, a minor league park is where they get their first glimpse of professional players and their first taste of the thrill of watching America's pastime.

Minor league teams give families an affordable, convenient way to enjoy the game they love—all while serving as a vital farm system for the next generation of elite professional talent. Watching baseball in person builds lasting loyalty in fans unlike watching on television ever could. Many of the cities targeted for contraction have invested millions of taxpayer dollars in their teams, at the behest of MLB, to build quality facilities for developing players. These teams have given a lot to their communities, and we should think seriously about the costs of giving up on their players and fans alike. Americans will see through attempts to frame the destruction of beloved local institutions under the guise of reform.

I am concerned that MLB's decision to cut the number of guaranteed Player Development Contracts will erode the sport's popularity and cultural significance in communities across the country. It is as unfair as it is unwise and sure to lead to litigation. I respectfully request that you consider those implications and work to improve the relationship with minor league teams rather than deny clubs like the Grand Junction Rockies and Quad Cities River Bandits their chance to have affiliated professional baseball.

Of course, every business owner has to consider long-term sustainability. But club owners aren't the ones struggling in this economy; working families in towns like Grand Junction and the Quad Cities are.

Baseball is our national pastime because generations of Americans have been able to enjoy it. Without that accessibility, the sport—and the communities who love it—will lose something essential. Thank you for your consideration.

Michael Bennet

Michael Bennet, Bennet Campaign Press Release - Michael Bennet Calls on MLB Commissioner to Save Minor League Baseball in Colorado, Iowa, and Nationwide Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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