Baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, is at it again. The often-maligned head of Major League Baseball has entered into a rather public, and childish, back and forth during negotiations with Minor League Baseball.
The current agreement between the MLB and MiLB is set to expire after the 2020 season, and negotiations have turned–let’s say–dramatic. Manfred, in his infinite wisdom has already suggested cutting the number of affiliated teams by 42, which would directly impact the Detroit Tigers system through the dismissal of the Toledo Mud Hens. Now, he’s threatening to cut ties with the MiLB completely, because he doesn’t like their pushback on his ideas. Cue the pouting child in the corner.
The Minor League system is a system that creates jobs, offers opportunities for players to hone their craft, and keep the dream alive. Not to mention, it affords communities where Major League Baseball does not have a presence, the opportunity to share in America’s past time.
A few facts on minor league baseball from 2019:
– 41,504,077 fans attended minor league games in 2019, resulting in a 2.6% attendance increase (or 1,053,740 fans) over 2018.
– 2019 was the 15th straight MiLB season that drew more than 40 million fans to 176 teams in 15 leagues.
— Emily Waldon (@EmilyCWaldon) November 17, 2019
Yet, in response to the MiLB’s pushback on some of the Commissioner’s office talking points, Manfred has now taken a stance that could decimate the Minor Leagues as we know it. Once the Minor Leagues decided to pushback on Manfred’s ignorant idea–one that has gotten even the federal government involved–he “threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely,” Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports Harball Talk notes.
It’s a bad look for an already heavily scrutinized commissioner and his lack of public awareness. Baseball is a sport that is heavily built on prospects and threatening to take that experience and opportunity away from the future players of your league and the fans who enjoy the game is downright abhorrent. How about making some suggestions that actually improve the game you preside over instead of threatening to essentially kill it?