DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s governor isn’t a fan of of Major League Baseball’s proposal to drop 42 minor league teams from their leagues after next season.
Republican Mike DeWine, who along with his family owns a Class A team in North Carolina, said eliminating teams would take away affordable opportunities to introduce the game to children and families.
“That’s what I think is so short sighted on behalf of this proposal where you’d knock off over 40 minor league baseball teams and take that entertainment and opportunity to form more fans. Major League Baseball will lose that and it may not have an impact immediately but in the long run it’s going to have an impact,” DeWine told The Dayton Daily News.
DeWine, his wife and their children in 2010 bought the Asheville Tourists, a farm team for the Colorado Rockies. His son Brian DeWine runs the team.
While the club isn’t among those that could be cut after 2020, there’s no guarantee about what would happen next, DeWine said.
Major League Baseball is negotiating a new agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the governing body of the minors. The initial proposal to cut teams primarily would impact lower-level teams in short-season leagues.
MLB said in a statement earlier this month that it must ensure that minor league players have safe playing facilities suitable for their development , are not subjected to unreasonable travel and are provided with compensation and working conditions appropriate for elite athletes.
The Class A Mahoning Valley Scrappers play their games near Youngstown in the short season New York-Penn League League and could be among the teams that are targeted.
“Ohio has six minor league teams, each one of which is important to their individual communities as far as the economy of the communities as well as being important to fans,” DeWine said. “The long-term concern is if baseball does this, then when the next contract is up, they may eliminate more teams. So this is a real concern for the state of Ohio with six minor league teams.”