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Colorado congressmen ask baseball commissioner to keep minor league teams

November 22, 2019
In The News

Six of Colorado’s congressmen have written to the commissioner of Major League Baseball expressing their opposition to the proposed elimination of 42 of the 160 minor league teams.

“Having access to minor league teams not only has unmatched economic benefits to the areas [outside of Denver], but they allow for families to enjoy professional baseball games in their hometowns,” reads the letter dated Thursday.

U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Jason Crow, Doug Lamborn, Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter and Ken Buck all signed.

They were responding to the announcement that MLB would cut the number of player development contracts, which link a Major League team to a minor league franchise.

SB Nation reports that some teams experience chronically low attendance. The nine Appalachian League teams averaged fewer than 1,100 attendees per game in 2019.

This week, 106 members of Congress signed a separate letter warning that the cuts would “undermine the health of the minor league system that undergirds talent development and encourages fan loyalty.”

MLB has said that cutting the number of teams will enable them to upgrade their facilities, improve hotel accommodations and pay players more. A minor league player’s salary can be as low as $1,100 per month.

Still, Colorado’s representatives wrote, maintaining teams like the Grand Junction Rockies and the Colorado Springs Rocky Mountain Vibes would enable fans to “watch baseball’s next stars, have a hotdog, and take part in America’s pastime without having to drive for many hours to see the Big-League team.”