Major League Baseball is considering dropping 42 minor league teams from the circuit next year—and three of those teams are in Pennsylvania.
Now, Governor Tom Wolf is attempting to save them.
MLB’s proposal for its new agreement with the minor leagues would get rid of the Erie SeaWolves, State College Spikes, and Williamsport Crosscutters after the 2020 season.
In a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, Wolf argued the minor league teams improve the quality of life—and the economy—in their communities.
He also said MLB’s exclusive control of local professional baseball means teams will likely die if they’re let go, adding that MLB “needs to do the right thing and recognize the value of these community institutions that have been part of the league’s success.”
He urged the officials not to make any decisions before consulting with local leaders.
MLB officials, meanwhile, told the Associated Press the organization pays the minor leagues $500 million annually, but gets back just $18 million.
They’ve also said in statements, they’re hoping to improve facilities at minor league parks by cutting a few of the 160 affiliated teams.
After a meeting Monday with Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who called the cost-cutting proposal “an absolute disaster for baseball fans, workers and communities throughout the country,” MLB officials noted that talks aren’t over.
“MLB is committed to negotiating with minor league Baseball to find solutions that balance the competing interests of local communities, MLB clubs, minor league owners, and the young players who pursue their dream of becoming professional baseball players,” the organization said in a press release.
In his own statement, Sanders said Commissioner Manfred had told him he “is committed to a good faith negotiation” and “is open to solutions that would maintain professional baseball in the 42 communities while addressing concerns about facilities, working conditions and wages for minor league players.”
Sanders added, he and other lawmakers will be monitoring those negotiations.