MLB Threatens to Leave Minor League Baseball Entirely and Other Cubs Bullets

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MLB Threatens to Leave Minor League Baseball Entirely and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Little Girl and The Littlest Girl have a big holiday performance of The Nutcracker tomorrow, which means today is dress rehearsal day, which means a whole lot of running around. Better be a good show tomorrow, girls. Better be worth it. (Just kidding!) (Or am I?) (I am! It’ll be lovely.) (But will I judge extra closely because I was *THE* Nutcracker in a performance when I was a little kid? I will!)

  • The fight between MLB and MiLB about spending on minor league facilities, amenities, pay, etc., first manifested itself in MLB’s plan to eliminate up to 42 affiliated minor league teams, then it became a political fight both in the affected communities and in the national conversation (presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has taken to it as a campaign issue), then it became a legal battle in the court of public opinion, and now it’s reached full-on threatening-to-pull-the-plug mode:

  • MLB’s agreement to work with MiLB expires in September – that’s why this is all coming up now – and it is now threatening that if a deal doesn’t get done, it will simply pull the plug on its relationship with Minor League Baseball, and create or adopt its own affiliates for the big league teams’ farm systems. It’s not exactly an idle threat, either, since the big league clubs already pay for the players and many related expenses, and some clubs already even own a number of their own affiliates.
  • I’m sure if MLB had its drothers, its teams would just own their entire organization. For me, even if the “new” big-league-owned affiliates stayed in the same cities and same parks and all that, I feel like something would really be lost in not having MiLB be “a thing” anymore. Having that many more interested parties involved and personally invested in the sustaining and growth of the sport. Yeah, it might be more financially desirable in the short-term, but does it make sense – even just from a financial perspective – in the very long term if it erodes the enthusiasm and passion for your sport across the country?
  • For its part, MiLB sent out a blow-by-blow argument (last night at 9pm!), pushing back against MLB (though they admittedly don’t have much in the way of leverage):

  • Don’t kill Minor League Baseball, folks. Just don’t do it. I understand that there are huge dollars at stake here, and it’s easy for me to say “hey, MLB teams, absorb some of these costs, and hey, MiLB teams, start contributing some more,” but … yeah, that’s what needs to happen. And if *SOME* level of reduction in affiliated clubs is necessary – where there is still reasonable geographic access to pro baseball for fans – then so be it. But that shouldn’t be the focus of a new deal, and pulling the plug entirely on MiLB does not at all sound like a compelling plan to me.
  • After a light slate last year, the Cubs seem to be early on some big concert announcements for Wrigley Field, including this one:

  • Eno Sarris with a little behind-the-scenes look at what front offices are doing and thinking these days, and it’s a fun, illuminating read. Among the most interesting lines was a very human one: “There are general managers that you just don’t like,” admitted one high-ranking executive. “So you may not stay in as close contact, and you may not make deals with that team very often. You know you should talk to them in case there’s a match, but you just don’t want to.” Who wants to start wildly speculating on which GMs others don’t like talking to? (Pretty good bet that Theo and Jed are not among that group.)
  • Puig Your Sumo:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.