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house Bill H.R. 6020

Should the GAO Study the Contributions of Minor League Baseball to American Life to Deter Proposed Cuts of Minor League Clubs by Major League Baseball?

Argument in favor

Minor League Baseball provides affordable family fun in 160 communities across the U.S. and is the first & only touchpoint to America’s pastime for millions of youth. Given the lengths Congress has gone to support Major League Baseball over the years, it has the right to weigh in on a short-sighted proposal by Major League Baseball to end its partnership with 42 Minor League clubs across the country.

chance62's Opinion
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03/10/2020
Major and minor league baseball franchises are businesses. It they feel the need to conduct studies let them do it on their own dime!
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Glowurm's Opinion
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03/11/2020
Absolutely, burrkitty. Let’s just keep letting us pay for all these teams that make zillions of dollars and, then, pay again to go watch them play - that is, if you can afford a ticket. We just keep enriching the wealthy, in any way they can get away with. Aren’t we stupid asses? I WANT A COMPLETE, THOROUGH ACCOUNTING AS SOON AS THE DEMS TAKE OVER! Let’s find the REAL WASTE! LET’S STOP PISSING OUR MONEY AWAY ON THE ELITE. I WANT MY FAIR SHARE, TOO, YOU PIGS!
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MarilynF's Opinion
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03/11/2020
Although we have a lot on our minds these days, we need to keep our eyes on the big picture. Our local communities need our support. When Major League Baseball has so much support from federal government and sucks up millions of consumer dollars on entertainment while giving back little to the nation, why not ask them to support local communities? The way things currently stand, MLB is just another part of end-game capitalism. We can do better by optimizing for community value rather than profits. The cost of the proposed study is in line with the potential benefits.
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Argument opposed

Major League Baseball is free to change its relationship with the Minor League Baseball clubs its franchises are affiliated with whenever it sees fit to do so. Minor League franchises that lose their status as an affiliate to a Major League Baseball franchise could continue to operate as independent clubs.

burrkitty's Opinion
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03/10/2020
Why would we pay for this? The MLBA makes buckets of money. Let them pay for their farm teams. Stop subsidizing professional sports. They make plenty.
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Robert (steve)'s Opinion
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03/10/2020
Not NO, but hell No. major league owners not making enough? Let the tax payers subsidize their farm teams???? Most Americans can’t afford to take the family to a major league game as it is.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/10/2020
Jeez. Just keep your nose out of every damn thing people enjoy. Arts, sports, entertainment. Go do something important. Solve poverty. Find homes for homeless, care for Veterans, feed the hungry, educate our people, separate church from government and get us some decent healthcare. Just do something someone really cares about.
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What is House Bill H.R. 6020?

This bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture after consulting with relevant congressional communities. It was introduced in response to a proposal by Major League Baseball to end its franchises’ affiliation with 42 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) clubs that this bill contends would “devastate” the communities that are home to affected clubs.

This bill includes several findings, including that:

  • More than 40 million fans have attended Minor League Baseball games each season for 15 consecutive years;

  • Minor League Baseball provides wholesome affordable entertainment in 160 communities across the country and foster diversity & inclusion through a variety of initiatives;

  • The economic stimulus & development provided by Minor League Baseball extends beyond the cities and towns where it is played to wide & diverse geographic areas comprising 80% of the U.S. population;

  • MiLB clubs donated over $45 million to their local communities & completed over 15,000 volunteer hours in 2018;

  • Minor League Baseball is the first touchpoint of the national pastime for millions of youth and the only touchpoint for those located in communities far from Major League cities;

  • Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions & immunities to preserve & sustain a system for Minor League Baseball & its relationship with Major League Baseball.

  • An abandonment of 42 MiLB clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus provided by these clubs;

  • Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of Americans each year through special economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and

  • Preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 communities is in the public interest, as it will continue to provide affordable, family friendly entertainment to those communities.

Impact

Minor League Baseball clubs; their fans, players, staff, and the communities they exist in; relevant congressional committees; and the GAO.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6020

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Lori Trahan (D-MA), whose district is home to the Lowell Spinners ballclub that’s on the MLB’s cut list, introduced this bill along with her fellow co-chairs of the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force to require the GAO to produce a report on Minor League Baseball’s contributions to the economic, cultural, and historic contributions to American life:

“Congress has long been a partner to Major League Baseball in protecting and expanding America’s favorite pastime. We deserve to have our voices heard in any conversation regarding Minor League Baseball with such potentially devastating consequences for the communities we represent. H.R. 6020 makes our position clear, and I am grateful to my fellow co-chairs and colleagues for their support of this effort.”

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), whose district is home to the West Virginia Power ballclub that’s on the MLB’s cut list, added:

“Minor League Baseball teams have had a major impact on small communities. These teams provide an enormous cultural and economic benefit to these communities they call home. The goal of our involvement in this fight is to ensure a level playing field in the negotiations, we are hopeful the MLB and MiLB can find a compromise that will preserve Minor League Baseball in these 42 communities.”

Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), whose district is home to the Staten Island Yankees ballclub that’s on the MLB’s cut list, said:

“Minor League Baseball’s impact goes far beyond the scoreboard. There’s a reason this game is called America’s pastime, and before anyone takes action that could threaten baseball’s role in our communities, Congress should have a say in the process. I’m proud to see so much continued support for our efforts to protect teams like the Staten Island Yankees.”

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), whose district is home to the Idaho Falls Chukars ballclub that’s on the MLB’s cut list, stated:

“Baseball has a major economic and social impact in communities such as my hometown of Idaho Falls. Idahoans have given their local tax dollars in support of the Chukars in addition to their summer evenings spent at the ball park. This is a story that exists all across our country and it is worth preserving.”

At its 2019 winter meetings, Major League Baseball unveiled a plan to consolidate the minor leagues and reduce the number of Minor League Baseball it has to pay. It proposed cutting the affiliation of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs after the 2020 season, mostly from the lower-tier Rookie and Short-Season A leagues which have lesser attendance figures & facilities relative to their peers. Major League Baseball’s Deputy Commissioner Dan Haslem told Baseball America:

“From the perspective of MLB clubs, our principal goals are upgrading the minor league facilities that we believe have inadequate standards for potential MLB players, improving the working conditions for MiLB players, including their compensation, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, providing better geographic affiliations between major league clubs and their affiliates, as well as better geographic lineups of leagues to reduce player travel.”

Jeff Lantz, senior director of communications for Minor League Baseball, explained to SBNation that MiLB is pushing to keep the current minor league structure and that the loss of MiLB status would likely be the end of professional baseball in those communities:

“Our goal is to keep baseball in the 160 minor league markets that we currently have. We want to do what we can to continue to grow baseball. A lot of kids might be losing baseball. The real negative here is the future of the game has been put in jeopardy a little bit… The independent league model as you’ve seen in a lot of cities that have shut down ballparks, whether it’s Camden, Nashua or some of these bigger markets. If the independent model doesn’t work there, it’s hard to imagine the independent model working in markets the size of the Appalachian League towns or the New York-Penn League towns. It works in Sugarland, Texas, and it works in St. Paul, Minnesota, but it’s really, really hard to have a sustainable business model with an independent team.”

This legislation passed the House Oversight & Reform Committee on a voice vote and has the support of 23 bipartisan cosponsors, including 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans.


Of NoteIn 2018, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that included the Save America’s Pastime Act which guaranteed Minor League Baseball players a minimum wage, but only for a 40-hour work-week during the season regardless of the number of hours they devoted to baseball activities. The legislation protected Minor League Baseball clubs from facing an increase in costs from having to pay a minimum wage plus overtime that would’ve threatened their financial existence.

Minor League Baseball players are paid signing bonuses when they’re selected in baseball’s draft or recruited from overseas and sign their first contract, but after that their monthly salaries are relatively low. Based on what tier of the minor league farm system a player is at, their monthly pay could range from $1,150 to $2,700 per month during their season, plus additional money for travel, though if a player makes the parent club’s 40-man roster their pay increases further.

To help out their ballplayers, minor league clubs can arrange reduced-cost housing for them with host families, while Major League clubs will often pay for some of the education costs their minor league players incur in the offseason if they take courses at a college or university.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Ghentmills via Wikipedia / Public Domain)

AKA

To require an evaluation by the Government Accountability Office of the social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture.

Official Title

To require an evaluation by the Government Accountability Office of the social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedFebruary 28th, 2020
    Major and minor league baseball franchises are businesses. It they feel the need to conduct studies let them do it on their own dime!
    Like (16)
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    Why would we pay for this? The MLBA makes buckets of money. Let them pay for their farm teams. Stop subsidizing professional sports. They make plenty.
    Like (33)
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    I am kind of unsure why we should be caring about this. I thought that Major League baseball has been granted government protections in their management of players and programs along the line of being exempted from such things as anti-trust legislation. I am very uncertain about the extent or nature of this - but it does raise an issue of Major League Baseball's accountability to the public that has granted the league exemptions from enforcement of certain laws. Not sure if this is worth the effort to investigate but I could be swung either way if I knew more of the particulars- but I am not personally interested in trying to research this.
    Like (33)
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    Not NO, but hell No. major league owners not making enough? Let the tax payers subsidize their farm teams???? Most Americans can’t afford to take the family to a major league game as it is.
    Like (26)
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    Jeez. Just keep your nose out of every damn thing people enjoy. Arts, sports, entertainment. Go do something important. Solve poverty. Find homes for homeless, care for Veterans, feed the hungry, educate our people, separate church from government and get us some decent healthcare. Just do something someone really cares about.
    Like (25)
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    GAO…stay out of baseball and all sports. Sports are not covered under the Constitution. Only socialist want control.
    Like (22)
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    Why is the government even thinking about this?? Aren’t there a lot more important we should be concerned about? Like our crumbling infrastructures & roads & antiquated rail system?? Or healthcare for all?? Or funding PUBLIC SCHOOLS??
    Like (15)
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    Until covid-19 spread is contained there will not be large gatherings like sporting events with spectators. Need to stay focused on healthcare: 1) The immediate covid-19 crisis & resulting economic impact 2) Long term healthcare available to all.
    Like (14)
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    Hey, my tax dollars should not be used for a private personal concern. There is a baseball game every weekend. Or get together with your neighbors and play the American past time. NO tax dollars for this
    Like (12)
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    Seriously?!? This is where you want to spend your time and money?
    Like (10)
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    Minor league baseball is not the governments responsibility and this would be a waste of our tax dollars.
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    Why should the government even be involved in this? Stay out of it and spend less money!
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    This is a joke, right? A study of minor league baseball? I think this government needs a reality check! NO!
    Like (9)
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    Absolutely, burrkitty. Let’s just keep letting us pay for all these teams that make zillions of dollars and, then, pay again to go watch them play - that is, if you can afford a ticket. We just keep enriching the wealthy, in any way they can get away with. Aren’t we stupid asses? I WANT A COMPLETE, THOROUGH ACCOUNTING AS SOON AS THE DEMS TAKE OVER! Let’s find the REAL WASTE! LET’S STOP PISSING OUR MONEY AWAY ON THE ELITE. I WANT MY FAIR SHARE, TOO, YOU PIGS!
    Like (7)
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    Why are we subsidizing any sports teams. You can not afford to go to many of the minor league as well as college games now. Major league is to far away and not within my budget.
    Like (6)
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    I really feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but the federal government should have absolutely nothing to do with baseball in any way.
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    This is a private sector issue. Lowering the debt would be a better study.
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    I think there are more important things we need to deal with!
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    This looks to be an effort to get federal dollars for a private, personal concern. The federal government has exempted MLB from antitrust laws and now wants to mess with MiLB. Having a minor league baseball team is not a life or death issue for a community.
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    MLB is a business and can operate and close it as it sees fit. Federal taxpayer money shouldn’t be spent on this endeavor at all. If local communities want to spend their tax dollars on this issue and if has support of those taxpayers, so be it.
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