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Welch Joins 105 House Colleagues in Demanding Major League Baseball Back Off Its Proposal That Could Shutter 42 Minor League Teams, Including Vermont Lake Monsters

November 19, 2019
Press Release
Suggests Congress Examine MLB’s Lucrative Antitrust Exemption

WASHINGTON – Rep. Peter Welch today joined a bipartisan group of 105 House colleagues in sending a letter to the commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) demanding that he abandon a proposal that could lead to the elimination of 42 minor league baseball teams, including the Vermont Lake Monsters.  The proposal surfaced in negotiations between MLB and Minor League Baseball over renewal of their contract that expires September 15, 2020. 

“Minor league baseball teams like Vermont’s beloved Lake Monsters are part of the fabric of communities across the country,” said Welch.  “They provide affordable, family friendly entertainment and help drive local economies.  It would be a grave mistake for MLB to follow through on this proposal.  Doing so would deal a devastating blow to the livelihood of their supportive communities. I hope this is a negotiating ploy as both sides enter into negotiations over a new contract.  Should the MLB follow through, I intend to work with House colleagues from across the country to take a close look at the statutory advantages afforded the league by Congress over the years, including its lucrative anti-trust exemption.”

In the letter sent today, the legislators wrote to the commissioner, You are the most important steward of the great game of baseball and tasked with ensuring the popularity and love of it across the world. Reducing the number of Minor League Baseball clubs and overhauling a century-old system that has been consistently safeguarded by Congress is not in the best interest of the overall game of baseball, especially when Major League Baseball’s revenues are at all-time highs.”

According to an October 18, 2019 report in Baseball America, 25 percent of Minor League teams may lose their Player Development Contract (PDC) for the 2021 season and beyond. The following list of teams are being targeted for elimination by MLB: Lancaster JetHawks (CA), Grand Junction Rockies (CO), Rocky Mountain Vibes (CO), Connecticut Tigers (CT), Daytona Tortugas (FL), Florida Fire Frogs (FL), Idaho Falls Chukars (ID), Burlington Bees (IA), Clinton LumberKings (IA), Lexington Legends (KY), Frederick Keys (MD), Hagerstown Suns (MD), Lowell Spinners (MA), Great Falls Voyagers (MT), Missoula Osprey (MT), Billings Mustangs (MT), Burlington Royals (NC), Auburn Doubledays (NY), Batavia Muckdogs (NY), Binghamton Rumble Ponies (NY), Staten Island Yankees (NY), Mahoning Valley Scrappers (OH), Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (OR), Erie Seawolves (PA), State College Spikes (PA), Williamsport Crosscutters (PA), Chattanooga Lookouts (TN), Elizabethton Twins (TN), Greeneville Reds (TN), Jackson Generals (TN), Johnson City Cardinals (TN), Kingsport Mets (TN), Orem Owlz (UT), Ogden Raptors (UT), Vermont Lake Monsters (VT), Bluefield Blue Jays (VA), Bristol Pirates (VA), Danville Braves (VA), Tri-City Dust Devils (WA), Princeton Rays (WV), West Virginia Power (WV), and Beloit Snappers (WI).

Click HERE to view the November 19th letter to the commissioner.