The PBA or, How MLB is trying to eliminate 42 Minor League teams

A quick outline of the PBA, how it works, and the teams on the chopping block

Can never have too many of these!

The relationship between Major League (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is more complicated than many realize. With names like “Majors” and “Minors” it sounds like there is a natural familial relationship between the two leagues but the two are separate entities connected by a formal partnership created in the form of a Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) that is bargained for a pre-determined amount of time. In its current form, the PBA guarantees that every Minor League affiliate has an MLB partner, players are paid a monthly salary by their MLB teams ($1,100-2,700/mo., 5-months a season. Pay rates range based on the level and the service time a player has), and teams send MLB a combined $20 million dollars in ticket taxes to help compensate for the cost of the players’ salaries (it works out subsidize MLB at a rate of roughly $5,000/player).

The current PBA is set to expire on September 30, 2020. In October, the story broke that as part of the new PBA between the two leagues, MLB is seeking to eliminate 42 teams, or roughly 25% of the current Minor Leagues. The reduction of teams across 20 states will cause a massive restructuring of the minors including the rumored elimination of the Rookie and Short-Season A-ball leagues. The teams being targeted for elimination are all privately owned, meaning that the owners/ownership, management, full-time staff, as well as seasonal workers will be left without a team and the communities who invested funds and resources into ballparks and this local business will be abandoned by MLB as part of this proposed change. The teams facing elimination are: 

Auburn DoubledaysErie SeaWolvesMahoning Valley Scrappers
Batavia MuckdogsFlorida Fire FrogsMissoula Osprey
Beloit SnappersFrederick KeysNorwich Sea Unicorns
Billings MustangsGrand Junction RockiesOgden Raptors
Binghamton Rumble PoniesGreat Falls VoyagersOrem Owlz
Bluefield Blue JaysGreeneville RedsPrinceton Rays
Bristol PiratesHagerstown SunsRocky Mountain Vibes
Burlington BeesIdaho Falls ChukarsSalem-Keizer Volcanoes
Burlington RoyalsJackson GeneralsState College Spikes
Chattanooga LookoutsJohnson City CardinalsStaten Island Yankees
Clinton LumberKingsKingsport MetsTri-City Dust Devils
Danville BravesLancaster JetHawksVermont Lake Monsters
Daytona TortugasLexington LegendsWest Virginia Power
Elizabethton TwinsLowell SpinnersWilliamsport Crosscutters

What happens if the PBA isn’t extended on October 1, 2020? Commissioner Rob Manfred threatened to break MLB’s ties to MiLB that have shaped the modern relationship between the two leagues for more than 70 years. Will that happen? Nothing is certain and that’s why it is important for us fans to speak out against this and tell @RobManfred to #SaveMyMiLB while we still have the chance.

Published by savemilb

A lifelong baseball fan that frequently spends many spring and summer evenings enjoying Minor League games across the country. #SaveMiLB

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