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Courtney, Trahan, McKinley, Rose, and Simpson Applaud Advancement of Legislation to Support Minor League Baseball

March 4, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) joined Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA), David McKinley (R-WV), Max Rose (D-NY) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) – fellow members of the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force – in applauding the House Oversight and Reform Committee for advancing H.R. 6020, the bill they introduced to affirm the important role that Minor League Baseball Teams play in the economic and cultural development of the United States. Additionally, H.R. 6020 would commission a Government Accountability Office (GOA) Report to evaluate the social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture.

“I am grateful that the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to approve our legislation supporting Minor League Baseball,” said Congressman Courtney. “Congress has historically afforded support to Major League Baseball on a wide variety of issues, but the proposal to eliminate 42 Minor League teams, including our Norwich Sea Unicorns, would have a serious negative impact on small cities and towns across the country. These teams are beloved by the cities they call ‘home’ – they’ve never stolen any signs, only the hearts of our communities. Eliminating them will cost us in terms of jobs, and more importantly in quality of life, and Commissioner Manfred and his team need to take a hard second look at their proposal.”

“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 continued support of this effort. I’d also like to express gratitude to the entire Oversight and Reform Committee for their recognition of and urgent attention to this important issue,” said Congresswoman Trahan.

“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,” said Congressman McKinley.

“Minor League Baseball’s impact goes far beyond the scoreboard,” said Congressman Max Rose. “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.”

“I applaud the committee passage of H.R. 6020 and I am pleased Congress continues to stand up for rural and small town America. 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,” said Congressman Simpson. 

Text of the legislation can be found below:  

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.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

Congress finds that—

(1) more than forty million fans have attended Minor League Baseball games each season for consecutive years;
(2) Minor League Baseball provides wholesome affordable entertainment in 160 communities throughout the Nation;
(3) in 2018, Minor League Baseball clubs donated over $45 million in cash and in-kind gifts to their local communities and completed over 15,000 volunteer hours;
(4) the economic stimulus and development provided by Minor League Baseball clubs extends beyond the cities and towns where it is played, to wide
and diverse geographic areas comprising 80 percent of the population in the Nation;
(5) Minor League Baseball is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through its Copa de la Diversi´on, MiLB Pride, FIELD Program, and Women in Baseball Leadership initiatives;
(6) 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;
(7) Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions and immunities to preserve and sustain a system for Minor League Baseball and its relationship with Major League Baseball;
(8) an abandonment of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus these clubs provide;
(9) Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of Americans each year through special economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and
(10) 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.


SEC. 2. G.A.O. EVALUATION.

Following consultation with the relevant committees of Congress, the Comptroller General of the United States shall evaluate the social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture.