HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's governor wants Major League Baseball to rethink a restructuring plan that would affect three minor league teams in his state.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday wrote to baseball commissioner Robert Manfred to express concern about the impact on the Erie SeaWolves, the Williamsport Crosscutters, and the State College Spikes.
"In Pennsylvania, cutting these teams will take opportunities away from families to experience an affordable, family-friendly professional baseball game within a local setting," Wolf said in his letter.
The Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues expires after the 2020 season. The restructuring proposal would lead to 42 teams being dropped from their circuits.
"The MLB's antitrust exemption and exclusive control of local professional baseball operations unfortunately could make this decision life-or-death for these community teams," Wolf said.
Major league teams said they spend nearly $500 million annually in salary to support the minor leagues but get back only $18 million.
Wolf said the current proposal will put players and employees out of jobs and be economically harmful to host communities.
"The MLB needs to do the right thing and recognize the value of these community institutions that have been part of the league's success," Wolf said.
The Williamsport Crosscutters are Class A-short season affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Erie SeaWolves, a Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, play in the Eastern League, the same league as the Reading Fightin Phils. The plan also calls for eliminating the league's Binghamton Rumble Ponies