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Local state senators file resolution urging Major League Baseball to save minor league teams

Staff Report • Updated Feb 13, 2020 at 8:38 PM

State Sens. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, and Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, have introduced a resolution in the General Assembly urging Major League Baseball to maintain its affiliation will all current Minor League Baseball teams, according to a news release from the Tennessee Republican Caucus.

The release says Senate Joint Resolution 889 expresses Tennessee’s concerns about the effects of cutting ties with minor league teams on communities. It also references the impact the move would have in damaging fan loyalty and limiting opportunities for talented athletes to achieve success as professionals.

“We wanted to express our strongest objection to any move to eliminate these minor league teams which are such an integral part of our communities,” Crowe said in the release. “Such action by Major League Baseball would not only harm fans, but countless businesses and residents who depend upon them for employment and revenue. That is not to speak of the negative impact it will have on the next generation of kids who enjoy the game as a result of exposure to these minor league teams.”

The release said the action comes after a proposed agreement between Major League Baseball and the minor leagues recommends severing ties with 42 minor league teams, including the Elizabethton Twins, Greeneville Reds, Johnson City Cardinals and Kingsport Mets.

Crowe and Lundberg also joined 10 other members of the Northeast Tennessee legislative delegation in signing a letter to Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred urging Major League Baseball to save the minor league teams.

The letter states, “The community pride that comes from having a Minor League team is profoundly seen in our communities. Baseball, America’s favorite pastime, draws people from all walks of life together in a way that no other activity can. This bond created by this support, translates from the local Minor League team all the way up to the Major League parent team as well.”

Sen. Steve Southerland, Sen. Frank Niceley, Rep. Timothy Hill, Rep. Matthew Hill, Rep. Micah Van Huss, Rep. David Hawk, Rep. Gary Hicks, Rep. John Crawford, Rep. Bud Hulsey and Rep. John Holsclaw also signed the letter.

“We need to continue to advocate the importance of these minor league teams to Major League Baseball and both this resolution and letter aim to help in these efforts,” Crowe said in the release. “We are asking them not to turn their back on our communities and take away the opportunities of local citizens to experience family-friendly entertainment."