What does the local minor league team mean to you?

Johnson City Press • Dec 2, 2019 at 11:17 AM

Recently, Major League Baseball announced a proposal to change the structure of the minor league system that would eliminate 42 teams, including all but one of those in the Appalachian League.

The recommendations were made after the organization identified 40 stadiums officials said had inadequate facilities and fields to satisfy the requirements of the clubs and players.

Looming eliminations of the dozens of affiliated teams were met with opposition in all of the communities impacted, from team owners, local elected officials and baseball fans alike.

Last week, 107 members of Congress joined forces to voice bipartisan opposition to the changes. One of those, Johnson City’s Rep. Phil Roe, said the Johnson City Cardinals, Elizabethton Twins, Kingsport Mets and Greeneville Reds — all Appalachian League teams — were hugely important to their communities.

“Our communities have made major investments (in their stadiums),” Roe said. “Teams came to them and told them to upgrade their facilities and they did — then, MLB decides to jerk the rug out from under them.”

The open letter from the members of Congress unsubtly referenced the support the federal government has historically provided to Major League Baseball, and suggested that support could be in jeopardy should the minor league changes go forward.

As we’ve heard from many of the stakeholders in this conversation, we also want to hear from you. What does the local minor league team mean to you? Do you approve of MLB’s proposed changes? If so, why? If not, how do you think the league should address concerns with facilities?

Send your correspondence to mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and may be edited for length, style or content.