League says it is com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing mi­nor league teams

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

HARTFORD, CONN. (AP) >> Ma­jor League Base­ball said Satur­day it is com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing mi­nor league teams, a day af­ter U.S. Sen. Richard Blu­men­thal warned of pos­si­ble con­gres­sional ac­tion if the or­ga­ni­za­tion fol­lowed through on mi­nor league con­trac­tion plans.

“It is not Ma­jor League Base­ball’s goal to elim­i­nate any club in th­ese ne­go­ti­a­tions, and MLB cur­rently has a plan for ev­ery club to con­tinue oper­a­tions with some level of sup­port,” Ma­jor League Base­ball said in a writ­ten state­ment.

MLB has pro­posed a con­trac­tion plan that could end mi­nor league base­ball at Dodd Sta­dium in Nor­wich, Con­necti­cut, and ball­parks across the na­tion by elim­i­nat­ing its af­fil­i­a­tion with 42 teams. The Nor­wich Sea Uni­corns — for­merly the Con­necti­cut Tigers — play in the Class A New YorkPenn League.

On Fri­day, Blu­men­thal, who rep­re­sents Con­necti­cut, urged Ma­jor League Base­ball to save the team.

In a let­ter to Com­mis­sioner Robert D. Man­fred Jr., the Demo­cratic sen­a­tor said that if MLB “turns its back” on com­mu­ni­ties like Nor­wich, Congress “must look at ap­pro­pri­ate reme­dies, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing

Ma­jor League Base­ball’s anti-trust ex­emp­tion.”

Ma­jor League Base­ball said that its goal is to im­prove pay and work­ing con­di­tions for mi­nor lea­guers, and that it has in­vested hun­dreds of millions of dol­lars in the past decade to sub­si­dize mi­nor league oper­a­tions.

“How­ever, mi­nor league base­ball own­ers have re­fused to bear any por­tion of the con­tem­plated cost in­creases for im­prov­ing fa­cil­i­ties, work­ing con­di­tions and pay,” the MLB said. “In­stead, they’ve in­di­cated that they would pre­fer to sim­ply elim­i­nate fran­chises.”

CHELSEA DU­RAND - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mr. Buff, owned by Ch­ester and Mary Bro­man, Sr, with Ju­nior Al­varado up and trained by John Kim­mel cap­tured the Evan Ship­man Stakes by three and a-half lengths Wed­nes­day at Saratoga Race Course.

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