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Congressman Tim Ryan Urges Major Baseball Commissioner and Cleveland Indians Owner to Continue Affiliation with the Scrappers

December 20, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today urged Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred and Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan to abandon MLB’s plan to end its affiliation with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and 41 other Minor League teams. Congressman Ryan had previously joined 105 of his Congressional colleagues in a letter to Manfred, underscoring the damage this move would cause to the Mahoning Valley and communities across the country where the at-risk teams are located.

A copy of the letter was also provided to Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan.

The letter can be found below and here:

December 20, 2019

 

Mr. Rob Manfred
Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Dear Commissioner Manfred,

I am writing to express my firm opposition to Major League Baseball’s radical proposal to eliminate numerous Minor League Baseball clubs. In my Congressional District, it would lead to the loss of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a pillar of our community for over 20 years, providing an affordable and fun way for families to spend time together. I am deeply concerned by the news that the MLB is discussing a reorganization that would eliminate the traditional affiliation with Major League Baseball held by the Scrappers and 41 other teams. This decision should be immediately reversed. If enacted, it would undermine the health of the minor league system that undergirds talent development and encourages fan loyalty.  It would particularly be felt in areas far from a major league team or where tickets to a major league game are cost-prohibitive.

Tens of millions of fans attend Minor League Baseball games each season. These professional baseball clubs are vital components of our communities because they provide affordable, family-friendly entertainment to members of our communities, support scores of allied businesses, employ thousands of individuals, donate millions of dollars in charitable funds, and connect our communities to Major League Baseball. A number of these Minor League clubs operate at a loss but continue to persist due to strong fan support and club ownerships’ commitment to their communities and America’s Pastime.

The abandonment of Minor League clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate our communities, their bond purchasers, and other stakeholders affected by the potential loss of these clubs. We want you to fully understand the impact this could have not only on the communities we represent, but also on the long-term support that Congress has always afforded our national pastime on a wide variety of legislative initiatives. For over a century, Congress has taken numerous actions specifically designed to protect, preserve, and sustain a system and structure for both Major and Minor League Baseball to flourish.

The Scrappers allow our community to see future-major league all-stars up close, including Scrapper alumni Francisco Lindor, Victor Martinez, Jose Ramirez, and CC Sabathia. The owners of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers are committed to the team and to the Mahoning Valley. They continue to make investments in what is already a great facility, recently replacing the entire playing surface and building an addition to the clubhouse with a weight room and area for the players at a cost of almost $600,000.

It is my hope that Major League Baseball continues to provide needed support to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in keeping the great American pastime in our community. As a member of Congress who recognizes the tremendous value of the Minor League system, I ask Major League Baseball to strongly reconsider this decision and do all that it can to ensure the continuation of affiliated baseball in the Mahoning Valley and in communities across the country.

Sincerely,

Tim Ryan
Member of Congress

CC: Paul Dolan, Cleveland Indians
       Jordan Taylor, Mahoning Valley Scrappers