Rob Manfred Met with Bernie Sanders to Talk State of MLB Minor League Baseball

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign stop, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Hillsboro, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is now fully part of the narrative surrounding potential changes to Minor League Baseball.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred met with Sanders on Monday to discuss the possible changes and released a statement explaining the league understands the importance of teams to their local communities and puts an emphasis on player safety. 

The statement, which Lindsey Adler of The Athletic shared, said the league is "committed to negotiating with Minor League Baseball to find solutions that balance the competing interests of local communities, MLB clubs, Minor League owners, and the young players who pursue their dream of becoming professional baseball players."

Sanders also released a statement thanking Manfred and expressing his hope that an amicable solution can be reached that would keep minor league team in their communities:

This meeting comes after Sanders wrote a letter that criticized MLB for a proposal that would eliminate 42 minor league teams, saying "this has nothing to do with what's good for baseball and everything to do with greed. It would destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies."

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"While Minor League Baseball players make as little as $1,160 a month (less than the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage) and are denied overtime pay, the 20 wealthiest Major League Baseball owners have a combined net worth of more than $50 billion," Sanders wrote, in part.

The letter was not the first time Sanders weighed in on the minor league issue. 

He quote tweeted Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle's sentiments that cutting the minor league teams would be "really sad" and added "Closing down Minor League teams, like the Vermont Lake Monsters, would be a disaster for baseball fans, workers, and communities across the country. We must protect these teams from corporate greed."

In October, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America summarized MLB's proposal with the Professional Baseball Agreement between the league and minor league teams set to expire at the end of the 2020 campaign.

The league proposed to eliminate 25 percent of minor league teams and upgrade stadium facilities already in place. The proposal would also send some Class AAA teams to Class A and other Class A teams up to Class AAA.