Bernie Sanders Goes to Bat for Baseball Players as MLB Proposes Terminating Minor League Teams

White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday implored Major League Baseball commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. to reconsider a recently announced proposal to eliminate 42 minor league teams.

“Shutting down 25 percent of Minor League Baseball teams, as you have proposed, would be an absolute disaster for baseball fans, workers, and communities throughout the country,” Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a letter to Manfred. “Not only would your extreme proposal destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies, it would be terrible for baseball.”

The proposal, first reported by Baseball America last month, is part of Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) negotiations between Major League Baseball and minor league teams. The current agreement is set to expire after the 2020 season.

“MLB contends that the reorganization is necessary to make the minor leagues more efficient and to improve conditions and facilities, but many officials associated with the teams see it as an existential crisis for their organizations,” explained The New York Times, which published the list of teams facing termination earlier this month.

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Sanders, a longtime defender of workers’ rights, warned in his letter that MLB’s proposal would not only “do irreparable harm to the game’s relationship with millions of Americans,” but also negatively impact the lives of players who have long fought for higher pay and better working conditions.