Sanders meets with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to discuss minor league plan


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., met with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday, days after pushing him to rescind a plan to scrap 42 minor league teams after next season.

The 2020 Democratic White House contender has urged Manfred to back away from a plan to eliminate the low-level teams, saying it would harm the sport and players.

“I very much hope that Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball can resolve their differences in a way that maintains professional baseball in all of the communities that currently have it,” Sanders said in a statement following the meeting.

CRUZ MOCKS SANDERS’ PLEA TO STOP MLB FROM ELIMINATING MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders speaks to a congregation in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders speaks to a congregation in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

He wrote that Congress would monitor the negotiations between MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, which oversees the minor leagues.

In a Nov. 25 letter to Manfred, Sanders called the plan “an absolute disaster for baseball fans” and pushed for higher pay for minor league players and to make it easier for them to join a union.

In a statement Monday, MLB said it “understands that we have an obligation to local communities to ensure that public money spent on minor league stadiums is done so prudently and for the benefit of all citizens.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at the owners meeting in Arlington, Texas last month (AP Photo/LM Otero)

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at the owners meeting in Arlington, Texas last month (AP Photo/LM Otero)

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“MLB also must ensure that minor league players have safe playing facilities suitable for the development of professional baseball players, are not subjected to unreasonable travel demands, are provided with compensation and working conditions appropriate for elite athletes, and have a realistic opportunity of making it to the major leagues.”

It added that the league is committed to negotiating with minor league baseball and balancing the interests of communities, clubs and players.

The initial proposal primarily would impact lower-level teams in short-season leagues. Sanders’ hometown of Burlington, Vt., is the home of the Vermont Lake Monsters, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics in the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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