U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, and Tom Dickson, owner of the Lansing Lugnuts, called on Major League Baseball to reverse its decision to eliminate 42 Minor League Baseball teams. Following reports of MLB’s decision, Slotkin sent a letter with a bipartisan group of 104 members of Congress on Tuesday urging the league to abandon its plan to eliminate the teams.
While the Lansing Lugnuts are not currently among the teams at risk of being eliminated, Slotkin, Schor and Dickson expressed their strong opposition to MLB’s move, warning of the threat it signals to the Lansing community regarding the future of its team, and underscored their commitment to preventing any such elimination of the Lugnuts.
“The Lugnuts bring so much joy and economic benefit to the Greater Lansing community — and I wanted to make clear to Major League Baseball that I stand committed to preventing any move that puts them at risk,” Rep. Slotkin said. “While the Lugnuts are not slated to be affected by MLB’s decision to shut down one-fourth of minor league teams, MLB’s move is bad for the strength of Minor League Baseball overall, and sends a warning shot to communities like ours that losing our team could be a possibility in the future. Mayor Schor has been all over this issue, and we stand committed to do all we can to prevent that from happening.”
“The City of Lansing stands strong in support of the Lansing Lugnuts,” said Mayor Schor. “The investment to bring the Lugnuts to Lansing over 20 years ago has had a tremendously positive impact on our community. People of all backgrounds and identities continue to join together at games to cheer our hometown baseball team to victory. Not only do the Lugnuts provide affordable, family-friendly fun for our residents and visitors, they also drive positive economic impact in downtown Lansing.”
“We appreciate the support from Congresswoman Slotkin and Mayor Schor,” said Tom Dickson, owner of the Lansing Lugnuts. “The Lugnuts have been an integral part of the mid-Michigan community for 25 years. More than a baseball team, they are both an economic engine that helps drive our community and a source of affordable entertainment for families across our region. We believe it is in the best interest of not only baseball, but communities across America, that the Lugnuts and the entire minor league system continue to thrive.”
According to an Oct. 18 report in Baseball America, 25 percent of minor league teams may lose their Player Development Contract (PDC) for the 2021 season and beyond. The MLB plan was offered in spite of the fact that Minor League Baseball just completed its 15th consecutive season with an attendance above 40 million; and it was the ninth-largest single season total in MiLB’s 100-plus year history. Many of the minor league clubs would fail without a PDC — leaving as many as 1,200 players out of work. The plan is a betrayal of the fans, players, municipalities, stadium vendors and employees who have supported these clubs for decades.