Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has sent a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert Manfred and Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem asking both to reconsider a proposal to cut ties with more than 40 Minor League teams.

Three Pennsylvania teams - Erie SeaWolves, State College Spikes and the Williamsport Crosscutters - would be impacted by the proposal.

All three teams are on a list of 42 Minor League Baseball teams that could lose their Major League Baseball affiliation in 2021.

Erie is at risk of losing the SeaWolves despite a $20 million renovation project underway now at UPMC Park. A brand new playing surface is part of the project and has already been installed.

$12 million for the project was provided by a state grant presented personally by Gov. Tom Wolf during a visit in August 2018.

Read the full letter

Dear Commissioner Manfred and Deputy Commissioner Halem:

It has come to my attention that Major League Baseball is proposing to eliminate player development contracts for forty-two Minor League Baseball teams including three teams stationed in Pennsylvania cities. On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I am writing to express my concern with this proposal.

Baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes and Minor League Baseball teams have brought professional baseball and the joy of the game to many people across the country. The result of your proposal will be detrimental to not only players and employees of teams who will lose their jobs, but to the communities these teams call home. Minor League teams support local businesses and host various forms of charitable work for their communities. In Pennsylvania, cutting these teams will take opportunities away from families to experience an affordable, family-friendly professional baseball game within a local setting. Williamsport, State College, and Erie are each located several hours from a Major League stadium, so losing the local Minor League team would make attending baseball games difficult for families who live in these places. Children and young adults in these communities, including Williamsport, the home of the Little League World Series, would lose invaluable opportunities to watch and learn from talented Minor League players. If these teams are cut, it also creates another issue for local authorities in regard to possibly having an empty stadium to maintain. Minor League Baseball teams promote talent development, encourage fan loyalty, and most importantly, bring communities together.

Thank you for your time and please reconsider your proposal as the effect will be felt drastically by local communities who have supported these teams over the years.

Sincerely,
TOM WOLF
Governor