Presidential candidate and former Burlington, Vermont Mayor Bernie Sanders plans to highlight the plight of minor league baseball operations in Clinton, Davenport and Burlington this weekend.
“I brought baseball to Burlington, Vermont — minor league baseball,” Sanders said last week during an appearance on “Iowa Press” on IPTV, “so I’ve got a personal interest in this one.”
Major League Baseball is considering a plan to cut ties with 42 Class A teams — including the Clinton LumberKings, the Quad City River Bandits and the Burlington Bees as well as the Vermont Lake Monsters in Sanders’ home city. On Sunday morning, Sanders plans to be in Burlington, Iowa, to visit with staff as well as current and former players for the three Midwest League teams in eastern Iowa.
“Look, Major League Baseball is enormously profitable. These guys are making all kinds of money,” Sanders said last Friday. “Many of the heads, the owners of Major League Baseball are billionaires and now they decide for their own kind of greedy reasons that they want to shut down baseball in 42 small communities — three in Iowa, one in Vermont — all over this country. That’s wrong.”
Sanders met with the commissioner of Major League Baseball in late November.
“I will do everything that I can to tell them that when they receive an enormous amount of corporate welfare, when they have received exemptions from anti-trust legislation — do the right thing,” Sanders said on IPTV. “Protect those communities all across this country where baseball is so important.”
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley recently spoke with two top Major League Baseball officials and, in a written statement, Grassley said he was told the Quad City River Bandits are NOT among the teams that may lose their minor-league status. Grassley says minor league baseball is important to communities throughout the state. Major League officials say they’re considering cutting ties with some minor league teams to reduce travel burdens on the players and improve the development of prospects.