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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Baseball’s subtraction error

Addition by subtraction is what Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and many of the owners hope can cure what ails the sport.

For the past week and a half, talk around the baseball world is that two teams (most likely the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos) will be contracted, done away with, in order to increase revenue sharing among the other teams, and put more quality players on the market for the poorer teams.

While it would work, getting rid of two teams would probably hurt the game a lot more than it would do good.

First of all, thousands of fans would be alienated by the sport by losing the team they root for. The baseball strike in 1994 alienated a number of fans, possibly more could be left out in the cold completely by getting rid of two teams.

Fans of the remaining teams could be left to worry if their team could be next (those in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee may not be too worried, but other fans really do care about their teams).

Contraction is also an awful idea because of all the jobs it would cost.

Two major league teams account for around 50 major league positions and hundreds of minor league positions. Many of these players could soon be found trying to find a new livelihood.

Not only the players, but hundreds of concession workers and vendors would be jobless if two teams were contracted.

Finally what would become of the stadiums? Two major league ballparks and more than a handful of minor league ballparks would be left to waste. Many of them (if not all) are funded by taxpayers, whose money would be going to waste on an empty stadium.

The teams being discussed as possible casualties shows that MLB could be wrong:

As previously mentioned, the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos are the most likely frontrunners to go.

While a case could be made for the Expos to be done away with (there 2001 attendance was lower than some minor league teams), not much of a case could be made for the other teams on baseball’s short list.

The Minnesota Twins have won several World Championships in the franchises’ history, the most recent one coming in 1991. Teams rich in tradition should not be gotten rid of. The fans there are a sleeping giant: they will come out if and when the team wins.

Likewise the Oakland A’s were also discussed. They have won numerous titles, including one of the few threepeats in baseball history.

Finally, the two Florida teams have been discussed. Tampa Bay has only been in the league since 1998 (give them a chance) and the Florida Marlins just won a title in 1997, only four seasons after their inaugural year. Granted they haven’t had a winning season since, but why give up on these teams so soon?

All in all, each of these issues show that subtracting two teams, while adding to the competitiveness, it is subtracting from fan enjoyment, which is what the game should truly be about.

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