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Roe meets with MLB official

From staff reports • Dec 3, 2019 at 8:31 PM

WASHINGTON  — U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, is doing his part to counter a proposal that would eliminate up to 42 minor league baseball teams.

After meeting with Major League Baseball Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, Roe released a statement Tuesday.

“The First District of Tennessee is home to four minor league baseball teams in the Appalachian League — with a fifth right across the border in Bristol, Virginia. There are ongoing discussions between MLB and its minor league affiliates about the future of minor league baseball, and since half of the Appalachian League teams play in our region, I want to be active in ensuring America’s pastime is preserved for generations to come. For that reason, I met with Deputy Commissioner Halem to discuss the concerns our communities have with the potential loss of the Appalachian League and its impact on Northeast Tennessee. I look forward to continuing on working to preserve baseball in the First District of Tennessee.”

Major League Baseball is currently negotiating a new agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the governing body of the minors. The initial proposal would mainly impact lower-level teams in short-season rookie ball leagues and take effect after the 2020 season.

As the proposal stands, Appy League teams would be encouraged to form an amateur wooden-bat league with help from MLB and would no longer be affiliated with their parent major league teams.

Out of 10 Appy League clubs, the 1st District of Tennessee is home to four: the Kingsport Mets, Elizabethton Twins, Johnson City Cardinals and Greeneville Reds. The Bristol Pirates are in Bristol, Virginia.

Roe recently joined 106 of his colleagues in urging MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to reconsider the plan to cut these teams and protect minor league baseball in their communities.