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Grandstanding by politicians not best approach

No one wants to see minor league baseball teams like the Mahoning Valley Scrappers go away, but grandstanding by elected officials demanding that Major League Baseball forgo its plans may not be the best way to prevent the loss.

Major League Baseball has proposed eliminating development contracts starting in 2021 with certain minor league teams, including the Scrappers, who play at Eastwood Field in Niles as part of the New York-Penn League.

Certainly, if that decision comes to fruition, it would be a sad day for local baseball fans and for our Valley. But we believe there are better ways to send that message to the MLB than the method some of our elected officials have taken.

In a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine pointed out this month that he fully realizes that baseball is a business, but then he went on to call this business decision “horrible.”

It should be noted that DeWine and his family own a North Carolina minor league team that is not among the 42 teams on the chopping block.

This week U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, and Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, joined dozens of other members of Congress to introduce a House resolution urging Major League Baseball to rethink this plan. In November Ryan also was among 105 House members who signed a letter to the MLB commissioner opposing the plan to eliminate the 42 minor league teams and calling on Manfred to “ensure the continuation of affiliated baseball in our communities.”

This week Ryan stressed how valuable minor league baseball is to local communities. Certainly, we agree with that assessment. We love the Scrappers and we love baseball!

But in reality, political pressure isn’t always effective when it comes to influencing decisions made in private business.

Perhaps a better approach would be for readers and local baseball fans to write letters to Manfred requesting that he reconsider the move.

Another effective method to make our point would be to make sure we take advantage of the team as long as it remains here. Head out to Eastwood Field as soon as the season opens in June and continue to go, packing the stadium for every home game throughout the summer.

What better way to send a message about how much we love our Scrappers and how much we want to see minor league baseball stay put than to keep the seats filled every summer evening!

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