Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader,
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced a bipartisan resolution to urge Major League Baseball (MLB) to preserve the current minor league structure and abandon its plan to eliminate 42 minor league baseball clubs, including the Keizer Volcanoes.
“Millions of fans attend Minor League Baseball games each year,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader. “Minor League games are often the first-time kids in rural areas get to experience America’s pastime. Teams like the Keizer Volcanoes in my home state of Oregon enrich our communities in so many ways and that is why I stand in support of independently owned baseball franchises even as the MLB takes steps to squeeze them out. I have been inspired by the passion and commitment of Volcanoes owner, Jerry Walker to his team and the entire Salem-Keizer community. He has dedicated his personal funds and countless hours to saving this team and I am proud to represent him and the entire Volcanoes family in Congress.”
This year, MLB announced plans to eliminate 42 MiLB clubs around the country. The decision came in spite of the completion of the League’s 15th season and an attendance above 40 million. There are 160 MiLB teams, and this decision would end the franchise affiliation of over 25 percent of teams, most in rural areas. Over 1,200 MiLB players and countless staff would be put out of work. In 2018 alone, teams like the Volcanoes donated over $45 million to their communities, completed over 15,000 volunteer hours and began initiatives to promote and celebrate diversity. This decision would devastate communities and the many stakeholders that rely on these clubs for economic stimulus.
In November 2019, Rep. Schrader signed a letter to MLB with over 100 bipartisan members of Congress expressing Congressional opposition to the announced plan. This resolution goes a step further and expresses Congressional support for the MiLB and Congress’s interest in ensuring fair negotiations between the MLB and MiLB moving forward.