Mayoral task force fights to save minor league baseball

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– A new mayoral task force has been formed in the fight to save some minor league baseball teams.

The Norwich Sea Unicorns is among 42 teams which could be eliminated under a Major League Baseball plan.

“They’ve generated over $1.6 million and raised funds for different charities,” said Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom.

He can’t speak highly enough about the newly branded Norwich Sea Unicorns and the team’s involvement in the community. So he also spoke out when Major League Baseball proposed eliminating the minor league team and 41 others.

Related: Norwich mayor, CT officials urge MLB to keep local minor league baseball team

The mayor wrote to leaders in all 42 communities and heard back from six.

“Some of those people actually were those organizing this telephone conference of mayors,” said Mayor Nystrom.

That teleconference call was the first official act of the newly formed mayoral task force. So far 27 mayors, including Nystrom, are going to bat to try to save the minor league teams.

“This just further proves that we’re great partners and that they want us here as much as we want to be here,” said Lee Walter, business development manager for the Norwich Sea Unicorns.

“It’s working closely with the task force out of Congress to help organize and communicate and really get the message back to the highest level, which is the commissioner of baseball that this is a mistake,” said Mayor Nystrom.

“Major League Baseball is proud to have a long-standing relationship with mayors around the country to promote youth sports and grow the game of baseball in communities across the United States,” an MLB spokesperson said in a statement.

“And now he wants to cut off access to the young families with the kids who might learn about baseball by attending a game at the minor league level,” said Mayor Nystrom, referring to the MLB commissioner.

The MLB and Minor League Baseball are currently in negotiations on a new contract.

Related: Norwich fights to save their minor league team as the team moves ahead with new name

The MLB statement went on to say “It is not Major League Baseball’s goal to eliminate any club in these negotiations, and MLB currently has a plan for every club to continue operations with some level of support.”

The one thing that has been a home run for the Norwich team is its new logo and name the Sea Unicorns. 

Despite some uncertainty the team will definitely play the 2020 season at Dodd Stadium with opening day June 21st.

The mayor is hoping the MLB commissioner will honor the ten year lease he, the team, and the city just signed. 

Below is the full statement from MLB:

“Major League Baseball is proud to have a long-standing relationship with mayors around the country to promote youth sports and grow the game of baseball in communities across the United States. Negotiations with Minor League Baseball are at a very early stage and while no one can predict what the final agreement will look like at this point, MLB’s goals of improving working conditions for Minor League players and protecting baseball in local communities across the country remain unchanged. That’s why MLB has subsidized Minor League operations at a rate of hundreds of millions of dollars per year over the past decade.

It is not Major League Baseball’s goal to eliminate any club in these negotiations, and MLB currently has a plan for every club to continue operations with some level of support. Mayors who want to help improve playing conditions and player development can encourage Minor League Baseball to return to the negotiating table and commit to working in good faith toward a better, more modern working agreement for our two leagues.”

MLB Spokesperson

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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