Farnsworth: Don’t Expect Minor League Baseball In Utah This Summer

Jun 22, 2020, 10:47 AM | Updated: 10:50 am
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Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City is pictured on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Have you ever seen a heavyweight bout where the two sluggers in the fight knock each other out at the same time? It has happened several times in both boxing and mixed martial arts. That is pretty much what we are watching between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union.

In this case, there is a third victim in the fight – and this victim may be on the receiving end of the biggest blow of them all. Not only is Minor League Baseball’s season in serious jeopardy but so is the future of thousands of MiLB players, coaches and staff members.

MLB issued a proposal last fall as part of the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations that will take place at the end of the 2020 season that suggests that more than 25 percent of Minor League teams would be eliminated altogether. Teams like the Orem Owlz and Ogden Raptors would be among those teams in danger of no longer having a Big League affiliation.

Add that to the MLB season shortened and possibly canceled by a worldwide pandemic and small-town ballparks all over America are empty. No hot dogs. No peanuts or crackerjacks.

No paychecks for thousands of Minor Leaguers that make close to minimum wage while they pursue the big paydays in the Major Leagues.

In a show of support, the MLB Player’s Association has pledged $1.5 million to Minor League players during this pandemic.

But what about 2021?

The MLB Draft featured just five rounds instead of the 40 rounds that have helped build farm systems over the past 55 years. The decision was made in an effort to save spending during the coronavirus shutdown – but discussion had already taken place with the union on possibly reducing the draft by 30 rounds, a sign that MLB was prepared to minimize its agreement with Minor League Baseball.

Although MiLB has not made an official announcement on the cancelation of the 2020 season it is believed by most that the season will not happen at the Minor League level while the MLB will have expanded rosters for its shortened season. This could mark the end of a baseball dream for thousands of young ballplayers.

Don’t expect any Minor League Baseball in Utah this summer and keep your fingers crossed that owners and players will reach an agreement that will turn the lights on in Salt Lake City, Orem and Ogden in the summer of 2021.


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