HOUSTON (AP) -- Major League Baseball wants the minor leagues to upgrade ballparks and decrease long travel.
Negotiations have started on a new Professional Baseball Agreement to replace the deal between MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues that expires after the 2020 season.
''There's an economic system in minor league baseball where we heavily subsidize what goes on in minor league baseball. We are more than prepared to continue to do that,'' baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday at the World Series. ''Against that backdrop, I don't think it's unreasonable for us to expect that we have facilities that are first class for some of the greatest athletes in the world, that we have league alignments that produce travel that is reasonable and not onerous for those same athletes. And I think over the long haul, minor league baseball will be at the table and prepared to discuss those things.''
MLB thinks some of the substandard facilities are in the low minors at teams with low attendance.
''Many of those franchises averaged less than two thousand people a game,'' Manfred said, ''They're really not major drivers of the attendance in the minor leagues. And again, our preference was never to reduce numbers. It was to get the first-rate facilities. If we can't get the first-rate facilities, I'm not sure it makes sense for us to send people to playing facilities that are inadequate and continue to subsidize those inadequate facilities.''
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