Hagerty speaks out against minor league ‘hit list’

Then-U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty throws out the first pitch at a baseball game in Japan on June 5, 2018. (Credit: U.S. Embassy in Japan)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty is speaking out against a plan by Major League Baseball to sever 42 minor league teams’ links to parent clubs and instead make them part of a lower-tier “Dream League” made up of undrafted or released players.

Six of Tennessee’s nine minor league teams would be affected by the change, which critics fear could cause them to fold. The teams on the so-called “hit list” are the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and Jackson Generals, and the Elizabethton Twins, Greeneville Reds, Johnson City Cardinals, and Kingsport Mets of the Rookie class Appalachian League.

Former gubernatorial candidate and interim University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd owns the Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Johnson City teams. The Double-A Tennessee Smokies of Sevierville, which Boyd acquired from Bill and Jimmy Haslam in 2013, would not be affected. Also avoiding the proposed shakeup are the state’s two Triple-A teams, the Memphis Redbirds and the Nashville Sounds.

Here’s Hagerty’s statement:

Last week, when I was in the Tri-Cities, several Tennesseans spoke with me about MLB’s plan to cut the region’s minor league baseball teams. Our teams in Chattanooga, Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Jackson are also on the chopping block. It would be devastating for our communities.

These teams bring America’s pastime to our backyards, and they are integral to the fabric of our communities. They inspire young athletes, provide family fun, support the community, and provide hundreds of good jobs. It is my hope that MLB reconsiders its plan and works with these teams to remain home in Tennessee.

6 Responses to Hagerty speaks out against minor league ‘hit list’

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    LeeAnn C. says:

    Should a Senatorial candidate speak to this? MLB is a business. Are they obligated to maintain the status quo – at all cost?

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    A little “Corporate Welfare” might make a difference at this stage.

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    Louie Johnston Jr. says:

    Typical establishment Republican getting sticking his nose into private business calling for government intervention as his solution instead of free markets.

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    Silence Dogood says:

    Relax, folks, the campaigning season is upon us. It is “Baby Kissing” time. I, too, HOPE MLB reconsiders its plan.

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    TR says:

    Hagerty should pledge to file legislation removing MLB’s exemption from federal antitrust law if they pursue minor league contraction that disproportionately impacts teams located in Tennessee.

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    Phil Lassiter says:

    A lot of politicians own these and other teams in whole or in part so it does directly affect a Senate candidate

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