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State College Spikes Listed Among Proposed Minor League Team Cuts

by on November 17, 2019 7:30 PM

A proposal by Major League Baseball would drastically change the landscape of the minor league baseball system and the State College Spikes could be one of the teams impacted according to a New York Times report.

The report lists 42 teams in the lower level of minor league baseball that would lose their affiliation, including the Spikes as well as other New York-Penn League affiliates. The Spikes are currently a short season affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals.

Spikes communications director Joe Putnam said the team has no comment at this time and referred questions to the Minor League Baseball office.

If implemented, the changes would come after the 2020 season. In Pennsylvania, fellow New York-Penn League club the Williamsport Crosscutters and the Eastern League's Erie SeaWolves are also among the 42 teams listed in the proposal.

Major League Baseball's interest in changing and remodeling the current minor league system became public back in October. M.L.B. states that the changes are necessary in order to make minor leagues more efficient as well as improve the conditions and facilities for players in the lowest reaches of the minor league system.

According to the New York Times report:

M.L.B. contends that its proposed reorganization would make the development of up-and-coming players more efficient, while also improving their work conditions. The plan includes increasing the number of days off, reducing travel time, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, and ensuring that ballparks meet M.L.B. proposals for enhanced standards.

The minor league system has 160 affiliated teams. The proposal, which minor league officials are frantically trying to counter, would cut 42 teams and add two independent franchises for a total of 120 affiliated teams. Eliminating hundreds of athletes from the system would allow baseball to increase the salaries of players on affiliated teams — an issue that has recently been contended in court.

Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball, told the Times his goal is "to save baseball in all 42 of those communities. If that's possible... You have communities that are threatened in this process. This is the social function. This is the communal centerpiece."

The Spikes' home of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park was approved by Penn State's Board of Trustees back in May 2005 and opened in 2006. It is owned by the university and operated and leased by the Spikes. Penn State men's baseball calls the park home as well.

According to Penn State athletic's finical reporting for the most recent 2018 fiscal year, baseball brought in just over $856,000 in revenue with operating expenses of around $1.6 million.

According to a separate report, the State College Spikes average just over 3,000 fans per game, a figure that is bettered by only three teams in the 14-team New York-Penn League. The Spikes have won the league championship twice — in 2014 and 2016.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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