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MLB commence takeover of minor leagues’ governance

After 119 years of operating as an independent entity, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) have acquiesced to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) plan to move governance from MiLBs headquarters in Florida, to the MLB commissioner’s office in New York.

As part of the restructure, MLB have hired the principal owner of three MiLB teams and Trinity Sports Consultancy, Peter B. Freund, to oversee the administrative transition.

Dan Halem, MLB’s Deputy Commissioner & Chief Legal Officer, said: “As we look to grow the partnership between Major League Baseball and its licensed affiliates and share our resources, it has always been our intention to have Minor League ownership partner with us in shaping the future of Minor League Baseball. Peter’s reputation and experience in the industry make him exceptionally well suited to assist us in transitioning to a Minor League system that will better serve Minor League fans, Minor League players, Minor League owners, and our Major League Clubs.”

The Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues expired on September 30.

Although talks of a new deal are not finalised, the new governing structure will be “new territory, a new business model and quite different,” a source close to the negotiations said. “Whatever we call it, it’s not going to be called a Professional Baseball Agreement anymore. The PBA is a contract between MLB and the national association. The big difference is that there will be contracts between the MLB directly with teams.”

Despite the new agreement not yet reached, the league has already announced the Appalachian League will convert to a college wood-bat league.

MiLB president Pat O’Conner last month announced his retirement effective December 31, while top commercial executive David Wright also left the organisation for the US Soccer Federation in September.

In a statement, Freund said: “Minor League Baseball is part of the fabric of so many communities and integral to the development of both players and fans of this great game. This truly is a watershed moment for professional baseball and we have a unique opportunity to find common sense solutions which benefit both Major League Clubs and their Minor League partners.”

Author: Charlie Farmer