NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Major League Baseball is looking to cut 40 minor league teams across the country but local supporters are not letting go of their team without a fight.
About 200 people rallied Wednesday in the center concourse of the Eastwood Mall to “Save the Scrappers.”
“To lose them would be a big blow to the community,” said Scrappers fan Paul Yannucci.
If the MLB decides to cut nearly 40 teams, the Scrappers could be one of them.
“Very concerning when the proposal came out,” said Scrappers General Manager Jordon Taylor. “I do know it is still very early. They are actually having a negotiating session later this week.”
If the Scrappers do stay in the Valley, there is also the possibility the team could lose its affiliation with the Cleveland Indians.
“There’s a black cloud hanging over them at this point,” said Mary Ann Herrington, a fan.
She moved to the Valley from New York, wanting to be closer to her daughter, who got her first job out of college with the team.
“She is still with them five years later,” Herrington said. “She loves her job, doesn’t want to be anywhere else.”
One point stressed to the fans is that going to a Scrappers game is very affordable.
“Some of us cannot afford to go to the double or the Major League games because the money situations,” Maxine McGaughy said.
Local businesses could see a hit, too, if the Scrappers aren’t around.
“All the local vendors that we use for food or drinks, paper supplies, the list goes on and on,” Taylor said. “We try to use as many local vendors as possible so, obviously, there will be a hit there, as well.”
Many Scrappers fans are hoping the MLB has a change of heart.
“For Major League Baseball to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to pull out of here’ — if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We’ve got something good working here and to eliminate this would be just a total disaster,” Yannucci said.
The MLB released the following statement Wednesday in response:
MLB is confident that we can modernize our minor league system, improve working conditions for players and protect baseball in the communities where it is currently being played.
MLB has already made the decision to increase compensation for minor league players unilaterally. However, other MLB priorities such as improving working conditions and reducing the travel burden for players can only be accomplished at the negotiating table with meaningful participation from Minor League Baseball.