The bullying of Minor League Baseball and minor league cities by MLB continues. A few weeks ago, it was announced that several minor league cities are forced to upgrade the local ballparks or their MiLB teams may lose their license.
A city that is trying to find money to keep its minor league club is Reading. The city is budgeting $16 million for upgrades of 70-year old FirstEnergy Stadium.
Dirty part in this is that the Reading Fightin’ Phils are totally owned by the Philadelphia Phillies but that club is refusing to spend a dime on the ballpark of their AA farm team. Greedy MLB owner much?
The city of Reading is planning to meet the upgrades, demanded by MLB: upgrading lighting standards, expanded clubhouses and workout facilities, kitchen areas, dressing rooms for female umps and employees, larger dugouts, additional batting cages and more.
It is generally known that some MiLB ballparks are in bad shape. So these demands by MLB are understandable in a way. But when they shoved the new contracts down the throat of the MiLB clubs, they could have told them already. But no, they rather waited until a few weeks ago, so they faced the MiLB teams with a fait accompli.
Regarding FirstEnergy Stadium, the city of Reading seems to go for constructing a new building behind center/right-center field that will contain many of the aforementioned facilities. The costs are an estimated $16 million but the city has not finished the funding for it. The GM of the Fightin’ Phils, Scott Hunsicker, stated: “The game has evolved over the last, since our last renovation having to have a commissary with a dining area and a bigger weight room cause everybody lifts all day every day now.” According to Hunsicker, the city, the county, and the team are pushing forward with plans and try to provide $3 million each. Then they still lack $7million, so they hope the state of Pennsylvania will step in.
The demanded upgrade of kitchen areas is rather ironic as several MLB clubs provide meals for their MiLB players that come close to pig food. If you want to know more about that, please go to the Twitter account of Advocates for Minor Leaguers.