Minor League Baseball: Boom or Bust to Communities?
Despite the occasional disappointment, minor league baseball provides many
communities with economic development and an improved quality of life. Communities as
small as Elizabethtown, Tennessee or as large as Phoenix, Arizona have shared the
common bond of being the homes of major league farm teams. This is referred to as the
National Association of Professional Baseball, or more commonly known as the "minor
leagues." As the popularity of major league baseball seems to be decreasing due to the
recent player strike, free agency, and anti-trust labor laws, minor league baseball has
generated excitement that can only be associated with baseball in the good old days. This
excitement is a purity of spirit which the majors no longer possess. "It is baseball in its
simplest form-- just ball, bats, gloves, and lifelong dreams. The parks are generally small,
the players, hardworking young men whom local fans are likely to run into the next day at
the mall or maybe the corner bar.
A family of four can see a game, eat dinner--maybe
even pick up a souvenir or two--without having to consider a second mortgage. No
lockouts, no holdouts, no five-dollar beers, and the umpire is the only one who can call a
strike. "Just the national pastime, played the game it is," says one editor of The Minor
League Baseball Book.
There are currently 156 teams that are part of the National Association of
Professional Baseball. This number will grow in the next few years with the addition of
two expansion teams at the major league level. There have also been a number of
independent leagues formed which are said to be the "future of minor league baseball."
The success of these teams have shown how the value of these franchises...