Concerns grow over future of minor league teams in Iowa

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Minor league teams across the country, including the Kernels are preparing for the upcoming 2020 season. However, the future of some teams is in question beyond this season.

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Major League Baseball brought up a proposal that would sever its affiliation ties with 42 minor league teams. Three teams in Iowa would be affected: Burlington, Clinton and the Quad Cities. The Cedar Rapids Kernels would be spared.

The negotiations are still in the early stages between MLB and MiLB, but some are concerned about the impact this would have on smaller communities.

"We've had minor league baseball forever," said Jerry Ford,the President of Perfect Game. "So has Burlington. So has Clinton... I just don't know if the overall discussions that they're having, as they look at this proposal, include the game at the youth level and the kids that get interested in baseball, fall in love with the game of baseball and are playing the game of baseball because of that."

The Kernels did release a statement commenting on the possible impact of losing minor league teams.

"The List that was published this week has teams on it that have been a lighthouse in their communities for many years," said General Manager Scott Wilson. "Minor League Baseball is synonymous with small town and family. If baseball were to leave any of the communities on that list it would be a revenue stream for the city and an entertainment venue that would be impossible to replace. The smaller the market the larger the impact. As the negotiations begin we certainly hope baseball is preserved as is, with facility upgrades where necessary."