GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Baseball fans, both young and young at heart, are happy to hear the Greenville Drive may be in good shape as negotiations between Minor League and Major League officials could spell the end of the line for dozens of minor league teams across the nation.
Details from those negotiations between MLB and MiLB executives were leaked in an online report last week.
Since then, the news had made some teams and their host cities take notice.
At Fluor Field in Greenville’s West End district Monday evening, fans, like Todd Davidson, were talking about the developments.
“They’ve become part of our community and we love to support them. They also mean a lot to our economy and it would be terrible if they left,” Davidson said.
At the ballpark’s entrance, a mother and her daughter Mary Ellen Yeargin were playing near the “Shoeless” Joe Jackson statue.
It’s their Monday tradition.
Mary Ellen’s mother said they attend many of the home games during the season.
The Yeargin family and other Drive fans said they are pleased to hear their favorite team has been considered to be in good shape as MLB looks to cut costs and possibly 40 of it’s 160 affiliated minor league teams after the 2020 season.
The topic is so sensitive the Drive’s general manager Eric Jarinko couldn’t comment on the team’s status and referred 7 News to the MiLB headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida.
MiLB’s senior director of communications Jeff Lantz said MLB has asked MiLB to look at their agreement and the possibility of doing some realignment of the leagues and teams.
“It would make absolutely no sense for there not to be professional baseball in Greenville,” Lantz said when asked about how the Drive would fare in the negotiations.
Lantz said while it’s too early to tell who could be impacted, Greenville has what MLB is looking for: a newer facility, a location in a region where many of their league’s teams are concentrated, solid ownership and dedicated fans.
“They do a great job there in Greenville. It is one of our top clubs across all minor league baseball,” Lantz said via Skype. “We think very highly of the work they do and iI think major league baseball probably does too.”
The changes being proposed will not impact minor league teams next season.
Once reached, the new agreement would start after the 2020 season.