Major League Baseball has been making a lot of changes and some will affect the Angels and two of their affiliates. MLB is thinking of reducing the number of minor league teams.
Major League Baseball has a plan in place to eliminate a total of 42 minor league teams over the next two years. The Angels have two affiliates that would be affected by this reduction, the Low Single-A Burlington Bees and the Rookie League (Short Season) Orem Owlz. MLB has a formula that supposedly determined the teams being cut. It was based on financial stability of the affiliate, the stadium and its facilities and location of the team (market size).
Burlington, which is located in Iowa, is part of the Midwest League, is one of the smallest markets of any minor league team across the country, the stadium is one of the oldest of any affiliate as well, and it still has wooden fences. The Bees are actually one of the teams that are proposed to be cut. Despite all the shortcomings I have mentioned the stadium has its charm and the community is very supportive despite not having a huge population.
If the Burlington Bees were dissolved most of the players would end up in High Single-A Inland Empire to make just one Class-A team not both a High-A and Low-A team. Three teams on the list were all Low-Single-A teams from Iowa that were art of the Midwest League. The Clinton Lumberkings (Marlins) and the Quad City River Bandits (Astros) would also be eliminated. Quad City lived up to its name this year as they spent most of the first half of the season on the road due to its stadium being flooded by the river it is near.
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The other Angel affiliate that is on the chopping block is the Orem Owlz. This is the Angels Short-Season Rookie team. Like Burlington, Orem is not a big city. They draw a decent crowd each night and the stadium is less than 20 years old, so it is rather curious why they are on the list to be shut down. Another Rookie League team in the Pioneer League which is also on the chopping block is the Ogden Raptors, which is the Dodgers affiliate.
Orem and Ogden are both in Utah as is the Angels Triple-A Affiliate the Salt Lake City Bees. Orem set an season attendance record in 2019, so again we are left to wonder why they are slated to get cut.
As much as I like Burlington and think it is quaint, little, old style ballpark from yesteryear, it being on the closing list is understandable, although I don’t think it should happen. Orem, on the other hand has a great, modern ball park, good attendance and usually a pretty good team to boot.
Supposedly there is a criteria that was used to make these decisions, but I would like to know is what the criteria is as it seems flawed, especially in regards of Orem. Is it simply monetary reasons? Or is there something else behind this idea?
On Tuesday the United States Congress spoke out against the potential closures which would most like take effect after the 2021 season. Congressmen from many of the districts that have minor league teams so this still very far away from being a done deal. We will have to see how things play out over the next couple of months.
Hopefully MLB will reconsider their stance on this matter and these franchises will be saved. Stay Tuned.