U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today released the following statement after it was announced that after months of negotiations, Major League Baseball (MLB) and Montana’s Minor League Baseball teams have come to an agreement on the future of professional baseball in Montana.
“Professional baseball in Montana helps bring our communities together and drive our local economies,” Daines said. “I’m very glad that after months of negotiations, MLB and Montana’s minor league teams have come to an agreement to allow Great Falls, Missoula, and Billings to continue playing professional baseball in their communities. It was my privilege to fight for the future of Montana’s minor league teams, and I look forward to seeing the success of the league.”
Daines has been working to save Montana’s Minor League teams since MLB announced they would be cutting ties with 42 minor league teams across the country.
Beginning in 2021, the Pioneer League including the Billings Mustangs, Missoula PaddleHeads, and Great Falls Voyagers will be designated as a “partner league” with MLB. All of Montana’s teams will maintain their existing team names and brands and will collaborate with MLB on operating expenses, marketing, ticketing, and fan engagement opportunities. They will also have a procedure in place with opportunities for players to transfer to MLB clubs.
On September 30th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Connor urging them to come to an agreement to preserve Montana’s three baseball clubs and provide MLB clubs the option of having up to five MiLB affiliates.
On June 25th, 2020, Daines introduced a bill that would make Major League Baseball teams ineligible to participate or benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program or emergency lending programs within the CARES Act if MLB moved forward with eliminating Montana’s MiLB teams.
On May 7th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MiLB President Pat O’Connor urging them to extend the deadline for a decision on MiLB teams in Montana due to the impact on sporting events from COVID-19.
On December 4th, 2019, Daines sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred urging them to continue supporting Montana’s MiLB teams due to reports about an MLB proposal to sever ties with 42 Minor League teams.