Minor league baseball is important to U.S.

By KEVIN GREENE | Guest columnist Apr 12, 2020

This is a tough time to be a sports fan. I know I am not the only one experiencing a void in my life caused by the sudden disappearance of sports. Sports offers exactly what America needs right now, something that brings us together to cheer for. Not to mention a break from the bad news.

In our world of social isolation, we wonder how we are going to pass the time without America’s national pastime.

Fortunately, my 37 years in baseball have taught me that rain delays happen. We may not expect them, and we may not know how long they will last, but eventually, the storm will pass. And when the storm passes, there are no sweeter words to hear than “play ball.”

I look forward to hearing those words when this is all over. I look forward to the day when friends and neighbors can embrace at the ballpark while we cheer on our Chukars.

Unfortunately, we are getting a taste of what life without the Chukars would be like, and frankly, it’s not a future I want to see. For those of you who don’t know, Major League Baseball has floated the idea of eliminating 42 minor league clubs. Our Idaho Falls Chukars are listed among those teams.

Chukars baseball adds a significant economic impact on this community, and their exit would certainly be felt. The Chukars account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in local salaries, goods and services purchased in Idaho Falls and countless contributions of both time and money to charities in town.

Thankfully, Congressman Mike Simpson stepped up to the plate. He helped create the Save Minor League Baseball Task Force, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who support the preservation of Minor League Baseball in rural communities throughout America. Earlier this year, the group successfully passed legislation through the U.S. House to affirm the important role that minor league baseball teams play in the economic and cultural development of the United States.

The bill calls for a Government Accountability Office Report to evaluate the social, economic and historic contributions that minor league baseball has made to American life and culture.

Our Gov. Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin have offered their voices in support of saving the Chukars, along with Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper.

I want to thank our leaders for recognizing the importance of this issue to our community.

As we follow the advice of our medical professionals, this pandemic will eventually pass, social isolation will no longer be part of the equation, and the only thing we will have to think about catching at the ballpark is a foul ball.


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