Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that the independent Atlantic League has been officially designated as MLB’s first “partner league”. As a partner league, the Atlantic League “will meet regularly with MLB to discuss joint promotional and marketing opportunities, including the leagues’ shared goal of providing baseball to communities in the United States,” according to the press release announcing the partnership.
There was already a relationship existing between the MLB and the Atlantic League, which in recent years has been a testing ground for experimental MLB rules such as extra-innings runner at second base, pitch clocks, larger bases, and even playing zones. automated strikes. Today̵
“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with the Atlantic League, which provides us with a unique means to propel the sport forward,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president of economics and operations of baseball in a statement to all. inside the press release. “The Atlantic League clubs and players have been great partners for us as we jointly test ways to make our game even more interesting and engaging for fans.”
Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported this morning that the MLB has pursued deals not only with the Atlantic League but also with other high-profile independent leagues, including the American Association and the Frontier League. The owners of the minor league teams who spoke with Drellich expressed trepidation that such partnerships could be used as leverage by MLB in ongoing talks with MiLB on a new professional baseball deal between the two parties.
It is also possible that some clubs experiencing the inevitable and large shrinkage of lower-tier minor leagues may land in the Atlantic League or other newly appointed “partner leagues”, according to Drellich. A timeline for further agreements with the American Association, Frontier League or other independent circuits is unclear, but the PBA between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball will expire next week.