Baseball America reports that Rob Manfred wants to unify American baseball. His words at a speech to the American Baseball Coaches Association:
“Major League Baseball is committed to the idea that we are going to be more actively engaged with all parts of the baseball community at all levels . . . Our tagline for this effort is One Baseball,” Manfred said. “We want one umbrella effort, with Major League Baseball at the top of it, but involving college, high school and various youth programs. Going forward, we have to attack the youth and amateur market in a single unified and coherent way.”
He didn’t mention the minor leaguers. Those guys are still on their own, I guess. And screw them if they want to make more than $7.25 an hour.
As for youth and amateur baseball, the best thing Major League Baseball could probably do is subsidize leagues so that you don’t have to be rich to play at the highest youth levels. Because as of now, youth baseball is becoming a sport for the well off. Kids and their parents have to pay big fees to play and a lot of travel is required. Given the choice, a kid who isn’t rich is likely to choose basketball or football over baseball, as those sports have much stronger school-based programs and youth programs that don’t skew as expensive and travel-intensive as baseball can.