November 21, 2001

Mayors Strike Back Against Plans to Eliminate Major League Baseball in Two Cities
Leaders Propose Setting Guidelines for Relocation or Elimination Process

Washington, DC -- New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Vice Chair on Sports for the Conference sent a joint letter to Baseball Commissioner Allan (Bud) Selig today, asking for reconsideration of a proposed action to eliminate or contract the number of major league teams in the United States.

In the letter (click here to download), the mayors stated that although maintaining economic stability is important for the survival of Major League Baseball, the proposals laid out to eliminate two teams would cause severe economic hardship as well as a great disservice to the thousands of fans in the affected regions.

"Baseball is America's favorite pastime and serves as one important way for families to come together," said Mayor Morial. "But we also understand the economic relevance that this sport brings to every community and want to make sure that no one ends up losing."

Previously, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Football League jointly developed a list of principles to govern the future relocation of any professional football team which have now become a part of the NFL's policies. The adopted policy includes such issues as ways to notify a community of a team change and allowing adequate time for submission of alternative ownership proposals.

"We want to help pave the way for a similar set of principles to be developed with Major League Baseball that will help address the contraction or movement of teams," added Morial. "We want this process to be fair to all the parties involved."

The mayors are also encouraging Major League Baseball to adopt a stadium financing program, similar to the NFL's, which allows owners to borrow money from the League to build stadiums. Such a loan program would help foster greater public-private partnerships in future baseball stadium constructions and could financially benefit communities.

The Mayors requested a meeting with Commissioner Selig to discuss how the two parties can develop a set of principles to govern contraction. The leaders warned that failure to establish an agreement could cause them to resort to other options such as supporting proposed federal legislation.

Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766
Lina Garcia (202) 861-6719


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors