The mission of Small Ball America is to create awareness of the important cultural and economic role played by smaller towns and cities across the country, as well as the important partnership these places have with baseball and its affiliated minor league system found throughout small town America.
There has probably never been a larger divide than there is currently between small town America and the large urban areas that sprawl outward from city centers like New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It’s hard to even turn around without being reminded of these stark differences everyday on TV, in the newspaper, and scrolling through news feeds on our phones. The cultural and economic divide between small town America and the giant urban areas that exist in this country can be seen in countless aspects of everyday American life, but is perhaps most keenly visible in professional sports.
This past year, it was reported that Major League Baseball had been working diligently on a plan that would further propagate the idea of a divided America as it pertains to the theory that larger, more viable urban areas of the United States have more to add to our culture and economic value than smaller, rural towns and cities do. This plan consists of eliminating forty-two of Major League Baseball’s affiliated franchises throughout baseball’s minor league system. Most of these forty-two minor league teams would be rebranded as either college wooden bat leagues, make up part of a proposed “dream league,” become independent teams, or in the most extreme circumstance, some thirteen franchises would be eliminated altogether. This plan, if it were to go into effect, would eliminate baseball’s minor league system as we all know it, while at the same time dramatically altering the economies and cultural well being of each and every town currently housing one of these franchises. Baseball is incredibly important and indeed means a great deal to these cities in small town America, but that is not the whole story by any means.