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Data: MILB, MLB; Logos: SportsLogos.Net; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Forty-three minor league teams lost their MLB affiliation in 2020's restructuring, leaving some ballparks awaiting new fates.

The state of play: Some teams went independent or joined the new MLB Draft League. But in cities where minor league baseball disappeared, the challenge is now deciding what to do with those sleeping giants — and how to pay for it.

  • Some clubs have welcomed college teams as tenants, some have turned to the exploding youth sports industry, and other stadiums are destined to become multipurpose/concert venues.
  • Of note: Renovating ballparks is expensive (~$5 million), and demolishing them isn't cheap, either (up to $1 million).

Between the lines: A stadium isn't just a stadium. Or at least, it doesn't have to be.

  • Using ballparks to anchor larger real estate development plans has become a more standard practice, even in minor league towns.
  • But that can be risky. Just ask Staten Island, which opened a new outlet mall next to its minor league park in May 2019, one year before the pandemic wiped out the season and two years before its team got swept away in the restructuring.

What to watch: The bipartisan Minor League Baseball Relief Act was introduced in Congress on June 24. If passed, it would provide up to $550 million in funds to minor league clubs.

Explore the map.

Go deeper

How to restore famed Negro Leagues ballpark Cooper Stadium

A view from the stands of Cooper Stadium in 2006. Photo: Jay Laprete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Imagine, for a moment, a Major League Baseball game in Columbus.

  • Seeing José Ramírez smack a double in the capital city. Watching in awe as Joey Votto scoops another ball at first base, all with the Columbus skyline in the background.

Driving the news: After playing in an Iowa cornfield last year, MLB is reportedly looking for more "nontraditional" venues for regular season games.

Oct 20, 2021 - Sports

Where it stands: Weed policies by U.S. sports league

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization nearing unanimity, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues continue to reduce restrictions and punishments.

Driving the news: NBA players won't be subject to random marijuana testing this season, an extension of an agreement between the league and its players' union that began ahead of the 2020 Orlando restart.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.