Reggie Lawson of the Peoria Javelinas. Photo: Buck Davidson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Small cities around the country are fighting a Major League Baseball restructuring proposal that would cut the league's association with 42 minor league teams, AP reports.

Why it matters: The cities argue that the teams are a vital part of their communities — and some have invested significant municipal funds in stadium construction and upgrades to draw in fans.

The big picture: MLB is renegotiating its agreement — the current one is set to expire in 2020 — with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

  • The minor leagues' current 176 teams that are affiliated with the NAPBL attracted 41.5 million fans this year.

What they're saying: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote that the plan "would be an absolute disaster for baseball fans, workers and communities throughout the country" in a letter he sent to MLB commissioner Robert Manfred Jr.

  • Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), whose district could lose a team based in Norwich, urged MLB officials to abandon the proposal in a bipartisan letter signed by 103 of his colleagues.

The other side: In a letter sent to Congress, the league said dozens of minor league teams do not have proper training and medical facilities, locker rooms and playing fields.

  • MLB deputy commissioner Daniel Halem wrote that "the majority of major league club owners believe that there are too many players in the minor league system."

Go deeper: Labor unrest lurks as free agency begins in the MLB

Go deeper

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.

Federal judge blocks DOJ from defending Trump in Carroll rape defamation case

E. Jean Carroll in Warwick, New York. Photo: Eva Deitch for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the Justice Department's attempted intervention on behalf of President Trump in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against him, after she accused him of raping her in a dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Catch up quick: The agency argued that Trump was "acting within the scope of his office" as president when he said in 2019 that Carroll was "lying" about her claim.