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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As part of MLB's desire to overhaul the minor league system and streamline player development, it wants to sever its parent-club relationship with 42 minor league teams, entirely eliminating some and reorganizing others into a lower-quality "Dream League."

Why it matters: Major league clubs currently provide and pay for the farm club's players and staff, leaving the minor league organization to cover things like fields, equipment and travel.

  • If that support disappears, it could be a death sentence for many of the teams listed above, putting cities across America at risk of losing parts of their culture and, in some cases, having their local economics shift.

The 42 teams, listed alphabetically:

  • A-C: Auburn Doubledays (N.Y.), Batavia Muckdogs (N.Y.) , Binghamton Rumble Ponies (N.Y.), Billings Mustangs (Mont.), Bluefield Blue Jays (W.Va.), Bristol Pirates (Va.), Burlington Bees (Iowa), Burlington Royals (N.C.), Chattanooga Lookouts (Tenn.), Clinton LumberKings (Iowa), Connecticut Tigers
  • D-I: Danville Braves (Va.), Daytona Tortugas (Fla.), Elizabethton Twins (Tenn.), Erie SeaWolves (Pa.), Florida Fire Frogs, Frederick Keys (Md.), Grand Junction Rockies (Colo.), Great Falls Voyagers (Mont.), Greeneville Reds (Tenn.), Hagerstown Suns (Md.), Idaho Falls Chukars
  • J-P: Jackson Generals (Tenn.), Johnson City Cardinals (Tenn.) Kingsport Mets (Tenn.), Lancaster Jethawks (Calif.), Lexington Legends (Ky.), Lowell Spinners (Mass.), Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Ohio), Missoula PaddleHeads (Mont.), Ogden Raptors (Utah), Orem Owlz (Utah), Princeton Rays (W.Va.)
  • Q-W: Quad Cities River Bandits (Iowa), Rocky Mountain Vibes (Colo.), Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Ore.), State College Spikes (Pa.), Staten Island Yankees (N.Y.), Tri-City Dust Devils (Wash.), Vermont Lake Monsters, West Virginia Power, Williamsport Crosscutters (Pa.)

This is why presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as other politicians, have come out against MLB's proposal.

  • It's got everything: Jobs, corporate greed and the blatant juxtaposition of billionaire owners trying to maximize profits while small-town baseball teams — organizations that provide their communities with an identity and a place to gather — suffer.

The other side: MLB contends that its plan is necessary to improve working conditions, and that eliminating hundreds of low-level players from the system will allow the league to increase minor league salaries across the board — an issue that was recently contended in the California Supreme Court.

  • The minor league system is old and bloated, and MLB believes it needs to be slimmed down and reorganized so that teams can focus on things like "analytics training" and spend less money and fewer resources on players with little chance of reaching the majors.

What to watch: MLB's current agreement with the minor league teams expires at the end of this upcoming campaign, which could "cast a certain pall over the 2020 season, as teams aim to, perhaps, play their way off the proverbial bubble."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Aug 4, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

What happened to Iowa's pandemic pets, by the numbers

Meet Fergus! He's a 1-year-old pit bull up for adoption at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Photos courtesy of the ARL

Don't worry — people aren't rushing to return their pandemic pups to Iowa's shelters, despite alarmist headlines earlier this year.

  • In fact, the opposite issue is happening. There aren't enough animals for everyone who wants one.

State of play: Fewer pet owners have surrendered their animals to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa this year than in 2020 and 2019, according to the state's largest nonprofit shelter.

  • And while this year's adoption rate is 10% lower in comparison to 2020, there are also fewer pets to adopt following our pandemic pet craze.

Between the lines: It's good news people aren't returning pets willy-nilly, but there are concerns owners will be forced to give them up, considering many Americans are at risk of eviction, said Stephanie Filer of ARL-Iowa.

What they're saying: Lack of affordable, pet-friendly housing is one of the major reasons why people give up their animals, Filer said.

  • These days, most people consider pets "a part of the family," and want to stay with them, she added.

A real-life example: A local owner returned his puppy to the ARL while "bawling" because he ended up homeless and couldn't find a place that would accept a pit bull mix, Filer told us. He brought everything the dog loved, including even his own allergy meds, to give to the shelter.

  • "That is how the pandemic is impacting people," Filer said.

How you can help: Donate to the ARL's "Paw It Forward" fund that helps keep pets and owners together, or offer up temporary care by becoming a crisis foster home.

Biden speaks with Macron for first time since diplomatic crisis

President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have a conversation ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a diplomatic row erupted over a scrapped submarine order, per the White House.

Driving the news: Macron said that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week and will resume working with senior U.S. officials.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.